Black bear harvest numbers were down slightly overall in 2017 according to statistics recently released by the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). A total of 1,420 bruins were taken during the various hunting seasons that are offered in the Northern and Southern Zone of the Empire State.
In the Northern Zone, 383 bears were recorded, compared with 514 animals in 2016 and 520 for the 5-year average. Last fall, the early season accounted for 82 bears. A total of 242 bruins were taken during the regular season, an area associated with the Adirondacks.
In the Southern Zone, a total of 1,037 black bears were harvested, up a dozen bears from 2016. The 5-year average is 995 bears, on par with recent times. However, the historical average from 1991 to 2000 were only 207 bears annually in this zone. The largest bear taken in the state was 550 pounds, tagged by a hunter in Greene County in the Catskills Region.