(CN) – New York bear hunters had their second biggest year ever in 2015, killing 1,715 black bears during the state hunting season.
“Our bear population is flourishing in New York State, providing increased opportunities for hunters and wildlife watchers alike to enjoy these important species,” the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos said.
The only year in which more bears were killed was 2003, when 1,863 bears were taken.
Seggos also said 2015 was the first year since the 1950s when no one died in a hunting accident in New York.
Bear hunts are permitted place in every county in New York except Nassau County on Long Island, a small portion of Erie County near Buffalo and in New York City’s five boroughs. Some counties, such as Westchester, Suffolk and parts of Albany, allow only bow hunting.
Sullivan, Ulster and Orange counties, just north and west of New York City, provided the most bears. The state hunt has two zones, Northern and Southern; 1,132 of the bears were taken in the Southern Zone.
The 583 bears taken in the Northern Zone was 27 percent above the recent five-year average. The hunt generally runs from September through December.
The biggest bear, taken in the Sullivan County town of Forestburg, clocked in at 520 pounds.
The 2015 bear hunt was one of the safest ever conducted, with just 23 injuries, the third-lowest on record.
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