Friday, March 06, 2009

NEW YORK NEWS: Biggest Harvest in Five Years, Harvest Goal Still Missed

Hunters in New York harvested nearly 223,000 deer last year, the state's most bountiful season since 2003, according to numbers released this week by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

The deer take in Orange, Sullivan and Ulster counties increased by 5 percent. The statewide increase was 2 percent.

Orange County posted an especially fruitful hunting season, according to DEC statistics, which showed Orange had the third highest number of bucks killed per square mile of any county in the state. Local hunters said the ranking is not a coincidence; sportsmen in Sullivan and Ulster were restricted to hunting bucks with a minimum of three points on one antler under a program being tested by the state. The restriction did not cover Orange County.

Despite the final tally — which comes from hunters' reports, DEC check stations and meat processors — local hunters said the season was largely a bust.

"The local sportsmen feel they had a poor season," said Carmen Heitczman, president of the Orange County Federation of Sportsman Clubs. "I don't know what formula the DEC is using, but they ought to change it."

Locals said the deer take among their friends and hunting camps was low, citing bad weather (fog and rain tainted opening weekend) and dwindling open land for hunting. The DEC also said the total fell short of the 5 percent to 10 percent kill increase it had hoped for.

For the full article see: Record Online

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