September 25, 2020

Is What's Going On In Sullivan Country Typical All Across New York?

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Reading an article this morning in the Times-Herald Record, Sullivan County, New York had a dismal deer hunting season. Although official records won’t be known for some time, some are saying the number of deer tagged may be the worse ever.

Hunters say this year’s deer season — marred by freakishly warm weather and fewer hunters — was one of the worst on record in Sullivan.

This is the third lousy season in a row, in a county where many businesses depend on hunting to make it through the winter doldrums.

This year the Department of Environmental Conservation had made some changes in the rules that they hoped would boost the deer herd. They issued fewer antlerless deer permits and required hunters to shoot only bucks that had at least 3 points on one side of their rack. These changes combined with two previous years of mild winters, one would have expected to see the opposite results.

But I’m not sure the reason for fewer deer being taken is the result of not so many deer.

Last year, hunters shot 3,082 deer in Sullivan, the lowest take in decades. A low take has a silver lining — there will be more deer in the woods next year. But what’s most troubling about the season, according to sportsmen and the hunting-related businesses, is that fewer hunters showed up. And those who did come up didn’t stay as long, said Richard Post, owner of the Fur, Fin and Feather shop in Livingston Manor.

The DEC’s decision in 2005 to move opening day from a Monday to a Saturday was supposed to bring back young hunters. It hasn’t worked.

There isn’t a good crop of upcoming hunters, said Lt. Deming Lindsley, a member of the DEC’s law enforcement division who works closely with hunters in Sullivan. “The kids are choosing other things.”

It sounds like the Sullivan County hunting clubs need to get together with the DEC and come up with some better ways of attracting new hunters.

Tom Remington

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