Deer Management

Mohonk Preserve's 2018 Deer Management Program

Registration for 2018 hunting permits is closed. Please check back here in August 2019 to register for 2019 hunting permits or sign up for new hunter information sessions. Thank you for your participation in the 2018 Deer Management Program and have a great season!

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.

2018 Mohonk Preserve Deer Hunting Season Dates and Time Restrictions
October 9th through December 18th (Specific to Mohonk Preserve)

During the first four weeks of our hunting season (October 9th – 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 AM AND from 3:00 PM to sunset (10/9 – 11/2)
Monday - Thursday
from 8:45 AM to 3:00 PM (10/9 – 11/2)

These restrictions DO NOT apply on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays between the dates of October 9th and November 2nd.
The Monday through Thursday time restrictions on hunting are lifted starting on November 3rd. Hunting is allowed every day from sunrise until sunset from November 3rd to December 18th.

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 9th vs. NYS October 1st). You can view deer hunting season dates on the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation website. Mohonk Preserve is located in WMU 3J. 

EARLY BOWHUNTING:  October 9 – November 16

CROSSBOW: November 3rd – November 16th (see date-specific tag regulations outlined below)

  • November 3th through November 16th:  Hunters using crossbows during this season are only permitted to harvest deer using a Bow/Muzzleloader tag, DMPs, or DMAP tag.
  • November 17th through December 9th:  Crossbows are allowed during shotgun/handgun season using a Regular Big Game tag, DMPs, or DMAP tag.
  • December 10th through December 18th:  Hunters using crossbows during this season are permitted to harvest deer using a Bow/Muzzleloader tag, DMPs, DMAP tag or an unfilled Regular Big Game tag.
  • Hunters must possess muzzleloader privileges on their license

For more information on crossbow state regulations as outlined by the Department of Environmental Conservation please click here.
SHOTGUN / HANDGUN (NO RIFLES):  November 17th – December 9th 
MUZZLELOADER / LATE BOWHUNTING:  December 10th - December 18th
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 remember to always keep your dog leashed whenever you visit the Preserve. Blaze orange vests are available for wear at every trailhead.

Thank you for your interest in the Mohonk Preserve Deer Management Program.
Hunting Permit Registration for the 2018 season is closed. 


2018 Hunting Maps
Click the links below to view and download.

Full Map
Detail 1
Detail 2
Detail 3

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 located at either Thruway Mountain Sports or Mohonk Preserve’s Visitor Center. Sessions may be scheduled on the Mohonk Preserve Hunting webpage while applying for your hunting permit. The hunting permit, car parking placard, hunting map, hunting log, and treestand tag will be handed out to registered hunters at each scheduled session. Please bring your New York State hunting license and email confirmation of your Mohonk Preserve hunting permit purchase with you to your scheduled information session.

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. The permit allows deer hunting only. No target shooting, sighting in, or trapping allowed. Hunting permits expire at sunset on the last day of the hunting season.

Hunting Permit Fee: There is a fee to purchase a Mohonk Preserve hunting permit (see website for hunting permit fee details). 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 pervious 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 the Hunting Administrator (contact Front Desk for more 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 and display their car placard on the dashboard of their parked vehicle. 

Parking: Parking is permissible at our designated trailheads, hunter-reserved lots (see hunting map), and Visitor Center. Driving and parking on any carriage roads is prohibited.

Hunting Logs: All hunters must complete and return the hunting log provided with their permit. Click here to download the hunting log. Information on how to return your log is included on your log form. 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.

No Rifles:  Rifles are not permitted on Mohonk Preserve lands. 

No Hunting Zones:  At the center of the Mohonk Preserve property, around the Mohonk Mountain House, is a No Hunting Zone. Other No Hunting Zones are shown on the hunting map in orange. 

Retrieving Your Deer:  Mohonk Preserve carriage roads are closed to all motor vehicles (excluding Mohonk Preserve staff vehicles). A Ranger may assist you in transporting your deer from the carriage road to your vehicle. However, Rangers are not available to assist hunters in transporting their deer from the field to the carriage road. Rangers are constantly patrolling during the first two days of shotgun season and 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 a.m.-5 p.m.

Reporting and Checking Your Deer:  All harvested deer must be reported to a Mohonk Preserve Ranger or the Hunting Program Administrator! Reports can be delivered through phone, email, or by completing and turning in a harvest report form (provided in your hunting packet or click here to download). In addition, 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 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, but a self-check kit will be available at the Spring Farm Barn.

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 hikers, the setback distance from roads, trails and established paths is 150 feet for all hunting implements. 

Roads, Paths and Trails: Do not aim or fire across any road, trail, or established path, and respect the 150 feet setback distance from all roads, trails and paths. 

Camping: 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 Camping and fires are not permitted anywhere on Mohonk Preserve property. 

Treestands: Treestands and blinds are allowed and can be left on Preserve property from the time of hunting permit purchase until stated removal deadline. Treestands and blinds must be removed by January 13th, 2019. Treestands left in place after that date will be confiscated. Treestands and blinds must be tagged with an official Mohonk Preserve hunting treestand tag.

Trail Cameras: Trail cameras are allowed to be placed by adjacent to treestands or blinds. They can be left on Preserve property from the time of hunting permit purchase until stated removal deadline. Cameras must be removed by January 13th, 2019. Cameras left in place after that date will be confiscated. Cameras must not be directed towards a carriage road or hiking trail. Cameras must be tagged with an official Mohonk Preserve hunting camera tag.

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. This also includes using permanent means such as screws to attach hunting equipment to trees.

Please Remember: As the number of visitors to our natural area increases, the need for each individual 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 with you ensure you also take out.
Hunting privileges will be revoked by Mohonk Preserve staff if Mohonk Preserve and state regulations are not strictly obeyed.

For more information on DEC hunting rules and regulations please click here.

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 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, or have it checked by a Ranger, 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.

Banner Photo by Renee Zernitsky