This is an announcement from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, published in its entirety:

January 7, 2018 marks opening day for the NYS Department of Environmental Conservations (DEC) special January shotgun season for deer hunting in Suffolk County.

Over the past several years changes have been made to existing laws and regulations expanding opportunity for hunters. These changes have been implemented to help increase recreational deer harvest to better manage increasing deer populations in Suffolk County. Overpopulations of deer have the ability to negatively impact natural habitats along with agricultural, public and private properties, and public health in the forms of automobile/deer collisions and tick-borne diseases. Hunting is DEC’s most effective and efficient known tool to maintain wildlife populations at levels that are compatible with communities and natural resources.

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The regular (bowhunting) season for deer in Suffolk County now runs through January 31. The 2018 firearms deer season in Suffolk County will begin Sunday, January 7 and continue until January 31, including weekends. Town permits are now only required in the Towns of Southampton, Islip and Smithtown.

DEC regulations require that lands eligible for firearms deer hunting must be at least 10 acres in size, and hunters must possess a valid big game hunting license, a signed landowners endorsement, and a town permit where required. Deer may be taken only by:

·         Shotgun, using a single ball or slug;

·         Muzzleloading rifle or pistol, shooting a single projectile having a minimum bore of 0.44 inches.

Shotgun barrels may be rifled, and telescopic sights may be used. Crossbows are not a legal hunting instrument in Suffolk County. Hunters should check with local towns and villages to determine any local restrictions or discharge ordinances.

Hunters who wish to hunt on state-managed lands in Suffolk County will be able to take advantage of the expanded special firearms deer season as well the extended archery season. The following state managed properties will be open for shotgun deer hunting from January 7 – 31:

·         Rocky Point Natural Resources Management Area;

·         Westhampton Dwarf Pine Plains Preserve;

·         Henrys Hollow Pine Barrens State Forest;

·         Barcelona Neck Cooperative Hunting Area;

·         David Sarnoff Cooperative Hunting Area; and

·         Otis Pike Preserve.

·         The East Hampton Cooperative Area and Noyac (part of the Southampton Cooperative Areas) will be open for firearms deer hunting from January 8 – 31; weekdays only.

To hunt for deer on DEC managed lands, during the firearms season, hunters must enter a drawing. Entries must be received at NYSDEC-Deer Drawing, PO Box 659, Ridge NY 11961-0659, by 4:45 p.m., Monday, December 4th, 2017. Entries can also be hand delivered to the Ridge Hunter Check Station by the above date. There are no applications for this drawing. To enter, hunters must send a No. 10 (4 1/8″ x 9 ½”) envelope. This envelope must contain a self-addressed, stamped, No. 10 or No. 9 return envelope. The hunter must write his/her back tag number on the back of the return envelope. Entries submitted in other than No. 10 envelopes, or including other than No. 10 or No. 9 return envelopes will be rejected.

You may only send one entry. Individual who send more than one entry will have all of his or her entries removed from the drawing. Each member of a two-hunter party may send one entry.

Photo: A herd of deer in Southold. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder/The Suffolk Times)