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DEC reports increase in deer harvest for 2012-13 season compared with previous year

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The haul for north country deer hunters jumped substantially in the 2012-13 season compared with the previous year, according to new numbers released by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

According to DEC figures published Friday, 7,506 deer were taken in Jefferson County during the season, an 18.9 percent increase from the previous year’s total of 6,313. In Lewis County, 4,170 deer were bagged, up 18.8 percent from the previous year total of 3,511. St. Lawrence County saw a 1.55 percent decline in deer taken, from 5,541 in 2011-12 to 5,456 in 2012-13.

The overall increase mirrored levels across the state, with the 242,957 harvest equaling a 6 percent increase for the season. The state’s take includes 123,964 antlerless deer (adult females and fawns) and 118,993 adult bucks.

The state’s five-year average harvest is 224,675.

DEC Commissioner Joe Martens, in an emailed statement, said the increased haul was a result of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s NY Open for Hunting and Fishing initiative and the growth of deer populations around the state. He called deer hunting a “long-standing tradition in New York, providing shared recreation and a valuable source of food for many families.”

Another highlight of the season was the state’s first youth deer hunt, held over Columbus Day weekend, during which supervised 14- and 15-year-old hunters could take one deer.

According to the state, about 7,800 youth hunters participated during the weekend, taking 1,411 deer.

Mr. Martens said he anticipated the program would grow in future years as awareness of it spread among hunters across the state.

More information about the 2012-13 deer harvest and the hunting season can be found at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/42232.html.

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