Northern Zone bowhunting season now open

ALBANY — New York state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos on Thursday announced that bowhunting seasons for deer and bear began in the Northern Zone on Wednesday, Sept. 27 and in the Southern Zone on Sunday, Oct. 1.

“New York state is home to great opportunities for bowhunters to venture afield in a variety of habitats,” said Seggos. “With mild weather and longer days, the early bow season is an ideal time to be in the woods and introduce new hunters to deer and bear hunting.”

Bowhunters may use a crossbow during the last 10 days of the Northern Zone bow season (Oct. 11-20); and the last 14 days of the Southern Zone bow season (Nov. 4-17). This season is open to bowhunters who possess a muzzleloader privilege and a crossbow qualifications certificate as required by law, see the Crossbow Hunting webpage on DEC’s website for details.

Additionally, early muzzleloader season for deer and bear in the Northern Zone begins Oct. 14, and continues through Oct. 20. The regular firearms season for deer and bear in the Northern Zone commences on Oct. 21.

Youth Big Game Hunt

New York’s annual Youth Big Game Hunt occurs on Columbus/Indigenous Peoples’ Day weekend, Oct. 7-9 for 12- to 15-year-old hunters.

This Youth Big Game Hunt takes place throughout the state, except in Suffolk and Westchester counties and bowhunting-only areas.

Following legislation passed in 2021, 12- and 13-year-old hunters may hunt deer with a firearm during the youth hunt and other firearms seasons in upstate counties that have passed a local law allowing their participation. Currently, the list of counties that have passed such a local law includes all counties north of Westchester, with the exception of Erie and Rockland counties.

During the Youth Big Game Hunt, licensed 12- to 15-year-olds may use a firearm to hunt big game while accompanied by an experienced, licensed adult hunter. All eligible junior hunters may take one deer of either sex and 14- and 15-year-olds may also take one bear. During the youth hunt, antlerless deer taken with a firearm may be tagged with a regular season tag, Deer Management Permit, or a Deer Management Assistance Program tag. Antlered deer may only be tagged with the regular season tag. Though junior hunters may have multiple deer tags, they may only take one deer with a firearm during the Youth Big Game Hunt.

Additional rules that apply to junior hunters and their adult mentors can be found on pages 36 and 37 of the Hunting and Trapping Guide or through the Junior Hunter Mentoring Program.

DMP application deadline Oct. 1

DEC is reminding hunters that the application deadline for Deer Management Permits, or DMP, is Oct. 1.

Hunters should be prepared with the Wildlife Management Unit they intend to hunt prior to applying. The DMP Availability and Probability of Selection webpage has more information regarding DMP availability and chances of being selected in each WMU.

Take it, tag it, report it!

DEC is also reminding hunters of the importance of reporting their harvest. Harvest reporting is critical to wildlife management, and hunters are required to report their harvest of deer, bear, and turkey within seven days of taking the animal.

The easiest way to report is via DEC’s HuntFishNY mobile app. Through this mobile app, hunters, anglers, and trappers can access an electronic version of their licenses and privileges, and report the harvest of deer, bear, and turkey immediately while afield on their mobile device.

Hunters may still use the phone report system.

Chronic Wasting Disease

Chronic Wasting Disease continues to spread in other states, and hunters have great responsibility to prevent CWD introduction to New York.

CWD is always fatal to deer. If introduced, CWD could spread rapidly and be practically impossible to eliminate once established. Hunters can help protect New York’s deer herd from CWD by following these tips:

¯ Hunters who hunt any type of deer, elk, moose, or caribou outside of New York, must debone their animal before bringing it back. DEC will confiscate and destroy illegally imported carcasses and parts;

¯ Avoid deer urine-based lures or attractant scents, as these could contain infectious material.

¯ Hunters who use lures, use synthetics;

¯ Dispose of carcass waste in a landfill, not just out on the landscape;

¯ Report any deer that appears sick or acting abnormally; and

¯ Hunt only wild deer and support fair chase hunting principles.


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