The state’s Department of Environmental Conservation announced the 2017 deer harvest this week, estimating a total take of 203,427 whitetail deer. Of that total, nearly 96,000 antlerless deer were taken and almost 108,000 antlered bucks were processed. While the overall total was roughly 5 percent lower than the 2016 estimate, the buck take was nearly identical.
There was some good news that came out of the information collected by wildlife biologists and turned in by successful hunters. With over 53 percent of the adult buck harvest at least 2.5 years of age or older, it appears that the agency’s program, “Let Young Bucks Go and Watch them Grow,” is working. There was a record number of older bucks taken at 57,500 and the greatest percentage of older bucks harvested.
In other good news, the reporting success rate by hunters also went up. Hunters are required to report their deer to the DEC. In 2016, the reporting rate was 44 percent. Last year it jumped up to 50 percent. Again, a DEC campaign titled “Take it – Tag it – Report it” campaign seemed to make a difference.
Deer harvest summary reports can be found on the DEC website at dec.ny.gov.