Deer hunting at the Mohonk Preserve
The Preserve allows deer hunting during the New York State bowhunting, regular, and muzzleloader seasons (mid-October through mid-December), with some restrictions on locations, days, and times. Every fall, hunting applications, guidelines, and a hunting map are available on this website and at the Preserve Visitor Center. Notices are also posted at trailheads.
2012 Mohonk Preserve Deer Hunting Dates
Archery: October 13th – November 16th with the following restrictions: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, October 16th – November 1st, bow hunting allowed only from sunrise to 8:45am and 3pm to sunset.
Regular (no rifles): November 17th – December 9th.
Bow/Muzzleloader: December 10th – December 18th.
Please note the following changes to the 2012 Mohonk Preserve hunting season.
- In 2012 we will be transitioning our hunting program into a volunteer-based deer management program. Hunting permits will be free of charge, however, all hunters must maintain and submit the hunting log provided with their permit and check any harvested deer with a ranger.
- A cap on the total number of hunters has been implemented in 2012. In subsequent years, hunters who harvest a deer will be given higher priority for a permit for the next year. Other hunters will be issued permits on a first-come, first-served basis.
All other recreational activities are still allowed at the Preserve during hunting season. You may want to wear blaze orange while hiking, and remember to always keep your dog leashed whenever you visit the Preserve.
How does hunting help the Preserve?
To fulfill our mission of protecting the Shawangunks, the Preserve must manage land and natural resources. Behind this problem lies the growing abundance and concentrated presence of deer. Reasons behind this trend include the historic elimination of predators (like wolves and cougars), increasingly mild winters, and development that creates lawns, gardens, and wooded edges that provide deer with plentiful food and habitat.
In our forests, deer are heavy consumers of saplings and other vegetation, and many areas are simply not regenerating. At high risk are native plants like orchids and wildflowers, food sources of many animals, and critical nesting areas for birds like ruffed grouse, wood thrush, and warblers.
Deer hunting is widely recognized throughout the Northeast as a useful tool for maintaining healthy forests that can regenerate and support diverse plants and animals. The Preserve’s hunting and deer management policies are based on conservation goals and rooted in science, including more than 80 years of research on the nature of the Shawangunks.
Our program follows both New York State and our own permitting and safety regulations. Hunters are required to bring their deer to check stations, allowing researchers to collect information (for example age and sex) so that we can monitor and help ensure the herd’s health over time. This is one of the research activities underway at the Preserve to understand and address the role of deer in the environment.