Commissioner Christopher O. Ward, announced that the City’s first bow hunting program in 30 years on selected watershed lands this fall was a great success and that bow hunters responded enthusiastically to opportunities to pursue the sport. Bow hunting season this year ran from October 15 to November 17 and from December 11 to December 15, coinciding with the State bow seasons for deer in the Southern region.
Commissioner Ward said, “This year’s opening of selected locations to bow hunting for deer for the first time in 30 years on New York City Water Supply lands was initially planned as an exploratory effort and somewhat limited in scope. However, its obvious success is an incentive for DEP to consider further expansion of bow hunting to other City-owned watershed lands in future seasons.
This year, 200 bow hunters with proper New York State and DEP permits had access to three of the City’s 41 deer hunting areas. The three selected areas were the Horse Pound Brook Unit in the Town of Kent (Putnam County), Flynn Brook in the towns of Andes and Colchester (Delaware County) and Murphy Hill, also in the towns of Andes and Colchester. Two hundred bow hunters were selected in a random drawing from over 1000 bow hunting applications. The large number of bow applications received – nearly one-third of all applications submitted to DEP – is an indication of the popularity of bow hunting.
“We’re very pleased to see the City allowing some bow hunting”, said John LaPadura, of the Westchester County Bow Hunters Association. “We’ve talked to the City for years about it and hope that this will lead to further expansion of hunting opportunities on City land.” LaPadura pointed out that some City-owned hunting areas were hunted by local community members for generations prior to the City’s stewardship. “We see the opening of bow hunting as an indication that the City is taking its commitments to local communities seriously,” he said.
In considering the opening of more areas to bow hunting, DEP will conduct detailed reviews of properties that include consultation with local municipalities, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the regional Sporting Advisory Committees.
The City allows deer hunting under the DEP Public Access Permit system in part to fulfill its commitments to watershed communities in the 1997 Memorandum of Agreement. Hunting is also a significant land management tool, helping to curtail the negative water quality impacts of overbrowsing by deer. Overbrowsing by deer limits regeneration of trees in watershed forests, which in turn results in poor forest health, reduced water filtration capacity, and increased potential for erosion of soils.
Further information on hunting, public access and recreation on City-owned watershed lands is available at the DEP watershed recreation website (nyc.gov/watershedrecreation) or by calling 1-800-575-LAND.