Early black bear hunting season starts Sept. 15 in St. Lawrence County
Tuesday, September 11, 2018 - 9:22 am

Early black bear season will be underway Sept. 15 in St. Lawrence County.

In northern New York, the early bear season runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 12 in WMUs 5A, 5C, 5F, 5G, 5H, 5J, 6C, 6F, 6H, and 6J.

Bowhunting season for bears also begins on Sept. 15 in the other Northern Zone units (WMUs 6A, 6G, 6K, and 6N). Muzzleloader season then opens in all Northern Zone WMUs on Oct. 13, followed by the regular firearms season for bears on Oct. 20.

"Late summer is a great time to be afield, with pleasant days and cool evenings," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "By participating in early black bear season, New York hunters play an important role in helping wildlife managers control bear populations."

Bears feed heavily at this time of year, building reserves for the upcoming winter. Bears gorge on wild foods like acorns, beech nuts, berries, and vegetation, and also frequently feed on apples and other agricultural crops like corn. Hunters can increase the odds of finding a bear by keying in on concentrated food sources.

During the early bear season, 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.

DEC uses regulated sport hunting to manage black bear populations at levels that are acceptable to the public. Information about black bear hunting in New York, including season dates regulations, is available at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7857.html.

Also, see DEC's booklet Hunting the Black Bear in New York at http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/wildlife_pdf/bbhunting10.pdf for tips on bear hunting and proper care of harvested bears.