I recently learned of a joint proposal to DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis and the Bureau of Wildlife by the New York Bowhunters (NYB) and the New York State Muzzleloaders Association (NYSMLA) that, if adopted by DEC, would change the Southern Zone’s deer hunting seasons and methods to more closely mirror the current ones in the Northern Zone.
Here is the proposal as presented by the two organizations:
1. Open the 23-day regular firearms season on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.
2. Open the early archery season on October 1, ending on the Friday prior to the beginning of the regular firearms season.
3. Allow for a weekend of junior (ages 14 & 15) big game hunting opportunity on the weekend prior to the opening of the regular firearms season.
4. Open a 5-day antlerless-only “primitive**” muzzleloading season on the Monday prior to the beginning of the regular firearms season, ending on the Friday prior to the beginning of the regular firearms season.
The DEC follows a progression of weaponry in the Northern Zone, starting with archery season, muzzleloader season and then progressing into the regular firearms season. The above proposal follows the precedence already set by the DEC.
**Definition of a “primitive” muzzleloader: A rifle or musket with a smooth or rifled barrel loaded through the muzzle and shooting a round patched ball. It will possess a side lock in the form of an external hammer design (serpentine, cock or hammer) that either holds a rope (slow match) or flint or has a hammer that fires a percussion cap. It will also possess a flash pan, touchhole or nipple which is situated on the side, top or bottom of the barrel with sights that are open or peep in design (no optics allowed).