NY bill would allow transfer of deer tags to successful

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Bill would allow transfers of deer hunt permits

Legislative sponsors hope to increase the number of deer taken each season to better control population

By MICHAEL VIRTANEN, Associated Press

Monday, April 29, 2002

ALBANY -- More deer hunting permits would wind up in the hands of more effective hunters under bills just introduced in the New York state Legislature.

The measures, proposed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, would permit the transfer of deer permits to hunters who have already bagged their limits for the season.

"With the deer population increasing at the same time the hunting population is decreasing, there is no doubt that if we do nothing the deer population is going to grow out of control,'' said Assemblyman Richard Smith, a sponsor.

The Erie County Democrat sits on the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee, where the bill was referred. Panel chairman Thomas DiNapoli from Nassau County is another sponsor.

A fisherman and hunter, Smith shot the doe allowed by his permit last year. "It's basically to have the permits used, rather than not used,'' he said. "We'd be able to better manage the population.''

In recent years, only about one-third of hunters with permits brought deer back from the forests and fields, the DEC said.

A hunter with a seasonal big game license for New York can kill one antlered deer, meaning those with antlers longer than 3 inches. The hunter also can get one Deer Management Permit to kill one antlerless deer -- often a doe -- in a specified region.

There were 280,760 deer killed in last fall's hunting season, including 100,000 adult does, the DEC reported, down from 295,859 the previous year. The agency issued more than 650,000 big game licenses, plus 564,000 deer permits.

The DEC uses the program to manage the statewide deer population, estimated in the neighborhood of 1 million.

"My interest in it is from the standpoint of agriculture,'' said William Magee, another sponsor. The Madison County Democrat, who chairs the Assembly Agriculture Committee, cited a Farm Bureau estimate that deer overpopulation costs farmers $70 million annually in crop damage.

Damage from vehicle collisions with deer is also an increasingly expensive problem in many areas.

A companion bill has been introduced in the Senate by Carl Marcellino, a Long Island Republican who chairs his chamber's Environmental Conservation Committee.
 

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