Recall the winter of 2014-15, where New York saw a long and brutally cold winter. In areas where there was heavy snowfall or where quality browse was already in short supply, it was particularly hard on the whitetail population. The DEC responded by reducing the number of antlerless permits available for the 2015 hunting season in most Wildlife Management Units (WMUs).
What followed was a weirdly mild fall and winter. As a result, hunting was difficult and the overall harvest this past season was lower than expected.
In fact, that one-two weather punch helped to produce a 2015-16 harvest reduction of approximately 15% over the previous year. Of the estimated 202,973 deer taken, an estimated 103,401 were antlerless and 99,572 were antlered bucks.
For those interested in the age of those harvested bucks, you'll be
glad to know that the trend of voluntarily passing on young deer
continues. In 2015, over half of all harvested antlered bucks were aged
2.5 years and older.
Throughout the state, populations are either unchanged or increased from prior years. In Central New York, the Finger Lakes, and portions of western New York, populations deer remain above desired levels.