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DEC Announces 2008 Bear Harvest Results

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Bear harvest numbers in all three of New York State’s bear hunting ranges increased in 2008 – with new records set in the Allegany and Catskill ranges — Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis announced today.
“Bear populations in the state’s two southern ranges have been increasing in number and expanding in distribution over the past decade, and that is reflected in the record setting totals for 2008,” Commissioner Grannis said.
Statewide, hunters took 1,295 black bears, a 16 percent increase from the 1,117 bears taken in 2007. In the Allegany bear hunting region of central and western New York, hunters took a record 193 bears, far surpassing the previous regional record, 120, set in 2007. Similarly, hunters took 520 bears in the Catskill bear hunting range in 2008, topping the 2005 regional record harvest of 494 bears.
Harvest increased in the Adirondacks as well, with a total of 582 bears taken in 2008 compared to 544 taken in 2007 and 318 taken in 2006. Hunters reported taking 18 bears in the 13 Wildlife Management Units that were opened for bear hunting this year in central and western New York.
About 20 percent of New York’s 570,000 big-game hunters consider themselves bear hunters, but most successful bear hunters indicate that they incidentally took a bear while deer hunting. While overall population size plays the largest role in annual harvest, totals are also strongly influenced by environmental factors such as food availability and snow fall that influence bear movements and the timing of bear denning.
In 2008, hunters in the southern bear ranges benefited by good tracking snow on the hilltops and were able to target bears that continued to feed on standing corn throughout most of the regular season. In the Adirondacks, warm weather and widespread food supply made for difficult hunting conditions during the early bear season. But conditions improved and take increased during the regular bear season.
Hunters play a pivotal role in bear management through reporting their bear harvests. Hunters also are asked to submit a tooth sample from their bear for DEC to determine the age of all harvested bears. To encourage participation, DEC issues a NYS Black Bear Cooperator Patch to all hunters who reported their harvest and submitted a tooth. More than 680 patches will be distributed for the 2008 hunting season. Eligible hunters will receive their patch in late summer 2009 when all the age data has been processed.
In addition to harvest totals, DEC uses a variety of indices to measure bear populations. Taxidermists and DEC wildlife personnel collect age and sex information from harvested bears, as well as movement data from tagged bears. This information, along with data from bear-human conflicts, is used to help determine whether bear populations are increasing or decreasing, and if bears are expanding their range. The information helps DEC biologists manage bear populations and establish future hunting regulations to assure the management of black bears in New York State is at a level that is compatible with human interests.
The 2008 bear harvest by county and town with comparisons to previous years’ bear harvests are available on the DEC website: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/42232.html.
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Bear Hunting

New York’s First Early Black Bear Season a Success

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A flourishing black bear population and a newly established early-season give hunters additional opportunities to hunt black bears in New York.

The NYS DEC took a proactive approach to manage the State’s black bear population with the addition of an early black bear season in select WMUs for 2014. The early bear hunting season started on September 6th in portions of Southeastern New York and September 13th in Northern New York

Some of the highlights of the new plan include:

  • New early firearms bear season from September 6-21 in WMUs 3A, 3C, 3H, 3J, 3K, 3M, 3P, 3R, 4P, and 4R. Any hunting implement, including crossbows, are legal for use during the early black bear season.
  • Expanded bear hunting in northern New York which now includes WMUs 6A, 6G, 6K, and 6N. In these newly opened units, bear hunting begins with bowhunting equipment only from September 13 through October 17.

The downside with the early season bear hunting is the heat – the opening day had temperatures in the mid to high 80s with high humidity. Bear hunters will have to skin their harvest as quickly as possible to cool the meat and prevent spoilage. Hunters might also want to skin and quarter the bear in the field and picking out the meat in game bags.

Here’s a video from one successful hunter during this year’s early black bear season:

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Bear Hunting

Black Bears Around Campsites and Hiking Trails

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Recently, the NYS DEC issued some warnings about camping in areas with black bears. I frequently visit areas like this and it’s good to refresh yourself no matter how seasoned of a backpacker, hiker, or camper you are. Here are some tips from the DEC to remember while camping and hiking in bear country:

  • Store food, toiletries and garbage in bear resistant containers or “food hangs.” If you have no choice but to hang your food, be sure to use a dark colored cord. The cord should be 75 feet long and the bag should be hung 15 feet above the ground and at least 10 feet away from trees.
  • Keep food in hangs or in bear resistant container at all times, take down only what is needed for cooking. Bear resistant canisters are a highly effective means for preventing bears from getting food, toiletries and garbage from back country campers. For more information about bear resistant containers, see the DEC webpage at www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7225.html.
  • Bear resistant containers are required to be used by all overnight campers within the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness Zone of the Adirondack Forest Preserve.
  • Never leave food unattended unless it is in a bear resistant container or in a food hang.
  • Never cook or eat in your sleeping area.
  • Cook early, no later than 5 p.m.
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Bear Hunting

Maine Black Bear Raffle

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This was something I came across that you don’t quite hear about everyday, but I thought it was worth mentioning and spreading the word about.In the little town of North Berwick, Maine, 200 Noble High School students are trying to raise $100,000 for a school music trip down to New York City. However, selling cup cakes just wasn’t cutting it so one of the student’s grandfather decided to offer up a raffle for a 6-day black bear hunt.

Grandfather of a choral student in the school music department and a Master Maine Guide, Varney figured the sale of $10 tickets for a chance to hunt at one of his son’s 50 “bear sites” might help raise the funds needed for the children to make the trip.

The winner gets lodging and meals for two at one of the family’s bear camps in northwestern Maine for the first week of the 2008 bear-hunting season. Hot and cold running water, “a flush toilet,” bedding and meals — including a lobster bake and “trash can turkey” dinner — are included. A Ragged Lake Guide Service guide is part of the prize and winners are warned their cell phones won’t work at the remote camp.

Winners who don’t want to hunt can photograph bears and other wildlife in the remote area between Mt. Katahdin and the Canadian border, said Varney, or take $1,000 cash.

Tickets will be sold until April 30 and the winner drawn May 1. Rod and gun clubs are getting out the word and Noble music boosters will be selling tickets at the Kittery Trading Post on Feb. 2.

To purchase tickets for the Black bear hunt raffle, or more information send inquires to Varney at noblesro@sad60.k12.me.us.

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