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Starting September 10, hunters in WMUs 3A, 3C, 3H, 3J, 3K, 3M, 3P, 3R, 4P, and 4R can hunt black bear. This season runs thru September 25. Meanwhile, in the Northern zone, bear hunting starts runs September 17 through October 14 in WMUs 5A, 5C, 5F, 5G, 5H, 5J, 6C, 6F, 6H, and 6J. 


These early seasons allow hunters to take bear using bow, crossbow, muzzleloader, handgun, shotgun, or rifle where allowed. Be sure you have purchased the appropriate hunting privileges for the implement you intend to use.

Due to the likelihood of warm weather, DEC recommends that bear hunters be prepared to skin and cool harvested bears as soon as possible to protect the quality of the meat. DEC allows hunters to skin and quarter the bear in the field, then pack out the meat in game bags to a waiting cooler of ice.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos also provided some advise for increased success saying, "Early black bear hunting seasons are an important tool for managers to control and maintain healthy bear populations.Bears are feeding heavily this time of year, gorging on wild nuts and berries and corn in the field if they can find it. Hunters can increase the odds of finding a bear by keying in on concentrated natural food sources."

For a full list of dates, implements, and WMUs . be sure to visit the DEC website. Be warned, a PHD may be required to make sense of it all.

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