Hunters took significantly more deer in 2018

No Chronic Wasting Disease found; report rate still lagging

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has released its report on deer hunting in 2018, and hunters took 12% more deer than in 2017.

Statewide, hunters harvested 227,787 deer, which is more than 20,000 more than in 2017, and well above the five-year average.

In the DEC’s Northern Zone, which covers all of the Adirondack Park, hunters killed 28,642 total deer, with the vast majority of those (20,689) coming in the regular season, which ran from Oct. 20 through Dec. 2 last year. Youths shot 140 deer, while adult hunters took 1,565 deer during bow season and 6,248 during the muzzleloader season. Of the deer killed in the Northern Zone in 2018, more than 19,000 were adult males.

Statewide, deer hunting numbers were up in all categories except for cross bow, which saw a nearly eight percent drop from 2017.

In the counties that are either wholly or partially within the Blue Line, hunters took a total of 26,839 deer. St. Lawrence County led the way with 5,046 deer killed, while Oneida (4,995) was second. Lewis (3,310) was next and was followed by Herkimer (3,146), Saratoga (2,410), Franklin (1,729), Essex (1,554), Clinton (1,330), Fulton (1,314), Hamilton (1,048) and Warren (957).

The DEC requires that all successful hunters report their take to the department. However, only 51.4% of hunters actually follow through with that requirement, the DEC said. That percentage is actually higher than the five-year average of just 44.9%.

“Hunters increased the rate at which they reported their harvest in 2018, for the second year in a row. Although harvest reporting is required by law, the portion of successful hunters who report their harvest has averaged around 45% for the past decade,” the DEC said in a press release. “Along with DEC’s Take It — Tag It — Report It campaign, the agency has made the process of harvest reporting easier for hunters by providing phone, internet and mobile app options. Harvest reports are critically important for accurate monitoring of deer harvests, and DEC hopes hunters continue to contribute to the management process by complying with the reporting requirements.”

The department also continued to test for Chronic Wasting Disease, but found no cases after testing 2,483 carcasses last year. The DEC began testing for the always fatal disease in 2002 and has since tested more than 52,000 white tailed deer. The only reported cases in New York were in Oneida County in 2005, but the disease continues to spread nation-wide, with confirmed cases last year in Tennessee and Mississippi.

The full report is available at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/42232.html.