Numbers are in on early bear take; bow season arrives

Photo contributedFifteen-year old Ryan Arp (right) of Greenville shot his first buck while bowhunting with his dad, Mike Arp, (left) in Greenville. The nice 8-pointer was not only Ryan’s first buck, it was his first deer taken with a bow.

Harvest numbers are in for the early bear firearms season. The take is up significantly from last year with 381 black bears killed statewide in the early firearms season for bear this year as opposed to just 248 in 2019.

While the 381 bears taken statewide in 2020 is 37 less than the five-year average of 428 per year from 2014 through 2018, there is absolutely no concern for lack of bears in New York State.

In addition to variable factors such as drought and food availability, hunters cannot kill what’s simply not out on the landscape. The fact that dedicated bear hunters killed an impressive 381 bears statewide this season underscores the fact they were available to be taken. The existence of a substantial, healthy black bear population is continually reaffirmed by the overall consistent quantity of the harvest.

A further breakdown of the take shows the majority of bears, 177, were taken in DEC’s Region 3. Region 3, includes Hudson Valley counties from Westchester up to Ulster, and counties west to the New Jersey and PA borders.

For Region 4, in the few Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) open for early gun season for bear, 59 were taken. The 155 remaining bears were taken in Regions 5 and 6 which include WMUs in the Northern Zone/Adirondacks.

Archery season for big game opened on October 1st and some nice deer and bear have already been harvested. Cody Wolfe connected arrowing a huge boar in New Baltimore. It tipped the scales at nearly 500 lbs.

As for deer, congratulations are in order for 15-year old Ryan Arp of Greenville. He killed a nice 8-point buck while bowhunting with his dad in Greenville. It was Ryan’s first buck as well as his first deer with a bow.

Last season Ryan shot two does during the youth and regular gun seasons respectively. One of the does was taken with a rifle at a measured 198 yards! That’s remarkable accuracy and composure for an experienced hunter, let alone a youth hunting deer during his first season.

Speaking of youth deer season, it’s upon us. It opens at sunrise on Saturday of Columbus Day Weekend (October 10th) and ends at sunset on the Monday Holiday (October 12th).

While its mandatory for youth and their mentors to wear hunter orange while hunting, DEC issued the following recommendation:

“DEC encourages every hunter and outdoor recreationist to wear blaze orange or fluorescent pink. Wearing bright orange or pink prevents other hunters from mistaking a person for an animal or shooting in your direction. Hunters who wear hunter orange are seven times less likely to be shot!”

“DEC encourages every hunter and outdoor recreationist to wear blaze orange or fluorescent pink. Wearing bright orange or pink prevents other hunters from mistaking a person for an animal or shooting in your direction. Hunters who wear hunter orange are seven times less likely to be shot!”

No need to worry, youth hunters are among the safest age/demographic of hunters and sport an excellent safety record.

Happy Hunting, Fishing and Trapping until next time.

Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) Update:DEC’s latest numbers show 625 deer died in Ulster, Orange, and Rockland counties. Another 517 died in Dutchess, Putnam and Westchester counties after contracting Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD). EHD is caused when infected midges bite whitetail deer.

The 1142 deer listed above do not include any of the cases documented in Greene County. Most of the deer with EHD in Greene County were found in the Village of Catskill and surrounding area.

To that point, on Tuesday, October 6, I observed a spike buck walking on the pavement through the bus circle at the Catskill Elementary School. The deer was unafraid of people and oblivious to its surroundings. A frothy substance dripped from its mouth and it wandered across the street to a neighboring home and headed towards their pond. ECOs were then notified.

These observations show the classic signs of a deer infected with EHD as they remain unaware of their surroundings and frequently seek water before they inevitably succumb to the disease.

Although DEC advised in earlier press releases that EHD is not spread from deer to deer and not transmissible to humans, they advised hunters not handle or eat any deer that appears sick or acts strangely.

Sightings of sick or dying deer by bow hunters or the general public should be reported by calling 1-844-DEC-ECOS. DEC stated, “This EHD outbreak is expected to end shortly after the first hard (killing) frost, which will kill the midge vectors carrying the disease. EHD outbreaks are most common in the late summer and early fall when midges are abundant.”

“Holiday” Deer Hunt Comment Period Remains Open: Last month, DEC announced a proposal to expand deer hunting opportunities in the Southern Zone for this year and in the future. The proposed regulations would create additional hunting opportunities to take antlered and antlerless deer with bows, crossbows, and muzzleloaders from December 26th through January 1st.

Needless to say, there are strong opinions on both sides of the proposal.

Comments on the proposed regulation to extend deer season through the Christmas Holiday will be accepted through November 8, 2020.

You can weigh in on the topic by submitting an email to, or by writing to: Jeremy Hurst, NYS DEC Bureau of Wildlife, 625 Broadway, 5th Floor, Albany, NY 12233-4754.

New ECO Assigned to Greene County: A new Environmental Conservation Officer (ECO) has been assigned to Greene County. ECO Jason Smith is already on the job, working in the county. Further information on ECO Smith’s bio and background was unavailable at press time.

Remember to report poaching violations by calling 1-844-DEC-ECOS.

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