ALBANY, NY — The New York Department of Environmental Conservation has been dubbed the Agency of the Year for 2021 by the National Deer Association (NDA) for its leadership in white-tailed deer …
ALBANY, NY — The New York Department of Environmental Conservation has been dubbed the Agency of the Year for 2021 by the National Deer Association (NDA) for its leadership in white-tailed deer management and efforts to involve New York hunters in the planning process.
The state’s deer program, said commissioner Basil Seggos, “benefits deer, deer habitat and New Yorkers. We are constantly exploring new ways to address overabundant deer populations.”
It’s about innovative and progressive deer management, according to a news release. Positive change is effected through science.
Science has guided the DEC to implement changes to deer seasons. But that’s just one example. According to Kip Adams, the NDA’s chief conservation officer, the way the state set “deer population objectives using social and biological science,” ranks among the highest in the country.
The Deer Management Plan, released in June 2021, blended the diverse values of the public with the biological and ecological needs and impacts of deer, according to the release.
The DEC offered some details for evidence-based deer-management enthusiasts. There’s the way the DEC took data concerning deer impact on forests and balanced that with what the public wanted in terms of deer population. (No deer? More deer? Deer trained to avoid traffic? All but the last were likely factored in.) That information was used to “set deer population trajectory objectives.”
The deer program increased protection against the introduction or spread of chronic wasting disease.
It also recommended hunting-related changes to allow more harvesting of antlerless deer when needed. In New York, antlerless deer are either female or, if male, have antlers less than three inches long; spotted fawns are not allowed to be hunted. This cuts back on the hunting of young bucks.
Working with researchers, the DEC developed a way for landowners to monitor deer vegetation impacts on their property. (You can find it at http://aviddeer.com/, although some of us just go look at the plants.)
Deer biologists worked with municipalities across the state to create management programs tailored to the people who live there.
“As this year’s awards demonstrate,” said Seggos, “New Yorkers are leading the way to ensuring a healthy deer population now and into the future.”
The NDA promotes “sustainable, high-quality deer populations, wildlife habitats and ethical hunting experiences through research, education, advocacy, and hunter recruitment,” according to its website. Learn more about them at https://www.deerassociation.com/.
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