DEC proposes ‘holiday’ deer hunt

Photo courtesy of Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation

On September 9, DEC announced a proposal to expand deer hunting opportunities in the Southern Zone for this year and in the future. The proposed regulations would create additional hunting opportunities to take antlered and antlerless deer for those hunting with bows, crossbows, and muzzleloaders from December 26 through January 1.

To hunt with a bow, crossbow, or a muzzleloader in NY, hunters must possess the respective bowhunting or muzzleloading privilege. When participating in the proposed late bow or muzzleloader season, hunters may use any remaining unused 2020-2021 deer carcass tags including Deer Management Permits (DMPs) when used in their respective Wildlife Management Units (WMUs).

The proposed change will only apply to New York’s Southern Zone. Rifles, shotguns, and pistols will not be legal implements during this extended late season.

The new season would provide an additional seven days of late season hunting.

The proposal to expand the hunting season is only for the Southern Zone due to several considerations. DEC said chief among them was, …”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.”

Another consideration is the opening of many snowmobile trails is linked to the end of deer season. DEC has assured the new regulations will not extend the opening of the state trails beyond the close of the regular deer hunting season exactly as has been done in the past.

They stated, “This proposed, additional hunting opportunity does not impact when snowmobile trails may open. Snowmobile trails are opened after the end of the regular big game hunting season, subject to adequate snow cover and local agreements.”

In the State Register, DEC described some of their reasoning to propose the late season extension during the holiday week of December 26th through January 1.

“During the Christmas to New Year holiday week families gather, many people are off from work, and students are on school break. This provides time for families to hunt together, share memories and make new ones, and gather venison for the next year.”

Details of the proposal were published in the September 9 New York State Register, the same day of the DEC press release/announcement.

It is highly likely this season change will go into effect this year. Having said that, comments on the proposed regulations will be accepted through November 8th 2020. They may be submitted by email to or in writing to: Jeremy Hurst, NYSDEC Bureau of Wildlife, 625 Broadway, 5th Floor, Albany, NY 12233-4754.

DEC Confirms Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease in Putnam and Orange County Deer

DEC confirmed that several white-tailed deer in the towns of Nelsonville and Cold Spring in Putnam County and near Goshen in Orange County died after contracting Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD). EHD is a viral disease of white-tailed deer that cannot be contracted by humans.

DEC is encouraging New Yorkers to report sick or dead deer to DEC. EHD symptoms in deer include fever, hemorrhage in muscle or organs, swelling of the head, neck, tongue, and lips. EHD has also been referred to a “blue tongue” disease. A deer infected with EHD may appear lame or dehydrated.

Frequently, infected deer will seek out water sources and many succumb near a water source. There is no treatment for nor means to prevent EHD and dead deer do not serve as a source of infection for other animals.

EHD virus is carried by biting midges, small bugs often called no-see-ums or ‘punkies.’ Once infected with EHD, deer usually die within 36 hours. The disease is not spread from deer to deer or from deer to humans.

EHD outbreaks do not have a significant long-term impact on deer populations. EHD is endemic in the southern states where there are annual outbreaks, so some southern deer have developed immunity. Generally, in the northeast, EHD outbreaks occur sporadically and deer in New York have no immunity to this virus. Consequently, most EHD-infected deer in New York are expected to die. In the north, the first hard frost kills the midges that transmit the disease, ending the EHD outbreak.

Hunters should not handle or eat any deer that appears sick or acts strangely. DEC will continue to monitor the situation. Sightings of sick or dying deer should be reported to the nearest DEC Regional Office or to an Environmental Conservation Police Officer.

In addition, the Department of Agriculture and Markets has alerted deer farmers and veterinarians throughout the state to be aware of the disease and to report suspicious cases.

For more information on the topic, visit the DEC website at

Happy Hunting, Fishing and Trapping until next time.

News and Notes

*The Voorheesville Rod & Gun Club is hosting a “Meet the Candidates” BBQ on Saturday, September 12. It will be held at their outdoor pavilion at 52 Foundry Road in Voorheesville from 3-6 p.m. You can speak with Liz Joy who is running for Congress in the 20th Congressional District, and Rich Amedure, who is running for the NYS Senate.

The club states both candidates are big supporters of the 2nd Amendment with A+ ratings from the NRA. Typical BBQ fare including hot dogs, hamburgers and sausage and peppers will be served. There also will be a cash bar. Tickets are $25 per person or $150 per table. Tickets are available at the door on the day of the event.

*Catskill Mountain Fish & Game Club Changes Weekly Trap Shooting Days and Time Starting Sunday September 13 trap shooting at their club off Lustig Road in Hunter will change to Sundays at 2 p.m. All are welcome. Cost is just $4 per round if you bring your own ammo and only $10 per round with ammo supplied by the club.

Remember to report poaching violations by calling 1-844-DEC-ECOS.

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*If you have a fishing or hunting report, photo, or event you would like to be considered for publication, you can send it to:

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