The 2019-20 regular deer and bear hunting seasons in New York’s Southern Zone begin at sunrise on Saturday, November 16, and continue through Sunday, December 8. The Southern Zone regular season is New York’s most popular hunting season, with participation from about 85 percent of New York’s 550,000 licensed hunters. Harvest during this season accounts for nearly 60 percent of the total statewide deer harvest and 30-60 percent of the statewide bear harvest.
Following the regular deer and bear seasons in the Southern Zone, late bowhunting and muzzleloading seasons will run from Monday, December 9, through Tuesday, December 17. Hunters taking part in these special seasons must possess a hunting license and either bowhunting or muzzleloading privileges.
In the Northern Zone, the regular deer and bear hunting season opened Saturday, October 26 and will close at sunset on Sunday, December 8. The Northern Zone includes the Adirondacks, Tug Hill Plateau, Eastern Lake Ontario Plain, and the Champlain and St. Lawrence valleys. A late bowhunting and muzzleloading season for deer will be open in portions of the Northern Zone from December 9 to 15.
Regulated hunting of deer and bear is one of the most important conservation efforts New Yorkers engage in each year, as the annual harvest is critical for adjusting populations to levels that are compatible with local habitats and land uses.
Help Protect New York Deer from Chronic Wasting Disease
DEC has not found any new cases of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in New York deer since 2005. However, hunters should take the threat of CWD seriously as CWD is always fatal to deer. If introduced, CWD could spread rapidly and be practically impossible to eliminate once established, threatening the future of New York’s deer population, hunting tradition, and many of the other benefits associated with deer. The most effective disease management strategy is to prevent CWD from entering New York. Hunters can help protect New York’s deer herd from CWD by following these tips:
- If you hunt any type of deer, elk, moose, or caribou outside of New York, debone your animal before bringing it back. See CWD Regulations for Hunters. DEC may confiscate and destroy illegally imported carcasses and parts;
- Do not use deer urine-based lures or attractant scents. Use synthetics instead;
- Dispose of carcass waste in a landfill, not just on the landscape;
- Report any deer that appears sick or acting abnormally; and
- Hunt only wild deer and support fair chase hunting principles.
Take It – Tag It – Report It
With DEC’s HuntFishNY mobile app, reporting deer or bear harvest is easier than ever. Through this mobile app, hunters, anglers, and trappers can access an electronic version of their licenses and report the harvest of deer, bear, and turkey immediately while afield on a mobile device. Hunters may still use the phone report system (1-866-GAME-RPT), but the online and mobile systems are faster, more convenient, and easier to accurately enter information. Reporting your harvest is required by law, so please remember to Take It, Tag It, Report It!