DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos reminded hunters that September marks the beginning of several hunting opportunities in New York State. Hunting seasons for squirrel and Canada goose begin September 1 in upstate New York, and the early bear season and early antlerless deer season begin September 10 in select wildlife management units (WMUs).
“Early hunting seasons are a great opportunity to mentor new hunters and introduce them to the conservation value and importance of hunting,” said Seggos. “The early bear season, antlerless deer season, and September goose season are all designed to reduce or stabilize wildlife populations in particular areas of the state. By participating in these seasons, hunters help manage wildlife populations toward socially and ecologically desirable levels, while also obtaining excellent meat for their families and friends.”
Early bear and early antlerless deer seasons begin September 10
In 2022, the early bear season in portions of southeastern New York will begin on September 10 and run through September 25 in WMUs 3A, 3C, 3H, 3J, 3K, 3M, 3P, 3R, 4P, 4R, and 4W. The early bowhunting season for bears will open in all of the Southern Zone on Oct. 1, followed by the regular firearms season beginning Nov. 19. In the Northern Zone, the bowhunting season for bear begins September 17 in WMUs 6A, 6G, 6K, and 6N, and regular bear season in WMUs 5A, 5C, 5F, 5G, 5H, 5J, 6C, 6H, and 6J also begins on September 17.
The early antlerless deer season will begin on September 10 and run through September 18 in select WMUs. In WMUs 3M, 3R, 8A, 8F, 8G, 8J, 8N, 9A, and 9F, hunters may use firearms, crossbows, or vertical bows during the early antlerless season. In WMUs 1C, 3S, 4J, and 8C, hunters may only use vertical bows. Only antlerless deer, those without antlers or having antlers less than 3” long, may be taken during this season, and hunters may only use valid deer Management Permits or Deer Management Assistance Program tags.
Canada Goose Hunting Seasons Open September 1
The September Canada goose season occurs in all goose hunting zones except the Western Long Island zone. All upstate areas are open from Sept. 1 through Sept. 25. Canada goose seasons in the Central and Eastern Long Island zones begin on Sept. 6 and run through Sept. 30. In the Western Long Island zone, the season opens Oct. 8. The September season includes liberal bag limits (eight to 15 birds/day depending on zone), extended shooting hours, and other special regulations to maximize hunter success. Additional details on waterfowl hunting regulations, season dates, hunting area boundaries, and bag limits can be found on DEC’s website.
The September goose hunting season is designed to help reduce or stabilize resident Canada goose populations. Resident Canada geese are those that breed in the United States and southern Canada, unlike migratory populations that breed in northern Canada. Typically, resident geese are the birds commonly associated with nuisance situations in urban and rural areas. Over the past 25 years, New York’s resident Canada goose population has grown from an estimated 80,000 birds in 1995, to more than 340,000 today.
As the population has grown, season lengths and bag limits have been liberalized and hunters have successfully stabilized the population. The September season is an important opportunity for hunters, as regular Canada goose seasons have been restricted to 30 days and bag limits reduced to one bird in most areas to protect the more vulnerable migratory geese. Resident geese look the same as migratory geese, making it difficult for the public to distinguish between the two populations. For more information on the differences between migratory and resident geese and how these birds are managed, read the article “Canada Geese in New York–Residents or Visitors?” in the Aug. 2019 issue of DEC’s Conservationist magazine.
Harvest Information Program (HIP) Registration
All migratory game bird hunters must register annually for HIP through DEC’s licensing system. The HIP registration is legally required and helps state and federal biologists estimate hunter participation and harvest of migratory game birds. HIP registration identifies active hunters who receive follow-up surveys from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service. Providing a valid e-mail address during HIP registration will ensure that you can participate in hunter opinion and harvest surveys. For more information on how biologists estimate harvest and to see harvest data for New York and the rest of North America, please visit: Migratory Game Bird Harvest Survey
There are two options to register with HIP: online at the DEC hunting license website, or
via the automated phone system, available by calling 1-866-933-2257. At the end of either process, you will be given your HIP registration number. Migratory game bird hunters must carry this number while hunting.
During all hunting seasons, hunters should remember to follow the primary rules of gun safety: assume every firearm is loaded; keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction; keep the safety on and finger off the trigger until ready to shoot; and always be sure of your target and what is beyond it. For more information on hunter safety, visit DEC’s website; watch videos about hunter safety and tree stand safety for more tips on how to prevent accidents. Hunters should also be prepared to cool and process harvested game quickly to preserve meat quality.
Hunters should also remember that several changes enacted in 2021 continue this year. Hunters and anyone accompanying them must wear a solid or patterned fluorescent orange or fluorescent pink hat, vest, or jacket when hunting deer or bear with a firearm. Hunting hours for deer and bear now include the full period of ambient light from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. Finally, 12- and 13-year-old hunters can hunt deer (not bear) with a firearm or crossbow when accompanied by an experienced licensed adult.
Photo at top: DEC photo.