The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has a tough equation to solve. Control the states deer population for a healthy herd, yet reduce overpopulated areas where the animals have become a nuisance. They have a plan and it will increase the length of the season in certain parts of the state.

In the DEC's annual Deer Management proposal, certain Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) would have a nine day season beginning on the second Saturday in September. Now this gets a little complicated with only certain WMUs within a given DEC Region open for the extra season.  Antlerless deer could be taken by firearms in the following WMUs:

*Region 3: parts of Orange, Sullivan, Ulster, and Rockland Counties (WMUs 3M and 3R)

*Region 8: parts of Erie, Cayuga, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Steuben Wayne and Yates Counties. (WMUs 8A, 8F, 8G, 8J, and 8N 9A and 9F)

Other changes in the proposal pertain to bow and muzzleloader season, official hunting hours, hunter safety.

*Bow hunting for antlerless would be allowed during the same nine day period in all of Nassau County and portions of Albany, Greene, Monroe, Sullivan and Ulster Counties.

*Muzzleloader Reinstate either-sex deer harvest opportunity during the early muzzleloader season in portions of Franklin, Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties

*Hunting Hours The proposal would also standardize hunting hours to coincide with most other states. Deer and bear hours would be 30 minutes before and after meteorological sunrise and sunset.

*Safety requiring all hunters pursuing deer or bear with a firearm, or anyone accompanying them, to wear a solid or patterned fluorescent orange or fluorescent pink hat or vest or jacket.

There is also one small change in bear hunting regulations. In the Adirondack portion of the Northern Zone, bear could be taken by firearms all 79 days of the season. Current rules only allow 72 days of firearms hunting excluding the seven-day period where bears could only be taken with a muzzleloader, crossbow, or bow.

The DEC is taking public comments on the proposed changes thru August 28. Share your thoughts by emailing: (use "Big Game Hunting Rules" in the subject line).

You read more specifics on the proposed changes at the DEC's website.

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