Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens today announced that deer hunting opportunities in Suffolk County are expanded in 2015 as a result of legislation signed into law in August by Governor Cuomo. The new law provides for an expansion of the archery and firearms deer hunting seasons and simplifies firearms deer hunting in Suffolk County. The expanded seasons are necessary to help increase recreational deer harvest to better manage increasing deer populations in Suffolk County.
“Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative offers many hunting opportunities statewide for sportsmen and sportswomen for the growing population of deer,” said Commission Martens. “Throughout the state, hunters play an essential role by helping to maintain healthy and ecologically sound deer populations and this extension offers an additional opportunity for those hunters to get afield in Suffolk County.”
The changes to the Suffolk County deer hunting seasons and permit requirements are summarized as follows:
Extends the regular (bowhunting) season for deer in Suffolk County through January 31;
Expands the special firearms season for deer in Suffolk County to run from the first Sunday in January (January 4) through January 31 including weekends. The 2015 firearms deer season in Suffolk County will begin Sunday, January 4 and continue until January 31;
Clarifies the Town permit requirements, landowner permission requirements and legal implements for the special firearms season. The adopted regulations also include a provision waiving the Town Permit requirement in any town which by local law has waived the town permit requirement. However, this aspect will not take effect before next season (January 2016);
Increases permit quotas for each town to reflect current deer management needs and allow for additional access opportunities on state land.
Hunters who wish to hunt on state-managed lands in Suffolk County will be able to take advantage of the expanded special firearms deer season as well the extended archery season. The following state managed properties will be open for shotgun deer hunting from January 4-January 31; Rocky Point Natural Resources Management Area, Westhampton Dwarf Pine Plains Preserve, Henrys Hollow Pine Barrens State Forest, Barcelona Neck Cooperative Hunting Area, David Sarnoff Cooperative Hunting Area and the Otis Pike Preserve. The East Hampton Cooperative Area and Noyac (part of the Southampton Cooperative Areas) will be open for firearms deer hunting from January 5 – 31; weekdays only.
Firearms deer hunting on all NYSDEC-managed lands during the January shotgun season requires daily permits. For information on hunting during the Special January Firearms Season on private lands, visit the DEC website.
Hunters looking to archery hunt on state-managed lands during the extended season can hunt at Brookhaven State Park Cooperative Hunting Area, Calverton Pine Barrens State Forest, Carmen’s River Pine Barrens State Forest, East Bartlett Conservation Area, Ridge Conservation Area, Wildwood State Park Cooperative Hunting Area and NYSDEC tidal wetlands that are currently open to archery hunting. All hunters are required to have a DEC-Managed Lands Access Permit to hunt on these properties. For additional information on Long Island Public Hunting areas please visit the DEC website.
Stand-by hunting procedures for firearms deer hunting on state managed lands are as follows: At 8:00 AM each day, all parking spots that have not been filled will be given away to hunters via a drawing at the check station. There will be one drawing for all available parking areas on all properties. All hunters present for the drawing will be able to enter; a town permit is not required prior to entering the drawing. Second town permits can be issued to all hunters who are picked for a spot during the stand-by.
The NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative is an effort to improve recreational opportunities for sportsmen and sportswomen and to boost tourism activities throughout the state. This initiative includes streamlining fishing and hunting licenses, reducing license fees, and improving access for fishing and increasing hunting opportunities in New York State. Under this initiative, this year’s budget included $6 million in NY Works funding to support creating 50 new land and water access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands. In addition, the 2014-15 budget includes $4 million to repair the state’s fish hatcheries; and renews and allows expanded use of crossbows for hunting in New York State.
This year’s budget also reduces short-term fishing licenses fees; increases the number of authorized statewide free fishing days to eight from two; authorizes DEC to offer 10 days of promotional prices for hunting, fishing and trapping licenses; and authorizes free Adventure Plates for new lifetime license holders, discounted Adventure Plates for existing lifetime license holders and regular fee Adventure Plates for annual license holders.