Well over a 500,000 big game hunting permits are issued by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation each year. NYS hunting licenses cost $22 for residents from 16 - 69 years old. A non-resident license costs $100. Hunters can purchase additional privileges, like bowhunting, muzzleloading or turkey permits for between $10 and $15. However, most that purchase those permits are going for big game and that starts on Saturday and there are some new rules you need to know before you get out there.

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First, you know the old saying, "the early bird gets the worm." Well, this year the hunting day got longer. According to Debbie Schecter of the Poughkeepsie Journal, "Saturday morning at one-half hour before sunrise some 600,000 licensed big game hunters will be eligible to slip quietly into the woods to participate in New York’s Big Game Hunting Season. A change to hunting regulations this year allows hunters to start before sunrise and to remain in the woods until a half-hour after sunset. The old “sunrise to sunset” law has been retired. Bear in mind that forest canopy and weather conditions could limit sight distance during the extra half-hour of hunting time. Be careful, be cautious and make sure of your target."

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New Environmental Conservation Law that many hunters have been calling for to avoid deadly accidents requires hunters to now wear fluorescent orange or fluorescent pink. According to Schecter the new statute reads:
Any person hunting deer or bear with a firearm or a person who is accompanying someone hunting deer or bear with a firearm shall wear:
*a minimum total of 250 square inches of solid fluorescent orange or fluorescent pink material worn above the waist and visible from all directions; or
*a minimum total of 250 square inches of patterned fluorescent orange or fluorescent pink consisting of no less than 50% fluorescent orange or fluorescent pink worn above the waist and visible from all directions; or
*a hat or cap with no less than 50% of the exterior consisting of solid fluorescent orange or fluorescent pink material and visible from all directions.

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What to wear and the hunting times are not the only changes this year. According to dec.ny.gov, the complete list of official new Deer and Bear Hunting Opportunities and Requirements for 2021 are:
1. Antlerless-only deer season in mid-September (9/11 - 9/19/2021) using firearms, crossbows, and vertical bows in WMUs 3M, 3R, 8A, 8F, 8G, 8J, 8N, 9A, and 9F, and using only vertical bows in WMUs 1C, 3S, 4J, and 8C. DMPs and DMAP tags only.
2. Daily hunting hours for deer and bear are extended to 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset. See the sunrise-sunset table on the last page of the annual Hunting & Trapping Regulations Guide.
3. Hunters must wear a fluorescent orange or fluorescent pink hat or vest when hunting deer or bear with a firearm.
4. Antlerless harvest allowed again during the early muzzleloader season in Northern Zone WMUs 6A, 6F, 6J.
5. Bear season in the Adirondacks is simplified by extending the regular season to cover the full hunting period.
6. 12 and 13-year old hunters may hunt deer with a firearm or crossbow in counties that passed a local law to participate in the opportunity. See Junior Big Game Hunting for a map of participating counties.
7. Holiday Deer Hunt is an extension of the late bow and muzzleloader season from December 26 - January 1 in the Southern Zone.

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Please be safe out there and be sure of your targets. It is easy to get tired sitting in a tree stand or just walking the woods. Be alert and enjoy an awesome hunting season.

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