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Sullivan leads state in bear harvest

Record harvest in Southern Zone

Posted 2/14/20

SULLIVAN COUNTY - Hunters in Sullivan County took 207 bears in 2019, lead- ing the entire state in number of harvests by county. New York State bear hunters took 1,505 black bears in total dur- ing …

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Sullivan leads state in bear harvest

Record harvest in Southern Zone

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SULLIVAN COUNTY - Hunters in Sullivan County took 207 bears in 2019, lead- ing the entire state in number of harvests by county. New York State bear hunters took 1,505 black bears in total dur- ing the 2019 hunting seasons, ranking it as the fourth best year ever behind 2015 (1,715), 2014 (1,628) and 2016 (1,539).

“Black bears are thriving in New York, and bear hunting seasons are a critical part of our state's necessary popula- tion management,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “The state's accessible public lands offer great op- portunities for bear hunting and the data DEC's wildlife managers collect from the harvest continue to help us maintain healthy bear popu- lations."

The 2019 bear harvest played out differently across the state. Hunters took a record 1,179 bears in the

Southern Zone - where Sulli- van County is located - while hunters in the Northern Zone took only 326 bears, the fewest since 2011.

In part, the great success hunters enjoyed in the South- ern Zone was a consequence of below average harvest in 2018 due to early snowfall and early denning by bears that year. Hunters were able to capitalize on the availabil- ity of more bears in 2019.

Bear harvest in the North- ern Zone tends to alternate between strong harvests dur- ing the early season if natural foods are lacking and strong harvests during the regular season if natural foods are abundant.

In 2019, soft mast (cherries, berries, and apples) and hard mast (acorns and beech nuts) crops were abundant and hunters were most successful during the regular season, taking 213 bears. Only 64 bears were taken during the early season. Additionally, the overall bear harvest in the Northern Zone generally fol- lows a high-low pattern from year to year, and the 2019 har- vest fit that pattern as a low year.

Notable Numbers

• 9: the number of bears harvested per 10 square miles in Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) 3K, which includes southern Sullivan County and a portion of Orange County. WMU 3K had the greatest

bear harvest density of any unit, but the town of Tusten in Sullivan County yielded 4.0 bears for every 10 square miles.

157: the greatest number of bears reported taken on any one day. It happened on No- vember 16 - the opening day of the regular firearms sea- son in the Southern Zone.

643 pounds:the heaviest dressed-weight bear re- ported to DEC in 2019, taken in the town of Thompson, Sullivan County. Scaled weights of dressed bears were submitted for 30 per- cent of bears taken in 2019.

17: the number of tagged bears reported in the 2019 harvest. These included six bears originally tagged in Pennsylvania, one from Mas-

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sachusetts, and one from New Jersey. The remainder were originally tagged in New York for a variety of reasons, including research, nuisance response, relocated urban bears, or released rehabili- tated bears.

855: the number of hunter- killed bears from which DEC collected teeth for age analy- sis in 2019. Hunters who re- ported their harvest and submitted a tooth for age analysis will receive a 2019 Black Bear Management Co- operator Patch. Results of the age analysis is expected to be available by September 2020.

13 percent: the proportion of bears taken by non-resi- dent hunters. Successful non-resident bear hunters hailed from 19 states.

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