Mohonk Preserve’s 2023 Deer Management Program
Deer hunting occurs on the Preserve as part of our Deer Management Program. Hunters play a critical role in helping to mitigate the impacts of deer overbrowsing on the unique forests of the Shawangunk Mountains.
Hunting permit registration will open on Friday, August 25th. Registration for hunting permits will close on Monday, November 20th. Permit registration requests after November 20th will not be accepted so, please register during the allotted time.
It is very important that all harvest forms and hunting logs are submitted! Please submit a harvest form within 48 hours after every harvest and a hunting log when you have concluded hunting for the season. The hunting log submission deadline is Friday, January 26th, 2024. Both harvest forms and hunting logs can be submitted via email or mail. Additional copies of these forms can be downloaded from this page. Failure to submit harvest forms or hunting logs will impact approval for hunting permits in 2024.
There are IMPORTANT CHANGES to the Hunting Program this year.
Please click here to read these changes
Zone 13 – Bow Only Special Regulations
All hunters in Zone 13 must comply with all NYSDEC rules and regulations related to hunting in New York state in addition to the following:
- Zone 13 is archery only. Firearms are not permitted in Zone 13. There is no exception for tracking wounded deer. Call a ranger for assistance.
- Zone 13 No Access areas marked on the map include: NYSDEP land, Mohonk Mountain House land and trails/carriage roads, leased agricultural fields, and areas around private residences/offices. Do not leave public roads or Preserve trails in these areas for any reason.
- Driving on carriage roads is not permitted.
- Failure to comply with these rules will result immediate removal from the Mohonk Deer Management Program and loss of hunting privileges. NYCDEP may issue tickets for trespassing on Aqueduct land.
If you are a Returning Hunter (and have attended an Information Session since 2016) please click here to register for your hunting permit.
If you are either new to the program or have not attended an Information Session since 2016 you will need to sign-up for the virtual Information Session this year. The virtual Information Session will be held on Thursday, September 14th, at 5:30 pm. After you register a Zoom meeting invite will be emailed to you. Please click here to sign-up for the Zoom Information Session and register for your hunting permit.
We thank our hunters for their continued dedication to the Deer Management Program and Mohonk Preserve. If you have any questions please contact Deer Management Program administration at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A note to registered hunters: In the extreme circumstance that we need to cancel the 2023 Deer Management Program, a hunting permit fee refund cannot be completed. Your paid amount can either be used towards 2024 hunting permit fee or donated to the Preserve. You will be notified immediately should this event take place.
Mohonk Preserve’s 2023 Hunting Season
Dates and Time Restrictions
(Specific to Mohonk Preserve)
October 10th through January 1st (No hunting in Southern Zone December 20th – 25th)
During the first four weeks of our hunting season (October 10th – November 2nd), Mohonk Preserve has time restrictions placed on hunting hours Monday through Thursday due to the presence of education groups on the Preserve. Please regard these hunting time restrictions below.
Monday – Thursday
From sunrise to 8:45 a.m. AND from 3:00 p.m. to sunset (10/10– 11/02)
NO HUNTING ALLOWED:
Monday – Thursday
Between 8:45 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (10/10 – 11/02)
These restrictions DO NOT apply on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays between the dates of October 10th and November 5th.
The Monday through Thursday time restrictions on hunting are lifted starting on Monday, November 6th. Hunting is allowed every day from sunrise until sunset from November 6th to January 1st with the exception of the NYS Southern Zone blocked out dates of December 20th – December 25th.
Mohonk Preserve Hunting Seasons
Mohonk Preserve follows the same season dates as New York State’s Southern Zone with the exception of a later opening day (October 10th vs. NYS October 1st). You can view deer hunting season dates on the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation website.
EARLY BOWHUNTING: October 10 – November 17
CROSSBOW: November 4 – November 17
For more information on crossbow state regulations as outlined by the Department of Environmental Conservation please visit: https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/68802.html
SHOTGUN / HANDGUN (NO RIFLES): November 18 – December 10
MUZZLELOADER / LATE BOWHUNTING: December 11 – 19 & December 26 – January 1. (No hunting from December 20 – December 25)
PLEASE NOTE: All other recreational activities are still allowed at the Preserve during hunting season. Recreationists are encouraged to wear blaze orange while hiking and reminded to always stay on trail keep your dogs on a leash. Blaze orange vests are available for wear at every trailhead.
Mohonk Preserve’s 2023 Hunting Regulations
All New York State hunting laws, rules, and regulations apply to Mohonk Preserve lands. In addition, we require the following:
Mandatory Hunting Information Session: Hunters new to the Mohonk Preserve hunting program are required to attend one, 1-hour mandatory hunting information session via Zoom. Sessions are scheduled on the Mohonk Preserve Deer Management Program webpage (https://www.mohonkpreserve.org/what-we-do/conservation-science/hunting.html) when registering for your hunting permit. The hunting permit, car parking placard and treestand/trail camera tags will be mailed to registered hunters after they attend the information session. All paper forms (hunting observation logs, harvest forms, and maps) are available for download or pick up at the Visitor Center.
Hunting Permit: Hunting is permitted only with a purchased Mohonk Preserve permit and a current New York State hunting license. To purchase your hunting permit please visit the Mohonk Preserve Hunting webpage (https://www.mohonkpreserve.org/what-we-do/conservation-science/hunting.html). The permit allows deer hunting only. No target shooting, sighting in, or trapping allowed. Though hunting concludes on the last day of the season your hunting permit allows you to visit the Preserve until the expiration of the second Sunday in January. This granted time after the hunting season allows hunters sufficient time to remove all equipment (treestands, trail cameras, blinds) from Preserve land.
Hunting Permit Fee: There is a fee to purchase a Mohonk Preserve hunting permit; $40 for non-members or $25 for current Mohonk Preserve yearly members. There are ways to reduce your permit fee through both harvesting antlerless deer and volunteering personal time assisting in deer management research. For each antlerless deer harvested the previous season a hunter will receive $5 off the Mohonk Preserve permit fee for the current season. Volunteer opportunities are determined on an as-needed basis by Deer Management Program administration (contact email@example.com for opportunity information).
Display of Hunting Permit: Mohonk Preserve property is patrolled by our Rangers. To aid in identification, hunters are required to prominently display their Mohonk Preserve permit on their person.
Parking: Parking is available at our designated trailheads, hunter-reserved lots (see hunting map), and Visitor Center. When parking, hunters are required to display their car placard on the dashboard of their parked vehicle. Driving and parking on any carriage roads is prohibited.
Reporting and Checking Your Deer: All harvested deer must be reported to Deer Management Program administration within 48 hours of harvest. A harvest form is available for download on the Mohonk Preserve Deer Management Program webpage. Harvest forms can be returned by mail or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). By law, you must also report your deer to the NYS DEC. If you would like to age or weigh your deer, you may check your deer with a Preserve Ranger by calling the Visitor Center at 845-255-0919. Visitor Center hours are 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. It is not guaranteed that a Ranger will always be available to check your deer.
Hunting Logs: All hunters must complete and return the hunting log at the conclusion of the season, deadline for submission is Friday, January 26th, 2024. A hunting log is available for download on the Mohonk Preserve Deer Management Program webpage. Logs can be returned by mail or email (email@example.com). By returning your hunting log you will be eligible to be entered in the DMAP tag lottery drawing which takes place before the season commences. Failure to submit harvest forms or hunting logs will impact approval for hunting permits in 2024.
No Rifles: Rifles are not permitted on Mohonk Preserve lands.
No Hunting Zones: There is absolutely no hunting allowed on Mohonk Mountain House property. The Mohonk Mountain House property is located in the center of the Mohonk Preserve land and is shown on the hunting map in purple. There is no public hunting on the Mohonk Preserve’s Foothills and Gateway land parcels. No Hunting Zones for the Preserve are shown on the hunting map in orange.
No Access Zones: No off-trail travel for any reason is allowed in marked no-access areas. These areas include the NYCDEP Aqueduct, agricultural lease fields and residences/offices.
Retrieving Your Deer: Mohonk Preserve carriage roads are closed to all motor vehicles (excluding Mohonk Preserve staff vehicles). A Ranger may assist you in hauling out your deer. Rangers are constantly patrolling on weekends; at other times patrol is sporadic. Therefore, during the week if you need assistance bringing your deer out, stay with your deer at a carriage road and call the Visitor Center with your information at 845-255-0919. Visitor Center hours are 9 am – 5 pm.
Setback Distances: Setback distances from dwellings and buildings in use are 150 feet for vertical bows, 250 feet for crossbows and 500 feet for firearms. To ensure the safety of our recreationists, the setback distance from roads and trails is always 150 feet. When actively hunting or setting up equipment, be sure to be at least 150 feet away from any carriage road or trail. The 150-foot setback distance is represented by an orange border around roads and trails on the hunting map.
Carriage Roads and Hiking Trails: Do not aim or fire across any road or trail and respect the 150-foot setback distance.
Equipment: Treestands, blinds, and trail cameras are allowed and can be left on Preserve property from the time of hunting permit purchase until stated removal deadline. Equipment must be removed by Sunday, January 14th, 2024. Equipment left in place after that date will be confiscated. Equipment must be tagged with an official Mohonk Preserve hunting equipment tag. You can register for an equipment tag when completing your hunting permit registration online.
No Land Modification: Land modification of any kind is prohibited on Mohonk Preserve land. This includes removal of any vegetation (trees, shrubs, herbaceous plants), trenching, digging, and blazing on trees. This also includes using permanent means, such as screws, to attach hunting equipment to trees.
Camping and Lodging: There are several campgrounds, motels, and hotels in the region, including the Samuel F. Pryor III Shawangunk Gateway Campground on Route 299 in Gardiner. The campground is open through mid-November. For more information and to book your campsite, visit https://www.mohonkpreserve.org/visit/camping. Camping and fires are not permitted anywhere on Mohonk Preserve property. For more information on lodging options in the area please visit https://www.mohonkpreserve.org/visit/area-guide/.
Please Remember: As the number of visitors to our natural area increases, the need for everyone to be a conscientious steward of the land also increases. In particular, we remind you that litter, such as shell-cases and field dressing gloves, remain in nature for years and bring discredit to reputable hunters. Please follow the “carry-in, carry-out” policy; what you bring into the forest ensure that you also take out.
Hunting privileges will be revoked by Mohonk Preserve staff if Mohonk Preserve and NYS regulations are not strictly obeyed. For more information on NYS DEC hunting rules and regulations please visit: https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/8305.html
Any questions regarding the Mohonk Preserve’s Deer Management Program can be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How does hunting help the Preserve?
To fulfill our mission of protecting the biodiversity of the Shawangunks, the Preserve must manage our unique habitats and natural resources. Long-term deer overbrowsing has had destructive consequences for the forests of the Shawangunks. Deer populations have grown due to a number of factors, including increasingly mild winters and development that creates lawns, gardens, and wooded edges that provide deer with plentiful food and habitat. Additionally, there is a lack of natural predators (like mountain lions and wolves) to check the deer population.
In our forests, deer are heavy consumers of saplings and other vegetation, and many areas of forest 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 ecology of the Shawangunks.
Our program follows both New York State and our own permitting and safety regulations. Hunters are required to report their deer harvest and submit hunting logs, allowing researchers to collect information (for example age and sex) so that we can monitor and help maintain the delicate balance between forest health and deer populations over time. This is one of the research activities underway at the Preserve to understand and address the role of deer in the environment.
Banner photo by David Johnson