New York State bear hunters took 1,295 black bears during the 2018 hunting seasons, state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today.
“Black bears continue to thrive in New York’s exceptional bear habitat and the state’s vast, accessible public lands offer great opportunities for bear hunting,” said Commissioner Seggos. “The black bear hunting season provides valuable tools and data for DEC’s wildlife managers in their work to maintain healthy bear populations across the state.”
Hunters took an estimated 804 black bears in New York’s Southern Zone in 2018, approximately 20 percent fewer than 2017 and the recent five-year average. With reduced natural forage for bears this past fall and deep snows in mid-November prior to the regular firearms season, many bears went into dens a few weeks earlier than normal. As a result, although bear take through the early season and bow season was comparable to 2017, take during the regular season declined by more than 40 percent from 2017.
Comparably, hunters took about 45 percent fewer bears during the Northern Zone regular season in 2018 than in 2017. Bear take during the early season was particularly strong, however, with a nearly three-fold increase over 2017 and a 50-percent increase over the five-year average. In total, hunters took an estimated 491 bears in the Northern Zone, about 25 percent more than 2017 and within the historical average range.
One bear harvested per 3.2 square miles. By DEC Wildlife Management Unit (WMU), the greatest bear harvest density occurred in WMU 3C which mainly covers Ulster County and includes portions of Sullivan and Greene counties. The town of Kingston in Ulster County (WMU 3C) yielded one bear for every 1.5 square miles.
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