For Release: Tuesday, November 15, 2011
DEC Reminds Hunters About Big Game Season Regulations in Central New York
Places to Hunt and Locations for Bear Hunting Provided
The Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) Region 7 office reminds hunters that rifles, but not crossbows, may be used in Cortland County during the regular big game season this year. These regulations were adopted earlier in the year. Regular big game season begins on November 19 and runs through December 11. Hunting is from sunrise to sunset; Sunday hunting is allowed. It is illegal to discharge a firearm within 500 feet of a school, playground, church, dwelling, farm building, or occupied structure. Hunters also need to obtain permission of the landowner to enter any privately owned lands.
Regular season for black bears in Region 7's southern tier, which includes Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 7S, 7P, 7M, 7R and 4O, also runs between November 19 and December 11. Hunting for bear in WMUs 7J, 7H, 7A and 6K and 6P is prohibited. Maps showing the location of these WMUs can be found at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28605.html.
Region 7 also encourages hunters to pursue feral swine. Feral swine are known to inhabit northern Cortland, and southwestern Onondaga counties, southeastern Cayuga, northeastern Tompkins and Tioga counties. These aggressive invasive species cause serious agriculture and environmental damage and can degrade water quality and threaten human health. Hunters with small game hunting license may shoot and keep feral swine at any time and in any number during the year. If hunters are in an area that prohibits the use of rifles during big game seasons, rifles cannot be used to shoot feral swine during any open deer season (including archery seasons).
The region will check deer throughout the season at the Cayuga-Tompkins Cooperative Hunting Area (King Ferry) on Route 90 two miles north of King Ferry. The station is open every day from 10 A.M. until just after dark. DEC staff will continue to check deer at freezer lockers and meat cutters. Deer checking is an integral part of New York's deer management program. The harvest and biological data collected is essential to monitoring the number and health of New York's deer herds.
There are large tracts of public land in Region 7 on which one can hunt. Region 7 has 117 state forests and multiple use areas comprising more than 195,000 acres of land. The region also has seven designated unique areas totaling 3,027 acres. Maps and descriptions of state forests are available at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7792.html. There are 11 Wildlife Management Areas in the region which contain more than 55,000 acres of additional lands available for hunting. Maps and descriptions of the region's WMAs are available at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/8279.html.
The Cayuga-Tompkins Cooperative, located near King's Ferry, New York, has 3823 acres. A special permit is required to hunt there. Information and maps for the Cooperative can be found at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/71870.html.
Hunters are reminded to follow a few simple safety rules that can prevent hunting-related shooting accidents:
- Assume every gun is loaded. Unload guns when not in use, but never take chances with any firearm;
- Control the muzzle - keep it pointed in a safe direction;
- Keep your trigger finger off the trigger until ready to shoot;
- Be sure of your target and beyond;
- Wear Hunter Orange.
More information about deer and hunter safety can be found on the DEC website at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9186.html .