Virtual Media Availability with DEC Big Game Biologist
Tomorrow at 11 a.m.
New York State Department of
Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos
announced today that the state's most popular big game season begins on
Saturday, Nov. 18. DEC encourages hunters to review safety regulations to
enhance their hunting experience.
"This weekend, hundreds
of thousands of big game hunters will head afield for the chance to
harvest deer or bear in New York's Southern Zone while enjoying time with
family and friends in the great outdoors," said Commissioner Seggos. "I wish all hunters a
safe and successful hunting season and encourage these outdoor
adventurers and those visitors sharing the woods to put safety first and
wear blaze orange or pink to see and be seen."
The 2023-24 regular deer and bear hunting seasons in New York's Southern
Zone begin on Saturday, Nov. 18 and continue through Sunday, Dec. 10. The
Southern Zone regular season is New York's most popular hunting season,
with participation from about 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 30 to 60 percent of the statewide bear
Following the regular deer and bear hunting seasons in the Southern Zone,
late bowhunting and muzzleloading seasons will run from Dec. 11 through
Dec. 19, and again from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1. Hunters taking part in
these late 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. 21 and closes Dec. 3. A late bowhunting and muzzleloading season for
deer will be open in portions of the Northern Zone from Dec. 4 to 10.
Daily hunting hours for deer and bear 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
Once again this year, 12-
and 13-year-old hunters may hunt deer with a firearm
during the regular firearms season when accompanied by a licensed,
experienced adult hunter. This pilot program was established by the New
York State Legislature in 2021 and extended through 2025 for Upstate
counties that choose to participate. The program does not apply to
Westchester or Suffolk counties; Erie and Rockland counties have not
opted in to the program.
York's Record of Safe Hunting
The 2021 and 2022 hunting seasons were the safest on
record and DEC is encouraging all hunters to continue to
take steps to remain safe while afield. Most hunting-related injuries
occur when hunters are climbing in and out of a tree stand. Hunters
should read the manufacturer's instructions and warnings before using a
tree stand, check all stands (including straps and chains) before every
season, and replace any worn or missing parts. Hunters should also wear a
fall-arrest harness with a lifeline to stay connected from the time they
leave the ground to the time they get back down and never climb in or out
of a tree stand with a loaded firearm.
Hunters must wear fluorescent orange or fluorescent pink clothing (either
a hat, vest, or jacket which are visible in all directions) when pursuing
deer or bear with a firearm, and should always follow the basic rules of
Point your gun in a safe direction.
Treat every gun as if it were loaded.
Be sure of your target and beyond.
Keep your finger off the trigger until
ready to shoot.
Let Young Bucks Go
and Watch Them Grow - Harvest a Doe
By voluntarily passing up opportunities to harvest young bucks,
hunters can increase their chances of seeing and harvesting older bucks
with large antlers and body sizes. By harvesting antlerless deer instead
of young bucks, hunters help keep deer populations in balance with
available habitat and reduce deer-related impacts to agriculture,
forestry, and municipalities. 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. However, only 16
percent of deer hunters harvested one or more antlerless deer in 2022,
despite antlerless deer being the most abundant and commonly observed
portion of the deer population. Hunters should help manage New York's
deer herd by harvesting at least one antlerless deer this hunting season.
Hunters Can Help
Prevent the Spread of Chronic Wasting Disease
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is an
always fatal disease of deer that threatens New York's deer and moose
populations and hunting opportunities. If introduced, CWD could spread
rapidly and be practically impossible to eliminate. Hunters can help keep
CWD out of New York by following these tips:
Those who hunt any type of deer, elk,
moose, or caribou outside of New York State must debone their venison (video) before
bringing it back to New York. DEC will confiscate and destroy illegally
imported carcasses and parts.
Avoid using natural deer urine-based
lures or attractant scents, as these could contain CWD. Use synthetic
Dispose of carcass parts where the deer was harvested or in a landfill.
Report any deer that appears sick or is
acting abnormally to DEC.
Hunt only wild deer and support fair
chase hunting principles.
Take It - Tag It -
With DEC's HuntFishNY mobile app, reporting a deer,
bear, or turkey harvest is easier than ever. Through the mobile app,
hunters, anglers and trappers can access an
electronic version of their licenses and report their harvests
immediately while afield on their mobile device. Hunters can also report
their harvest by calling (1-866-GAME-RPT) or through DEC's website. Reporting your harvest is
required by law, so please remember to Take It, Tag It, Report It!
Other Reminders for
the 2023-24 Southern Zone Regular Hunting Season
non-lead ammunition for reduced risk of lead exposure to
you and non-target wildlife.
Hunters can donate
venison to help those less fortunate while contributing
to deer management.
For the first time this season, big game
hunters can use rifles in Onondaga County.
For specific descriptions of
regulations and open areas, hunters should refer to the 2023-2024 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide
(PDF). Hunters are urged to review all regulations and safety
tips contained in the guide.