Delaware leads gains in big game success

By Brian Sweeney
Delaware County hunters led the way in a statewide surge in deer take during the 2008 season. The deer take in Delaware increased nearly 24 percent overall and the buck take was up about 19 percent, according to figures released last week by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). These figures were much higher than the overall state increase in the deer harvest that went from 219,141 to 222,979.
In 2007, there were 3,399 bucks taken in Delaware County and 4,995 total. During 2008, those figures had improved to 4,045 bucks and 6,184 total.
Delaware County’s number of bucks taken per square mile was also up considerably from an average of 2.3 to 2.7 bucks per square mile.
In statewide totals, the 2008 deer take included 105,747 bucks and 117,232 antlerless deer (adult females and fawns). The buck take was up about one percent over 2007 (105, 747 vs. 104,451).
Ulster County hunters did not fare as well as they did in neighboring Delaware County. Ulster hunters bagged 1,805 bucks vs. 1,783 the previous year. The overall deer harvest in county also showed a decline, with 3,701 deer taken last year compared to 3,877 the previous year.
There was a small increase in deer take numbers in Greene County. In 2007, hunters in Greene County totaled 1,244 bucks and an overall take of 1,923. Last year, those numbers rose slightly to 1,291 bucks and 2,144 deer overall.
DEC officials had predicted an overall increase in the statewide deer take between 5-10 percent. The lowered than expected improvements in deer take numbers were seen as the result of poor weather conditions during the opening week of the season.
The majority of New York’s deer harvest typically occurs during the first week of the Southern Zone regular season. The DEC indicated that wet, windy and snowy conditions, during the opening week brought the early harvest down about 30 percent from the previous season. However, as conditions improved, hunters were able to surpass the 2007 totals, though they fell short of projections.
Statewide, hunters took 1,295 black bears, a 16 percent increase from the 1,117 bears taken in 2007.
Hunters took 520 bears in the Catskill bear hunting range in 2008, easily surpassing the record harvest of 494 bears.
Among local townships, 31 in Denning, 28 black bears were taken in Shandaken, 26 in Olive, 19 in Hardenburgh, 15 in Colchester, five in Middletown, 13 in Roxbury, seven in Stamford, three in Andes, two in Halcott and one in Bovina.