Whitetail buck

Archery season for whitetail deer opens Friday in the Southern Zone of New York and Saturday in Pennsylvania.

Bowhunting seasons for deer and bear in New York’s Southern Zone get underway Thursday, with several changes to big game seasons set this year through regulations.

Pennsylvania’s archery season starts Saturday.

Bowhunters may only use crossbows during latter portions of bow seasons: the last 14 days of the Southern Zone bow season (Nov. 6-19). To hunt with a crossbow during these periods, the law requires bowhunters to possess a muzzleloader privilege and a crossbow qualifications certificate (see the Crossbow Hunting webpage on DEC’s website for details).

Hunters may use crossbows throughout the archery season in Pennsylvania.

Youth Big Game Hunt

New York’s annual Youth Big Game Hunt is Columbus Day weekend, Oct. 9-11. New this year, 12- and 13-year-old hunters may join 14- and 15-year-olds participating in Upstate counties that have passed a local law for these junior hunters to hunt deer with firearms, which currently includes all counties north of Westchester, with the exception of Erie and Rockland counties.

During this hunt, licensed 12- to 15-year-olds may use a firearm to hunt big game while accompanied by an experienced, licensed adult hunter. All eligible junior hunters may take one deer of either sex and 14- and 15-year-olds may also take one bear. During the youth hunt, 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.

Though junior hunters may have multiple deer tags, they may only take one deer with a firearm during the Youth Big Game Hunt.

Th youth hunt takes place throughout the state, except in Suffolk and Westchester counties and bowhunting-only areas. Additional rules that apply to junior hunters and their adult mentors can be found on pages 36 and 37 of the Hunting & Trapping Guide or through the Junior Hunter Mentoring Program.

Take it, tag it, report it

DEC reminds hunters of the importance of reporting their harvest. Harvest reporting is critical to wildlife management, and hunters are required to report their harvest of deer, bear, and turkey within seven days of taking the animal.

The easiest way to report is via DEC’s HuntFishNY mobile app. Through this mobile app, hunters, anglers, and trappers can access an electronic version of their licenses and privileges, and quickly report the harvest of deer, bear, and turkey immediately while afield on their mobile device.

Hunters may still use the phone report system, but the online and mobile systems are faster, more convenient, and easier for hunters to accurately enter information.

Venison Donation Program

Big game hunters are reminded that they can help feed the hungry by making a monetary contribution to the Venison Donation Program at any license-issuing outlet. License buyers should inform the sales agent if they are interested in donating $1 or more to support the program.

For more information about DEC’s big game hunting seasons, new regulations, and hunter safety information including new requirements to wear hunter orange or pink, go to: https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28605.html.

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