New York’s annual Youth Big Game Hunt is scheduled for Columbus Day weekend, Oct. 10-12.
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 tag. 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.
The 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 are noted on pages 36 and 37 of the Hunting & Trapping Guide or through the Junior Hunter Mentoring Program.
Hunters who still need to purchase their license and permits for the 2020-21 seasons can do so at any one of DEC’s 1,200 license issuing outlets, by phone at 1-86-NY-DECALS (866-933-2257), or online through our DECALS website.
DEC Asks Bowhunters to Report Deer that May Have Died from EHD
The DEC asks bowhunters who may encounter deer affected by Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) this fall to report the find to DEC. EHD is a viral disease of whitetail deer that cannot be contracted by humans. Reports from hunters help DEC track the disease’s potential spread.
Hunters are encouraged to report any deer suspected of dying from EHD to the nearest DEC regional wildlife office. A directory is available on the DEC website.
DEC wildlife biologists have been receiving reports of dead and sick deer this fall and collected carcasses for testing at DEC’s Wildlife Health Unit in Delmar, Albany County. Tissue samples have been sent to the Animal Health Diagnostic Center at Cornell University to confirm the presence of EHD.
To date, EHD has been confirmed in portions of Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Ulster, and Westchester counties, and DEC has received reports of approximately 750 dead deer. Though the current outbreak appears concentrated in the lower Hudson Valley, EHD may have spread elsewhere in New York.
Hunters should not handle or eat any deer that appears sick or acts strangely. DEC continues to monitor the EHD outbreak. In addition, the State Department of Agriculture and Markets has alerted deer farmers and veterinarians throughout the state to be aware of the disease and to report suspicious cases.
For more information on EHD and helpful related links, visit the DEC website.