Hunting News

Early muzzleloader deer season starts Oct. 15

Early muzzleloader deer season starts Oct. 15

By New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation

Early muzzleloader season in the Northern Zone begins Oct. 15 and continues through Oct. 21. Only antlered deer may be taken during muzzleloader season in WMUs 6A, 6F, 6J and 6N.

Because the 2015-16 winter was exceptionally mild, hunters are expecting to see more deer this fall.

The season is especially popular among Northern Zone deer hunters who take more deer during muzzleloader opening weekend than during any other two-day period, including firearms season opening weekend.

Rules for early muzzleloader season have reduced antlerless harvest in two WMAs for the 2016 early muzzleloader season, and hunters in WMUs 6F and 6J are prohibited from taking antlerless deer.

Much like current rules for WMUs 6A and 6N, the change is intended to increase does survival and stimulate modest population growth, particularly following such a mild winter.

Hunters must purchase the muzzleloader hunting privilege in addition to their hunting license.

During the early muzzleloader, hunters may use their bow/muzz either-sex tag, bow/muzz antlerless-only tag, Deer Management Permit in WMUs 6C, 6G, 6H, and 6K, or property-specific Deer Management Assistance Program tags.

However, during the early muzzleloader season in WMUs 6A, 6F, 6J and 6N, hunters may only use their bow/muzz either-sex tag and may only take antlered deer.

For a map depicting WMUs and muzzleloader hunting season dates and rules, click here.

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