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The hunt is on

Notes from the North Woods

Hunting styles

Currently, NYSDEC estimates the state’s whitetail population ranges around one million animals. During the 2010 season, hunters harvested 230,100, an increase of 3.3 percent over the previous season.

However, the Adirondack region accounted for only a small fraction of this total. Statewide, the success rate for deer hunters filling their buck tag is estimated at about 15 percent. Anecdotally, the overall annual success rate for hunters in the Adirondacks is less than half that number.

Who hunts, and how they do it

The most recent survey conducted by the NYSDEC provides a snapshot of today’s hunters. Typically, the average whitetail hunter in New York is a rural, white male, of about 50 years of age. Twenty seven percent of NY hunters are over sixty years old and forty two percent are over forty.

On average, these hunters spend about 17 days on the hunt and 94 percent hunted relatively nearby, within their home geographic area. Slightly more than half took to the hunt in the Northern Zone, and 86 percent pursued deer in the Southern Zone.

About 95 percent of all hunters got out during the Regular Season, with about 36 percent also participating in either the archery or muzzleloader season.

Nearly, one third of all hunters spent their time hunting from a stationary stand, and 27 percent spent their hunting time stalking or still-hunting. Only about 3 percent spent their time putting on deer drives.

In the first year that New York state allowed 14 and 15-year-olds to hunt big game for the first time, 15,651 junior hunters took advantage of the opportunity, and harvested about 3,679 deer.

This year, New York has permitted 12 and 13 year-olds to participate in the Bow Hunting Season, when accompanied by a licensed adult hunter. It is expected that the influx of young participants will help to decrease the average age of New York’s hunting population.

Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@adelphia.net

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