The Department of Environmental Conservation has announced early bear hunting.

In southeastern New York, the early bear season runs from September 7 to September 22 in Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 3A, 3C, 3H, 3J, 3K, 3M, 3P, 3R, 4P, and 4R.

The early bowhunting season for bears will then open in all of the Southern Zone on October 1, followed by the regular firearms season beginning November 16.

In northern New York, the early bear season runs from September 14 to October 18 in WMUs 5A, 5C, 5F, 5G, 5H, 5J, 6C, 6F, 6H, and 6J. Bowhunting season for bears also begins on September 14 in the other Northern Zone units (WMUs 6A, 6G, 6K, and 6N).

Muzzleloader season then opens in all northern WMUs on October 19, followed by the regular firearms season for bears on October 26.

During the early season, bear hunters may use a bow (with appropriate bowhunting eligibility), crossbow, muzzleloader, handgun, shotgun, or rifle (where allowed).

Because of the likelihood of warm weather, bear hunters should be prepared to skin and cool harvested bears as soon as possible to protect the quality of the meat.

Hunters may opt to skin and quarter the bear in the field, then pack out the meat in game bags to a waiting cooler of ice.

More information can be found on the DEC's website.

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