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Over the past year, DEC and Dr. Angela Fuller, Assistant Leader of the New York Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at Cornell University, have begun two black bear research projects in south-central New York. The projects will provide information on black bear populations that will assist in developing effective management strategies for this expanding population. Specifically, the projects will generate an estimate of how many bears exist in the study area and will provide an understanding of where bears spend time and how they move through landscapes. This will help DEC predict where bears may continue to expand their range and where human-bear interactions may occur in the future.
With one field season now complete, we recently received an update on the research progress.
Project Update
The study area (1,013 mi2) encompasses portions of Steuben, Allegany, and Livingston Counties. Beginning in May, 2011 the research team (graduate students Matthew Adams and Catherine Sun and their 8 technicians) under the advisement of Dr. Fuller, has been collecting hair samples from black bears using barbed wire corrals and has been trapping and tagging black bears. They will use genetic techniques to identify individual bears from the hairs collected from the barbed wire. The tagged bears are being tracked using radio collars that send the researchers hourly text messages with a GPS location of the bear. The research team captured 42 black bears (25 males, 14 females, 3 cubs) and fitted 20 bears (11 adult males, 5 adult females, and 4 yearling females) with radio collars. Over the course of 10 weeks, they deployed 223 barbed wire corrals and collected hair samples at 115 sites. The research was conducted on both public and private lands, including 154 private landowners, 26 state lands, parks, and county forests. The researchers are extremely grateful to the 154 private landowners, who have participated in the research by allowing access to their lands.
The DEC is investigating reports of sick and dead deer in the Town of Clarkstown in Rockland County, NY. To diagnose the cause of mortality, tissue samples are being collected by the DEC's Wildlife Pathology Unit and sent to the Cornell University Animal Health Diagnostic Center for testing. While test results are pending, the DEC does not consider this as a human health issue at this time. DEC is requesting residents in the Rockland County area to refrain from approaching any sick deer or deer behaving abnormally, and to please report these animals to the DEC Regional Wildlife Office in New Paltz by calling (845) 256-3098.
On August 17, Governor Cuomo signed into law a bill (S5602/A394-A; http://m.nysenate.go...bill/S5601-2011) that establishes mandatory antler restrictions in the portion of Wildlife Management Unit 3A that lies south and west of State Route 28 (includes parts of Delaware, Sullivan, and Ulster counties). The law prohibits hunters from taking any antlered deer except those antlered deer that have at least one antler with at least three points. The law applies to all public and private lands and all hunting seasons. Only hunters under the age of 17 are exempt and may take any antlered deer with at least one antler measuring three or more inches in length.
This law goes into effect immediately, and hunters are expected to comply with the new law during the 2011-2012 hunting seasons. Deer hunting regulations in all other WMUs were not affected by this legislation. DEC is in the process of updating our website to reflect the new law.
The DEC has released some points that needed clarification on the Deer Management Plan Draft.
In reviewing comments already submitted for our draft deer management plan, it is apparent that a couple strategies of the plan need greater clarification. We have posted the following notes at www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7211.html to explain that the plan: (1) does not propose a 1-buck per hunter rule, and (2) does not propose an early muzzleloader season across the board for the Southern Zone.
1) 1-Buck Rule? - It's not in the plan.
Strategy 1.3.2 proposes to initiate a process to discontinue either-sex and antlerless-only bow and muzzleloader tags for antlerless harvest and transition to a system based exclusively on Deer Management Permits (DMPs) in all areas of the state. Some hunters have apparently misinterpreted this strategy as though DEC intends to institute a 1-buck per hunter rule. However, this is not the case. The proposal is strictly based on the need for a more sensitive antlerless harvest system, and Appendix 5.6 in the deer plan describes this need and purpose. At this point, the draft plan presents a concept for improved antlerless management. The potential tag system is not fully described, but bow and muzzleloader hunters would still be able to harvest one antlered deer during the regular season and one during either of the special seasons.
2) Early Muzzleloader Season in the Southern Zone? - It's proposed for very limited circumstances in specific areas only.
Strategy 2.2.6 proposes a possible early muzzleloader season under very limited circumstances. Some hunters have apparently misinterpreted this strategy as though an early muzzleloader season is being proposed for most or all of the Southern Zone. However, this is not the case. The strategy describes an approach to progressively increase harvest pressure on antlerless deer in areas where deer populations are above desired levels. This would be considered where DMPs are available to all hunters and additional steps are necessary to reduce the local deer population. A short, early muzzleloader season for antlerless deer is proposed as the third step of a three-step process. Based on current deer population trends, it is likely that step 1 (use of Bonus DMPs; see www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/10001.html for an explanation of Bonus DMPs) might be appropriate for 8-12 Wildlife Management Units, mostly located in northern Regions 8 and 9. If use of Bonus Permits is sufficient, then we would not need to progress on to step 2 (make part of the bow and late muzzleloading season antlerless-only) or step 3 (a short early-muzzleloader season for antlerless deer).
The draft deer plan is available at www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7211.html. I encourage you all to carefully read the plan, form your own opinions and give us feedback.
Please remember that July 28 is the deadline for submitting comments on the draft deer management plan. Comments may be submitted in writing to DEC Deer Management Plan, NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754 or by email to deerplan@gw.dec.state.ny.us using “Deer plan” in the subject line. Please do reply to NY Big Game to submit your comments.
DEC has developed a draft Deer Management Plan for New York State. This process began in 2009 when DEC hosted a series of meetings across the state to engage New Yorkers in a discussion of deer management issues and to solicit the public's input on deer management priorities (see Public Meetings on Deer Management). DEC then contracted with the Human Dimensions Research Unit at Cornell University to complete a formal survey of New York deer hunters (see Statewide Deer Hunter Survey - 2010 (PDF); 516 kB) to further explore specific issues that emerged during the public meetings. Input from the public and results of various hunters surveys were used by DEC biologists and managers to help develop the recommendations and management actions contained in the draft plan.
The draft plan describes six primary goals that encompass the current priorities for deer management and the values and issues expressed by the public:
Manage deer populations at levels that are appropriate for human and ecological concerns;
Promote and enhance deer hunting as an important recreational activity, tradition, and population management tool in New York;
Reduce negative impacts caused by deer;
Foster public understanding and communication about deer ecology, deer management, economic aspects and recreational opportunities;
Manage deer to promote healthy and sustainable forests and enhance habitat conservation efforts to benefit deer and other species; and
Ensure that the necessary resources are available to support sound management of white-tailed deer in New York.

See Attached.
Or here: http://www.dec.ny.go...eerplan0611.pdf
And more info here: http://www.dec.ny.go...imals/7211.html
View attachment: draftdeerplan06111.pdf