Megan Plete Postol 03.21.23
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently released the state’s bear harvest numbers from this past season. In all, New York hunters reported 1,318 black bears taken during the 2022 hunting season.
While the state’s overall total decreased slightly from the five-year average, harvests reported in New York’s Northern zone were up about 14 percent and down about nine percent in the Southern zone. In all, hunters took an estimated 458 bears in the Northern Zone and an estimated 860 bears in the Southern Zone. Following years past, the state’s Catskill region produced the greatest bear densities.
- The youngest successful bear hunter of 2022 was 13 years old and the oldest was 93.
- The town of Port Jervis, Orange County had the greatest bear harvest density of any town, with the number of bears harvested per 10 square miles in was 11 to eight.
- The heaviest dressed-weight bear reported to DEC in 2022 was 520 pounds, which was taken in the town of Windsor, Broome County. Scaled weights of dressed bears were submitted for 26 percent of bears taken in 2022.
“New York’s black bear populations remain robust, particularly in the Catskill and Adirondack regions,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “Regulated bear hunting is a necessary tool for population management, especially with numbers increasing in recent years. I’m pleased to see hunters across the state logged another successful and safe bear hunting season.”
There are two ways that this data is recorded and collected by DEC. Black bear harvest reports are required by New York State law of all successful bear hunters. Another method is the physical examination of bears by DEC staff and cooperating taxidermists. Harvest estimates are made by cross-referencing these two data sources and determining the rate at which hunters report bear harvests in each zone.
In 2022, DEC determined through this data cross-referencing of bear harvest numbers that 80 percent of successful bear hunters. In the Northern Zone and 89 percent of successful bear hunters in the Southern Zone reported their harvest. Later this year DEC will send a 2022 Black Bear Management Coordinator Patch and a letter confirming each bear’s age to all hunters who reported their bear harvest and submitted a tooth for age analysis.
DEC’s 2022 Bear Harvest Summary report provides tables, charts, and maps detailing the bear harvest around the state. Past harvest summaries are also available on DEC’s website.
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