Public comments for the New York State DEC’s final draft pertaining to their deer management plan are being accepted through August 8, officials say.
"This second-edition deer plan marks a major step forward in DEC's effort to manage deer responsibly to protect the environment and public safety," Commissioner Seggos said.
"The plan aligns public values for deer with ecological data to advance management decisions that benefit deer, deer habitats, and New Yorkers."
The final plan released includes revisions and clarifications based on the DEC's review last fall of more than 2,000 comments submitted by individuals, organizations, and elected officials.
Major elements of the plan include:
-Establishing desired deer population trajectories for 23 ecologically unique regions of the state using an assessment of deer impacts on forest regeneration and public preferences for deer population changes;
-Monitoring deer populations for disease and taking steps to reduce disease risk;
-Providing additional hunter opportunity and increasing antlerless harvest strategically where needed;
-Promoting hunter choice for buck harvest by encouraging hunters who want to take older, larger-antlered bucks to voluntarily pass up young, small-antlered bucks;
-Encouraging deer hunters to use non-lead ammunition to reduce lead exposure of non-target wildlife;
-Assisting communities to prevent and respond to local deer overabundance through development of community-based deer management programs;
-Working with landowners and land managers to monitor deer browse impacts on forests with the Assessing Vegetation Impacts of Deer (AVID) protocol; and
-Understanding and addressing public values and interests regarding deer and deer management decisions.
New Regulations Proposed:
-To begin the implementation of portions of the management plan, DEC is proposing rule changes that will improve deer management, simplify big game hunting, expand hunting opportunity, and increase hunter safety.
DEC is proposing to:
-Strategically increase antlerless harvest where necessary by establishing a 9-day season for antlerless deer beginning the 2nd Saturday in September with firearms in Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 3M, 3R, 8A, 8F, 8G, 8J, 8N, 9A, and 9F, and with bows in WMUS 1C, 3S, 4J, and 8C;
-Reinstate either-sex deer harvest opportunity during the early muzzleloader season in WMUs 6A, 6F, and 6J;
-Extend the legal hunting hours for deer and bear to begin 30 minutes before meteorological sunrise and end 30 minutes after meteorological sunset, consistent with legal hunting hours in most other states; and
-Increase hunter safety by requiring all hunters pursuing deer or bear with a firearm, or anyone accompanying them, to wear a solid or patterned fluorescent orange or fluorescent pink hat or vest or jacket.
Image courtesy via the New York State DEC.