The DEC is touting statistics that show a huge increase in youth hunters.

The statistics for the 2021-2022 deer hunting season are in and it shows that 17 percent fewer deer were harvested compared to last year. The number of children that hunted those deer, however, has skyrocketed.

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, there has been a "36-percent jump in youth deer harvests." The huge increase is being credited to various programs and changes in regulations that have made it more appealing for children to hunt in New York.

In Orange County, District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced the county's very first youth big game contest in September. Properly licensed hunters between the ages of 12 and 17 were encouraged to send selfies with the deer they shot to enter for a $50 gift certificate. Children or grandchildren of Orange County residents were eligible for the contest held by Hoovler's office.

Someone Holding a Compound Hunting Bow
Stefan Malloch

Over the past year, statewide regulations were also loosened for children wishing to hunt. In April of 2021, former governor Cuomo signed legislation allowing 12 and 13-year-olds to hunt deer with a firearm or crossbow.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos says that there are many reasons New York children have embraced deer hunting.

Our pilot program for youth hunters, early antlerless season, new Holiday Hunt, and longer daily hunting hours all enhanced opportunities for New York's hunters to safely and successfully advance the State's conservation management efforts and we look forward to continuing these important efforts to grow the next generation of ethical hunters.

Aside from children, another segment of hunters has ballooned to a new record this year. The number of out-of-state hunters who have traveled to New York to take down deer is the highest it's ever been. The DEC says that 8.4 percent of deer hunters were non-residents, the highest percentage ever recorded.

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