New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner (DEC) Basil Seggos announced today that while hunting seasons have ended in the state’s Northern Zone and will wrap up next week in most of the Southern Zone, there are still opportunities to hunt in a few select places, including parts of Tompkins County and all of Westchester and Suffolk counties.
“DEC is extending hunting seasons this year in these areas to address deer overabundance. These extended seasons provide a great opportunity for hunters to fill their freezers, donate venison to the less fortunate, and help bring ecosystems back into balance,” Commissioner Seggos said. “Big game hunters still looking for an opportunity can explore options in Tompkins, Suffolk, and Westchester counties and safely enjoy more days afield.”
Deer hunting continues with archery equipment in Westchester County through Dec. 31. From Jan. 9 to Jan. 31, there is an antlerless deer season in the Deer Management Focus Area (DMFA) in Tompkins County. Hunters wanting to participate in the Tompkins County DMFA must register and download a permit, carcass tags, and a hunting activity log from the DMFA webpage. Registered hunters may take up to two antlerless deer per day in the DMFA.
In Suffolk County, the regular bowhunting deer season runs through Jan. 31, and the special late firearms season runs from Jan. 3 through 31. Town permits are required in the towns of Southampton, Islip, and Smithtown. For DEC-managed lands, hunters not holding drawing numbers or who missed the reservation sign-up period can claim reservations for any unfilled hunting spots between 10 AM and 2 PM, Dec. 19 – 24, 26 – 31, and between 10 AM and 2 PM on Jan. 4 – 31. Reservations must be made in person. For more information on reservation procedures and to see which DEC-managed lands are available for firearms deer hunting, visit the DEC website. For regulations, places to hunt, and more information, visit DEC’s Hunting on Long Island webpage or contact the DEC Region 1 Wildlife Office at (631) 444-0310.
DEC Continues to Assess Holiday Hunt Proposal
DEC continues to assess the proposed holiday deer hunt. In September, DEC proposed an extension of the late bow and muzzleloader seasons in New York’s Southern Zone to occur from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1. DEC is currently reviewing comments on the proposal received from thousands of New Yorkers. Although DEC is not adopting the ‘holiday hunt’ this calendar year, the agency continues to evaluate the future holiday deer hunting opportunity.
DEC Encourages Hunter Safety
While statistics show that hunting in New York State is safer than ever, mistakes are made every year. Nearly every hunting-related shooting incident is preventable, and hunters are encouraged to use common sense this season and to remember the tools taught in DEC’s Hunter Education Course.
Point your gun in a safe direction;
Treat every gun as if it were loaded;
Be sure of your target and beyond; and
Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
DEC encourages all hunters to wear blaze orange or pink to make themselves more visible to other hunters. Hunters who wear hunter orange are seven times less likely to be shot.
When hunting in tree stands, use a safety harness and a climbing belt, as most tree stand incidents occur when hunters are climbing in and out of the stand. Hunters should never climb in or out of a tree stand with a loaded firearm.