The NYSDEC continues to hear public comments regarding the special deer holiday hunt that will be held in the Southern Zone and is scheduled for December 26, 2021 through January 1, 2022. This …
The NYSDEC continues to hear public comments regarding the special deer holiday hunt that will be held in the Southern Zone and is scheduled for December 26, 2021 through January 1, 2022. This special deer hunt is open to archery (including bows & crossbows) and muzzleloading hunters, giving them the opportunity to fill any remaining deer tags. Hopefully this special deer hunt will help the economy in counties where this hunt is allowed.
DEC said concerns have been raised recently that the hunt could potentially impose a problem on the winter snowmobile season. DEC is giving counties that would like to opt out of the holiday deer hunt until November 14, 2021 to do so. DEC officials also said they have not heard specifically from any county governments, but rather from snowmobile clubs who rely on private landowners to provide trail access.
DEC’s Big Game Unit Leader Jeremy Hurst said, “Through the current comment period we haven’t heard directly from any counties specifically, we had a few counties ask if we have a template law or anything of that nature, but no counties have specially reached out at the moment.”
The DEC regulation states that counties would annually have to pass a local law excluding the county from the hunt. The laws would only be valid for one year from the date it is passed by the county legislature, and it must be renewed by the county legislature annually to remain in effect and beginning in 2022 must be communicated to DEC by May 1 of each year.
The DEC staff maintains that this holiday deer hunt was orchestrated to allow more hunting opportunities and that there was strong support for it. Katie Petronis, DEC’s Deputy Commissioner, Office of Natural Resources said, “Our real goal is to create an additional opportunity for hunting, and in particular this holiday season has an added opportunity for youth hunting. This is an opportunity for families to have more time to hunt together. The public comments were very supportive; the responses were overwhelmingly in support of the hunt. But at the same time, we did hear from some folks who were concerned about snowmobile use and its potential incompatibility during that season.”
DEC has maintained that the hunt would have little affect on snowmobiling at least on a regular basis, and that similar hunts take place in other states where snowmobilers and hunters co-exist.
DEC Chief of Staff Sean Mahar said, “This is about figuring out how we grow the next generation of safe and responsible hunters, and we are looking for every opportunity to address that issue. I think we heard loud and clear from CFAB, the Conservation Council and the hunters out there that New York is a great place to hunt and fish and we need to do a lot more to promote that. This is what we are looking to do. This is part of a broader commitment to growing hunting in the state.”
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