Holiday Deer Hunt opt-out proposed for counties

NYS DEC
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said that the proposed regulation addresses concerns expressed by some local leaders about a holiday hunt interfering with snowmobiling opportunities in their communities. "Snowmobiling and small game hunting have safely coexisted for decades, and I encourage all interested stakeholders to share comments on the proposed regulation that would let counties ‘opt out’ of the holiday hunt before the deadline on Nov. 14,” said Seggos.

DEC proposes regulation allowing counties to opt-out of Holiday Deer Hunt. Public comments on proposed regulation accepted through Nov. 14.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has proposed a regulation that, if adopted, would allow counties to opt out of the recently established end-of-year deer hunt, slated to occur annually between Dec. 26 and Jan. 1. The ‘holiday hunt’ is an extension of the late bow and muzzleloader deer season in New York’s Southern Zone. 

“DEC adopted the holiday deer hunt earlier this year, providing hunters with new opportunities to venture afield when families and friends are gathered for the holidays and students are home on school break,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “Today’s proposed regulation addresses concerns expressed by some local leaders about a holiday hunt interfering with snowmobiling opportunities in their communities. Snowmobiling and small game hunting have safely coexisted for decades, and I encourage all interested stakeholders to share comments on the proposed regulation that would let counties ‘opt out’ of the holiday hunt before the deadline on Nov. 14.” 

DEC encourages counties to work cooperatively with snowmobile organizations, landowners, and hunters to share the snow. The proposed regulation was designed to address concerns raised by some communities and stakeholders that landowners might choose to prevent snowmobile access to trail networks that cross private land during the holiday deer hunt, limiting opportunities for snowmobilers during the last week of December. Historically, snow cover deep enough to support snowmobiling is present only occasionally, and in certain locations, in the southern zone during the holiday period. 

Regular & bowhunting deer seasons.

If the proposed regulation is adopted, Southern Zone counties that choose to prohibit hunters from participating in the holiday deer hunt in their county must annually adopt a local law specifying exclusion from the Dec. 26 to Jan. 1 portion of the late bow and muzzleloader season. For this year, counties that pass such a local law will need to send a copy of their adopted law to DEC before Dec. 25. In future years, counties that withdraw must send a copy of their adopted law to DEC by May 1 of each year to allow publication in DEC’s annual hunting and trapping regulations booklet. 

Counties that do not wish to opt out need not take such action. Details of the proposal are published in the Sept. 15 issue of the NYS Register and on DEC’s website at: https://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/34113.html#Part_111hh. 

DEC invites public comment on the proposal through Nov. 14, 2021. Comments may be submitted by email or in writing to: Wildlife Regulations, NYSDEC Bureau of Wildlife, 625 Broadway, 5th Floor, Albany, NY 12233-4754.