NEW YORK (WWTI) — The decision to keep older deer in the woods is now up to local hunters, according the to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

By not shooting a younger deer, New Yorkers can increase the likelihood of harvesting an older and larger buck. Older bucks will create more rubs and scrapes and are also more challenging to hunt, but will provide more meat.

With many hunters already choosing not to shoot the young bucks, their availability and harvest of older, larger antlered bucks is increasing. To be able to see and take more older bucks, the DEC encourages hunters to work together with neighbors and hunting partners to reduce the harvest of young bucks, improve habitat conditions and make sure there is an adequate harvest of antlerless deer.

In the Northern Zone, deer hunting will open for early bowhunting on September 27, crossbow hunting on October 13, regular hunting on October 23 and late bowhunting on December 6. The Southern Zone will open for early bowhunting on October 1, crossbow hunting on November 6, regular hunting on November 20 and late bowhunting on December 13.

More deer hunting resources and guidelines for New Yorkers can be found on the DEC website.