Friday, September 10, 2021

DEC Adopts New Rules for Deer and Bear Hunting

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)  announced that DEC has adopted new rules for deer and bear hunting in New York. Rule changes include extending hunting hours and dress code requirements when afield to improve hunter safety.

DEC announced the proposed changes in June 2021, after adopting the updated New York State Deer Management Plan. After careful review of the public comments received on the proposed changes, DEC adopted the rules as proposed. A summary of the public comments received and DEC’s response is available on the DEC website and in the latest issue of the New York State Register.

The adopted changes:

  • Establish a nine-day season for antlerless deer in mid-September (Sept. 11 – 19, 2021) using firearms in Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 3M, 3R, 8A, 8F, 8G, 8J, 8N, 9A, and 9F, and using bowhunting equipment in WMUs 1C, 3S, 4J, and 8C. Management objectives in these units are either to decrease the deer population or maintain a stable population, and increased antlerless harvest is needed to achieve these objectives. Objectives are based on public input and assessments of deer impacts to forests. Hunters may only use Deer Management Permits (DMPs) and Deer Management Assistance Permit (DMAP) tags in this season;
  • Restore antlerless harvest during the early muzzleloader season in Northern Zone WMUs 6A, 6F, and 6J. The management objective for these units is to maintain a stable population and the deer population in these units has grown aided by a series of mild winters and prior restrictions on antlerless harvest;
  • Extend the hunting hours for deer and bear to include the full period of ambient light from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. All other states allow deer hunting beginning one-half hour before sunrise or earlier, or specify daylight hours, and 46 of 50 states allow deer hunting until some period (mostly one-half hour) after sunset. This change conforms to the national standard for big game hunting;
  • Require anyone hunting big game with a firearm, or accompanying someone hunting big game with a firearm, to wear a solid or patterned fluorescent orange or fluorescent pink hat, vest, or jacket. Most two-party hunting-related shooting incidents in New York involve a hunter victim who was not wearing fluorescent orange or pink clothing. Similar fluorescent orange requirements exist in most states;
  • Simplify bear hunting season in the Adirondack region by extending regular season to cover the entire hunting period; and
  • Remove outdated language related to deer tag use during the September portion of the early bowhunting season.

The full text of the adopted regulations is available at DEC’s website.

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Information attributed to NYSDEC is taken from press releases and news announcements from New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation.

6 Responses

  1. Todd says:

    Really have to hand it to the DEC, establish an anterless hunt in an area such as 3M after that had a severe EHD outbreak last year that killed off 100’s of deer. We still don’t know what effect that had on herd population. Additionally the average temperatures in 3m during that time period are a daytime high of 75. I don’t think most people are equipped to process a deer in that temperature which will result in a lot of spoiled meat.

    • Tim Brunswick says:

      And I suppose you know more about the deer herd/population/health than NYSDEC?….I love armchair experts!!

  2. Ethan says:

    Ugh. I’m still seeing half-grown fawns hopping after their moms.
    Also, despite what “other states” do, extending hunting hours an additional 30 minutes both before and after sunset seems reckless and unnecessary.
    The DEC really went overboard this year.

  3. Tim-Brunswick says:

    Do you really “Know” what other States do…..most other states have had hunting start a half hour before sun rise and end a half hour after sunset for decades……easy to say “seems reckless and unnecessary” when you undoubtedly know little or nothing about the actual studies that have been conducted by NYSDEC.

  4. Dan says:

    I was skeptical of the hunting hours change when I first heard about it, and did my own eyeball tests last fall during all of the deer seasons in the Northern Zone from archery well into the late muzzleloading season into December, where I hunt. Despite my findings and skepticism, and as Tim kind of points out, nearly every state in the U.S. allows deer/bear hunting before sunrise and after sunset and many have safety numbers comparable, if not better, than this state.d Also, New York has been allowing it with waterfowl and turkeys for who knows how long. I also had a feeling that a blaze orange (and pink) requirement would come with a hunting hours extension. And it has.

  5. Dustin Friedman says:

    Bears are social and family-oriented animals. Hunting them is a reckless activity.

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