2014 state bear hunting report reflects 'record take,' but few in CNY
Clark Cannel, 44, of Gouverneur, N.Y. shot this bear this fall while deer hunting in Madison County. He was hunting in the Tioghnioga State Wildlife Management Area. The bear was a male and weighed around 300 pounds. (Submitted photo)
While the state Department of Environmental Conservation expanded the areas where bear could be legally hunted to all Upstate counties last fall, few were harvested in Central New York.
Nevertheless, bear hunters across the state harvested a total of 1,628 bears and in the process set a record for the Southern Zone -- due primarily to increased numbers taken in the Catskill/Western Hudson Valley areas, the DEC reported.
No bears were taken in Onondaga, Cayuga, Oswego or Cortland counties. Two were killed in Madison County.
"With bear hunting areas expanded throughout upstate New York and a special early bear season in portion of the Catskills and western Hudson Valley, hunters had unprecedented opportunity to pursue black bears this year," said Commissioner Joe Martens. "These were intentional management actions designed to limit bear population growth broadly and reduce the population in southeastern New York.
The DEC's statewide final tally showed 518 bear taken in the Northern Zone and 1,628 in the Southern Zone. Totals in 2013 were 380 in the Northern Zone and 1,358 in the Southern.
The record harvest in the Southern Zone was strongly influenced by the special early bear season, which ran from Sept. 6-21 in parts of the Catskills and western Hudson Valley. A total of 337 bears were taken during that new season. Bear were also hunted during the regular bow hunting, regular firearms and muzzleloader seasons across the state.
No bears were taken in Onondaga, Cayuga, Oswego or Cortland counties.In the Southern Zone, bear hunting was expanded to include Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 4A, 4B, 4J, 5R, 6P, 6R, 7A, 7F, 7H, 7J, 8A, 8F, 9A and 9F to keep bear populations from growing and expanding into those areas. Hunters took a total of 15 bears from those new areas - however, none were taken in those WMUs in Region 7.
Bears were taken in Region 7 in areas that were previously open to bear hunting (7M, 7P, 7R and 7S). According to the DEC report, bears were taken in Broome County (29), Tioga (8), Chenango County (5), Tompkins County (3) and Madison County (2).
In nearby Oneida County, which is in Region 6, a total of 33 bear were taken by hunters.
The biggest bear of the season (646 pounds, dressed weight) was taken in the town of Wells in Hamilton County.
Another notable number was the bear harvest density in WMUs 3C and 3K (mostly portions of Sullivan and Ulster counties in the Catskills), where one bear was taken per 3.1 square miles. Statewide, hunters harvested 1 bear per 29 square miles.
The final totals per hunting season were: early season in Catskills/Western Hudson areas (628); bow (331), muzzleloader (58) and regular firearms (611).
A complete summary of the 2014 bear harvest with results and maps by county, town and WMU is available on the DEC website.