NEW YORK (WWTI) — The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has received national recognition for its leadership in deer management.

On Thursday, DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos announced that the Department was recognized as “Agency of the Year” by the National Deer Association.

According to Commissioner Seggos, New York received this national award due to the state’s leadership in white-tailed deer management through its Deer Management Plan, which was released in June 2021.

“A quick comparison to other states shows just how successful and diverse New York’s deer management program is,” NDA’s Chief Conservation Officer Kip Adams said in a press release. “The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has gone the extra mile in the past year to address limitations regarding hunter opportunity, suburban hunting, deer overabundance, and their integration of setting deer population objectives using social and biological science ranks among the highest in the country.”

The NDA specifically grants this award based on innovative and progressive deer management, initiating positive change through science, regulation and hunter involvement.

Highlights of the DEC’s Deer Management Plan include integrating data of deer impacts on forests, combatting the introduction or spread of Chronic Wasting Disease and recommending hunter-related changes to increase antlerless harvest when needed.

DEC Commissioner Seggos commented on the recognition from the NDA.

“Driven by science with public input, DEC has developed a Deer Management Program that benefits deer, deer habitat, and New Yorkers,” Commissioner Seggos said in a press release. “We are constantly exploring new ways to address overabundant deer populations while increasing hunting opportunities. It is an honor to be recognized by the National Deer Association for these ongoing efforts.”

The Department’s Dr. Krysten Schuler was also recognized individually by the National Deer Association as the Professional Deer Manager of the Year for her leadership in managing the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease.

“DEC is fortunate to have Dr. Schuler in New York, and we join the NDA in recognizing her contributions to deer management and wildlife health in New York and nationally,” Commissioner Seggos added. “As this year’s awards demonstrate, New Yorkers are leading the way to ensuring a healthy deer population now and into the future.”

The DEC’s deer program has also recently worked with researchers to develop protocols for landowners to monitor deer vegetation impacts. The DEC also recently reduced the minimum age for deer hunting with a firearm from 14 to 12.