The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has released a proposal to potentially expand deer hunting opportunities in the Southern Zone in the future. The proposed regulations would create additional bowhunting and muzzleloader hunting opportunities from Dec. 26 through Jan.1, and would only apply to New York’s Southern Zone.
The new season would provide an additional seven days of late season hunting with bows and muzzleloaders. Hunters must purchase the bowhunting or muzzleloading privilege to participate in the late bow or muzzleloader seasons and may use all deer carcass tags valid during those seasons.
This proposal to expand the hunting season is only for the Southern Zone. In the Northern Zone, deer may already be moving to wintering areas by late December. Hunting seasons that occur when deer are migrating or are already concentrated in wintering areas could result in localized overharvest.
This proposed, additional hunting opportunity does not impact when snowmobile trails may open. Snowmobile trails are opened after the end of the regular big game hunting season, subject to adequate snow cover and local agreements.
Details of the proposal are published in the September 9th New York State Register. DEC encourages the public to comment on the proposed regulations through Nov. 8, 2020. Comments may be submitted by email to WildlifeRegs@dec.ny.gov or in writing to Jeremy Hurst, NYSDEC Bureau of Wildlife, 625 Broadway, 5th Floor, Albany, NY 12233-4754.
Photo of Whitetail deer by Dick Thomas.