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Outdoors notebook: How the harvest figures panned out for 2015

Hunters across the state harvested fewer deer than Department of Environmental Conservation projections anticipated. About 15 percent fewer deer were taken overall in 2015 compared with the 2014 harvest numbers. But black bear harvests during the 2015 season were the second largest on record.

Issuance of fewer deer management permits, a harsh winter in 2014-15 and a mild winter with little snow during the gun season this past season all contributed to the steeper decline. Numbers in Western New York areas dropped for most listings except for bucks more than 2.5 years of age, antlerless muzzleloader and the Youth Deer Hunt. The overall total went from 238,672 in 2014 to 202,973 in 2015.

Wildlife Management Units in the Western New York area of the Southern Zone fared fairly well, with a higher deer-take density than in Adirondack and Catskill units.

To view the 2015 deer harvest summary, visit dec.ny.gov/docs/wildlife_pdf/2015deerrpt.pdf.

Bear hunters put tags on 179 bruins during the first day of firearms season in the Southern Zone, which includes Western New York counties. This count represented 19 percent of the total harvest for that zone; one Genesee County bear weighed in at more than 420 pounds.

The statewide total went from 1,628 in 2014 up to 1,715 in 2015, well above the 5-year average of 1,329. The Southern Zone saw similar increases, totaling 1,132 in 2015, well above the 869 average for 2010 to 2014.

To view the bear take summary report, visit dec.ny.gov/outdoor/42232.

Lake Erie harvest

A Lake Erie Committee that includes fishery managers from Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Ontario announced harvest levels that indicate the walleye and yellow perch abundance in Eastern Basin waters that include New York State.

The committee recommended a 20 percent increase in the walleye TAC (total allowable catch) for the five agencies around the lake. The committee noted, “Most of the walleye harvest comes from the western portion of Lake Erie, and, as such, jurisdictions in the eastern end (New York State) of the lake are outside the TAC area.”

The committee recommends a yellow perch TAC decrease from 10,528 pounds set in 2015 to 9,208 in 2016, the result of a decline in the Central and Eastern Basins; an increased abundance of perch has been seen in the Western Basin.

The committee studies fishery trends to determine TAC numbers, but it does not make recommendations for creel limits, season setting or fish length requirements.

Gauging green

A WalletHub study of the greenest states ranks New York State as eighth in eco-friendliness and economic conditions. New York ranked 17th in air quality and seventh in soil quality. The Empire State’s rankings dropped with a population generating No. 1 standings for both gasoline consumption and carbon dioxide emissions per capita.

The northeast posted six of the top 10 states in this study, with Vermont first, Massachusetts third, Maine sixth, Connecticut seventh and New Hampshire ninth. For the full report, visit wallethub.com/edu/greenest-states/11987.

email: odrswill@gmail.com