New York Deer News

Seneca, Writer still believes not enough will be done to save the white deer June 24, 2016 New York,Finger Lakes Times
... So who is spending the $600,000 needed to repair the perimeter fence to keep the deer in? Mr. Martin isn’t; he’s building a new factory... even after I asked them to suspend hunting, they filled 28 doe tags, leaving 70 white deer...

Animal rehabbers sue DEC over wildlife kill or release policy June 23, 2016 New York, Albany Times Union
... A deer named "Jane Doe" is at the heart of the first suit on Long Island, challenging a requirement that injured deer must be released or killed within two days.  In May Virginia Frati, director of the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center in Suffolk County, claimed Jane Doe was not fully rehabilitated or ready for release. She obtained a temporary restraining order ...

Moose hunting bill moves forward June 22, 2016 New York, Lake Placid News
...  bill comes at a time when other states with moose populations are cutting back significantly on moose hunting. New Hampshire's moose population has dropped nearly 50 percent in the last 15 years, from about 7,000 to only 4,000... n the past, the DEC has estimated that there are between 600 and 1,000 moose, the vast majority of which live in the Adirondacks...

Binghampton, Three deer die trying to jump over cemetery fence June 17,
2016 New York, WBNG-TV
... ... this year he has found three deer trapped on the fence ...  a sharp metal fence ...

Staten Island, Deer killer's new approach for Staten Island bucks June 17, 2016 New York, SILive.com
...  Sterilizing males instead of females is meant to be faster, cheaper and more humane... "It's easy to say, 'Just kill them,'" [DeNicola] said. Hunting is illegal in New York City. More than 50 tons of tainted meat would have to be disposed if the deer were caught and euthanized. Any traps might be vandalized by animal rights activists ...

...  After nearly three months of closed negotiation sessions, the Seneca County Industrial Development Agency has selected Earl Martin's bid for the approximately 7,000 acres of the former Seneca Army Depot property. ... has plans to protect the rare herd of white, white-tailed deer that currently calls the land home...
... There are plans for wildlife preservation and eco-tourism, goals to be achieved by working with SWD to sustain the white deer herd there...Martin’s bid also drew the support of Seneca White Deer Inc. President Dennis Money. Money said he was “delighted” Martin was chosen... [see Martin inteviewed below]

Deer myths ... June 16, 2016 New York, Buffalo News
... Quality Deer Management Association experts have provided a list of five of the most popular myths ... Fawns are odorless. Mothers find their fawns with unique scents produced when they urinate on tarsal glands when just a few days old...

Batavia, Then and Now: Deer roamed the city 60 years ago, too June 13, 2016 New York, The Daily News Online
... Sixty years ago, residents, patrolmen, the dog warden, and the game protector came together to capture a “bounding deer” who appeared in the city on June 13, 1956... The deer was finally captured, given a ride in the game protector’s car to a location near Alexander, and released. ...

New York Deer Vasectomies - June 13, 2016


Staten Island is so overrun with deer, city officials have green-lit giving the males vasectomies. It's estimated as many as 1,000 deer are roaming Staten Island. The animals are causing frequent car accidents and destroying plant life. Officials this week approved a $2 million emergency purchase for contracting services to sterilize the bucks. When the vasectomies start, each are expected to take about 15 minutes. According to WTTG, the measure is expected to reduce the deer population by 10-30 percent. - June 9, 2016


Staten Island, $2M deer vasectomy plan leaps forward June 7, 2016 New York, SILive.com
... If the city's plan works, all male deer roaming the borough would be sterilized starting with a $2 million effort during this fall's rutting season. Hundreds of bucks would be tranquilized, captured, given vasectomies and released back onto Staten Island parkland over the course of the three-year study... city's chosen contractor, a wildlife conservation nonprofit called White Buffalo Inc...

... The New York Conservation Council called the bills "well meaning," but does not support them. The bottom line, said the group, is that unless village, town and other justices across the state accept the principal of higher penalties, it's unlikely that that higher fines will be handed out...

State DEC ruling harms deer hunting sport May 31, 2016 New York, The Journal News | LoHud.com
... Instead of expanding a comprehensive program to protect immature or “yearling” bucks with antler restrictions, thereby ensuring a herd of older, larger and more mature bucks, the DEC is now reversing course, saying it will push for optional self-policing or “voluntary” restraint for hunters in most of the state...

... Felicia Keesing, a Bard College biology professor who has researched the distribution of ticks and Lyme disease since 1999, said culling some deer hasn't been shown clearly to cut the risk of Lyme in communities. She said many of the studies that indicate culling deer could help have been found to be unreliable....

DEC curbs hunting of young bucks May 25, 2016 New York, Catskill Daily Mail
...  the agency has reinstated an antler point restriction on bucks for hunting...  in Greene, Ulster and Sullivan counties ... “The point is to reduce the harvest of yearling bucks,” ...

Batavia,  Deer task force planned May 25, 2016 New York, The Daily News Online
... the DEC has offered to facilitate a management plan in Batavia, beginning with a survey to determine the deer population, but the city would be involved as well...

... DeerTech, A SavATree Company, launches the next generation of ultrasound devices to deter deer browsing on landscape plantings. Called the 2020s, the new ultrasound units draw on over a decade of research, field evaluations, testing and the latest technological advancements. Deer deterrence was improved by 64% over the previous devices to more effectively protect landscape plantings and keep them looking their best year round...

Rehabbing injured deer is illegal May 23, 2016 New York, Fox5NY
...  the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center  ... has been treating injured white-tailed deer ...  now according ...  it's illegal ...  they have to call law enforcement now to shoot them ...

Fairport-E.Rochester Post
... A drop of around 15 percent in the deer harvest ... in approximately 25 percent of this state, the 2015 harvest suggests that deer populations were unchanged or increased from prior years. Additionally, harvest data indicates that deer populations in portions of central New York, the Finger Lakes and the Lake Plains of western New York remain above desired levels ...

Fire Island, FI deer management plan approved May 19, 2016 New York, Suffolk County News
... still includes ... a hunt to kill deer ... Beqaj explained that in 1995, she and volunteers from the island’s 17 communities had been involved with a cooperative experimental study with the Fire Island National Seashore. Special permit had been given for the use of the contraceptive PZP (procine zona pellucida) to control the deer population that she says was very successful...

... This new condition is not only inhumane and cruel, it goes against our purpose as wildlife rehabilitators," she said. "If deer are injured or hit by a car, we don't argue about the deer population. We just try to help all animals." ...
... State Department of Environmental Conservation officials on Feb. 10 sent the state’s 1,400 licensed wildlife rehabilitators a notice that the treatment of adult white-tailed deer is “prohibited.” It also states that fawns may be rehabilitated only between April 15 and Sept. 15.  DEC officials did not cite a reason in the notice ...

Spinning deer numbers in the harvest reports May 16, 2016 New York, Wellsville Daily Reporter
... as Pa.'s 15 percent increase in buck take from the previous year is true, New York's deer take dropped the same percentage. ...  the record warmth of October and November in the Northeast last year repressed deer movement, coupled with New York's opener landing in between the two major rut peaks, while Pa. hit the second rut peak with its opener and had perfect hunting conditions...

... vasectomy plan to sterilize the borough’s male deer   ... with bucks shooting blanks, the does will go into heat repeatedly throughout the fall and winter... “Every 30 days or so for up to six months, right into March,” said Dr. Bob Warren of The Deer Laboratory at the University of Georgia...

... The New York State Whitetail Management Coalition announced yesterday that it strongly disagrees with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) decision to halt the expansion of a policy to protect yearling bucks and better manage the state's deer population...

Shelter Island, Nothing new under the Shelter Island sun: 100 years ago a massive effort tried to cull deer herd May 13, 2016 New York, Shelter Island Reporter
...  100 years ago this week...High-powered rifles ...  they would kill every deer they could sight... Pratt’s plan prompted outrage from animal lovers around the nation and from sportsmen who hated to see game wasted...  thousands of protest letters and telegrams swamping his Albany office, Pratt issued a reprieve and, ignoring expert advice that deer could not be herded, ordered they be rounded up ...

Staten Island, Experts slam city's Staten Island deer vasectomy plan May 12, 2016 New York, SILive.com
... The Parks Department plans to sterilize all male deer roaming the borough ... Most of what is known about deer sterilization focuses on controlling female fertility, so what the city is planning has never been attempted at this scale..."It is very consistent with, I think, the most modern thinking of how we deal with animal issues," de Blasio said ...
... Staten Island’s multifaceted approach will include sterilization, education, and the protection of natural resources ... The HSUS has really pushed for this kind of forward thinking ...

DEC Proposes Hunting and Trapping Rule Changes for 2016 May 12, 2016 New York, DEC News
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is now accepting public comments on several regulatory proposals for hunting black bear and white-tailed deer ... DEC proposes to rescind the antlerless-only requirement for portions of the bow and muzzleloader seasons in WMUs 1C, 3M, 3S, 4J, 8A, 8C, 8F, 8G, 8H, 8N, 9A, and 9F, again allowing take of antlered and antlerless deer during the entire bow and muzzleloader seasons in these units... For more detailed explanations of these proposed regulations ... Comments on the proposed deer and bear hunting regulations must be received by June 25, 2016... 

DEC shuts down illegal venison slaughterhouse May 12, 2016 New York, Albany Times Union 
... Environmental Crimes Investigation Unit found more than 3,600 pounds of illegal venison meat and products after showing up with a search warrant at at butcher shop called Farmers Place, on 256 County Highway 20 ... 

... plan ... includes sterilizing the males... Staten Island’s deer problems are believed to have begun when a small group of the animals swam over from New Jersey ... Owner Joseph Leonard, 73, also known as “The Deer Man,” was arrested ...

... The Parks Department plans to sterilize hundreds of male deer ... The procedure is uncomfortable and time-consuming for female deer while a buck's vasectomy only takes about 15 minutes ... Sterilization was chosen because Staten Island's herd is mostly growing through reproduction, not migration ... decided to only use lethal methods as a last resort because of pushback during public outreach ... The city will also install fences ...

Deer kills at highest levels in a decade May 11, 2016 New York, Shelter Island Reporter
... beginning in 2008  ... Since 2012, when the town reported 240 deer killed, the number has risen steadily and 2015 had the most reported kills since 2006...  From October 31, 2015 through March 31, 482 deer were reported killed on Shelter Island...  up to 50 percent of all deer kills go unreported...

... "There is a large volume of scientific and anecdotal evidence demonstrating chickens' pest control ability as they love to eat tick ... chickens can help reduce the density of the tick population. As a deer committee member, Cassel said he's committed to trying management techniques such as this.  "We don't want to keep killing deer ...

...  stuck in a streetlamp light globe... flung his coat over the light globe, grabbing it in a bear hug ... Finally the deer managed to slip its head out ...

Deer are well known to get stuck in headlights, but an incident in Suffolk County, New York puts a whole new spin on the proclivity. A deer somehow got its head stuck in a light globe.


Fire Island deer plan for hunts, birth control wins final OK May 2, 2016 New York, Newsday
... The National Park Service has given final approval to a Fire Island National Seashore plan that includes fencing off areas, hunting and possibly administering birth control to reduce white-tailed deer populations ...

Legislative proposal would boost poaching penalties May 2, 2016 New York, Outdoor News
... Currently, the minimum fines for the illegal taking of deer sit at $250. Under the new legislation, that minimum would jump to $1,000. For those with prior poaching convictions, the minimum would be $2,000 and they would lose hunting privileges for five years...

New wildlife regulations take effect May 1, 2016 New York, 13WHAM-TV
... Some of the new regulations started Sunday; any adult deer in rehab centers must be released ... how the public will react when they call about an injured deer only to hear a rehabilitator can't help... 

State's hunters took significantly fewer deer in 2015 May 1, 2016 New York, Utica Observer Dispatch
...  hunters weren't seeing a lot of deer, or enough deer, or, in some places, any deer at all...the decline is not unique to New York ... two heavy winters took a toll on the population... Deer Management Permits were reduced by about 45,000 (6.8 percent) and about 25,000 fewer deer were taken with them than in 2014...

Northern Zone hunters see drop in number of deer harvested May 1, 2016 New York, WatertownDailyTimes.com
... the Northern Zone decline was more significant than the rest of the state.  The statewide kill of 202,973 deer marked a 15 percent drop from the 2014 ... The 14,850 adult bucks taken made up 63 percent of the total Northern Zone harvest ... 1,102 button bucks ...

DEC to Host Public Meetings on Deer Management April 28, 2016 New York, DEC News
    New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will host a webinar "New York Deer Management Update" the evenings of May 10 and May 12. Both nights will have the same content. Any member of the public can participate on either night by connecting online from the comfort of their own home or by joining DEC staff at locations throughout the state....

State hunters deer take drops 15 percent April 24, 2016 New York, WatertownDailyTimes.com
 ... DEC issued 626,389 DMPs in 2015, and that figure represents 45,393 fewer permits than 2014 or a nearly seven percent decrease ...  While many areas, particularly in the Northern Zone, harbor too few deer in the eyes of hunters ... DEC faces the task of population reduction, particularly in portions of central New York, the Finger Lakes, and the Lake Plains of Western New York...

Ithaca, NY - April 24, 2016


New N.Y. rules irk wildlife rehabilitators April 22, 2016 New York, Democrat and Chronicle
... New York’s wildlife rehabilitators, who nurse injured hawks and rescue abandoned fawns, are up in arms over tight new license conditions from Albany.  The license conditions issued by the state Department of Environmental Conservation forbid rehabilitators from giving anything more than the most basic assistance to adult deer, and limit their interaction with fawns...

Notable Number from the 2015 Deer Harvest April 22, 2016 New York, DEC News
... 52,581 --- estimated number of bucks taken in 2015 that were 2.5 years old or older. Only 47% of bucks taken statewide were yearlings (52% in units without antler restrictions). Bucks don’t get older if they get shot when they’re young. Consider passing up shots on young, small-antlered bucks... 15.9 and 0.6 --- number of deer taken per square mile in the units with the highest (WMU 8N) and lowest (WMUs 5C and 5F) harvest density...

DEC to Host Public Information Session on Habitat Management Plan for Ashland Flats Wildlife Management Area  April 21, 2016 New York, DEC News
      Current management practices at Ashland Flats WMA include creating and managing habitat for grassland birds, waterfowl, and other wildlife species. Beaver, muskrat, white-tailed deer, and wild turkey can also be found on the WMA. ... The habitat management plan for Ashland Flats WMA can be found at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/35474.html .

Fewer deer killed in Suffolk this winter, report says April 21, 2016 New York, Newsday
... Hunters in Suffolk County killed ... 3,397 deer this past hunting season ... about 100 fewer deer than the prior hunting season ... more deer than the prior seven seasons, when the average harvest was 2,709 deer ...

Lessons to be learned from low deer harvest  April 18, 2016 New York, Poughkeepsie Journal
... One explanation from DEC wildlife managers for the statewide falloff was the particularly harsh conditions during the winter of 2014-15. But that does not ring true for the Hudson Valley, where conditions could only be described as being routine ... The Dutchess County harvest ... was off by more than 25 percent ... most common report from hunters was that they simply were not seeing deer at all or they were seeing far fewer deer...

DEC Announces 2015 Deer Harvest Estimates April 18, 2016 New York, Long Island
... an estimated 202,973 deer during the 2015-16 hunting seasons, approximately 15% less than the prior year... Deer harvest data are gathered from two main sources: harvest reports required of all successful hunters, and DEC staff’s examination of nearly 14,000 harvested deer at check stations and meat processors.  Statewide harvest estimates are made by cross-referencing these two data sources ...

New York Data Hunting data.  Significant population declines in 2014 and 2015 after harsh winters.  About 680,000 deer in 2015 post-hunt, 880,000 pre-hunt.  Antlerless permits, reduced by  20 to 30 percent in parts of the state to grow the herd.  The 2015 deer harvest fell by 15 percent.  About 750,000 deer in 2014 post-hunt, 1,000,000 pre-hunt. The 2014 harvest fell by about 2 percent.  Estimated post-hunt population of 800,000 deer in the state in 2013, pre-hunt 1,050,000.  A little over a million deer in 2004.  Increasing coyote predation.  Relatively stable population with some good forest managment, logging, and habitat projects.  Population density is mixed with some areas down such as the Adirondacks due to mature forests and in some areas due to coyote predation.  
     In 2015, the DEC curtailed the harvest of antlerless deer in portions of Jefferson, St. Lawrence, and Franklin counties to increase the population, and increase the harvest of antlerless deer in  all or portions of Suffolk, Orange, Ulster, Sullivan, Westchester, Albany, Niagara, Erie, Wyoming, Orleans, Genesee, Monroe, Livingston, Steuben, Wayne, Ontario, Yates, Seneca and Cayuga counties to reduce the population.  Two harsh winters in 2013-14 and 2014-15 reduced deer populations in the north and central regions.  The graph below comes from the New York deer hunting forecast for 2015.  "Statewide, we are anticipating deer harvests to be slightly lower in 2015 than in 2014, largely due to some deer mortality this past winter and resulting reductions in antlerless permits in parts of the state."
      In 2014 deer populations were above goals in 35 percent of the state so the DEC encouraged hunters to take does in central and western New York.  In much of the state, deer are below target populations.  A mild 2011 - 2012 winter resulted in a greater survival rate for fawns and an abundance of apples and nuts in 2013 provided food for many types of wildlife. From 550,00 to 500,000 hunters take about 220,000 deer per year, about 25 percent on opening day. The state has increased antlerless harvests to reduce the population, but the harvest still favors bucks over does so a population increase is not unexpected.  
     In 2014, bucks accounted for 45.5% of the harvest.  In 2014, 52 percent of the bucks in areas without antler restrictions were 1.5 years old compared to 48 percent statewide.  In 2013, 48 percent of the herd was 2.5 years or older, up from 28 percent in 2000.  48 percent of the bucks killed in 2013 were 2.5 years or older, up from about 28 percent in the 1990's.  Antler restrictions have been imposed in some areas, Quality Deer Management and other factors have influenced hunter decisions to help normalize herd demographics. About $35 million in license sales and federal excise taxes on guns and ammunition.  
     Deer were nearly exterminated from New York by the 1860s, reappearing around 1910.  The deer popultion rose to an estimated 450,000 in 1978 and 800,000 in 1988.  Harsh winters in 1948-49 and 1983-84 killed a large percentage of the deer herd, reportedly 80 percent in some areas.  The winter of 1978-79 was also severe.
     Suburbs provide ideal deer habitat where deer thrive and have caused conflicts in areas such as Long Island and Cayuga Heights where deer management strategies are a matter of public controversy.  Although deer were native to Staten Island, they were hunted to extinction by the early 1900's.  The press often makes an issue of the population growth, citing percentage increases from the very low numbers in recent history. Since 1990 that state has used a citizen task force to manage the deer in each management area.
      Bears  About 2,500 brown bears

DEC's Management Plan for White-tailed Deer in New York State, 2012-2016.

Report Sick Deer:  The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is asking the public to report any instances of deer appearing sick or acting abnormally. Report sightings to its office in Ray Brook by calling 518-897-1200. Or report it to your nearest DEC regional wildlife office (www.dec.ny.gov/about/50230.html).
Other useful links:
-  New York Department of Environmental Conservation.   General Mission:    DMP Quota Setting   - Google map of Wildlife Management Units (WMUs)   - Public Input on Hunting Regulations
-  Cornell University Integrated Deer Research and Management Study: The goal is to reduce deer associated complaints using fertility control research, fencing, and repellents.
CayugaDeer,org information about deer management in the city of Cayuga Heights.
Senecawhitedeer.org proposes a tourist facility at the former Depot that would feature not only the white deer, but the fascinating military history of the site and the other wildlife “beyond the fence.”      -  Animal Defenders of Westchester
East Hampton Group for Wildlife: promotes respect for all species of wildlife and explores humane solutions to human-wildlife conflicts. 

Tweets about deer in New York


Tweets about NY Dept. of Conservation





     The history of white-tailed deer in New York is tied closely to the patterns of human land use and development. In their 1956 document, History of the White-tailed Deer in New York (3.8Mb PDF), former DEC biologists C.W. Severinghaus and C.P. Brown describe the distribution and abundance of deer in New York in pre-Colonial times and from the Colonial Period through the mid-1950s. 

Late Winter Deer shot in Mendon Ponds Park