Bow hunting Information
Important Note: A new regulation has been adopted to refocus hunter effort toward antlerless deer in select WMUs by making part of the early bowhunting season and all of the late bow and muzzleloader season valid for antlerless deer only. See the maps below and New Antlerless Hunting Rules for 2015 for details and more information.
The following are a summary of hunting laws and regulations for big game hunters. For complete reference consult the New York State Environmental Conservation Law and Volume 6 of the Codes, Rules and Regulations of the State of New York.
Big game hunting hours are sunrise to sunset. Sunday hunting is allowed in all areas of New York. There are some local exceptions. Check the area that you hunt carefully. For hunting on state parks, confirm regulations with the park before hunting.
Legally Antlered Deer
A legally antlered deer must have at least one antler that is three inches or longer measured from the base of the burr. Special regulations apply in the Antler Restriction area.
"Early" and "Late" Seasons for Deer and Bear
When you see the term "early" muzzleloader or archery season, it means before the regular deer season for that particular zone. "Late" means after the regular deer season for that zone.
Resident and Nonresident hunters may take one bear by gun or bow each license year.
In the Southern Zone, you may not shoot a cub or a bear that should be known to be a cub, shoot any bear from a group of bears, or shoot or take a bear from its den.
The number of deer a hunter may take depends upon the licenses and privileges purchased. Here is a description of the tags received with each license type. Refer to the chart below for a description of how each tag can be used.
If you purchase:
- Hunting License -
- You will receive a Regular Season Deer Tag.
- Muzzleloading OR Bowhunting Privilege*-
- You will receive a Bow/Mz Season Either Sex Deer Tag.
- Muzzleloading AND Bowhunting Privilege*-
- You will receive one Bow/Mz Season Either Sex Deer Tag and one Bow/Mz Season Antlerless Deer Tag, both of which may be used in either season.
* A hunting license must be purchased to be eligible for Bowhunting and Muzzleloading Privileges.
If you purchase:
- Nonresident Hunting License-
- Nonresident Muzzleloading OR Nonresident Bowhunting*-
- Nonresident Muzzleloading AND Nonresident Bowhunting*-
Deer Tag Types and Privileges
|Tag Type||Valid For||Can be used during|
|Regular Season Deer Tag||Antlered Deer only
|Bow/Mz Season Either Sex Deer Tag||Antlered or Antlerless Deer
Cannot be used for Antlerless deer during muzzleloading seasons in certain Northern Zone WMUs that are for Antlered Deer only
Bowhunting OR Muzzleloading seasons only (including the regular season in Westchester County and any season in Suffolk County), corresponding to the privileges purchased.
Junior Bowhunters may use the Bow/Mz Either Sex tag during the Bowhunting and Regular Seasons.
|Bow/Mz Season Antlerless Deer Tag||Antlerless Deer Only
Cannot be used during muzzleloading seasons in certain Northern Zone WMUs that are for Antlered Deer only
Bowhunting OR Muzzleloading seasons only (including the regular season in Westchester County and any season in Suffolk County), corresponding to the privileges purchased,
Junior Bowhunters may use the Bow/Mz Antlerless Only tag during the Bowhunting and Regular Seasons.
|Deer Management Permit||Antlerless Deer Only
Valid only for the WMU specified on the DMP
|Valid during all deer hunting seasons (with appropriate privileges).|
Hunters may apply for Deer Management Permits (DMPs) at all license issuing outlets, by phone, by mail or via the internet when you purchase your hunting license (see Buy A Sporting License for license issuance information) by October 1. For more information on DMPs see our Deer Management Permit Page. DMPs are the only hunting tag that is transferrable from one hunter to another. Hunters can receive and use up to two transferred DMPs in addition to any DMPs they were originally issued. See Consignment of DMPs for details.
It is unlawful to:
- Take big game while the deer or bear is in water.
- Possess a firearm of any description when bowhunting or when accompanying a person bowhunting during special archery seasons.
- Make, set or use a salt lick on land inhabited by deer or bear.
It is unlawful to hunt big game with:
- A firearm or bow aided by any artificial light or a laser that projects a beam toward the target.
- An autoloading firearm with a capacity of more than 6 shells (one which requires that the trigger be pulled separately for each shot), except an autoloading pistol with a barrel length of less than 8 inches.
- A firearm using rimfire ammunition.
- A shotgun of less than 20 gauge or any shotgun loaded with shells other than those carrying a single projectile.
- A bow with a draw weight of 35 lbs or less.
- Arrows with barbed broadheads; arrowheads less than 7/8 inches at the widest point or with less than 2 sharp cutting edges.
- Aircraft of any kind.
Deer and bear are in legal possession only when tagged with the appropriate portion of the hunting license, deer management permit or other license provided for that purpose.
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How can you find more information about bow hunting deer?
One can find information about bow hunting deer from a number of different resources online. One can find instructional videos for deer bow hunting on YouTube. One can also find information on deer bow hunting on websites such as Instructables, HubPages, and Deer & Deer Hunting.
What is the best bow for hunting.
The top 3 bows are Bowtech Guardian, Diamond Black Ice, and PSE X-Force. Have more questions? Ask
Where can one find information on compound bows suitable for archery rather than for hunting
The Compound Archery Store is a site that will give you the information you need to make a decision on a compound archery bow. They have a large selection to choose from along with any parts you might need to maintain your bow.