New York Considers Opening New Bear Hunt Areas

Send by email Printer-friendly version Share this

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens today announced proposed changes that would open new areas east of the Hudson River to black bear hunting and establish uniform bear hunting season dates across the Southern Zone beginning in the 2011 hunting season.

"The proposed adjustments to bear hunting in the Southern bear range are part of our continuing effort to better manage bear populations and provide excellent hunting opportunities in New York State," Commissioner Martens said. "Black bears are thriving in New York and have expanded their range considerably in recent years. Increasing opportunities for bear hunting in the Southern Zone will help alleviate agricultural and homeowner conflicts with bears, provide recreational opportunity, and facilitate wise use of bear meat and hides."

The specific changes proposed for the Southern bear range would:

  • Open Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 3F, 3G, 3N, 3R, 3S, 4C, 4K, 4L, 4T, 4U, 4Y, 4Z, 5S and 5T to black bear hunting for the archery, regular and muzzleloading seasons. This would include all of Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Columbia, Rensselaer, and Washington counties, and the portion of Rockland that was not already open for black bear hunting. Season dates for these units will be the same as those in place for adjacent units already open to bear hunting in the Southern bear range.
  • Establish an earlier start to the existing regular black bear season in wildlife management units in parts of central and western New York by removing the 7-day lag that has previously existed between the start of the regular deer season and the regular bear season in this portion of New York. This will provide a uniform bear hunting season framework for all bear hunting in the Southern Zone.

Bear hunting is the only viable and cost effective tool for managing bear numbers on a landscape scale. However, DEC also encourages public understanding and tolerance of bears through various educational efforts. Additional information about black bears, including tips for living with bears is available on the DEC website. DEC has also helped produce and distribute a DVD, "Living with Black Bears in New York," which is available in most schools and public libraries throughout the state.

To see more detailed descriptions of the proposal, including instructions for providing comments, go to the DEC website. The proposed rulemaking can also be viewed in detail in the May 18, 2011 publication of the New York State Register, which can be found in the right hand column of this page. DEC will be accepting public comments on the proposal through July 5, 2011.


groovy mike's picture

Black bears are thriving in New York

I never understood why the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) closed Washington county to black bear hunting or otherwise mucked up the previously uniform bear hunting season dates across the Southern Zone. As Commissioner Martens said. "Black bears are thriving in New York…” I grew up thinking that any time I was hunting deer I was also looking for black bear. The changes that closed bear hunting for the Southern zone seemed like some sort of misguided aberration to me. There are just as many bear as ever before. So I am glad to see that the Department of Environmental Conservation has come back around to common sense bear management policies. As I’ve said before, hunting (for black bear or any other species) is the only viable and cost effective tool for managing game animal populations. So thumbs up for New York State DEC on this issue. Maybe those budget cuts and the lay offs of so many Department of Environmental Conservation employees (200 plus) was a good thing if it has gotten rid of the folks who were making less than desirable decisions on game management policies and procedures. In any case I will be looking forward to black bear hunting during the regular white tail deer hunting seasons in the southern zones of New York State again. Mike

hunter25's picture

Although I know very little

Although I know very little about the hunting in New York and especially the bear hunting it must be going well if they are opening new areas. I would like to go on a bear hunt someday and if possible not go to Canada to be successful. I have looked at many states from Idaho, Minnesota, and Maine. I will have to check out New York as well now to see what the opportunities really are there.