Officials announced the 2020 deer hunting season in New York was "record-breaking."

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Hunters in New York harvested an estimated 253,990 deer during the 2020-21 hunting seasons, an increase of 13 percent from last year, State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced.

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"With a seven-percent increase in licensed deer hunters, a 30-percent increase in antlerless harvest, and two new record-breaking bucks taken by bowhunters, 2020 was a remarkable year despite pandemic-related challenges," Seggos said. "Regulated hunting benefits all New Yorkers by reducing the negative impacts of deer on forests, communities, and crop producers, while providing more than 10 million pounds of high quality, local protein to families and food pantries across the state annually."

The 2020 estimated deer take included 137,557 antlerless deer and 116,433 antlered bucks. Statewide, this represents a 30-percent increase in antlerless harvest and a three-percent decrease in buck harvest from the last season, according to the DEC.

Hunters took 33,260 deer in the Northern Zone, a 10-percent increase from 2019, primarily due to increased antlerless harvest. Southern Zone hunters took 220,730 deer, a 14-percent increase from 2019, also because of increased antlerless harvest. The Hudson Valley is located in the DEC's Southern Zone.

Increased antlerless harvests may have been due, at least in part, to additional hunters and renewed motivation to harvest venison during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the DEC believes.

The DEC released the following "Notable Numbers" about the 2020 deer hunting season in New York:

  • 16.9 and 0.6 --- number of deer taken per square mile in the units with the highest (WMU 8R) and lowest (WMU 5F) harvest density.
  • 61.7 percent --- portion of the adult buck harvest that was 2.5 years or older statewide, up from 45 percent a decade ago, and 30 percent in the 1990s.
  • 45 percent --- portion of successful deer hunters that reported their harvest as required by law. This is down from 52 percent in 2019.
  • 14,825 --- number of hunter-harvested deer checked by DEC staff in 2020 to determine hunter reporting rate and collect biological data (e.g., age, sex, antler data).
  • 2,720 --- deer tested for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in 2020-21; none tested positive. DEC has tested more than 56,000 deer for CWD since 2002.

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