As summer winds down, several hunting seasons have already started, or will soon open, throughout New York State. It can be difficult to keep track of all the dates, restrictions, and locations, so here’s a full breakdown with links to Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) websites for more information.
Squirrel and Canada goose hunting seasons begin Sept. 1 in upstate New York, while early bear and antlerless deer seasons begin Sept. 10 at wildlife management units (WMUs). their acronyms in English) selected.
The first hunting seasons are designed to give new hunters, with the help of mentors, a chance to hone their hunting skills, the DEC said. Early hunting seasons also help reduce or stabilize wildlife populations in certain areas, keeping the number of targeted animals at socially and ecologically desirable levels, the DEC said.
Canadian goose season kicks off in upstate New York
The September Canada goose season opened on September 1 and continues through September 25 in all areas of the northern part of the state and includes larger bag limits (eight to 15 birds per day depending on the area), extended hours shooting and other special regulations.
Over the past 25 years, New York’s resident Canada Geese population (geese that breed in the US and southern Canada) has increased from an estimated 80,000 birds in 1995 to more than 340,000 in the present.
Unlike the migratory populations of Canada Geese that breed in northern Canada, resident geese are commonly associated with nuisance situations in urban and rural areas. The September goose hunting season is designed to reduce this resident goose population.
Of course, resident geese look no different than migratory geese to hunters. For more information on the differences between these two populations and how the DEC handles them, see this article.
As the Canada goose population has grown, expanding season length and bag limits have successfully stabilized the population, the DEC said. The September season is also a good opportunity for hunters, as regular Canadian goose seasons have been restricted to 30 days with catch limits of one bird in most areas.
Central New York sits at the intersection of three waterfowl zones. This DEC table explains the various waterfowl hunting regulations, season dates, hunting area limits, and bag limits for each waterfowl zone.
This DEC map lists where you can hunt waterfowl in each zone.
The first bear and antlerless deer seasons open on September 10
In 2022, early bear season in parts of southeastern New York will begin on September 10 and run through September 25 at the following WMUs:
- 3A, 3C, 3H, 3J, 3K, 3M, 3P, 3R, 4P, 4R and 4W
The early bow hunting season for bears will open in the South Zone on October 1, followed by the regular firearms season beginning November 19. In the North Zone, bow hunting season for bears begins on September 17 at these WMUs:
The North Zone regular bear season also begins on September 17 at these WMUs:
- 5A, 5C, 5F, 5G, 5H, 5J, 6C, 6H and 6J
Early antlerless deer season begins September 10 and runs through September 18 at select WMUs. Only antlerless deer, those without antlers or those with antlers less than three inches long, may be hunted during the antlerless season with a valid deer driving permit or deer management assistance program tag.
Hunters may use firearms, crossbows, or vertical bows during the antlerless season at these WMUS:
- 3M, 3R, 8A, 8F, 8G, 8J, 8N, 9A and 9F
Only vertical arches are allowed in these WMUs:
WMU lands are owned by the state and operated by the DEC Office of Wildlife. If you’re not sure what WMUs are in your region, or just like to look at maps, DEC has a helpful map of WMUs here.
Harvest Information Program (HIP) Registration
All migratory game bird hunters must register annually for HIP through DEC’s licensing system.
HIP helps biologists accurately estimate the number of hunters and harvesters. By registering and entering your email, you may receive a follow-up survey from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). To learn more about how biologists estimate harvest and to see how New York’s harvest data compares to the rest of the country, see the USFWS Migratory Game Bird Harvest Survey.
There are two options for registering with HIP:
- Go online to the DEC hunting license website
- Call 1-866-933-2257. At the end of either process, you will get a HIP registration number that you should not carry when hunting.
be safe out there
No matter where, when or what you are hunting, always follow these gun safety rules:
- assume all firearms are loaded
- keep the barrel pointed in a safe direction
- keep the safety on and your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot
- always be sure of your goal and what is beyond it
Hunters should also remember these changes enacted by DEC in 2021:
- Hunters and anyone accompanying them must wear a solid or patterned fluorescent orange or fluorescent pink hat, vest, or jacket when hunting deer or bear with a firearm.
- Hunting hours for deer and bear now include the entire period of ambient light from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.
- Hunters ages 12 and 13 may hunt deer (not bear) with a firearm or crossbow when accompanied by an experienced licensed adult.
DEC has more information on hunter safety here.
With one death, 2021 was the safest year on record for New York State hunters – syracuse.com
Hunters harvested fewer deer in 2021, due to fatal deer virus, fewer permits – syracuse.com
Number of bears culled by DEC is highest since 2018: ‘People haven’t gotten used to living with bears’ – syracuse.com
Steve Featherstone covers the outdoors for The Post-Standard, siracusa.com Y NYUP.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @feather outdoors. You can also follow all of our outdoor content on newyorkupstate.com/outdoors/ or follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/upstatenyoutdoors.