By Mike Zummo
The New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation is accepting public comment on its statewide deer management plan through Dec. 28.
According to DEC officials, the plan builds upon the progress made by DEC’s first deer management plan, which was originally released in 2011, and will guide DEC’s deer management actions to balance natural resource protection, public safety, and recreational and economic interests for the next 10 years.
“With this draft management plan, DEC is taking innovative steps to improve deer management for the benefit of deer, deer habitat and New Yorkers,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said on Nov. 27. “We are seeking new ways to address overabundant deer in urban and suburban areas, provide relief to farmers and forest owners experiencing deer damage, protect New York’s deer from the potential devastation of Chronic Wasting Disease, and enhance our great deer hunting traditions.”
The plain aims to manage the deer populations at levels that are appropriate for both humans and ecological concerns, promote and enhance deer hunting and reduce the negative impacts deer have on the environment. The plan also aims to increase the public’s understanding and communication about deer ecology, deer management, economic aspects, and recreational opportunities. Its goal is to promote healthy and sustainable forests and ensure the necessary resources are available to support proper management of white-tailed teer.
Significant elements of the proposed plan include, establishing a desired deer population for the state’s 23 regions, as well as monitor the deer population for Chronic Wasting Disease, and take steps to reduce disease risk.
The proposal recommends several hunting-related changes to provide additional opportunities, such as a Southern Zone holiday hunt, special seasons to meet local objectives and increasing antlerless harvest where deer population reduction is warranted. The DEC also wants to implement a voluntary approach to letting young bucks go and re-evaluating the existing mandatory antler restriction program for consistency with hunter values and management objectives.
Comments on the DEC’s draft plan should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, using “Deer Plan” in the subject line, or by mail to: NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY, 12233-4754.