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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.

Due to staff limitations resulting from the situation surrounding COVID-19, we are sorry to say that we will not be able to open registration for 2020 Deer Management Program hunting permits at this time. The application window closed for 2020 permits on July 31st. Hunters who have applied will be notified of their application status soon. Thank you for your interest in the Deer Management Program.

Please Note: submitting an application does not guarantee you a hunting permit.

Eligibility for a 2020 permit will be determined by:

  • Years involved with Deer Management Program (familiarity with both Mohonk Preserve land and rules/regulations).
  • Previous effort spent hunting during season (hours/days).
  • Previous harvest success rate.
  • Proven consistency with submission of hunting logs and harvest forms.

By deciding to apply, you must understand and agree to the following stipulations:

  • Potential assignment of a hunting zone (may not be the same zone all season.
  • Willingness to commit a strong effort (days/hours) to hunting in 2020.
  • Available and responsive to direct communication with Mohonk Preserve staff (phone, text, email).
  • Must report to Mohonk Preserve staff when you are on the Preserve and where you are hunting
  • Must respect new parking arrangements (accessibility to trailhead parking lots).
  • The understanding that if extenuating circumstances should occur, there is the possibility of canceling the hunting season completely thus invalidating all hunting permits.

If your application is approved, a Mohonk Preserve staff member will contact you no later than August 3rd. At that time the 2020 hunting season rules and regulations will be discussed and a permit will be mailed to you. We will continue to assess our ability to expand the 2020 program over the next few months. In the event we are able to expand the 2020 hunting season, or open the season as usual, registration will be opened first to all returning hunters, and then to new hunters (if possible). We understand that these are unprecedented changes to the Deer Management Program and we sincerely hope that we can open registration before or during the 2020 hunting season. We thank all of our hunters for 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


During the first three weeks of our hunting season (October 13th – October 29th), 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 (10/13 – 10/29)
Monday - Thursday
Between 8:45 AM to 3:00 PM (10/13 – 10/29)

These restrictions DO NOT apply on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays between the dates of October 13th and October 29th.

The Monday through Thursday time restrictions on hunting are lifted starting on Monday, November 2nd. Hunting is allowed every day from sunrise until sunset from November 2nd to December 22nd.

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 13th vs. NYS October 1st). You can view deer hunting season dates on the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation website

EARLY BOWHUNTING:  October 13 – November 20

CROSSBOW: November 7 – November 20

For more information on crossbow state regulations as outlined by the Department of Environmental Conservation please click here.
SHOTGUN / HANDGUN (NO RIFLES):  November 21 – December 13
MUZZLELOADER / LATE BOWHUNTING:  December 14 – December 22

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 keep your dogs on a leash. Blaze orange vests are available for wear at every trailhead.

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