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DEC on deer management

This deer strolls across Erie Avenue in Narrowsburg, NY, just outside the building that houses The River Reporter.

November 23, 2011

Anyone traveling in the Upper Delaware region lately has likely noticed the rising number of animals on the move as winter closes in. Unfortunately, one outcome of this increased activity is roadway encounters with vehicles. Balancing the needs of rising human and deer populations in the region is an ongoing challenge.

Recently the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) adopted its new five-year Deer Management Plan. The plan was revised based on public comment and is now available on the DEC website at

According to DEC Commissioner Joe Martens, “DEC’s new deer management plan will help us focus our efforts where they can best meet the biological and social demands associated with deer. This plan emphasizes the importance of hunting for deer management, and we are particularly excited to create new opportunities for young deer hunters. We are also cognizant of the significant ecological impacts associated with deer, and we are eager to more fully bring our knowledge of these impacts into the population management process.”

Goals identified in the plan include managing deer populations at levels that are appropriate for human and ecological concerns; promoting and enhancing deer hunting as an important recreational activity, tradition and population management tool; reducing negative impacts caused by deer; fostering public understanding and communication about deer ecology, deer management, economic aspects and recreational opportunities; managing deer to promote healthy and sustainable forests and enhancing habitat conservation efforts to benefit deer and other species.

Several significant changes to the plan include moving to a five-year cycle for evaluating deer population objectives; removing the proposal to completely discontinue either-sex and antlerless-only tags; implementing a revised youth deer hunting opportunity; and clarifying that a special antlerless-only season for muzzleloader hunters will only occur as the third phase of a multi-phase process, and only in Wildlife Management Units where additional doe harvest is needed.