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DEC urges hunters to focus on antlerless deer and report harvests

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is encouraging hunters to play a key role in deer population management by focusing on harvesting antlerless deer, commonly known as does.

The DEC emphasized the importance of this approach in maintaining ecological balance, highlighting that only 16% of hunters in New York State harvested antlerless deer in 2022. Moreover, less than half of the deer hunters reported their harvests last year, despite it being a state requirement to report within seven days of the harvest.

DiSanto Propane (Billboard)

The DEC explains that harvesting does is crucial in preventing overpopulation of deer, which can lead to increased vehicular collisions and crop damage. By keeping the deer population in check, hunters contribute significantly to the ecosystem’s health and agricultural well-being. The DEC also stresses the importance of reporting all deer harvests, which aids in assessing the deer population and informs future deer management decisions.

In addition to these measures, the DEC is encouraging hunters to voluntarily refrain from harvesting young bucks. This practice would allow these deer to mature, leading to a larger population of bucks with more substantial antlers in the future. The DEC notes that currently, about half of the bucks harvested in the state are yearlings, resulting in a smaller population of large-antlered bucks. Hunters are advised to target bucks that are at least 2.5 years old for a better yield in terms of meat and antler size. Hunters can report their harvests through various channels, including the DEC’s HuntFishNY app, its website, or by calling 1-866-GAME-RPT.