DEC proposes opt-out option for holiday deer hunt

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NEW YORK (WWTI) — Counties may soon have the option to opt out of the New York State holiday deer hunt.

On Wednesday, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos released a proposed regulation that if adopted, would allow counties to opt-out of the end-of-year deer hunt. This hunt was recently established and was slated to occur annually between December 26 and January 1.

“DEC adopted the holiday deer hunt earlier this year, providing hunters with new opportunities to venture afield when families and friends are gathered for the holidays and students are home on school break,” Commissioner Seggos said in a press release. “Today’s proposed regulation addresses concerns expressed by some local leaders about a holiday hunt interfering with snowmobiling opportunities in their communities.”

Although the DEC said it continues to encourage counties to work cooperatively with snowmobile organizations, landowners and hunters, the proposed regulation was designed to address concerns raised by some communities. These concerns stated that landowners might choose to prevent snowmobile access to trail networks during the holiday hunt.

If the proposed regulation is adopted, Southern Zone counties that opt-out of the holiday deer hunt must annually adopt a local law specifying exclusion from the December 26 to January 1 portion of the late bow and muzzleloader season.

In 2021, counties that pass such a law are required to send a copy of their adopted law to the DEC before December 25. Counties that do not wish to opt out need not take such action.

Public comments on the proposed regulations can be submitted through November 14, 2021. Comments may be submitted by email or in writing.

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