Deer harvest grows in 2016-17 – Poughkeepsie Journal
Pennsylvania announced its “estimated” 2016-2017 deer kill in this space last week, and New York — playing catchup — released its “preliminary” kill this week.
Pennsylvania’s figures showed more than 300,000 deer killed — up nine percent from the previous season. Almost 150,000 of them were bucks. New York, with far fewer hunters and far less hunting area, thinks about 214,000 deer were killed (up five percent over the previous season). About 109,000 were antlered bucks (up 10 percent from 2015-2016).
The thing they have in common? The figures are guesses. Educated guesses, to be sure.
For instance, New York biologists personally counted and examined 13,936 deer at check points, at meat lockers, hanging in yards, etc. The data gained from those examinations was fed into a formula that produced the “calculated” kill figures mentioned above. Pennsylvania uses a similar system. Both have been analyzed by independent auditors and were found to be extremely accurate
Why can’t the state just count the deer that hunters report? After all, it is mandatory for hunters to report their kills in both New York and Pennsylvania. Problem is, less than half of the deer killed are reported, despite the “mandatory” stipulation.
Both the New York and Pennsylvania systems know what percentage of kills are not reported and plug that data into the calculation.
New York knows that firearms hunters report 39 to 46 percent of their kills, depending on region, while bowhunters and muzzleloader hunters report about 46 percent. Deer Management Permit holders report at a rate of 84 percent.
New York’s figures are preliminary, so the in-depth seasonal listings end with 2015. The state is optimistic that final numbers will be available later this month. In the meantime, reports of deer and bear harvests from prior years are available at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/42232.html.
We know, however, that we killed slightly more deer last year than 2015-2016, and the figures are pretty impressive compared to years ago. The kill was down in 2015 due to a harsh winter, so an increase last season made sense, but the totals were still considerably lower than the previous 10-year average.
In comparison, New York’s record kill came in 2002, when 308,216 deer were calculated. In 1954 New Yorkers killed 38,549. In 1983, when the state had more than 800,000 licensed hunters, we killed 167,449.
The hunting population is now less than 500,000, but the availability of deer management permits boosts the kill exponentially compared to the 1960s, when the license numbers were similar to today.
N.Y. bear kill up there
New York’s bear kill in 2016, unlike the deer kill, is available now. The 1,539 total is the third highest ever, ranking behind the previous two seasons.
The record of 1,715 came in 2015, after a 2014 season that finished at 1,626. The numbers far outreach previous years simply because more areas were opened to bear hunting and the seasons lengthened.
For instance, 179 bear were taken in the southern Zone in 1997, compared to more than 1,000 in each of the last three seasons. Statewide, the total in 1997 was 525 — a little more than one-third last year’s total.