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For Release: Wednesday, November 9, 2022

DEC Announces Regular Firearms Season for Deer and Bear Hunting in Southern Zone Begins Nov. 19

Hunters Reminded of Additional Opportunities and Responsibilities

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced deer and bear hunting seasons in New York's Southern Zone begin Saturday, Nov. 19. Hunters can continue to enjoy the longer hours, youth hunts, and other changes enacted last year, including requirements for blaze orange and pink to help maintain New York's record of safe hunting.

"The regular firearms season for deer and bear in New York's Southern Zone is the state's most popular big game hunting season, drawing hundreds of thousands of hunters afield each year," Commissioner Seggos said. "As a cherished annual tradition in New York State, these hunting seasons are managed to maximize conservation value and balance deer and bear populations, while providing more than 11 million pounds of quality, locally grown, organic meat to families statewide. I wish all hunters a safe and successful season."

The 2022-23 regular deer and bear hunting seasons in New York's Southern Zone begins Nov. 19, and runs through Sunday, Dec. 11, and includes participation from approximately 85 percent of New York's 550,000 licensed hunters. Harvest during this season accounts for nearly 60 percent of the total statewide deer harvest and a substantial part of the statewide bear harvest.

Following the regular deer and bear seasons in the Southern Zone, late bowhunting and muzzleloading seasons will run from Dec. 12 through Dec. 20, and again from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1. Hunters taking part in these special seasons must possess a hunting license and either bowhunting or muzzleloading privileges.

In the Northern Zone, the regular deer and bear hunting season opened Oct. 22, and will close on Dec. 4. The Northern Zone includes the Adirondacks, Tug Hill Plateau, Eastern Lake Ontario Plain, and the Champlain and St. Lawrence valleys. A late bowhunting and muzzleloading season for deer will be open in portions of the Northern Zone from Dec. 5 through Dec. 11.

For a breakdown of New York's hunting seasons visit DEC's website.

Opportunities for Youth Hunters, Longer Hunting Hours

Again this year, 12- and 13-year-old hunters may hunt deer with a firearm when accompanied by a licensed, experienced adult. This pilot program, established by the New York State Legislature through 2023, applies to counties that choose to participate. The program does not apply to Westchester or Suffolk counties. Of the eligible upstate counties, only Erie and Rockland counties have not opted into the program.

Hunters are reminded that the daily hunting hours for deer and bear now include the full daylight period, beginning 30 minutes before sunrise and continuing until 30 minutes after sunset. Hunters should check the sunrise and sunset times before hunting each day.

Hunters should also remember that anytime they are pursuing deer or bear with a firearm, they must now wear fluorescent orange or fluorescent pink clothing-either a hat, vest, or jacket visible in all directions. New York hunters have an excellent safety record, but this change will make hunters even safer.

Hunters are also reminded to follow the basic rules of firearm 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.

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.

Let Young Bucks Go Info Graphic

Let Young Bucks Go and Watch Them Grow

Hunters are proving that voluntary choice works to yield more older bucks. By choosing to Let Young Bucks Go and Watch Them Grow, New York hunters are now seeing and taking more older bucks than ever before. Older deer yield more meat and have larger antlers.

Hunters are Key Partners in Protecting NY Deer from Chronic Wasting Disease

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) continues to spread in other states, and hunters have great responsibility to prevent CWD introduction to New York. CWD is always fatal to deer. If introduced, CWD could spread rapidly and be practically impossible to eliminate once established. Hunters can help protect New York's deer herd from CWD by following these tips

  • If you hunt any type of deer, elk, moose, or caribou outside of New York, you must debone your animal before bringing it back. See CWD Regulations for Hunters. DEC will confiscate and destroy illegally imported carcasses and parts, including whole deer and deer heads.
  • Do not use deer urine-based lures or attractant scents, as these could contain infectious material.
  • Dispose of carcass waste in a landfill, not just on the landscape.
  • Report any deer that appears sick or is acting abnormally.
  • Hunt only wild deer and support fair chase hunting principles.

Take It - Tag It - Report It

With DEC's HuntFishNY mobile app, reporting a deer or bear harvest is easier than ever. Through this mobile app, hunters, anglers, and trappers can access an electronic version of their licenses and report the harvest of deer, bear, and turkey immediately while afield on their mobile device in seconds. Hunters may still use the phone report system (1-866-GAME-RPT) or report online, but the mobile system is faster, more convenient, and easier for hunters to accurately enter information. Reporting your harvest is required by law, so please remember to Take It - Tag It - Report It!

Other Reminders for the 2022 Southern Zone Regular Hunting Season

  • Choose non-lead ammunition for high-quality meat and reduced risk of lead exposure to non-target wildlife.
  • Hunger Has A Cure - Hunters can Donate Venison to help those less fortunate while also assisting with deer management in New York.

For specific descriptions of regulations and open areas, hunters should refer to the 2022-2023 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide available on DEC's website. Hunters are urged to review all regulations and safety tips contained in the guide.

New Gun Safety Requirements

New York State recently adopted new requirements for the purchase and transfer of ownership of semi-automatic rifles and the purchase, possession, storage, and transport of firearms and ammunition in New York. See DEC's Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Recent Changes to New York State Firearm Laws (PDF). For additional details and further guidance, see Questions and Answers Regarding Impacts to Hunting and Hunting-Related Activities from Recent Changes to New York State Firearm Laws (PDF) on DEC's hunting webpage. More information about gun safety in New York State can be found at the New York State Gun Safety website (leaves DEC website).

Media Availability

DEC will host a virtual media availability on Thursday, Nov. 10, at 2 p.m. with big game biologist Jeremy Hurst to provide a deer and bear season forecast and what hunters can expect this fall.

Join Zoom Meeting (leaves DEC website)

Meeting ID: 794 8372 3319

Passcode: C3hQEN

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