Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Early Black Bear Hunting Season Begins Locally Saturday

black-bear-season-map-2016The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced the start of early bear hunting seasons in New York State.

In southeastern New York, the early bear season runs from September 10 – 25. The early bowhunting season for bears will open in the entire Southern Zone on October 1, followed by the regular firearms season beginning November 19.

In northern New York, the early bear season runs from September 17 – October 14 in WMUs 5A, 5C, 5F, 5G, 5H, 5J, 6C, 6F, 6H, and 6J. Bowhunting season for bears also begins on September 17 in Northern Zone WMUs 6A, 6G, 6K and 6N. Muzzleloader season opens in all northern WMUs on October 15, followed by the regular firearms season for bears on October 22.

During the early season, eligible bear hunters may use a bow, crossbow, muzzleloader, handgun, shotgun, or rifle where allowed. Because of the likelihood of warm weather, bear hunters should be prepared to skin and cool harvested bears as soon as possible to protect the quality of the meat. Hunters may opt to skin and quarter the bear in the field, then pack out the meat in game bags to a waiting cooler of ice.

DEC regulates black bear hunting. Information about black bear hunting in New York, including season dates and regulations, is available here. Additionally, DEC’s booklet Hunting the Black Bear in New York, includes tips on bear hunting.

Map provided.

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29 Responses

  1. Charlie S says:

    Poor bears! It is beyond me how anybody can have the heart to kill one.Especially with an arrow which you’d have to be a pretty darned good shot to kill it quickly with no agony involved. All of the suffering at man’s hands. And what’s with the handgun as a means to kill a bear? Is this new?

    • Scott says:

      ….I have a bear or two that literally have destroyed my apple trees the past two years, ripping off branches up to 5″ wide to get the apples. It gets me thinking about taking up bear hunting.

    • Debra E says:

      I agree with you. While all hunting is cruel, bow hunting is extremely so. The animal bleeds to death while conscious and experiencing extreme pain and suffering.No normal person could knowingly want to inflict this pain on a living being.

  2. Justin Farrell says:

    Thanks for the reminder that it’s that time of year again to make sure you wear some bright orange when out in woods, and to do the same for your dog(s) and keep them close & under control at all times.

  3. Dan says:

    Although most hunters use a high-powered rifle during the rifle season, handguns have been viable big game firearms for as long as I can remember. I’ve yet to see hunting have an impact on the Adirondack bear population, or any game animal for that matter. Bears are pretty good at finding food no matter what while deer are more susceptible to a tough winter that is preceded by a fall with little food in the woods; a real possibility for the fall/winter seasons ahead.

    Bears seem to be pretty hard to come by, except for the one that walked through our campsite at Nicks Lake last week. Still, they quickly become scarce once hunting starts. Like deer, they pick up on the human pressure once they are aware they’re the prey.

    • Ethan says:

      Some folks are concerned about the impact on individual targeted animals and youngsters left behind. (Dogs can be used for “training” purposes on black bear.) It’s not just how hunting effects the “population”. There’s much more to it – if we have empathy.

  4. Todd says:

    To answer Charlie most bow hunters are darn good shots. We practice all year round and are quite capable of making a well-placed shot on a bear. I was fortunate enough to harvest one with my bow a few years back. It is unfortunate that many on this forum feel that hunting is cruel, etc. but this is how many of us feed our families. It is also a way to manage the population of the animals. It should also be mentioned that hunters are the only ones that I know of that are paying to be in the woods. We pay through our licenses, and through excise tax on hunting related equipment; Pittman Robertson Act. It is somewhat ironic that people on a forum about the ADK’s bash hunting, as this is as much of ADK heritage as anything else.

    • Ethan says:

      Please clarify that your “payment” to be in the woods is not a “donation” on your part. It is *mandated”. If you want to hunt, you must pay – or stay home.

    • Ryan Finnigan says:

      Hunters do not pay to BE in the woods. Hunters pay to HUNT in the woods and rightfully so.

      Also, many of us are all too aware that hunting has been prevalent in the ADKs for a long time as we no longer have viable populations of mountain lions, wolves, woodland caribou, passenger pigeons,, bison, etc. Hunters destroyed those populations in this state so your “heritage” is a shameful one.

      • John Warren says:

        Technically, hunters don’t pay to hunt in the woods either – they pay to kill our commonly held wildlife.

        • Scott says:

          Only in food stores can you pay for food like that. Technically hunters pay just to hunt, to pursue game, not just when they kill animals.

        • Paul says:

          Technically the pursuit of the wildlife is what you need a license for not only the harvesting part. John I would not go out in the woods this fall hunting w/o a license even if you plan to not kill anything. If you get caught hunting w/o a license you will be ticketed. Same goes for fishing unless you are young enough to fish w/o one.

    • Dave says:

      There is absolutely no way you can say with confidence that “most” bow hunters are darn good shots. How would you have such information? Do you claim to personally know “most” bow hunters? Have you run formal tests to measure their accuracy? Did they need to pass an accuracy test to get a license, to buy a bow?

      Of course not.

      And I doubt that is how many people actually “feed their families” – I know dozens and dozens of hunters, and sure they eat the meat of (some) of the animals they kill, but that is not how they primarily feed their family. But even if it were – that would be their choice. They would choose to do it that way. It is not a necessity. It is their hobby. The economic calculations have been run on that claim over and over and it is (unfortunately, some would argue) far cheaper and more efficient to buy your food than it is to equip yourself for hunting and then spend days in the woods shooting things.

      And lastly, claiming that something should be free of criticism or protected from reconsideration because of heritage is an incredibly weak argument. Just because something has always been done, does not mean it should always continue to be done. I can think of a lot of “heritages” that we have abandoned with good cause over the generations, and we are better off for it. I’m sure you can too.

      • william Deuel,Jr says:


        You do have to take a class and pass the test to hunt with a bow. You then pay a additional fee to get a bow stamp for your license. Accuracy is part of the test. I agree that does not make everyone an accurate shooter, there are to many variables for that.

        Many families do help feed their families with game they have taken. Mine always has and cooked the right way the meat is quite good as well as healthy. It may not be the necessity it once was but it still helps to have a freezer full of stakes to help offset some food costs for many families.

        Hunting does have a long heritage in the adirondacks. Whether you are for or against hunting is a matter of opinion but bringing it up does not make it weak nor does it make it free of criticism.

        • Dave says:

          Thanks for that reply, William. It sounds like you agreed with the three main points I was making in my reply to Todd.

          There is no way anyone can confidently say “most” bow hunters are “darn good shots.”

          Hunting is not necessary to “feed your family” – it is a choice.

          And just because something has a long heritage does not protect it from criticism, or make it ironic to do so (as was suggested).

  5. Todd says:

    I don’t think there was ever any implication that I was making a donation when I mentioned that I have to purchase a hunting license. Hunters are conservationists, and the deer and bear populations are managed quite well in this state. If you have ever watched a fawn get taken down by a coyote I am sure you find that quite disturbing as well. Responsible hunters have nothing to be ashamed of.

  6. JR says:

    A lot of “tolerance” on display here, certain to be from people of a certain political affiliation. The fact is you, are only tolerant of what you dictate is appropriate.

    As a hunter, if I only pay to “kill” (harvest John, harvest – let’s be politically correct here), I am not getting my moneys worth in the ADK’s. Think NYS will give me 25 years of fees back?

    If I hike a trail without a view, am I still hiking?
    If I hunt without a “kill”, am I still hunting?
    Of course, therefore a hiking fee should be demanded by the State.

    Also, I only shoot bears with my camera because that is my choice. Luckily we still have choice here, but I have a feeling a lot commenters would like to rid me of that.

    In addition, it is a fact that an animal can not even know it was struck from an arrow (other than hearing the sound of the bow) with well placed shot from a bow vs. a bullet.

    Ah, yes, tolerance…

    • John Warren says:

      JR, you should check out the history of the regulation of hunting. You pay for a hunting license to kill the animals held in common, not to enter the woods with a gun. That’s a simple, demonstrable fact. Most simply, we know this because you can in fact carry a gun in the woods for reasons other than hunting without obtaining a license.

      You seem to be confusing the words agreement and tolerance. Here is the definition of tolerance: “the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.”

      Kill is the word we use when we end the life of animals. We know this, because if you (intentionally or otherwise) end the life of an animal with a car, or any other instrument, you have killed it, not harvested it.

      “Harvest” is a euphemism employed by hunting advocates: “a mild or indirect word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing.”

      No where has anyone made the argument that people should not be able to photograph animals. That’s simply a straw man you’ve created to make yourself appear to be a victim. In fact, I’ve spent many years hunting and once owned a hunting and fishing store. I (and no doubt the vast majority of people commenting here, though probably not all) also eat various kinds of wild animals which have been killed for that purpose.

      All that said, it’s entirely legitimate to have opinions about hunting, or hunting certain animals – bald eagles for example, or black bears – and not be against killing wild animals for food in general.

      • Paul says:

        From the DEC – who needs a license:

        “12 years and older and using a firearm or bow to hunt or take wild game. Persons under age 12 cannot hunt.”

        hunt OR take wild game.

        It is no different to harvest a deer than it is to harvest a living plant from the garden. Lat time I check the corn was dead when I put it in the pot of boiling water. What a hunter does is participate in the ecosystem that we live in in a more intimate way then many people who prefer to get their food from a store, or grow it in their garden.

        • John Warren says:

          You’re playing semantics. If you hunt, you are expected to be taking game, that’s what hunting is.

  7. Charlie S says:

    Scott says: “I have a bear or two that literally have destroyed my apple trees the past two years, ripping off branches up to 5″ wide to get the apples. It gets me thinking about taking up bear hunting.”

    We keep an open mind if we’re civil Scott. And if we have warmth in our hearts we’ll figure out ways to get around black bears eating apples from our trees versus outright killing them because imagination eludes us. I am reminded of an incident up in Blue Mountain lake probably ten years ago. I heard the story from the woman who lives across the street from a guy who lives in Schenectady and who had his vacation house built on Durant Road on the west end of what used to be Callahan’s field.

    She said she was in the house one morning when she heard a gunshot. She looked out the window and saw a black bear lying on the ground in agony. Moments earlier this bear was harmlessly going at the apples on the tree near the road on this mans property. It was hungry and was doing no harm to any thing or body! The homeowner evidently is a transplant from the 1800’s who was teleported into this century. Back then the mentality was to kill every thing that moved because they just didn’t know any better. One word for this mindset is “ignoramus.” He cracked his window,aimed his long gun at the bear and fired a round because I guess the apples were more important than a beautiful,harmless, hungry bear.

    Were it not for laws and common sense (we have plenty of the former,of the latter there is a deficit) there’d be no wild animals left. This lady’s young daughter witnessed this event and was a wreck over it,she cried and cried as she saw the black bear on the ground in pain. Hunting season was not yet in.The State police came out and to my knowledge this man was let off with a slap on the wrist. It still breaks my heart thinking about it all these years later.

  8. Tim-Brunswick says:

    I must be missing something here…’s not ok to hunt/kill animals, but I’m betting the folks that think that way simply kill by proxy. ….I.e. the butcher at the market, the restaurant they eat meat products at or the shoe stores/leather products they buy merchandise at.

    The cow/pig, etc. whose leather made your shoes/boots/belts and/or made possible your meat-based entrees is not still roaming the earth……….

    Time to stop the hypocrisy folks and frankly if it wasn’t for hunters/outdoorsmen/women we wouldn’t have any deer, bear, etc., etc. Going back to Teddy Roosevelt and that time era it was hunters that first clamored for a halt to unregulated slaughter of wildlife NOT armchair experts such as the bleeding hearts that frequent these forums.

    Thank you

  9. Ethan says:

    I cannot say I honestly enjoy watching any animal kill another but I respect their *need* to do so since that is the only way coyotes and other predators are able to survive. I certainly don’t hold a “grudge” against them for doing what they were hard wired by nature to do. And I happen to think they are incredibly intelligent creatures who are too often falsely and undeservedly maligned. Some people just like to hate predator species. I think you get my point.

  10. Charlie S says:

    Todd says: “this is how many of us feed our families.”

    I love animals Todd. They could teach us a lot if we were but teachable. I am not against hunting as much as I am against hunting certain kinds of animals. Deer! There is evidently an over-abundance of them and so for their sake an open season on them is just.

    There is not a black bear problem in New York State. …at least I believe this to be a truism.And if there is a problem it is most likely due to man’s encroachment upon and the destruction of their habitats which is something we do unabated. It is such a beautiful animal! Put a gun in some people’s hands and they will shoot any thing that moves. Not so with all hunters.

    There is something about black bears that tug at some hunter’s hearts… fortunately for the species as these hunters would never shoot one. I’ll never forget what the old man Bill Thompson of Sabael told me once some dozen or so years ago. He is long gone but back then he was in his 70’s and still hunting the Adirondack woods. There’s always one thing or another that stands out in people.I did not know Bill Thompson well but once when I walked into the Lake Store we got to talking.He told me that although he had many opportunities to shoot a black bear when he was in the woods he didn’t have the heart to do it because he thought it was such a beautiful animal and so never did and that is the one thing that has stuck with me about that man.

    Your statement above Todd reminds me of an event that happened fifteen or so years ago. Where I was living back then there was a park whose trail I used to walk alongside a river. As I was walking past a dock I saw that a man had caught a small turtle which was in a bucket. I asked him what he was going to do with it and he said he was going to take it home,kill it and eat it. The turtle was so small that it would have taken twenty of them to have enough meat to fill one up. There is such a soft spot in me for all animals especially turtles and frogs and chipmunks,woodchucks…. I offered the guy $10. for the turtle he took it. I walked away with it and set it free in an out of the way location on this same river. I estimated this turtle to be a few years old at least by its size and it probably had thirty years to go were it left alone. What some people would do for a mouthful of meat is beyond me.

  11. Todd says:

    Charlie I can appreciate your comments,when I said many of us feed our families by hunting I was mainly speaking of deer for myself. If I had to rely on bear meat we would be very hungry because as you stated they are not as present as deer are. The one bear I was fortunate to harvest was used for consumption. NY State does however feel that there are too many bears that is why the early bear season was started three years ago. The state also just expanded the youth firearms hunt (Columbus day weekend) to allow 14 and 15 year old mentored hunters to take a bear. I would agree that the bear problems we encounter are basically caused by humans such as them losing their habitat in what used to be wooded areas at least down in the southern zone. Just for clarification I certainly don’t shoot anything that moves and believe it or not you can still love animals and be avid hunter. I take it from your writing that you don’t consume any meat or fish, which is a fine choice for you.

    • Boreas says:


      I think what the DEC really means is that the bear/human ratio is getting too high. As people expand into their habitat, plant apple trees and put up bird feeders, leave pet food out, what’s a bear gonna do? Run away from food? No, he’s gonna get killed for doing what is in his nature.

  12. Charlie S says:

    I do consume meat Todd and I appreciate your sincerity. I don’t eat beef except once in a blue moon I’ll go and get a hot plate with grass-fed beef at the Albany co-op. Chicken and turkey is generally what I eat meat-wise. It is rare that I eat fish and when I do it is usually tuna in a can.I love venison and every chance I get I will eat it.

    I’m not a purist but I am what I am and it is not in me to kill any living thing. Even bugs I pick up and place out of harms way. There had been a mouse in my house recently and so I went out and bought a live trap for the first time. I placed a dab of peanut butter in it and three days later I nabbed the little guy. I walked across the street and set it free by the railroad tracks. It was easy to do,no harm done and much more humane than those horrible glue traps that seem to be a big seller nowadays.

    Anything NY State says I would take with a grain of salt Todd.Them people are just an extension of this dysfunctional society who are apt to err in their decisions like the rest of us.

    • JohnL says:

      Just curious Charlie. What do you do when you look down and see a half filled mosquito on your arm? Also, are you not killing (or causing to be killed) when you eat grass fed beef, chicken, turkey, etc.

    • Paul says:

      You just want someone else to do the killing for you. That is fine. Hunters prefer to get out and be part of the ecosystem in a way that even a casual observer of wildlife does not. Humans have evolved to be hunters. Many people now want to suppress that instinct that we all have (which is fine) others want to embrace it. Why not just let them do it w/o so much judgmental baloney. Hunters and fisherman are probably responsible for the preservation of more land and water than any other group out there. I can’t hunt or fish in the future if I don’t make sure that my prey have what they need to survive and reproduce. Ever heard of things like “ducks unlimited”?