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Deer Management

Mohonk Preserve's 2020 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 has closed for the 2020 season. Please check back in August 2021 for information on the 2021 hunting season. Thank you for your interest in the Deer Management Program.

EHD (Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease), a viral disease that affects white-tailed deer, has been reported in Ulster County in 2020. Please click here for more information from the NYS DEC. Any hunter that observes a sick or dead deer should report to Megan Napoli at

A note to registered hunters: In the extreme circumstance that we need to cancel the 2020 Deer Management Program, a hunting permit fee refund cannot be completed this year. Your paid amount can either be used towards 2021 hunting permit fee or donated to the Preserve. You will be notified immediately should this event take place.

It is very important that all harvest forms and hunting logs are submitted this season! Please submit a harvest form after every harvest and a hunting log when you have concluded hunting for the season. Both harvest forms and hunting logs can be submitted via email or mail. Additional copies of these forms can be found on this page. Failure to submit harvest forms or hunting logs will impact approval for hunting permits in 2021.

We thank all of our hunters for their patience with circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 situation and the continued dedication to the Deer Management Program and Mohonk Preserve. If you have any questions please contact Mohonk Preserve Research Ecologist, Megan Napoli, at

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 Renee Zernitsky