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Deer and Bear Hunting Seasons

NEW Deer and Bear Hunting Opportunities and Requirements for 2021

1. Antlerless-only deer season in mid-September (9/11 - 9/19/2021) using firearms, crossbows, and vertical bows in WMUs 3M, 3R, 8A, 8F, 8G, 8J, 8N, 9A, and 9F, and using only vertical bows in WMUs 1C, 3S, 4J, and 8C. DMPs and DMAP tags only.

2. Daily hunting hours for deer and bear extended to 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset.

3. Hunters must wear a fluorescent orange or fluorescent pink hat or vest when hunting deer or bear with a firearm.

4. Antlerless harvest allowed again during the early muzzleloader season in Northern Zone WMUs 6A, 6F, 6J.

5. Bear season in the Adirondacks is simplified by extending the regular season to cover the full hunting period.

6. 12- and 13-year old hunters may hunt deer with a firearm or crossbow in counties that passed a local law to participate in the opportunity. See Junior Big Game Hunting for a map of participating counties.

7. Holiday Deer Hunt is an extension of the late bow and muzzleloader season from December 26 - January 1 in the Southern Zone.

Deer Hunting Seasons

map of 2021 regular and bow seasons for deer hunting

map of 2021 muzzleloader seasons for deer hunting

Note: Hunters using a crossbow during the last 10 days of the early bow season in the Northern Zone are not subject to the antlered deer-only requirement of the early muzzleloader season in WMU 6N, despite the overlap in season dates.

2021 Deer Hunting Season Dates

Deer Hunting Season Dates
Area Early Antlerless Bowhunting Crossbow Regular Season Muzzleloading Special Late Firearms
Season
Northern Zone Sept. 27 - Oct. 22
Dec. 6 - Dec. 12 (WMUs 5A, 5G, 5J, 6A, 6C, 6G, 6H only)
Oct. 13 -Oct. 22 Oct. 23 - Dec. 5 Oct. 16 - Oct. 22
Dec. 6 - Dec. 12 (WMUs 5A, 5G, 5J, 6A, 6C, 6G, 6H only)
Southern Zone

Sept. 11-19
WMUs 3M, 3R, 8A, 8F, 8G, 8J, 8N, 9A, 9F (firearms, bows, crossbow)
WMUs 4J, 8C (bowhunting only)

Oct. 1 - Nov. 19
Dec. 13 - Dec. 21
Dec. 26 - Jan. 1

Nov. 6 - Nov. 19
(Not in WMUs 4J or 8C)
Nov. 20 - Dec. 12 Dec. 13 - Dec. 21 (except bowhunting only WMUs 4J and 8C)
Dec. 26 - Jan. 1 (except bowhunting only WMUs 4J and 8C)
Westchester County
(WMU 3S)
Sept. 11-19 (bowhunting only) same as Regular Season Oct. 1 - Dec. 31
(bowhunting only)
Suffolk County
(WMU 1C)
Sept. 11-19 (bowhunting only) same as Regular Season Oct. 1, 2021 - Jan. 31, 2022
(bowhunting only)
Jan. 2 - Jan. 31, 2022
(Special Permit Required)

Antler Restriction Program

An antler restriction is in place to reduce harvest of young bucks in a portion of the Catskills in southeastern New York. The antler restriction REQUIRES that bucks taken in the antler restriction units have at least one antler with 3 points (or more) which are at least one inch long. This restriction applies to the archery, regular and muzzleloading seasons. Hunters aged 12-16 years are exempt from this restriction. For more information see Antler Restrictions in New York.

Black Bear Hunting Seasons

map of 2021 seasons for bear hunting

Early Season bear hunters may use a bow (with appropriate bowhunting eligibility), crossbow, muzzleloader, handgun, shotgun, or rifle (where allowed). For legal implements in other bear seasons, please see Rifle, Shotgun, and Bow Areas.

2021 Bear Hunting Season Dates
Area Early Bowhunting Crossbow Regular Muzzleloading
Northern Zone Yellow shaded portion Sept. 18 - Dec. 5
Brown shaded portion Sept. 18 - Oct. 22 Oct. 13 - Oct. 22 Oct. 23 - Dec. 5 Oct. 16 - Oct. 22
Southern Zone Orange shaded portion Oct. 1 - Nov. 19
Dec. 13 - Dec. 21
Nov. 6 - Nov. 19 (Not in WMUs 3S, 4J or 8C) Nov. 20 - Dec. 12 Dec. 13 - Dec. 21
Green shaded portion Sept. 11 - Sept. 26 Oct. 1 - Nov. 19
Dec. 13 - Dec. 21
Nov. 6 - Nov. 19 Nov. 20 - Dec. 12 Dec. 13 - Dec. 21
Westchester County
(lt. blue shaded)
Same as Regular Season Oct. 1 - Dec. 31
(bowhunting only)
black bar management cooperator 2019 patch
2019 Black Bear Management Cooperator Patch

Become a NYS Black Bear Management Cooperator

  1. Report your bear harvest.
  2. Submit a premolar tooth from the bear for DEC to determine the bear's age.
  3. You will receive a commemorative patch as a NYS Black Bear Management Cooperator.

See Black Bear Tooth Collection for instructions and more information about becoming a NYS Black Bear Management Cooperator.

Hunting Zone Boundaries and Wildlife Management Units (WMUs)

If you need to know the boundaries of the different hunting areas, go to Legally Defined Areas for Big Game Hunting for a description of the hunting zones or Wildlife Management Units for a description of unit boundaries.