DEC Announces Bowhunting Seasons for Deer and Bear

DEC Announces Bowhunting Seasons for Deer and Bear

Youth Big Game Hunt on Columbus Day Weekend

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today that bowhunting seasons for deer and bear will begin in the Northern Zone on Sept. 27 and in the Southern Zone on Oct. 1.

“New York provides great opportunity for the state’s more than 160,000 licensed bowhunters to venture outside during early bow seasons, which offer mild weather and longer days in the woods,” Commissioner Seggos said. “It’s also the perfect time to introduce new hunters to deer and bear hunting. With abundant apples and good crops of acorns and beechnuts across the state this year, hunters will do well to key in on concentrated food sources for early season success with deer and black bear.”

Deer Management Permit Deadline is Oct. 1

The deadline to apply for deer management permits (DMPs; antlerless tags) is fast approaching, and hunters must apply for DMPs by Oct. 1. Hunters should know the Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) they intend to hunt and review their chances of selection before applying. The application fee for DMPs is $10. The fee is waived for junior hunters and Lifetime License holders who purchased a Lifetime (Sportsman) License before Oct. 1, 2009. Hunters who have purchased a hunting license are eligible to apply for up to two DMPs that may be used to harvest antlerless deer from a specified WMU. Antlerless deer harvest is crucial in helping to balance the deer herd with available habitat.

Hunters who still need to pick up their license and permits for the 2019-20 seasons can do so at any one of DEC’s 1,300 license issuing outlets, by phone at 866-933-2257, or online through the DECALS website.

Youth Big Game Hunt

New York’s annual Youth Big Game Hunt is scheduled for Columbus Day weekend, Oct. 12-14. During this special opportunity, licensed 14- and 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 (either sex) and one bear. During the youth hunt, antlerless deer taken with a firearm may be tagged with a regular season tag, DMP, or Deer Management Assistance Program tags. 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.

This Youth Big Game Hunt takes place throughout the state, except in Suffolk County and in bowhunting-only areas. Additional rules that apply to junior hunters and their adult mentors can be found on pages 36 and 37 of the Hunting & Trapping Guide or through the Junior Hunter Mentoring Program.

Take it, Tag it, Report it!

DEC reminds New York 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 app, hunters, anglers, and trappers can access an electronic version of their licenses and privileges, and report the harvest of deer, bear, and turkey quickly while afield on their mobile device. Hunters may still use the phone report system, but online and mobile systems are faster, more convenient, and easier for hunters to accurately enter information.

Venison Donation Program

Big game hunters are reminded that they can help feed the hungry by making a monetary contribution to the Venison Donation Program at any license-issuing outlet. License buyers should inform the sales agent if they are interested in donating $1 or more to support the program. Since 1999, these funds have been used by the Venison Donation Coalition to process more than 330 tons of highly nutritious venison, the equivalent of 2.8 million meals served. Learn more about the Venison Donation Coalition program.

Protect our Deer from Chronic Wasting Disease

Hunters should take the threat of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) seriously. CWD is always fatal to deer. If introduced, CWD could spread rapidly and would be practically impossible to eliminate once established, threatening the future of New York’s deer population, hunting tradition, and many of the other benefits associated with deer. The most effective disease management strategy is to prevent CWD from entering New York. Hunters can help protect New York’s deer herd from CWD by following these tips:

  • If hunting any type of deer, elk, moose, or caribou outside of New York, debone the animal before bringing it back and follow the law about importing carcass parts from outside of New York. See CWD Regulations for Hunters. DEC will confiscate and destroy illegally imported carcasses and parts;
  • Avoid natural deer urine products. Prions are shed in the bodily fluids (saliva, feces, urine) of infected deer before they appear sick. Prions bind to soil and plants where they remain infectious for years. There is no way to ensure that urine products are free of prions. Choose synthetic alternatives;
  • Dispose of carcass waste in a landfill, not on the landscape;
  • Hunt only wild deer and support fair chase hunting principles; and
  • Report deer that appear sick or act abnormally by contacting the nearest Regional DEC Wildlife Office.

Author: Harlem Valley News