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Section 1.31: Hunting Black Bear

Statutory authority: Environmental Conservation Law, §§ 3-0301, 11-0303, 11-0701, 11-0715, 11-0903, 11-0907, 11-0909, 11-0911, 11-0913, 11-0917, 11-1103

[Effective date: Oct 11, 1994]

[Last Amended: August 27, 2014]

Contents:

Sec.

§1.31 Hunting black bear.

(a) Definitions

(b) Bear hunting seasons

(c) Regulations on taking bear

(d) Other regulations

(a) Definitions. For the purpose of this section, the following terms have the indicated meanings:

(1) "Bear" means any bear existing in a wild state.

(2) "Cub" means any bear less than one year old.

(3) "Northern bear range" means WMUs (as defined in section 4.1 of this Title) within the Northern Zone (as defined by Environmental Conservation Law section 11-0103).

(4) "Southern bear range" means WMUs (as defined in section 4.1 of this Title) within the Southern Zone (as defined by Environmental Conservation Law section 11-0103).

(b) "Bear hunting seasons." Bears may be taken only during the open seasons and areas listed below:

(1) Regular bear seasons:

Bear Range Season Dates Wildlife Management Unit (WMU)
Northern 44 consecutive days beginning on the 2nd Saturday after Columbus Day 5A, 5C, 5F, 5G, 5H, 5J, 6A, 6C, 6F,6G, 6H, 6J, 6K and 6N
Southern 23 days beginning on the 3rd Saturday in November 3A, 3C, 3F, 3G, 3H, 3J, 3K, 3M, 3N, 3P, 3R, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4F, 4G, 4H, 4J, 4K, 4L, 4O, 4P, 4R, 4S, 4T, 4U, 4W, 4Y, 4Z, 5R, 5S, 5T, 6P, 6R, 6S, 7A, 7F, 7H, 7J, 7M, 7P, 7R, 7S, 8A, 8C, 8F, 8G, 8H, 8J, 8M, 8N, 8P, 8R, 8S, 8T, 8W, 8X, 8Y, 9A, 9F, 9G, 9H, 9J, 9K, 9M, 9N, 9P, 9R, 9S, 9T, 9W, 9X, and 9Y
October 1 to December 31 3S

(i) Legal implements for regular bear season are the same as for regular deer season.

(ii) Black bear may only be taken by longbow in Westchester County (WMU 3S).

(2) Early bear season:

Bear Range Season Dates Wildlife Management Unit (WMU)
Northern First Saturday after the second Monday in September through the Friday immediately preceding the Northern muzzleloading bear season 5A, 5C, 5F, 5G, 5H, 5J, 6C, 6F, 6H, 6J
Southern First Saturday after Labor Day for 16 days 3A, 3C, 3H, 3J, 3K, 3M, 3P, 3R, 4P, and 4R

(i) Legal implements for early bear season are the same as for regular bear season.

(3) Bowhunting bear seasons:

Bear Range Season Dates Wildlife Management Unit (WMU)
Northern First Saturday after the second Monday in September through the Friday immediately preceding the regular season 5A, 5C, 5F, 5G, 5H, 5J, 6A, 6C, 6F, 6G, 6H, 6J, 6K, and 6N
Southern Early Season: October 1 through the Friday immediately preceding regular season;
Late Season: nine days immediately following the regular season
3A, 3C, 3F, 3G, 3H, 3J, 3K, 3M, 3N, 3P, 3R, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4F, 4G, 4H, 4J, 4K, 4L, 4O, 4P, 4R, 4S, 4T, 4U, 4W, 4Y, 4Z, 5R, 5S, 5T, 6P, 6R, 6S, 7A, 7F, 7H, 7J, 7M, 7P, 7R, 7S, 8A, 8C, 8F, 8G, 8H, 8J, 8M, 8N, 8P, 8R, 8S, 8T, 8W, 8X, 8Y, 9A, 9F, 9G, 9H, 9J, 9K, 9M, 9N, 9P, 9R, 9S, 9T, 9W, 9X, and 9Y

(i) Any person who hunts or takes bear during bowhunting season must possess[, on his or her person,] a license and carcass tag valid to hunt big game granting special bowhunting season privileges, except as described in subparagraph 2.3(e)(3)(iv) of this title.

(ii) Any person participating in the bowhunting bear hunting season may not have in his or her possession, or be accompanied by a person who has in his or her possession, any hunting implement other than a legal longbow, except as described in subparagraph 2.3(e)(3)(iii) of this title.

(4) Muzzleloading bear seasons:

Bear Range Season Dates Wildlife Management Unit (WMU)
Northern Seven consecutive days beginning on the 1st Saturday after Columbus Day 5A, 5C, 5F, 5G, 5H, 5J, 6A, 6C, 6F, 6G, 6H, 6J, 6K, and 6N
Southern Nine consecutive days immediately following the regular season 3A, 3C, 3F, 3G, 3H, 3J, 3K, 3M, 3N, 3P, 3R, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4F, 4G, 4H, 4K, 4L, 4O, 4P, 4R, 4S, 4T, 4U, 4W, 4Y, 4Z, 5R, 5S, 5T, 6P, 6R, 6S, 7A, 7F, 7H, 7J, 7M, 7P, 7R, 7S, 8A, 8F, 8G, 8H, 8J, 8M, 8N, 8P, 8R, 8S, 8T, 8W, 8X, 8Y, 9A, 9F, 9G, 9H, 9J, 9K, 9M, 9N, 9P, 9R, 9S, 9T, 9W, 9X, and 9Y

(i) Any person who hunts or takes bear during muzzleloading season must possess[, on his or her person,] a license and carcass tag valid to hunt big game granting special muzzleloading season privileges.

(ii) Any person participating in the muzzleloading bear hunting season may not have in his or her possession, or be accompanied by a person who has in his or her possession, a firearm other than a muzzleloading firearm which is lawful for taking big game.

(c) Regulations on taking bear.

(1) Bear may only be taken as provided in this section or as provided under a permit issued pursuant to subdivision one of Section 11-0521 of the Environmental Conservation Law.

(2) It is unlawful for any person to hunt or take bear unless he or she possesses at that time on his or her person a big game license valid to hunt bear as required by the Environmental Conservation Law.

(3) It is unlawful for any person to take more than one bear during a license year (regular, early, archery and muzzleloading seasons combined).

(4) It is unlawful for any person to hunt or take bear except from sunrise to sunset.

(5) It is unlawful for any person to hunt or take bear over a pre-established bait pile.

(6) It is unlawful for any person to possess a field or use more than 1.5 fluid ounces of a liquid scent or lure when hunting bear.

(7) It is unlawful for any person who has wounded a bear to fail to make every reasonable effort to retrieve it.

(8) Except in the Northern Zone, it is unlawful for any person to knowingly shoot a cub or shoot a bear that such person knows or should have known to be a cub.

(9) In the Southern bear range, it is unlawful for any person to shoot or take a bear from any group of bears.

(10) In the Southern bear range, it is unlawful for any person to shoot a bear in a den or take bear from a den.

(d) Other regulations.

(1) Any person who takes a bear must immediately fill out completely, using indelible ink, the bear carcass tag and cut out or mark with indelible ink the month and date of kill where printed along the edge of the carcass tag. The taker must also attach the bear carcass tag securely to the bear, except that the tag does not need to be attached while the bear is being dragged or physically carried by the taker to a camp or point where other transportation is available. It is unlawful for any person to remove the tag until the bear is prepared for consumption. Any person who takes a bear must report as specified in Section 180.10 of this title.

(2) It is unlawful for any person to transport or possess a bear without the bear tag attached to it. The carcass of a bear can be transported inside or outside any type of vehicle.

(3) It is unlawful for any person who has taken a bear to consign to another the carcass of said bear, or a portion thereof, unless he or she furnishes a tag which will contain the big game license number, name, address, date of birth and signature of the taker, the name and address of the consignee and date consigned. This tag must be attached securely to such carcass or portion thereof. No person may remove such tag until the bear or portion thereof is prepared for consumption.

(4) It is unlawful for any person to possess the carcass of a bear or a portion thereof prior to preparation for consumption without the tag required by this section properly filled out and securely attached to it.

(5) It is unlawful for any person to sell the flesh of a bear except as permitted by Title 17 of Article 11 of the Environmental Conservation Law.

(6) Parts of bear, other than flesh, may be possessed and sold provided the parts are from a black bear legally taken and reported in New York State. Each part must be tagged with a tag provided by the taker or buyer. The tag must contain the big game license number, name, address, date of birth and signature of the taker and the town and county where the bear was taken. The tag must remain on the part until the part is tanned or processed (treated so that the pelt is rendered soft and pliable), mounted, prepared for use as an article of clothing or as an article for display or prepared for ingestion.