Hunters harvested just over 230,000 deer in the 2010 hunting season, up about 3% from
2009, according to the NYSDEC. The Junior Big-Game License was popular once again, with over 16,000 junior hunters taking advantage of the opportunity to hunt big game, harvesting
approximately 4,900 deer.
“Deer hunters play a crucial role, benefiting all New Yorkers, by helping to maintain deer
numbers at levels that are ecologically and socially appropriate, and we appreciate their
participation,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens.
The statewide 2010 deer take included approximately 123,100 antlerless deer (adult females and fawns) and just under 107,000 adult bucks. Deer harvests in the Northern Zone were very
comparable to 2009, with adult buck take (approx. 16,100) essentially unchanged and antlerless take (approx. 12,500) only increasing about 3%. In the Southern Zone, excluding Long Island, adult buck take (approx. 89,900) increased nearly 6% while antlerless take (approx. 108,600) increased only about 2%.
2010 Deer Harvest Comparison
2010 Total 2009 Total Previous 5-Year Average (2005-2009)
Total Take 230,100 222,798 206,848
Adult Male 106,960 102,057 99,568
Antlerless 123,140 120,741 107,280
Adult Female 84,806 84,330 72,386
Permits Issued 498,294 527,371 476,163
Permit Take 89,855 89,458 77,168
Program Take 12,384 9,789 9,978
Muzzleloader 18,387 18,773 16,959
Bowhunting 34,530 34,546 30,771
Western New York continues to lead the state in total deer-harvest densities, but
Orange County in southeastern New York remains a strong contender. The top five
counties for 2010 were Yates (14.3 total deer per square mile), Wyoming (12.2),
Genesee (11.0), Cayuga (10.0), and Orange County (10.0). Importantly, total harvest is
strongly impacted by the number of Deer Management Permits (DMPs) available in
an area, which directly affects the harvest of antlerless deer.
A more accurate picture of relative deer population densities is revealed
by the density of buck harvest. By this figure, the top counties for buck harvest
density were: Wyoming (4.9 bucks per square mile), Yates (4.9 bucks per square
mile), Allegany (4.0), Schuyler (3.8), and Cayuga County (3.8).
Across the state, hunters took a slightly higher proportion of 2.5 year old and older bucks
than in previous years, continuing a trend that has developed over the past decade. This past
year, about 45% of harvested bucks were 2.5 years or older, compared to only 33% in 2000.
Deer harvest data are gathered from two main sources: harvest reports required by all
successful hunters, and DEC staff’s examination of harvested deer at check stations and meat
processors. Statewide harvest estimates are made by cross-referencing these two data sources.
Though an average of only 45% of successful hunters have reported their harvest each year since 2005, statewide harvest estimates remain statistically accurate to within ±2%.
During the 2010 deer season, DEC tested 1,780 hunter-harvested deer for Chronic
Wasting Disease (CWD) and found no CWD infected deer. With no CWD detections since
2005, last summer, DEC decommissioned the CWD containment area and no longer required
mandatory checking of harvested deer in that area.
Additionally, DEC continues to develop a deer management plan based on input
collected during a series of public meetings held in 2009; information from a recent statewide
survey of deer hunters; and assessments from a deer biologists and regional wildlife managers.
This plan will provide a blueprint for deer management for the next five years, including a
number of reforms to strengthen the program. DEC anticipates that the plan will be available for public review and comment later this spring.
Deer populations and harvest vary widely across the state. The 2010 and previous year’s
deer harvest by county, town, and Wildlife Management Unit are available at
www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/42232.html on the DEC website.