The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will extend hunting hours this hunting season while implementing new dress code requirements aimed at improving hunter safety afield.
“New York has a long and proud tradition of deer and bear hunting and with these new rules, DEC is building on that tradition by expanding opportunities for hunters, increasing antlerless harvest where needed and improving hunter safety,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a prepared statement Wednesday. “I am confident that the rule changes announced today will provide hunters with a better all-around experience while ensuring their safety. In addition, these actions bring New York in line with the common practices of states and provinces across North America.”
The new regulations establish a nine-day firearms hunting season for antlerless deer in mid-September from September 11-19 in Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 3M, 3R, 8A, 8F, 8G, 8J, 8N, 9A and 9F, and using bowhunting equipment in WMUs 1C, 3S, 4J, and 8C.
Officials said the objective is to decrease the deer population or maintain a stable population, and increased antlerless harvest is needed to achieve these objectives. DEC said such objectives are based on public input and assessments of deer impacts to forests. Officials asserted that hunters may only use Deer Management Permits (DMPs) and Deer Management Assistance Permit (DMAP) tags in this season.
The plan also calls for restoring antlerless harvest during the early muzzleloader season in Northern Zone WMUs 6A, 6F, and 6J with a goal of maintaining a stable population. This comes as the deer population in these units has grown aided by a series of mild winters and prior restrictions on antlerless harvest, DEC officials said.
The plan also extends deer and bear hunting hours to include the full period of ambient light from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. The agency said all other states permit deer hunting starting 30 minutes before sunrise or earlier, or specify daylight hours, while 46 of 50 states allow deer hunting after sunset, usually 30 minutes
The state will also now require anyone hunting big game with a firearm, or accompanying someone hunting big game with a firearm to wear a solid or patterned fluorescent orange or fluorescent pink hat, vest or jacket.
“Most two-party hunting-related shooting incidents in New York involve a hunter victim who was not wearing fluorescent orange or pink clothing,” officials said. Similar fluorescent orange requirements exist in most states.
The regulations will also simplify the bear hunting season in the Adirondacks by covering the regular season to cover the entire hunting period and remove outdated language regarding deer tag use during the early bowhunting season in September.
The agency first announced the proposed changes in June 2021 after adopting the updated New York State Deer Management Plan and adopted the plan after reviewing a number of public comments on the plan.
The full text of the adopted regulations is available at www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/34113.html#Parts_1_11.