Suffolk County, NY - November 22, 2016 - The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is reminding the public that the special shotgun season for deer hunting in Suffolk County opens Jan. 1, 2017, and the deadline to enter the drawing to hunt on DEC-managed lands is Dec. 5.
Over the past several years, changes have been made to existing laws and regulations to expand hunting in New York, which increases recreational opportunities and helps DEC staff to better manage increasing deer populations in Suffolk County. Overpopulations of deer can negatively impact natural habitats, agricultural areas, public and private property, and public health in the forms of automobile/deer collisions and tick-borne diseases. Hunting is DEC's most effective and efficient tool to maintain wildlife populations at levels compatible with communities and natural resources.
In 2014, new legislation expanded the archery and firearms deer hunting seasons and simplified firearms deer hunting in Suffolk County.
The regular (bowhunting) season for deer in Suffolk County now runs through January 31. The 2017 firearms deer season in Suffolk County begins Sunday, Jan. 1, and continues until January 31, including weekends. Town permits are now only required in the towns of Southampton, Islip, and Smithtown.
DEC regulations require that lands eligible for firearms deer hunting must be at least 10 acres in size, and hunters must possess a valid big game hunting license, a signed landowner's endorsement, and a town permit where required. Deer may be taken only by:
- Shotgun, using a single ball or slug; or
- Muzzleloading rifle or pistol, shooting a single projectile having a minimum bore of 0.44 inches.
Shotgun barrels may be rifled and telescopic sights may be used. Crossbows are not a legal hunting instrument in Suffolk County. Hunters should check with local towns and villages to determine any local restrictions or discharge ordinances.
Hunters who wish to hunt on state-managed lands in Suffolk County will be able to take advantage of the expanded special firearms deer season as well the extended archery season.
The following state-managed properties will be open for shotgun deer hunting from Jan. 2 to Jan. 31:
- Rocky Point Natural Resources Management Area;
- Westhampton Dwarf Pine Plains Preserve;
- Henrys Hollow Pine Barrens State Forest;
- Barcelona Neck Cooperative Hunting Area;
- David Sarnoff Cooperative Hunting Area; and
- Otis Pike Preserve.
- The East Hampton Cooperative Area and Noyac (part of the Southampton Cooperative Areas) will be open for firearms deer hunting from Jan. 2 to Jan. 31; weekdays only.
To hunt for deer on DEC-managed lands in Suffolk County during the firearms season, hunters must enter a drawing. Entries must be received at NYSDEC-Deer Drawing, PO Box 659, Ridge NY 11961-0659, by 4:45 p.m., on Monday, Dec. 5.
Entries can also be hand delivered to the Ridge Hunter Check Station by the above date. There are no applications for this drawing. To enter, hunters must send a No. 10 (4 1/8" x 9 ½") envelope. This envelope must contain a self-addressed, stamped No. 10 or No. 9 return envelope. The hunter must write his/her back tag number on the back of the return envelope. Entries submitted in other than No. 10 or No. 9 return envelopes will be rejected.
Participants may only send one entry. Individuals who send more than one entry will have all of his or her entries removed from the drawing. Each member of a two-hunter party may send one entry.
Drawing entrants will receive a notice telling them when to appear at the Ridge Hunter Check Station to make a reservation to hunt on DEC-managed lands. Reservations will be made Dec.19 to 22.
Hunters looking to archery hunt on state-managed lands during the extended season can hunt at Brookhaven State Park Cooperative Hunting Area, Calverton Pine Barrens State Forest, Carmen's River Pine Barrens State Forest, East Bartlett Conservation Area, Ridge Conservation Area, Wildwood State Park Cooperative Hunting Area, and DEC tidal wetlands that are currently open to archery hunting. All hunters are required to have a DEC-Managed Lands Access Permit to hunt on these properties.
More information on January hunting season can be found on the January Firearms Deer Hunting Season in Suffolk County web page at DEC's website.