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Summary Presented on Deer in Angle Fly Preserve

SOMERS, N.Y. -- At a recent meeting of the Somers Land Trust , Bob Mendoza, a volunteer in charge of the deer program at Angle Fly, presented a summary of the current herd situation.

In 2011, for the second year, the preserve was opened to hunters for the season, running from Oct. 15 to Dec. 29. Only bow hunting was permitted. During the prior testing period 178 hunters qualified, 85 of those went on to participate in the orientation and regulations session.

“In the end, there was a core group of 29 hunters, who put in a total of 918 hours,” said Mendoza.

The hunters used portable climbers, ascending a tree to about 15 or 20 feet above ground.

“The requirement is at least 12 feet,” Mendoza said. “The full moon didn’t help us this year. Also, the wind came from the southwest, so the deer could smell us before we could see them coming. On the other hand, there were more people on the trails this year, so it pushed the deer around, making our chances better.”

Mendoza said the deer raided adjoining properties in 2011 because Hurricane Irene forced an early fall of acorns, a popular food source for deer. Since all the acorns were consumed before winter set in, the deer searched for nourishment at the periphery of the preserve.

By the end of the hunting season, Mendoza said, “we harvested 21 deer. Thirteen doe, three female fawns, one button buck and four mature buck.” A button buck is a “male fawn just beginning to grow antlers.” All of the fawns had outgrown the white spot stage.

According to Mendoza the biggest deer was a nine-pointer. He had five points on the left and four on the right. But the most unusual was a six-pointer. Measured together, his antlers were 125 inches.

In addition to the deer, the hunters caught sight of one bobcat, numerous coyotes, a variety of birds and red-tail hawks, ducks, raccoons, possums and red foxes.

Mendoza wants to make it clear that the harvest of deer is necessary to the regeneration of the forest. The goal is to bring back bio-diversity. Much of the venison is donated to the local food pantries.

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