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October 12, 2004

Contact: Ian Michaels (718) 595-6600

Over 32,000 Acres of City Water Supply Lands to Be Open for Deer Hunting Season

Commissioner Christopher O. Ward of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced today that deer hunting on over 32,000 acres of City water supply lands will be available in 2004 by bow, gun and muzzleloader.

This year early bow hunting season will run from October 15 to November 21; regular gun from November 22 to December 14; muzzleloader from December 15 to December 21; and late bow from December 15 through December 19. These dates are concurrent with the New York State deer hunting seasons for the watershed region. In Westchester County , an archery-only area, the season will also be consistent with New York State regulations running from October 15 to December 31.

“There are more than double the number of acres available for hunting this year than there were in 1999, the first year of widespread deer hunting on DEP lands,” said Commissioner Ward. “We have 70 hunting areas in seven counties, including the four reservoir hunting areas that were opened for the first time in 2003. The new areas on the Ashokan, Neversink, Schoharie and Kensico Reservoirs were very successful, and were some of our busiest. We were glad to hear from hunters that they appreciate the opportunity.

“Hunting opportunities have increased in other ways, with expanded scouting times and the introduction of bow-hunting throughout the watershed. We've been making it as straightforward and enjoyable for hunters as we can," he said.

This season DEP is introducing a doe harvest incentive to help control overbrowsing. Overbrowsing by deer can greatly affect forest health by removing seedling trees and other low-growing vegetation, and eventually leads to reduced water quality. Details of the harvest incentive are contained in the 2004 Guide to Deer Hunting that is sent to each hunter with their DEP Hunting Tag.

Over 8,000 hunters are expected to enjoy City lands this year. Applicants for a free DEP Hunting Tag must have a free DEP Access Permit and a New York State hunting license. All New York State laws and additional DEP conditions apply while on City-owned land.

To apply for a DEP Hunting Tag, hunters should send their name, Access Permit number and hunting tag request via e-mail to Applications can also be submitted by regular mail. Hunters who returned their completed 2003 Deer Hunt Surveys by the due date should have automatically received their 2004 Hunting Tag, provided their Access Permits are still valid.

Hunting Tag applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications received after September 31 may not be fulfilled in time for opening day of early bow season. Applications for DEP Access Permits and Hunting Tags are available at DEP Land Management Offices throughout the watershed, DEP offices in Kingston, Queens and Manhattan, at watershed bait and tackle shops and town halls, and on DEP’s Web site at The Web site also has the most up-to-date information on hunting and other water supply recreation opportunities.

Almost 39 percent of hunters returned completed deer hunting surveys in 2003, making them eligible to automatically receive DEP Hunting Tags this year. These surveys provide useful feedback and information that the DEP uses to try to improve its program from year to year.

Proposed changes to the City’s recreation rules would allow hunting by handgun in future deer hunting seasons.


More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

59-17 Junction Boulevard
19th Floor
Flushing, NY 11373

(718) 595-6600