Are you looking for the best hunting land in New York? Make the most of hunting season. Discover the best places to go hunting in NY!
It’s that time of year again. And, if you’re an avid outdoorsman, chances are that when you hear these words, you know exactly what time of year we’re talking about.
It’s hunting season, folks.
Hunters look forward to the first sign of fall all year long. And, when the temps start to drop, it signifies the start of the season that they love best.
While plenty of states across America offer unique hunting opportunities, hunting in NY is hard to beat. In fact, it was listed as the very best state for deer hunting in 2018.
Along with deer, New York is home to the oft-hunted black bear, as well as the quail, fox, wild turkey, various species of rabbit, and many other favorited prey.
You can also find less common animals in the state if you’re lucky. One example of this is the exotic sika deer, a species that was first spotted roaming a Long Island reserve several years ago. Officials encouraged killing the sika deer, fearing that it could infect New York’s deer population with a dangerous disease.
If you’re a hunter who’s on the prowl, read on for a list of the best hunting grounds in New York!
Hunting in NY: Why Outdoorsmen Flock to the Empire State in the Fall
There are a lot of reasons that people choose to come to New York, either to live or to visit. The so-called “Empire State” is well-known for its’ big city hustle and bustle. But, the “Big Apple” isn’t the only draw luring visitors from miles around.
Every fall, you’ll see a spike in the number of tourists flocking to New York. Sure, many are here to do their holiday shopping, take in Times Square, or catch a glimpse of the world-famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. But, others come to New York strictly for the thrill of the hunt.
New York offers a hunting experience that few states can rival. With an extended season, a huge variety of animal species, and many breeds rarely seen in other common hunting states, you’re sure to create memories you’ll never forget.
But before you take out across New York’s northern hills and valleys, you need to know the can’t-miss spots on every avid hunter’s list.
The Best Hunting Grounds in New York
Before you hit the trails hunting, it’s important that you check out the state’s hunting rules and regulations regarding different species. For example, you can hunt squirrel in New York as early as September the first. But, if you want to go after bear, deer, or turkey, you’ll have to wait until October before you can use a firearm.
There are a few additional things you’ll want to consider to ensure an optimal hunting experience. New York is filled with all kinds of game, birds, and reptiles. But the largest populations of each species isn’t located in one centralized area.
If you want to hunt a certain type of animal, it’s best if you choose areas where you’re most likely to spot your prey.
Hunters new to New York should certainly find the information below helpful. But, since hunting typically follows the herd, even the most experienced New York hunters will find our updated list of the best NY hunting grounds to be helpful.
Without further ado, here are the best places to hunt in New York in 2019!
- Best Place for Hunting Deer: Jerusalem, Yates County
Over 1,000 deer were taken from the town of Jerusalem in 2016.
New York’s deer population is going strong. And, hunters here have a good chance of spotting some of the states’ white-tailed deer.
As most expert hunters know, deer produce meat that’s similar to beef. And, when it’s cooked to perfection, it can serve as a beef substitute in practically any recipe and be just as tasty.
Plus, the white-tailed buck is an unparalleled beauty. Many hunting New Yorkers have posed with their first kill aside one of these popular forest creatures.
- Best Town to Hunt Black Bear: Wawarsing, Ulster County
Both residents and non-residents are only allowed one bear per season. And, there are many rules specific to bear-hunting that hunters should be aware of.
You aren’t allowed to take a bear from its den, or from a group of bears, or take any bear that resembles a cub in its appearance. Also, hunters are not allowed to bait their prey, and they must report their harvest through the DECALS reporting system.
Hunters are asked to send in a premolar tooth or a portion of the bear’s lower jaw. You can contact the DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation) or your local taxidermist for information on extracting and submitting a bear’s tooth or jaw.
The early bear season begins in September in certain regions of New York, with the regular season extending into December in many areas.
Experts estimate as many as 8,000 bears live across the state of New York. But, they are also known to be the most challenging of native big game mammals. And, due to an upswing in negative interactions with humans, New York allows the hunting of bear to control their population.
In 2018, there were reportedly 1,285 bears taken from the state by hunters. This number represents 125 fewer bears than were taken from New York the year before.
While bear hunting takes place across the state, the town of Wawarsing in Ulster County was responsible for providing hunters with the most harvests. The number of bears taken from Warwarsing totaled 27 in all. The neighboring town of Rochester, also in Ulster County, came in place for third with 25 total bears that were taken from the area.
- Best Spot For Hunting Snow Geese & Turkey: Fort Drum Military Base, Jefferson County
If you prefer hunting prey of the winged variety, you’ll have a heyday collecting wild snow geese and turkey on the Fort Drum Military Base in Jefferson County. This land is open to both members of the military and civilians alike.
In the spring, hunters can take home a gaggle of snow geese. While those searching for larger fowl are encouraged to check out the wild turkey you’ll find roaming here.
Located on a vast 69,000 acres, Fort Drum Military Base is an outdoor lover’s paradise. The site is known for its outdoor recreational activities which include hunting, fishing, trapping, camping, and berry-picking.
If you’re a hunter who enjoys spending time in the great outdoors, or if you want to take your family along with you for the hunt, Fort Drum Military Base has something for everyone to enjoy.
- New York State Parks
Many of New York’s state parks allow hunting. And, since much of the best hunting land in the state is privatized, these public lands are a welcomed treat for hunters of all ages.
Before you visit, be sure to check out the park’s specific rules for hunting. Some of the hunting-approved parks will only allow the use of bows or muzzleloaders. Others, however, allow hunters to bring along personal firearms on their excursions.
If you’re in need of some ammunition, Elftmann Tactical offers a wide selection of firearm parts and accessories for hunters.
- New York’s Public Wildlife Refuges
Another popular public option for hunters is the state’s wildlife refuges, including:
- Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge
- Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge
- Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge
Deer hunting is allowed on the lands listed above during the archery season, as well as throughout the regular season. Typically, hunters should have a permit to hunt these areas. And, be mindful that wildlife refuges may have their own controlled hunting mandates, even when not otherwise specified outside of these areas.
- Adirondack Mountain Region
Of course, no list of New York’s favorite hunting hot spots can ever truly be complete without mentioning the spectacular Adirondack mountain region, with its dome of 46 mountains hovering around 4,000 feet each. This beautiful landscape also boasts the sparkling waters of Lake Placid and Lake George.
Whether you come to hunt, or simply want to experience some of Mother Nature’s most extraordinary views, the Adirondack’s offer unforgettable scenery for everyone who visits.
Hike, hunt, or take advantage of the regions’ year-round calendar of family-friendly events.
The Adirondack region is filled with wildlife, but it’s the area’s white-tailed deer that take center stage.
Looking For More Great Places to See & Things to Do in New York?
Hunting in NY is just one of the many things that New Yorkers look forward to each fall. But there’s plenty more to see and do in the Empire State during the autumn season.
New York offers a diverse mix of events, attractions, and experiences for the whole family.
To find out more about what’s happening in New York this fall, check out our website for everything you need to know!