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Statewide deer hunter survey underway

October 30, 2013

NEW YORK STATE — When New York State developed its 2012-2016 deer management plan, some hunters expressed strong interest in modifying hunting rules and regulations to allow more bucks to live to older ages and develop heavier bodies with larger antlers. As a result of that input, one of the objectives in Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) current deer management plan is to “encourage various strategies to reduce harvest of young (1.5-year-old) bucks in accordance with hunter desires.”

Now, DEC is conducting a new statewide deer hunter survey, seeking current information on hunters’ views in order to understand how different buck harvest strategies may affect hunter satisfactions.

In October, the Human Dimensions Research Unit at Cornell University mailed 7,000 questionnaires to a random statewide sample of big game license holders with an invitation to participate in the survey. By gathering information on the relative importance hunters place on different types of deer hunting and harvest opportunities, the survey will help wildlife managers identify which buck management strategy best balances hunter opinions in various regions of the state.

DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens said, “I encourage hunters and other deer management stakeholders to support our efforts to address yearling buck harvest strategies through a systematic and balanced process.”

The basic elements of buck harvest strategies were discussed in DEC’s 2012-13 and 2013-14 Hunting and Trapping guides, and are discussed further at Buck Harvest Management on the DEC website. DEC staff will consider survey results along with deer population management needs across various regions of the state as a basis for possible regulation changes for fall 2015.