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DEC announces several hunting seasons begin in September

  • / Updated:
  • Concetta Durso 

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today reminded hunters that September marks the beginning of several hunting seasons in New York State. Hunting seasons for squirrel and Canada goose begin Sept. 1 in upstate New York, and the early bear and antlerless deer seasons begin Sept. 10 in select wildlife management units (WMUs).

“Early hunting seasons are a great opportunity to mentor and introduce new hunters to hunting,” Commissioner Seggos said. “Early bear, antlerless deer, and September goose seasons are all designed to reduce or stabilize wildlife populations in particular areas. By participating in these seasons, hunters help manage wildlife populations toward socially and ecologically desirable levels while enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.”

Sept. 1: Canada Goose Hunting Seasons Open

The September Canada goose season occurs in all goose hunting zones except the Western Long Island zone. All upstate areas are open from Sept. 1 through 25. Canada goose seasons in the Central and Eastern Long Island zones begin on Sept. 6 and run through Sept. 30. In the Western Long Island zone, the season opens Oct. 8. The September season includes liberal bag limits (eight to 15 birds per day depending on zone), extended shooting hours, and other special regulations to maximize hunter success. Additional details on waterfowl hunting regulations, season dates, hunting area boundaries, and bag limits can be found on DEC’s website.

The September goose hunting season is designed to help reduce or stabilize resident Canada goose populations. Resident Canada geese are those that breed in the U.S. and southern Canada, unlike migratory populations that breed in northern Canada. Typically, resident geese are the birds commonly associated with nuisance situations in urban and rural areas. Over the past 25 years, New York’s resident Canada goose population has grown from an estimated 80,000 birds in 1995 to more than 340,000.

As the population has grown, season lengths and bag limits were relaxed and hunters have successfully stabilized the population. The September season is an important opportunity for hunters, as regular Canada goose seasons have been restricted to 30 days and bag limits reduced to one bird in most areas to protect the more vulnerable migratory geese. Resident geese look the same as migratory geese, making it difficult for the public to distinguish between the two populations. For more information on the differences between migratory and resident geese and how these birds are managed, read the article “Canada Geese in New York–Residents or Visitors?” in the August 2019 issue of DEC’s Conservationist magazine.

Sept. 10: Early Bear and Early Antlerless Deer Seasons Begin

In 2022, the early bear season in portions of southeastern New York will begin on Sept. 10 and run through Sept. 25 in WMUs 3A, 3C, 3H, 3J, 3K, 3M, 3P, 3R, 4P, 4R, and 4W. The early bowhunting season for bears will open in the Southern Zone on Oct. 1, followed by the regular firearms season beginning Nov. 19. In the Northern Zone, the bowhunting season for bear begins Sept. 17 in WMUs 6A, 6G, 6K, and 6N, and regular bear season in WMUs 5A, 5C, 5F, 5G, 5H, 5J, 6C, 6H, and 6J begins on Sept. 17.

The early antlerless deer season will begin on Sept. 10 and run through Sept. 18 in select WMUs. In WMUs 3M, 3R, 8A, 8F, 8G, 8J, 8N, 9A, and 9F, hunters may use firearms, crossbows, or vertical bows during the early antlerless season. In WMUs 1C, 3S, 4J, and 8C, hunters may only use vertical bows. Only antlerless deer, those without antlers or having antlers less than three inches long, may be taken during this season and hunters may only use valid deer management permits or deer management assistance program tags.

Harvest Information Program (HIP) Registration

All migratory game bird hunters must register annually for HIP through DEC’s licensing system. The HIP registration is required and helps State and federal biologists estimate hunter participation and harvest of migratory game birds. HIP registration identifies active hunters who receive follow-up surveys from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Providing a valid e-mail address during HIP registration ensures registrants may participate in hunter opinion and harvest surveys. For more information on how biologists estimate harvest and to see harvest data for New York and the rest of North America, visit: Migratory Game Bird Harvest Survey.

There are two options to register with HIP—online at the DEC hunting license website or via the automated phone system available by calling 1-866-933-2257. At the end of either process, a HIP registration number will be given. Migratory game bird hunters must carry this number while hunting.

Hunting Safely

During all hunting seasons, hunters should remember to follow the primary rules of gun safety: assume every firearm is loaded; keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction; keep the safety on and finger off the trigger until ready to shoot; and always be sure of your target and what is beyond it. For more information on hunter safety, visit DEC’s website; watch videos about hunter safety and tree stand safety for more tips on how to prevent accidents. Hunters should also be prepared to cool and process harvested game quickly to preserve meat quality.

Hunters should also remember that several changes enacted in 2021 continue this year. 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 full period of ambient light from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. Twelve- and 13-year-old hunters can hunt deer (not bear) with a firearm or crossbow when accompanied by an experienced licensed adult.