For the first time, hunters harvested more older deer in New York State. However, concerning numbers may force changes to the next hunting season.

During the 2023-24 hunting seasons hunters harvested over 209,000 deer. More than twice as many older bucks were harvested than in the early 1990s, and nearly five times as many than 1969 when the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) first began monitoring the deer herd age.

"This demonstrates the continued effectiveness of DEC’s Let Young Bucks Go and Watch Them Grow campaign, and the willingness of hunters to voluntarily pass up opportunities at young bucks," Interim Commissioner Sean Mahar said.

READ MORE: How Safe Was 2023-24 Hunting Season in New York?

PamelaPeters from Getty Images
PamelaPeters from Getty Images

Concerning Antlerless Deer

Hunters are not harvesting enough antlerless deer to manage deer populations effectively.

Over 112,000 antlered bucks and more than 97,000 antlerless deer were harvested which is a 3.6 percent decrease in antlered buck and nearly at 16 percent decrease in antlerless deer from last season.

READ MORE: Holy Buck! New York Hunter Shoots Massive Once in a Lifetime Deer

The drop in antlerless deer harvest is concerning to the DEC.

The highest deer harvest densities were documented in the Western Finger Lakes region and Central Appalachian Plateau. In some of these units more antlerless deer need to be harvested to achieve population management objectives.

Harvesting antlerless deer helps ensure populations remain in balance with available habitat and do not exceed levels of public acceptance that can lead to increased crop damage, deer-vehicle collisions, and other potentially negative deer-related impacts.

Various regulatory and non-regulatory alternatives are being evaluated by the DEC to increase antlerless deer harvest during future hunting seasons. All hunters will be encourage to harvest at least one antlerless deer during the upcoming 2024-25 deer.

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Gallery Credit: Credit - Polly McAdams

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