The DEC has frustrated a number of hunters recently with its new map for
whitetail hunting. Some are quite angry about
The map shows the implementation of new
antlerless-only periods within the early bow season (first two weeks)
and all of late bow/muzzleloader season in several Wildlife Management
Units (WMUs). The WMUs impacted by these new rules are 1C, 3M, 3S, 4J,
8A, 8C, 8F, 8G, 8H, 8N, 9A, and 9F.
These changes can appear to make little sense because our own observations as hunters do not always line up with the facts of population data, the demand of Deer Management Permits (DMPs), and harvest data in the various periods of the overall hunting season.
The DEC is trying to respond to the varied management needs throughout
the state, including areas where the overpopulation of whitetail has
become a serious problem. Normally, the DEC uses DMPs to control deer
population levels. However, in these areas, the number of available
permits have exceeded hunter demand and management objectives have not
This overpopulation is negatively impacting forest regeneration, creating excessive agricultural damage, causing increased deer-vehicle collisions, and increasing damage to landscape plantings. The DEC is also concerned about the tick-borne diseases in these areas, because overpopulation has been linked to increases in ticks and associated tick-borne diseases.
At the same time, hunters in WMU 6A cannot harvest any antlerless deer during the early muzzleloader season because of a deer population below desired levels. In recent years, about half off the antlerless harvest has occurred during this period.
The rules The DEC's new hunting Maps can be viewed here.