New York State bear hunters took 1,295 black bears during the 2018 hunting seasons, state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced.

"Black bears continue to thrive in New York's exceptional bear habitat and the state's vast, accessible public lands offer great opportunities for bear hunting," said Seggos. "The black bear hunting season provides valuable tools and data for DEC's wildlife managers in their work to maintain healthy bear populations across the state."

Hunters took an estimated 804 black bears in New York's Southern Zone in 2018, approximately 20 percent fewer than 2017 and the recent five-year average.

Steuben County had one of the highest bear harvests in the state with 79 bears taken. Troupsburg led the way with eight, followed by Woodhull with seven and Erwin with five. With four each were Bath, Cohocton, Corning, Howard, Lindley and Rathbone. Three were harvested in Addison, Cameron, Canisteo, Caton, Dansville, Greenwood, Urbana, West Union and Wheeler. 

In Allegany County, 28 bears were harvested. Scio had the highest total with five, while Ward had three. Two each were harvested in Wellsville, Willing, Independence and Clarksville. Twelve towns had one bear harvested locally.

Two bears were harvested in Livingston County, one during bow season in Mount Morris and the other in Springwater during the regular season.  

With reduced natural forage for bears this past fall and deep snows in mid-November prior to the regular firearms season, many bears went into dens a few weeks earlier than normal. As a result, although bear take through the early season and bow season was comparable to 2017, take during the regular season declined by more than 40 percent from 2017.

Comparably, hunters took about 45 percent fewer bears during the Northern Zone regular season in 2018 than in 2017. Bear take during the early season was particularly strong, however, with a nearly three-fold increase over 2017 and a 50-percent increase over the five-year average. In total, hunters took an estimated 491 bears in the Northern Zone, about 25 percent more than 2017 and within the historical average range.

Noticeable numbers

1: bear harvested per 3.2 square miles. By DEC Wildlife Management Unit (WMU), the greatest bear harvest density occurred in WMU 3C which mainly covers Ulster County and includes portions of Sullivan and Greene counties. The town of Kingston in Ulster County (WMU 3C) yielded one bear for every 1.5 square miles.

80: the greatest number of bears reported taken on any one day. It happened on Nov. 17, the opening day of the regular firearms season in the Southern Zone.

585 pounds: the heaviest dressed weight bear reported to DEC in 2018, taken in the town of Shandaken, Ulster County. A 550-pound dressed weight bear was reported taken in Marbletown, Ulster County, and six bears were reported with dressed weights between 400-500 pounds. Scaled weights of dressed bears were submitted for 23 percent of bears taken in 2018.