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Nov. 20 opening for NY Southern Zone deer, bear seasons

From the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation

-- New York's  2010 regular deer season opens at sunrise Nov. 20 in New York's Southern Zone.

The Southern Zone regular deer season is the state's most popular hunting season, with participation from more than 70 percent of New York deer hunters. Harvest during this season accounts for nearly 60 percent of the total statewide deer harvest.

Regular bear hunting season in the southeastern portion of the southern bear range also begins on Nov. 20, while regular bear season in the central western portion of the southern bear range begins Nov. 27.

The seasons close at sunset Dec. 12.  See the 2010-11 New York Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/37136.html for a map illustrating the specific boundaries and season dates for the bear ranges.

Following the regular deer and bear seasons in the Southern Zone, late bowhunting and muzzleloading seasons open at sunrise Dec. 13 and close at sunset Dec. 21. Hunters taking part in these special seasons must possess either bowhunting or muzzleloading privileges.

In the Northern Zone, regular deer and bear hunting season opened Oct. 23 and will close Dec. 5. This zone includes the Adirondack Mountains, Tug Hill Plateau, Eastern Lake Ontario Plain and the Champlain and St. Lawrence Valleys. A late muzzleloading season for deer will open in parts of the Northern Zone from Dec. 6-12.

Hunters should be aware of recent changes for 2010.

Harvest Reporting
Hunters now have up to 7 days to report their harvested deer or bear. Reporting harvested deer or bear is mandatory. Successful hunters may report via DEC's online reporting system or call (866) 426-3778 toll free.

Crossbows
Although a new law was passed to allow use of crossbows for big game hunting in the regular season, the changes do not go into effect until Feb. 1, 2011. Hunters cannot use a crossbow until the 2011-2012 hunting seasons.

Chronic Wasting Disease
With no detections of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) since 2005, DEC has decommissioned the CWD containment area and no longer requires mandatory checking of harvested deer in that area. DEC will continue routine CWD surveillance throughout the state. See CWD Regulations for Hunters at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/8325.html for more information.

Junior Hunters
Junior Hunters 14 and 15 years old can hunt deer and bear with a firearm when accompanied by an adult. See http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/46245.html for program requirements,  and to download the Mentored Youth Hunter and Trapper Permission Form.

Bear Hunters
Successful bear hunters are asked to submit a tooth of their bear to assist DEC with monitoring the bear population. Please visit the DEC website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/45598.html for instructions.

Venison Donation
Hunters are also encouraged to participate in the Venison Donation program. By filling permits and donating deer,  hunters help accomplish the deer management and can feed less fortunate families. More information can be found at http://www.venisondonation.com/ .

Although safety-conscious hunters have significantly reduced the number of firearms-related injuries, studies show those wearing hunter orange clothing are seven times less likely to be injured than hunters who do not wear the bright fluorescent color. Hunters are encouraged to review these and other hunting safety tips  at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9186.html.

For specific descriptions of regulations and open areas, hunters should refer to the 2010-11 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide. available free of charge from all DEC regional wildlife offices, license issuing agents and on the DEC website.

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