Deer Hunting in New York

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  • B
  • 1,000,000

    Est. Whitetail Population

  • 550,000

    No. Licenses Sold Annually

  • $47

    A license is $22. A deer permit is $10. A bowhunting permit is $15. A muzzleloading permit is $15.

    Resident hunting license and deer permit

  • $140 and up

    A license is $100. A deer permit is $10. A bowhunting permit is $30. A muzzleloading permit is $30.

    Non-resident hunting license and deer permit

  • 198 3/8"

    Taken by Roosevelt Luckey in Allegany County in 1939, ranked No. 31 of all time.

    Record B&C Typical Stat

  • 97

    Total B&C Typical Entries

  • 244 2/8"

    Taken by Homer Boylan in Allegany County in 1939. It ranks No. 171 of all time.

    Record B&C Non-Typical Stat

  • 33

    Record B&C Non-Typical Entries

Season Dates (2020):

Hunting seasons vary greatly by deer management zone. Please check the New York DNR website to confirm deer season dates.

The Grade: B

After a scientific decision-making process determined that mandatory antler-point restrictions weren't popular, they initiated a campaign for hunters to voluntarily let young bucks walk. Interestingly, it seems to be working. (It wasn't that hunters necessarily wanted to shoot little deer. It was just that they didn't want to be told they couldn't.)

Over 30 percent of both typical and non-typical entries into the B&C record book for the state have been entered in the past 10 years. Big deer aren’t all from one area of the state, either. These latest entries have been submitted from just about every area of New York.

Tags are easy to come by and relatively inexpensive, too, and public land is plentiful, particularly in the northern timber. Hunters across the state are reporting healthy deer populations. Harvest numbers should be particularly good this fall.

While chronic wasting disease (CWD) isn’t widespread here, yet, it is located in the heart of the state. In 2019, the department prohibited the importation of whole carcasses of deer, elk, moose, and caribou into New York to help decrease the spread.

All things considered, New York pulls in a strong B. It's a fine deer hunting destination.

Antler Nation Knowledge:

New York has an estimated 1 million whitetails, and it is hard not to include it as a top deer destination. Add in the varied habitats, from suburbs to rolling farmland, to true wilderness timber up north, and there is an area for just about any preferred hunting method. If you're looking strictly for numbers, the east central part of the state holds as many as 100 deer per square mile, which is nearly 10 times what biologists would like to see.

Historically, the best counties for record-book whitetails include Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Monroe, Niagara, Ontario, Orleans, Steuben, Tompkins, Wayne, and Wyoming counties. Even Orange, Suffolk and Westchester counties (over in the crowded corner of the state) are pretty good, too.

This state offers nearly 4 million acres of public land to roam on. The Adirondack Mountains in northern New York, and the Catskill Mountains in southeastern New York, both offer thousands of square miles of wilderness hunting. For hunters seeking to maximize their success, the highest harvest densities routinely occur throughout the western Finger Lakes Region. Really good opportunities also exist in suburban areas throughout the state. Hunters seeking the greatest prospects for big deer should look to the Lake Ontario Plains of western New York.

For hunters seeking to extend their time afield, deer season runs through the end of December in Westchester County (bowhunting only) and through January in Suffolk County.

New York Harvests

  • Mike Nordberg

    Chenango County, New York

  • Mike Nordberg

    Chenango County, New York

From the Realtree Trophy Den