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DEC urges enthusiasts to share woods safely

Posted 11/16/22

As the Southern Zone regular big game season begins Saturday, Nov. 19, in much of the southern part of New York.

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DEC urges enthusiasts to share woods safely



— As the Southern Zone regular big game season begins Saturday, Nov. 19, in much of the southern part of New York, the state Department of Environmental Conservation is encouraging outdoor enthusiasts to respectfully share the woods and follow common-sense safety precautions.

“With most public land across New York State open to multiple forms of recreation, from hiking and nature photography to hunting and trapping, visitors should be cautious, courteous, and responsible when sharing the woods to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience,” said Basil Seggos, DEC commissioner. “DEC encourages all visitors to review the safety guidelines for hunting and recreating in the woods before going afield and respectfully sharing the outdoors with others.”

DEC requires big game hunters using a firearm to wear hunter orange or pink and encourages non-hunters to wear blaze orange, blaze pink, or another bright color during fall and winter months to be seen more easily and from greater distances. In addition, wearing bright colors makes it easier for forest rangers, environmental conservation police officers, and other rescue personnel to find lost, sick, or injured people afield.

Pet owners are also encouraged to affix a bright colored vest or scarf on their dogs and keep pets leashed at all times.

Trapping seasons for many species are open throughout the fall and early winter. Although rare, traps set for furbearers like raccoons and coyotes can also capture dogs that are not under control. Trapping is a highly regulated activity and regulations are strongly enforced. Trappers are required to take an educational course before getting a license and DEC works closely with the trapping community to minimize risks to non-target wildlife and domestic animals.

Hunting is among the most popular forms of wildlife recreation in the state, drawing an estimated 600,000 New Yorkers afield each year, the DEC said, adding that hunting is safe and economically important, helping to manage wildlife populations and promote family traditions, while fostering an understanding and respect for the environment.

Hikers should be aware that they may encounter hunters bearing firearms or archery equipment on trails. Hunters should likewise recognize that they may encounter hikers and others enjoying the outdoors.

Hunters can minimize the potential for disturbance by and to other forms of recreation by following a few tips. Before a season opens, when hunters are scouting for the perfect spot or stand location, take the time to check if the planned location is popular. Avoiding locations that crowd other hunters or are near a sought-out hiking spot can improve both the hunting and recreational experience. If a preferred hunting spot is too crowded, identify an alternative location ahead of time.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation offers many places to hunt.

For more information, visit the New York State Parks website at


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