Early bear hunting seasons are about to begin across New York State. Hunting is generally permitted on Forest Preserve land in the Adirondack Park. Hunting accidents are rare, but hikers should wear bright colors and keep pets leashed as a precaution.
During the Early Bear Season, hunters may use a bow (with appropriate bowhunting eligibility), crossbow, muzzleloader, handgun, shotgun, or rifle (where allowed). Because of the likelihood of warm weather, DEC is telling hunters they should be prepared to skin and cool dead bears as soon as possible to protect the quality of the meat. DEC suggests hunters skin and quarter the bear in the field, then pack out the meat in game bags to a waiting cooler of ice.
In northern New York, the early bear season runs from Sept. 16 to Oct. 13 in DEC’s Regions 5 and 6, which include the Adirondack Park (Wildlife Management Units 5A, 5C, 5F, 5G, 5H, 5J, 6C, 6F, 6H, and 6J). Bowhunting season for bears also begins on Sept. 16 in the other Northern Zone units (WMUs 6A, 6G, 6K and 6N). Muzzleloader season opens in all northern WMUs on Oct. 14, followed by the regular firearms season for bears on Oct. 21.
DEC regulates black bear hunting and provides information about black bears in New York on their website. Also, DEC’s booklet Hunting the Black Bear in New York (PDF, 800 KB), includes tips on bear hunting and proper care of harvested bears.
Photo of black bear on Mount Colvin by Kurt Weiskotten (provided by DEC).