The mornings are cooler, the leaves are changing colors, and the calendar says it’s fall. It must be bow season. Here are the dates and regulation changes to New York deer and bear bow hunting.

The DEC announced four dates to remember:

  • Bowhunting Seasons for Deer and Bear in the Northern Zone Opens Monday, September 27.
  • Bowhunting Seasons for Deer and Bear in the Southern Zone Opens Friday, October 1
  • Youth Big Game Hunt is Columbus Day Weekend, October 9, 10, & 11
  • Deadline for Deer Management Permits Applications is Friday, October 1

New York has made several regulation changes hunters will need to know:

  • Crossbows can only be used during the last 10 days of the Northern Zone bow season, October 13 through 22.
  • Crossbows can only be used during the last 14 days of the Southern Zone bow season, November 6 through the 19.
  • Bowhunters must possess a muzzleloader privilege and a crossbow qualifications certificate.
  • Hunters must wear hunter orange or pink
  • Hunting hours are now 30 minutes before and after sunrise

Youth Big Game Hunt Changes

  • 12- and 13-year-old youth can now join 14- and 15-year-olds in the Big Game Hunt in Upstate New York Counties that have passed a local law. Oneida County passed this legislation, but Erie and Rockland Counties have not given their okay.
  • Youth may hunt with firearms when accompanied by an experienced, licensed adult hunter.
  • All eligible junior hunters may take one deer of either sex.
  • 14- and 15-year-old hunters may also take one bear.
  • Antlerless deer taken with a firearm may be tagged with a regular season tag, DMP, or a Deer Management Assistance Program tag.
  • Antlered deer may only be tagged with the regular season tag.

Read more on New York's Hunting and Trapping Regulations in this handy online guide. The DEC also provides more information on applying for Deer Management Permits, including your chances of being selected for one on their website.

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