New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the adoption of a new regulation to establish a “Holiday Deer Hunt” by extending the late bow and muzzleloader hunting seasons for deer from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, in New York’s Southern Zone.
“As part of our ongoing efforts to capitalize on the growing interest in hunting, we’re excited to announce that beginning this December, the Holiday Deer Hunt will provide new opportunities for New Yorkers and visiting hunters to venture afield during a time when families and friends are gathered together for the holidays and students are home on school break,” said Commissioner Seggos. “The extended season is also a great time for younger hunters to go afield with experienced mentors and nurture their knowledge and skills as responsible members of the hunting community.”
The new season provides an additional seven days of late-season hunting with bows and muzzleloaders. Hunters must purchase 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 expanded hunting season will only apply to New York’s 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. In addition, DEC will adaptively manage this new program and assess any potential impacts to other outdoor recreational activities or localized deer herds.
Last September, DEC requested public comment on the proposal to hold a holiday hunt. DEC received more than 3,000 comments on the proposal. DEC thoroughly reviewed all the comments received, and after careful consideration, advanced the proposal for adoption. A summary of the public comments and DEC’s responses to comments is available for review in the February 17 issue of the New York State Register.
DEC biologists anticipate many families may take advantage of this new opportunity. Given the requirement for use of primitive weapons, biologists do not anticipate a significant effect on deer harvest or local deer populations.
The new regulations will be posted in the February 17 New York State Register and will become effective on publication. The season will not begin until Dec. 26, 2021.