Hunter safety changes made ahead of season start

New York News

(NEWS10) — This past weekend marked the start of big game hunting in New York, and with that, some major changes have been put into effect as hunters make their way into the woods.

Look for hunters to start earlier and finish later, and everyone wearing orange or pink.

“We have recently adopted several hunting changes that will affect how, predominately, big game hunters hunt this fall,” NYS DEC Big Game Unit Leader Jeremy Hurst said.

With the fall and winter 2021 hunting seasons kicking off in the month of September, the Department of Environmental Conservation is adapting to the times and making a few modifications to their current regulations.

“Historically, hunters had to wait to start until sunrise and had to end their day at sunset.  Now, sunrise and sunset don’t exactly correspond to the period when daylight is, and so now, we have changed the rules to allow hunters to begin deer and bear hunting 30 minutes before sunrise and extend 30 minutes until after sunset,” Hurst explained.

And for those looking to venture out this year into the woods, Hurst said certain zoned areas throughout the state will also be able to start their season at an earlier date than previous years.

“Areas where our traditional approaches to harvesting antlerless deer has not been fully effective for population management, and so this is a nine-day season to allow hunters to take antlerless deer at a time when they traditionally they haven’t been able to hunt deer,” he said.

According to Hurst, New York state saw an increase of close to 10 percent in the number of licensed hunters from the year 2020. And with more people taking up the sport following the lack of activities during the coronavirus pandemic, the DEC is also making some alterations to a hunter’s wardrobe to keep anyone who may be in the woods as safe as possible.

“Whenever hunting with a firearm, big game hunters in New York are going to be required to wear fluorescent orange or fluorescent pink, and this is a safety matter,” Hurst urged. “It still allows hunters to be camouflaged from deer but to be seen by each other.”

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