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For Release: Tuesday, November 20, 2018

January Deer Season to Open in Suffolk County

DEC Managed Land Entries Due Dec. 3

The 2019 firearms deer season in Suffolk County will begin Sunday, Jan. 6, and continue through Jan. 31, including weekends, the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today.

DEC regulations require that lands eligible for firearms deer hunting must be at least 10 acres in size, and hunters must possess a valid big game hunting license, a signed landowner's endorsement, and a town permit where required (towns of Southampton, Islip, and Smithtown). Deer may be taken only by:

  • Shotgun, using a single ball or slug; or
  • Muzzleloading rifle or pistol, shooting a single projectile having a minimum bore of 0.44 inches.

Shotgun barrels may be rifled, and telescopic sights may be used. Crossbows are not a legal hunting instrument in Suffolk County. Hunters should check with local towns and villages to determine any local restrictions or discharge ordinances prior to going afield.

Hunters that wish to hunt on state-managed lands in Suffolk County will be able to take advantage of the expanded special firearms deer season, as well the extended archery season. The following state-managed properties will be open for shotgun deer hunting:

  • Rocky Point Natural Resources Management Area;
  • Westhampton Dwarf Pine Plains Preserve;
  • Henrys Hollow Pine Barrens State Forest;
  • Barcelona Neck Cooperative Hunting Area;
  • David Sarnoff Cooperative Hunting Area;
  • Otis Pike Preserve;
  • East Hampton Cooperative Area (opens Jan. 7, weekdays only); and
  • Noyac Cooperative Hunting Area (opens Jan. 7, weekdays only).

To hunt for deer on DEC-managed lands during the firearms season, hunters must enter a drawing. Entries must be received at NYSDEC-Deer Drawing, PO Box 659, Ridge, NY 11961-0659, by 4:45 p.m., on Monday, Dec. 3, 2018. Entries can also be hand-delivered to the Ridge Hunter Check Station by this date. There are no applications for this drawing. To enter, hunters must send a No. 10 (4 1/8" x 9 ½") envelope that contains a self-addressed, stamped, No. 10 or No. 9 return envelope. The hunter must write his/her back tag number on the back of the return envelope. Entries submitted envelopes other than No. 10 envelopes, or including other than No. 10 or No. 9 return envelopes, will be rejected.

Hunters may only send one entry. Individuals that send more than one entry will have all of his or her entries removed from the drawing. Each member of a two-hunter party may send one entry.

Drawing entrants will receive a notice telling them when to appear at the Ridge Hunter Check Station to make a reservation to hunt on DEC-managed lands. Reservations will be made Dec. 17-20, 2018.

Additional shotgun deer hunting opportunities may be available to Suffolk County residents. Please contact Suffolk County Department of Parks at 631.854.4949 for additional information on opportunities within Suffolk County Parks.

The regular (bow hunting) season for deer in Suffolk County will also continue through January 31. Hunters that want to archery hunt on state-managed lands during the extended season can hunt at Brookhaven State Park Cooperative Hunting Area, Calverton Pine Barrens State Forest, Carman's River Pine Barrens State Forest, East Bartlett Conservation Area, Ridge Conservation Area, Wildwood State Park Cooperative Hunting Area, and DEC tidal wetlands currently open to archery hunting. All hunters are required to have a DEC-Managed Lands Access Permit to hunt on these properties.

DEC Encourages Hunter Safety

While statistics show that hunting in New York State is safer than ever, mistakes are made every year. Every hunting-related shooting incident is preventable, and DEC encourages hunters to use common sense this season and remember what they were taught in their DEC Hunter Education Course.

Firearms Safety:

  1. Point your gun in a safe direction.
  2. Treat every gun as if it were loaded.
  3. Be sure of your target and beyond.
  4. Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.

DEC also encourages all hunters to wear blaze orange or blaze pink to make themselves more visible to other hunters. Hunters who wear hunter orange are seven times less likely to be shot.

When hunting in tree stands, use a safety harness and a climbing belt, as most tree stand accidents occur when hunters are climbing in and out of the stand. Also, hunters should never climb in or out of a tree stand with a loaded firearm.

The DEC would like to remind hunters that the legal hours for big game hunting across the state run from official sunrise to sunset. It is the responsibility of hunters to know when those times are in their locations. Consult the DEC hunting guide, use the DEC wildlife app or search weather data on the internet to find the official sunrise and sunset times for your area. Not only is it unsafe but it is illegal to hunt deer and bear in the dark.

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