ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Deer and bear hunting seasons are set to open statewide. The Department of Environmental Conservation reminds hunters to report all deer, bear, and turkey harvests within seven days of taking the animal.

“New York State is home to great opportunities for bowhunters to venture afield in a variety of habitats,” said Commissioner Seggos. “With mild weather and longer days, the early bow season is an ideal time to be in the woods and introduce new hunters to deer and bear hunting.”

Bowhunting seasons for deer and bear hunting in the Northern Zone began on September 27. Hunting in the Southern Zone begins on Sunday, October 1. Bowhunters may also use a crossbow in the Northern Zone from October 11 to 20 and in the Southern Zone from November 4 to 17.

Early muzzleloader season for deer and bear in the North Zone runs from October 14 to 20, followed by the regular firearms season.

Youth Big Game Hunt

New York is also hosting its annual Youth Big Game Hunt for 12-15-year-old hunters from October 7 to 9. The Youth Big Game Hunt will be held throughout the State, except for Suffolk and Westchester counties and bowhunting-only areas.

Youth hunters must be accompanied by an experienced, licensed adult hunter. Eligible junior hunters may take one deer of either sex. 14-and-15-year olds may also take one bear. Antless deer taken with a firearm may be tagged with a regular season tag, Deer Management Permit (DMP), or a Deer Management Assistance Program tag.

Antlered deer may only be tagged with the regular season tag. Though junior hunters may have multiple deer tags, they may only take one deer with a firearm during the Youth Big Game Hunt.

Chronic Wasting Disease

The DEC warns hunters of the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease, which can be fatal to deer. Hunters can protect deer herds 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. DEC will confiscate and destroy illegally imported carcasses and parts.
  • Avoid deer urine-based lures or attractant scents, as these could contain infectious material. If you use lures, use synthetics.
  • Dispose of carcass waste in a landfill, not just out on the landscape.
  • Report any deer that appears sick or acting abnormally.
  • Hunt only wild deer and support fair chase hunting principles.

Deer Management Permit Application Deadline Oct. 1

Hunters must possess a muzzleloader privilege or a crossbow qualifications certificate. The application deadline for Deer Management Permits is October 1. Hunters should be prepared with the Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) they intend to hunt before applying.