ALBANY November 13, 2007 The state has adopted new regulations that change the start of this fall’s regular bear season in the Catskill Mountain region to Saturday, Nov. 17 the same day as the start of the regular deer season in that area and two days earlier than bear hunting seasons in the past.
The date change is intended to increase bear harvest in the Catskills to limit bear population growth and range expansion.
“The bear population in southeastern New York has grown in recent years, particularly in the southern and central Catskills,” New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis said. “Hunting is an important component of a comprehensive bear management program. The additional harvest anticipated in the Catskill range, in combination with education and preventative measures, is expected to bring the number and magnitude of negative impacts in better balance with human interests.”
The expanded hunting season applies to the specific wildlife management units that define the Catskill bear hunting area Maps of these wildlife management units are available online at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7857.html.
The DEC had proposed the change in September and it has now been adopted.
This is the second time in three years the DEC has extended the bear hunting season in the Catskills and surrounding areas in an effort to stabilize the population.
The change does not affect the start of the regular bear hunting season in New York State’s two other primary bear hunting areas: Allegany (Nov. 24) and Adirondacks (Oct. 20).
Managing the black bear population in the Catskills has been a longtime focus of the DEC. In 2006, hunters took almost 800 bears statewide, including 365 bears from the Catskill range.
Since the bow hunting season began on Oct. 13, more than 80 bears have been taken in the Catskill bear hunting area.
The commissioner reminded hunters that they must report the taking of a black bear to the DEC.
“Not only is the reporting of a bear by a hunter required by the Department’s regulations, it is a vital component of our black bear management program,” Grannis said.
Successful bear hunters must report the taking of a black bear within 48 hours and may do so by calling 1-866-GAMERPT (1-866-426-3778).