DEC proposes regulation allowing counties to opt-out of holiday deer hunt

Regional News

NEW YORK (WETM) – The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has proposed a new regulation that, if adopted, would allow counties to opt out of the end-of-year deer hunt.

The recently-established “holiday hunt” between Dec. 26 and Jan. 1 is an extension of the late bow and muzzleloader deer season in New York’s Southern Zone. 

“DEC adopted the holiday deer hunt earlier this year, providing hunters with new opportunities to venture afield when families and friends are gathered for the holidays and students are home on school break,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “Today’s proposed regulation addresses concerns expressed by some local leaders about a holiday hunt interfering with snowmobiling opportunities in their communities. 

The DEC says the proposed regulation was designed to address concerns raised by some communities that the holiday hunt would prevent snowmobilers from crossing game lands safely in the last week of December.

“Snowmobiling and small game hunting have safely coexisted for decades, and I encourage all interested stakeholders to share comments on the proposed regulation that would let counties ‘opt out’ of the holiday hunt before the deadline on November 14.” 

DEC encourages counties to work cooperatively with snowmobile organizations, landowners, and hunters to share the snow.

If the proposed regulation is adopted, Southern Zone counties that choose to prohibit hunters from participating in the holiday deer hunt in their county must annually adopt a local law specifying exclusion from the Dec. 26 to Jan. 1 portion of the late bow and muzzleloader season. For this year, counties that pass such a local law will need to send a copy of their adopted law to DEC before Dec. 25.

In future years, counties that withdraw must send a copy of their adopted law to DEC by May 1 of each year to allow publication in DEC’s annual hunting and trapping regulations booklet. 

Public comments on the proposed legislation can be submitted now through Nov. 14, 2021by email or in writing to: Wildlife Regulations, NYSDEC Bureau of Wildlife, 625 Broadway, 5th Floor, Albany, NY 12233-4754.

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