DEC Announces Late-Season Deer Hunting Opportunities

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos reminded hunters today that while deer hunting has ended in the Northern Zone, and the regular season has concluded in the Southern Zone, bowhunters and muzzleloaders still have opportunities to secure venison for their families.

“Late-season deer hunting in New York State is a great opportunity for hunters to venture afield,” Commissioner Seggos said. “The late bow and muzzleloader season opened December 13th and runs through December 21st in the Southern Zone, and this year DEC is pleased to provide the Holiday Deer Hunt for hunters across the Southern Zone to get outside with friends and family during the holiday break.”

The Holiday Deer Hunt, which runs from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1, 2022, is an extension of the late bow and muzzleloader season providing new deer hunting opportunities to families and friends gathering for the holidays. Hunters must possess a bowhunting or muzzleloading privilege to participate in the late bow or muzzleloader seasons and may use all deer carcass tags valid during those seasons. The Holiday Hunt will occur in all Southern Zone counties this year, as previously authorized.

Additional late season opportunities include:

Bowhunting for deer continues in Westchester County until Dec. 31;
January Firearms Season in Suffolk County is open Jan. 2-31, 2022; and
The special Deer Management Focus Area Season for antlerless deer in central Tompkins County is Jan. 8-31, 2022.

These late seasons are a great time to put some venison in the freezer or donate venison to others. During the late seasons DEC encourages hunters to continue to pass up young, small-antlered bucks. Focusing harvest on antlerless deer instead contributes to population management and eases the pressure on antlered bucks. Every late-season deer hunter has at least one tag for antlerless deer, with either-sex and antlerless-only “Bow/Muzz” tags and unfilled regular season tags that can also be used for antlerless deer during the late seasons. When hunters choose to Let Young Bucks Go and Watch Them Grow, there is a great chance those bucks will be available next year with more meat and larger antlers.

Hunters are reminded that it is now a requirement to wear blaze orange or pink when pursuing deer with a firearm. This requirement helps hunters identify other hunters who may be down range, and alerts other outdoor enthusiasts they are sharing the woods with hunters. Also, always follow the basics of hunter safety:

Assume every gun is loaded;
Control the muzzle. Point your gun in a safe direction;
Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot; and
Be sure of your target and beyond.

For more information about New York State’s hunting seasons, go to DEC’s website.