New York Deer hunters are getting a Christmas present this year - an extension to hunting season.

The Holiday Deer Hunt runs from December 26 through January 1. The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) extended the late bow and muzzleloader season for new huntin opportunities.

"This year DEC is pleased to provide the Holiday Deer Hunt for hunters across the Southern Zone to get outside with friends and family during the holiday break," New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos said.

Hunters must have bowhunting or muzzleloading privilege to participate in the late bow or muzzleloader seasons and may use all deer carcass tags valid during those seasons. The Holiday Hunt will occur in all Southern Zone counties this year.

Additional late-season opportunities include:

  • Bowhunting for deer continues in Westchester County until Dec. 31
  • January Firearms Season in Suffolk County is open January 2-31, 2022
  • The special Deer Management Focus Area Season for antlerless deer in Central Tompkins County is January 8-31, 2022.

During the late seasons, DEC encourages hunters to pass up young, small-antlered bucks. Focusing harvest on antlerless deer instead contributes to population management and eases the pressure on antlered bucks.

When hunters choose to Let Young Bucks Go and Watch Them Grow, there is a great chance those bucks will be available next year with more meat and larger antlers.

Hunters are being reminded to wear blaze orange or pink when out in the woods. The new requirement in New York State helps hunters identify other hunters.

The DEC provides other hunting safety tip:

  • Assume every gun is loaded
  • Control the muzzle. Point your gun in a safe direction
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot
  • Be sure of your target and beyond
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