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DEC releases annual deer, bear harvest numbers

The state Department of Environmental Conservation says the deer take was up slightly in 2010 and the bear harvest was "strong."

The numbers for last year were released Monday by DEC Commissioner Joe Martens.

In 2010, hunters harvested just over 230,000 deer in New York, up about three percent from 2009. Additionally, some 16,000 junior hunters took advantage of big game hunting opportunities, taking in approximately 4,900 deer.

Meanwhile, bear harvest numbers were "strong" in 2010, with hunters statewide taking more than 1,060 bears.

Commissioner Martens says deer and bear hunters play a "crucial role" which benefits all New Yorkers. According to Martens, hunters help maintain deer numbers at levels that are "ecologically and socially appropriate."

"We appreciate their participation," he said.

When it comes to bears, Martens says New York sports an excellent habitat and offers vast and accessible public lands that provide "exciting opportunities" for bear hunting.

The deer take last year included about 123,100 antlerless deer and just under 107,000 adult bucks. Numbers here, in the state's Northern Zone, were similar to those compiled in 2009.

Over the years, DEC has developed a deer management plan based on information provided by hunters and public comment.

In the Adirondacks, only 521 bears were hunted and killed last year, down about 35 percent from 2009. Other areas of the state saw the bear take increase.

Martens notes that bear numbers in the Adirondack Park depend heavily on key food sources. For example, during years in which foods like apples, cherries, and raspberries are abundant, the bear harvest tends to decrease - that was the case last year.

When foods like beech nuts are more abundant, bear numbers increase.

The full report is available at DEC's website, www.dec.ny.gov.

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