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NY State is blessed with a healthy and productive deer herd. White-tailed deer are revered by sportsmen and non-hunters for a variety of reasons. Through the 1900’s, NY’s deer herd rebounded from perhaps 20,000 to over 1,000,000. This remarkable recovery is due to wise management and improved habitat conditions. The total statewide deer harvest has more than doubled over the past 20 years. Unfortunately, in some parts of the state, the deer population has created health and economic concerns. Visit the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) website for more information:

DEC Bureau of Wildlife is responsible for maintaining deer population levels compatible with the carrying capacity of the habitat and human interests. Historically, management has been primarily focused on optimizing the reproductive capacity of the state’s deer herd through hunting regulations that restrict the harvest of does, while permitting more liberal harvest of bucks. Consequently, the sex ratio is skewed in favor of does and relatively few bucks live past 1.5 years of age.

Prime deer habitat in the Southern Tier, consisting of agriculture and forest/brush cover, supports population densities greater than 40 deer per square mile in some locations. Hunting, as under current regulations, may soon no longer be adequate to control deer populations as hunter numbers decrease and more land becomes inaccessible to hunting. In other northeastern states with similar histories, the explosive growth of the deer herd has resulted in unstable deer herds and significant damage to habitat and forest health.

Arnot Forest: The Arnot Forest (4,200 acres) is owned by Cornell University and managed by Cornell’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR). As part of NY’s Land Grant Educational Institution, DNR is responsible for fulfilling the mission of conducting research, teaching, and delivering extension programs on issues of importance to the citizens of NYS. Forest management is a significant issue as nearly two-thirds of NY’s land is covered by forests. The DNR uses the Arnot Forest as a research base and demonstration forest from which to develop innovative programs for the citizens of the state. One of the primary management goals at the Arnot is the production and harvest of high-quality, high-value sawtimber. Unfortunately, similar to the situation across much of NY’s Southern Tier, the deer population at the Arnot has been too high to allow sufficient natural regeneration despite proper sawtimber management. In an effort to resolve this problem and gain valuable experience that may be applied elsewhere in the state, we have initiated studies designed to assess the impact deer are having on tree regeneration at the Forest. A critical component of this research has been implementation of a deer hunting system that will reduce the overall deer population. As in most areas of the state, sport hunting is still the most effective manner by which to control deer populations. Sport hunting has been, and continues to be, totally compatible with the philosophy of multiple-use management at the Forest.

The Arnot Forest is mostly woodlands off Schuyler County Route 13 in the Towns of Van Etten (Schuyler County) and Newfield (Tompkins County).

Arnot Forest map information (here).

To hunt the Arnot, you must have a permit issued by Cornell University, Rules & Regulations and link to Permit Application is here.

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