Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Carter Strickland today announced that an additional 1,037 acres of land around Ashokan Reservoir will be open for deer hunting this season as part of the Ashokan Deer Management Program. By giving local hunters access to two new parcels of land for the first time, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is seeking to control the size of the deer population around the reservoir. Deer in large numbers can stunt the regeneration of forest lands that serve as an important natural filter for water before it enters the reservoirs. DEP will issue Deer Management Assistance Permits again this year for use within the two new units, as well as the five existing units, that comprise a total of 3,453 acres around Ashokan Reservoir.

DEP will sponsor an informational session on Oct. 23 that will include a presentation by Dick Henry, branch biologist at the Hudson Valley Quality Deer Management Association, who will discuss the breeding biology of white-tailed deer, as well as a brief presentation by DEP staff on the deer management program. The event will be held at 7 p.m. at the Woodstock Fire Department located on Zena Road.

The deer management program includes two new recreation units that will be open to Deer Management Assistance Permits holders only. The new areas include:

Glenford Unit – Comprises 579 acres on the north side of Ashokan Reservoir’s east basin. This area will be accessible along Route 28 through gates E6a, E7, E8a, E8b, E9, and E10. The Glenford Unit will allow bow hunting only.

Mile Shore Unit – Comprises 458 acres on the south side of Ashokan Reservoir’s east basin. This unit will be accessible along Route 28A through gates E23c, E23b, E23, E22a, and E22. This area will be open to hunting by bow and gun.

As the focus of the program is to control the deer population, only antlerless deer can be taken from the newly accessible units. Hunters who have their regular New York State big-game hunting license are still allowed to take a buck from the other five units around Ashokan Reservoir. The Deer Management Assistance Permits will be issued free of charge by DEP. Those who receive a permit will also be issued a special parking tag for their cars and signs will be posted to clearly delineate the new hunting units. All New York State hunting regulations apply.

Local hunters who received a Deer Management Assistance Permit last year and completed the year-end survey will have the first chance to receive a permit for 2013, regardless of whether they harvested a deer. These hunters will be contacted by DEP. Bow hunting in the new units will begin on Nov. 1. The State’s regular hunting season for guns begins Nov. 16.

Detailed maps of the new hunting units will be available at the information session and on the DEP website at www.nyc.gov/dep. After the information session, DEP will be taking names of those interested in participating in the hunting program. All local hunters interested in obtaining a Deer Management Assistance Permit are encouraged to call DEP at (845) 340-7811.

The deer management program is an important tool to help control the increasing deer population around Ashokan Reservoir. Deer in large numbers stifle forest regeneration by eating saplings from the forest floor before they have a chance to grow and become mature trees. Healthy forests are important to the quality of drinking water in the reservoirs as they act as a natural filter that helps remove nitrogen, phosphorus, and other nutrients from the water that can affect taste and smell. Their leaves and branches also slow rain as it falls, and their roots grip the soil to help prevent erosion.

Logo courtesy New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

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