March 20, 2013 —
ALBANY, NY — New York bear hunters took 1,337 black bears during the 2012 hunting seasons, making last year the state’s third highest bear harvest on record, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced on March 19. Only the 2003 harvest (1,864) and 2009 harvest (1,487) surpassed last year’s take.
“New York has excellent bear habitat and vast, accessible public lands that offer exciting opportunities for bear hunting,” said Martens. “Black bears are thriving in New York, and they represent a great resource for all New Yorkers. Through the New York State Open for Hunting and Fishing Initiative, Governor Cuomo is improving opportunities for hunting.”
Regionally, bear harvest increased in the Adirondacks but decreased in the Southeastern and Central-Western bear hunting areas. Though overall population size plays a large role in harvest totals, annual variations in take are also strongly influenced by environmental factors such as natural food availability and snowfall that affect bear activity and hunting pressure. These environmental influences were very apparent in the harvest totals of the past few years.
The early-season harvest is always high in years with reduced food availability because bears are moving more in search of food and many are closer to human food sources.