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Hooks and Antlers: Adirondack bear-harvest total from 2013 down 37 percent

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The Department of Environmental Conservation released its bear-harvest figures for the 2013 season this past week, and the statewide take of 1,358 bears was a 21-bear increase over the 2012 harvest.

Despite the slight upswing in the statewide total, Adirondack hunters took 37 percent fewer bears in 2013 than in 2012.

This year’s Adirondack kill was 380 bears or 226 fewer bears than the previous year’s take of 606 bears.

Adirondack Take

Adirondack hunters took 84 bears or 22 percent of the harvest during the early bear season, 15 bears or 4 percent of the harvest during archery season, 35 bears or 9 percent of the harvest during muzzleloader season, and 246 bears or 65 percent of the harvest during the regular season.

The 84-bear take in early season was a major decrease from the 2012 early season kill of 386 bears while the regular season take of 246 bears was a significant increase from the 2012 regular season harvest of 132 bears.

A likely explanation for the early season decline is the vast amount of soft mast available last fall while the regular season surge can be attributed to the mild weather during that season.

Adirondack County, Town TAKE

Of the 12-county Adirondack region, St. Lawrence led the way with a take of 77 bears while Hamilton County had 60 kills, and Lewis County saw a harvest of 49 bears.

The respective takes of the other counties were Herkimer (31), Warren (30), Franklin (28), Clinton (28), Essex (22), Jefferson (21), Saratoga (14), Oneida (10) and Fulton (10).

Forty-one percent of the bears taken in 2013 were females while 59 percent were males. The age figures for 2013 have yet to be calculated, but in 2012, the harvested male bears averaged more than four years of age, and the females averaged more than six years.

In St. Lawrence County, the towns of Colton and Fine saw 11 bears taken while 10 were shot in Hopkinton, nine in Clare and eight in Fowler.

In Lewis County, the towns of Diana and Greig each produced 11 bears. The other top-producing townships were Lyonsdale (nine), Watson (eight) and Croghan (five).

The towns that yielded bear kills in Jefferson County were Wilna (nine), Antwerp (five), LeRay (four) and Philadelphia (three).

The top-three townships in Franklin County were Santa Clara (five), Brandon (five) and Waverly (four).

Statewide Bear Take

The 2013 statewide bear take of 1,358 marked the third highest harvest in the past 20 years,

The Central-Western bear hunting area saw a harvest of 342 black bears, the second highest in that area’s history, while the Southeastern bear hunting area had a 2013 record kill of 636.

In contrast to the Adirondack bear hunting area with 15 bow kills, archery hunters accounted for a significant number of kills in the Central-Western and Southeastern areas where bow hunters harvested 116 and 201 bears, respectively. Like the Adirondack area, though, the rest of the state saw the majority of harvests take place during the regular season.

Youth Turkey Weekend

The Youth Wild Turkey Hunt is scheduled for April 26-27. Junior hunters (ages 12-15) must be accompanied by an adult hunter, and both the junior hunter and adult hunter are required to have a small game license and a turkey permit.

Adults are not allowed to possess a firearm, bow or to harvest a turkey while accompanying the junior hunter.

The limit for the youth hunt is one bearded turkey; otherwise, that spring turkey hunting rules apply.

Kids Fishing

Spring is a great time to take youths fishing because of the abundant shore-fishing opportunities throughout the area.

This is a time of year when bullheads, yellow perch and other pan-fish migrate to shorelines for feeding and spawning purposes.

Outdoors Calendar

Today: Syracuse Gun Show at NYS Fairgrounds.

Saturday: SLC Trapper Association’s Annual Dinner (212-0283).

April 26: Seaway Valley QDMA Benoit Brothers Seminar at Gouverneur High School (287-4968).

April 26-27: Youth Wild Turkey Hunt Weekend.

May 1: Spring Turkey Season opens in New York State.

May 3: Seasons open for northern pike and walleyes.

May 3: SLRWA Opening Day Walleye Derby (www.stlawrenceriverwalleyeassociation.com).

May 3: SLVSC hosts annual Walleye Derby (393-7506).

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