Maybe we should forget Punxsutawney Phil and use New York's Black Bears to forecast winter weather. The DEC blames early snowfall for the poor success many bear hunters experienced in 2018.

After crunching the numbers, the Southern Zone saw a 40% decline in harvested bears, the Northern Zone dropped by 45%. DEC officials say poor food sources and deep snow in November sent many bears to their dens before firearms season began. The poor food sources may also indicate the many reports of bears seen around homes.

DEC.gov

Some interesting findings from the 2018 hunting analysis:

  • 6 tagged bears weres reported among the season's harvest.  1 was originally tagged in Pennsylvania and two were from New Jersey.
  • The most bears were taken in Wildlife Management Unit 3c, encompassing Ulster and portions of Sullivan and Greene Counties.
  • Most bears taken in 1 day was 80 on November 17, the opening day of firearms season.

Get more statistics on the 2018 bear harvest at the DEC's website.