New York Looking At 2nd Largest Harvest

NY Fish & Wildlife, Bear Hunting Magazine

New York's 2009 bear harvest looks to be the second-highest on record. All three of the state's bear-hunting regions (Adirondacks, Catskills and Allegany) reported some of their highest bear kills on record as stated by the DEC.

The total bear take is expected to come in at between 1,300 and 1,400, slightly above the 2008 harvest of 1,295 and second in the state's bear-hunting history only to the 2003 take of 1,864.

The DEC will take the reported harvest from hunters who got a bear and come up with a "calculated" take based on reporting rates, which vary from one region to the next.

The Adirondack bear-hunting region was again the top producer, based on preliminary figures. "Our reported take was 609," DEC Region 5 wildlife biologist Ed Reed said. "So our total harvest will be about 40 percent higher than that - between 800 and 900. So it was a good year, especially the early season. The berry crops were pretty bad and that had the bears moving, looking for food."

Adirondack region bear hunters took a reported 319 during during the early season, eighteen were taken by archery hunters, 92 by muzzleloader hunters and 180 during the regular firearms season for bears, which parallels the Northern Zone deer season.

"Based on the number of nuisance bear complaints we were getting, we pretty much expected this," stated Reed. "Toward the end of summer, when the bears were on the move, we received a lot of calls, after hardly any earlier in the summer."

The Catskill region's 2009 reported bear take was 452, which should put the total harvest at "around 470 or so," according to DEC Region 3 wildlife biologist Matt Merchant.

"It was a pretty typical year," Merchant said. "We had a better acorn crop than expected and the hunters did very well. They did exceptionally well in Ulster County, where the reported take was 113. That was the highest reported take by any county in the state."

In the Allegany region of western New York, where the bears are continuing to expand their range, the reported harvest stood at 171, with 88 taken during the archery season and 83 during the regular firearms season.

While about 20 percent of New York's 570,000 big-game hunters consider themselves bear hunters, most bear-hunting success comes during the deer seasons when hunters encounter a bear while hunting whitetails.

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