The 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.