Draft released for statewide deer management plan, public comments accepted through December 28

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NEW YORK (WWTI) — A draft for the NYS Deer Management Plan has been released for public review and comment.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos announced over the weekend that a draft for the deer management plan is now accepting public comments.

According to Commissioner Seggos, the new plan builds upon the DEC’s 2011 deer management plan and aims to guide deer management actions taken by the Department to balance natural resource protection, public safety, and recreational and economic interests for the next 10 years.

“With this draft management plan, DEC is taking innovative steps to improve deer management for the benefit of deer, deer habitat, and New Yorkers,” stated Commissioner Seggos. “We are seeking new ways to address overabundant deer in urban and suburban areas, provide relief to farmers and forest owners experiencing deer damage, protect New York’s deer from the potential devastation of Chronic Wasting Disease, and enhance our great deer hunting traditions.”

The newly released draft includes a new method for setting deer population objectives, approaches for harvesting antlerless deer, and developing new opportunities for deer management in urban and suburban areas across New York State.

The DEC shared significant elements included in the draft plans. These objectives are listed below.

  • Establishing desired deer population trajectories for 23 NYS regions
  • Monitoring deer populations for diseases such as Chronic Wasting Disease and taking steps to reduce risks
  • Recommending several hunting-related changes to provide additional hunter opportunities such as a Southern Zone holiday hunt, special seasons to meet local objectives, and increasing antlerless harvest where deer population reduction is warranted;
  • Maintaining a voluntary approach for letting young bucks go and re-evaluating the existing mandatory antler restriction program
  • Encouraging voluntary use of non-lead ammunition
  • Regulatory mechanisms to improve the Deer Management Assistance Program and Deer Damage Permit program
  • Technical assistance for community-based deer management
  • Exploring the potential for a small grants program to assist communities in developing local deer management plans
  • Promoting the Assessing Vegetation Impacts of Deer

The DEC is urging the public to review the new draft plan and will accept public comments through December 28, 2020.

The full plan can be reviewed on the Department of Environmental Conservation website.

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