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Deer and Bear Hunting

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 are extended to 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset. See the sunrise-sunset table on the last page of the annual Hunting & Trapping Regulations Guide.

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.

Female hunter with her buck of the season

Hunting Deer in New York

Deer hunting is one of the most popular sporting opportunities in New York State. Well-controlled deer hunting is critical in managing deer populations; striking a balance in wildlife and habitat resources. Populations have increased since the turn of the 20th century through monitored hunting regulations and improved habitat. Hunting-related topics, precautions, programs, and data are provided on this page. Information about deer and deer management can be found on our White-tailed Deer page. See DEC's Management Plan for White-tailed Deer in New York State, 2021-2030 (PDF).

Female bear management cooperator

Hunting Bear in New York

New York has between 6,000 to 7,000 black bears in the wild. In recent years, numbers have increased and become more widely distributed across the state. Hunting is the primary management tool to control the bear population. Bear hunting is permitted in the fall throughout portions of northern, southeastern, and central-western New York. More information about bears and bear management can be found on our Black Bear page.

Bear hunters may also be interested to read the booklet, Hunting the Black Bear in New York (PDF), and DEC's Management Plan for Black Bear in New York State, 2014-2024 (PDF).

Find a Deer and Bear Processor or Taxidermist in New York State (PDF).

Big Game Email List

Join New York Big Game to periodically receive information about bear and deer biology, management, research, regulations, and hunting in New York State. To join, subscribe to GovDelivery and sign up for updates on hunting and trapping.

Female hunter with a deer and a bear

Big Game Photo Gallery

Share and view photos of junior hunters or others who have taken their first white-tailed deer or black bear in New York in our Big Game Photo Gallery.


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