The special shotgun season for deer hunting in Suffolk County starts January 3, 2016. Hunters must enter a drawing by November 30 to hunt for deer on Department of Environmental Conservation–managed lands.
“Hunting on Long Island has been a long-standing tradition, enabling hunters to harvest food for their families as well as control deer population numbers that, if left unchecked, can be damaging to people’s health and property,” said DEC Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos. “DEC’s recent updated deer hunting regulations in Suffolk County further allow hunters to control these populations by expanding access to properties and increasing the number of hunting days. We are excited for these new opportunities and wish all hunters a safe and successful season.”
Over the past several years, changes have been made to existing laws and regulations expanding opportunity for hunters. These changes have been implemented to help increase recreational deer harvests to better manage increasing deer populations in Suffolk County. Overpopulations of deer have the ability to negatively impact natural habitats along with agricultural, public and private properties, according to the DEC. Public health can also be affected in the forms of automobile/deer collisions and tick-borne diseases. Hunting is DEC’s most effective and efficient known tool to maintain wildlife populations at levels that are compatible with communities and natural resources.
In 2014, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation expanding the use of archery and firearms deer hunting seasons in Suffolk County. The regular (bowhunting) season for deer in Suffolk County now runs through January 31. The 2016 firearms deer season in Suffolk County will begin Sunday, Jan. 3 and continue until Sunday, January 31, including weekends. Town permits are now only required in the towns of Southampton, Islip and Smithtown.
DEC regulations require that lands eligible for firearms deer hunting must be at least 10 acres in size, and hunters must possess a valid big game hunting license, a signed landowner’s endorsement and a town permit where required.
Deer may be taken only by a shotgun, using a single ball or slug, or a muzzleloading rifle or pistol shooting a single projectile with a minimum bore of 0.44 inches.
Shotgun barrels may be rifled and telescopic sights may be used. Crossbows are not a legal hunting instrument in Suffolk County. Hunters should check with local towns and villages to determine any local restrictions or discharge ordinances.
Hunters who wish to hunt on state-managed lands in Suffolk County will be able to take advantage of the expanded special firearms deer season as well the extended archery season. The following state managed properties will be open for shotgun deer hunting from Jan. 3 to Jan. 31:
· Westhampton Dwarf Pine Plains Preserve
· Otis Pike Preserve, Calverton
· Rocky Point Natural Resources Management Area
· Henrys Hollow Pine Barrens State Forest
· Barcelona Neck Cooperative Hunting Area
· David Sarnoff Cooperative Hunting Area
The East Hampton Cooperative Area and Noyac (part of the Southampton Cooperative Areas) will be open for firearms deer hunting from January 4–31, weekdays only.
To hunt for deer on DEC-managed lands during the firearms season, hunters must enter a drawing. Entries must be received at NYSDEC-Deer Drawing, PO Box 659, Ridge, NY 11961-0659, by 4:45 p.m., Monday, Nov. 30. Entries can also be hand delivered to the Ridge Hunter Check Station by that date. There are no applications for this drawing. To enter, hunters must send a No. 10 (4 1/8″ x 9 ½”) envelope. This envelope must contain a self-addressed, stamped, No. 10 or No. 9 return envelope. The hunter must write his/her back tag number on the back of the return envelope. Entries submitted in anything other than No. 10 or No. 9 return envelopes will be rejected.
Hunters may only send one entry. Individuals who send more than one entry will have all of his or her entries removed from the drawing. Each member of a two-hunter party may send one entry.
Drawing entrants will receive a notice telling them when to appear at the Ridge Hunter Check Station to make a reservation to hunt on DEC-managed lands. Reservations will be made December 14–17.
Hunters looking to archery hunt on state-managed lands during the extended season can hunt at Brookhaven State Park Cooperative Hunting Area, Calverton Pine Barrens State Forest, Carmen’s River Pine Barrens State Forest, East Bartlett Conservation Area, Ridge Conservation Area, Wildwood State Park Cooperative Hunting Area and DEC tidal wetlands that are currently open to archery hunting. All hunters are required to have a DEC-Managed Lands Access Permit to hunt on these properties.