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February 22, 2001

Contact: Geoff Ryan (718/595-6600)

Added Acres Contribute to Successful Deer Hunting Seasson on DEP Water Supply Lands in 2000

Commissioner Joel A. Miele Sr., P.E., of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) reported today that the deer hunting season on City-owned watershed lands was a great success in 2000. Based on a post-season survey, 1,500 hunters spent approximately 35,000 total hours hunting deer on City-owned lands.

"The City opened 25 areas to permitted hunters for deer hunting in 2000," said Commissioner Miele. "The total of 18,351 acres of watershed lands included 3,700 acres that were newly available for hunting in 2000, a 329% increase over what we could open in 1999."

In 2000, DEP issued 2,204 free hunting permits - a 134% increase over 1999. The communities with the most permitted hunters were Carmel, Walton, Kingston, the Bronx, Mahopac, and Napanoch, followed by Andes, Deposit, Downsville, Liberty, and Grahamsville. Renewals accounted for 20% of hunters, but only 47% of 1999 hunters chose to apply for permits in 2000.

"We were pleased to receive many letters from deer hunters expressing their pleasure at being able to hunt the City lands and complimenting DEP staff on management of the program. We were surprised, however, that about 30% of hunters with this year's permits did not use them," said Commissioner Miele. "Many of the surveyed hunters indicated that they hunted on other lands, including the thousands of acres of private land and 203,000 acres of publicly accessible State-owned lands in the watershed."

Compliance with State hunting regulations and City permit conditions was generally excellent. DEP Police, Inspectors, and Stewardship staff monitored all City-owned hunting areas on a regular basis. Patrols located and removed illegal tree stands, issued warnings and made several arrests for trespass, investigated dumping of garbage from a hunting camp, and located and returned a lost hunter to his residence. One tragic hunting accident did occur on City-owned land, and involved two hunters without the permits or hunter orange clothing required by DEP's permit conditions.

"The relatively few violations of City permit conditions confirms our belief that most hunters are respectful of DEP's concerns as a landowner and are appreciative of the recreational opportunities we have made available," said Commissioner Miele.

The results of the post-season hunter survey indicated that roughly 195 deer were taken on City-owned lands open for hunting. This consisted of 106 bucks averaging 122 lbs. and 89 does averaging 112 lbs. Nine bucks and five does were 150 lbs. or greater. Twelve percent of the take were 6-pointers or better and there were three 12-pointers. There were an average of 0.21 shots taken per hunter, and of those who hunted, only 16% took shots.

"The primary purpose of opening our lands for hunting is to expand recreational opportunities in the watershed, as the City committed to do when it signed the 1997 Watershed Memorandum of Agreement," said Commissioner Miele. "However, another purpose involves protection of the healthy forest and stable soils that are crucial to the maintenance of drinking water quality. DEP ecologists, foresters, and wildlife biologists continue to observe signs of excessive deer browsing pressure at the reservoirs and around the watershed. When deer overgraze young trees, shrubs and other forest understory plants, soils are more easily eroded and vegetation, which would filter out pollutants, is diminished. In addition, the ability of the forest to regenerate and continue as forested land is seriously damaged.

"The City will make additional parcels available for deer hunting, as well as for hiking and fishing, in 2001," said Commissioner Miele. "We also expect to continue working with the Sporting Advisory Committees and watershed Towns to expand the amount of available parking at some of these sites."

During 2000, a total of 4,289 acres of newly acquired land was open for hiking and fishing, which represents a tripling of the land opened in 1999. The number of sites available to the public for hiking increased from 8 to 17, while those available for hunting increased from 5 to 25 in 2000.


More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

59-17 Junction Boulevard
19th Floor
Flushing, NY 11373

(718) 595-6600