The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has unveiled new regulations concerning deer and bear hunting.
These regulations increase opportunities for hunters 14 and 15 years old to kill black bears, reduce antler-less kills in the western Adirondacks, clarify when special season tags may be used by bow and muzzleloader hunters, and more.
The new bear hunting regulation now includes the taking of bears in the youth firearms hunt over Columbus Day weekend that was previously a deer-only event.
According to DEC, deer populations in Wildlife Management Units 6F and 6J, in the Western Adirondacks, have been declining, so killing antlerless deer is now prohibited during the early muzzleloader season there. “Winter weather conditions are a primary driver of deer abundance in the northern part of the state, and the winters of 2013 and 2014 were especially harsh,” a DEC announcement to the press said. “Coupled with mild conditions this past winter, reducing the harvest of antlerless deer should prevent further population decline and stimulate growth.” DEC expects the change to be temporary.
The final regulatory change is a technical correction to clarify that hunters who purchase both the bow and muzzleloader license privileges may use the Bow/Muzzleloader either-sex and Bow/Muzzleloader antlerless-only deer tags in either season or both in one of the seasons with the appropriate implement. This has always been DEC’s intent, but ambiguity in the previous wording of the regulation could have led to confusion. Hunters who purchase just one of the special season privileges are still only allowed to use the Bow/Muzzleloader tag during that particular special season.
The 2016-17 New York State budget provides $3 million for State land access projects and $4 million for hunting and fishing projects. The 2015-16 budget also created a new capital account, which, along with federal Pittman-Robertson funds provided $6 million for access and $8 million for fish hatcheries.