NY bear hunt approaches record year as black bear populations ‘prosper’


New York hunters had one of their most successful bear seasons ever in 2020, with harvest totals across the state outpacing five-year averages.

The harvest totaled 1,723 bears across the state in 2020, according to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation. A year earlier, hunters got 1,505 bears. And the average of the five previous years was 1,495.

It was the highest total number of bears taken in New York since 2003, according to DEC records.

New York hunters had one of their most successful bear seasons ever in 2020, with harvest totals across the state outpacing five-year averages.

New York hunters had one of their most successful bear seasons ever in 2020, with harvest totals across the state outpacing five-year averages.
(iStock)

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“Black bears continue to prosper in New York’s excellent bear habitat,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a written statement.

The 571 bears taken in the northern zone was the highest number since 2015, according to the DEC. In the southern zone, the 1,152 bears taken was comparable to, but just short of, 2019’s record season of 1,179 in the zone.

The harvest totaled 1,723 bears across the state in 2020, according to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation.

The harvest totaled 1,723 bears across the state in 2020, according to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation.
(iStock)

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The areas with the most bears taken per square mile were primarily in a portion of southeast New York where DEC officials have aimed for a bear population reduction. In one wildlife management unit in parts of Sullivan and Orange counties, hunters harvested three bears per 10 square miles.

“Bear hunting seasons allow DEC wildlife managers to collect valuable information that our scientists use to help maintain healthy bear populations,” Seggos said. “And successful bear hunters help maintain populations at sustainable levels and are rewarded with outstanding food for their families and friends.”

It was the highest total number of bears taken in New York since 2003, according to DEC records.

It was the highest total number of bears taken in New York since 2003, according to DEC records.
(iStock)

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Sept. 12, the opening day of the early bear season in the southern zone, was the busiest day of the hunting season, when hunters bagged 116 bears.

The heaviest dressed-weight bear was reported to the DEC in 2020 and weighed 550 lbs. It was taken in the town of Greenville in Orange County.



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