Hunting

Deer hunting at Mohonk Preserve

Deer hunting occurs on the Preserve through a volunteer-based deer management program. Each fall, hunters who have previously cooperated by returning a hunting log and properly reporting their deer are invited to participate another season. Invitations to reapply are sent to these hunters in late August and must be returned by a September 15th deadline. Permits, observation logs, maps, and guidelines will then be mailed to each returning hunter.

On October 1st, Mohonk Preserve hunting permit applications will be accepted from the general public on a first come, first served basis. Anyone, applying for a permit must apply in-person at the Preserve Visitor Center (3197 Route 44/55, Gardiner NY 12525) and bring with them a clear, legible copy of their valid NYS hunting license. Anyone applying for a permit must be in possession of a valid NYS hunting license. Registration begins at 9am on October 1, 2014 and ends when all available permits are distributed. A notice will be posted on the website and at the Visitor Center once permits are no longer available. 

The following forms are available as printable PDFs: hunting application, hunting guidelines, and hunting map.

2014 Mohonk Preserve Deer Hunting Season Dates and Time Restrictions (Specific to Mohonk Preserve)

  • Archery Season: October 14th through November 14th with restrictions.
    Archery Restrictions: October 14th through November 7th. On Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays HUNTING IS ALLOWED from sunrise to 8:45am AND 3pm to sunset.  NO HUNTING from 8:45am to 3pm. 
  • Shotgun Season (no rifles): November 15th through December 7th.
  • Archery/Muzzleloader Season: December 8th through December 16th.

PLEASE NOTE: Hunting on Mohonk Preserve via crossbow is legal. Hunters must follow state regulations as outlined by the Department of Environmental Conservation. Click here for more information and to view the state regulations.

  • Crossbow Season: November 1st through December 16th (see tag and time restrictions outlined below)
    • November 1st through November 14th (hunters must possess muzzloader privileges on their license): Hunters using crossbows during this season are only permitted to harvest deer using Bow/Muzzleloader/DMP/DMAP tags. Archery Season restrictions for allowable hunting times apply November 1st through November 7th.
    • November 15th through December 7th: Crossbows are allowed during shotgun/handgun season using Reg. Big Game/DMP/DMAP tags.
    • December 8th through December 16th (hunters must possess muzzloader privileges on their license): Hunters using crossbows during this season are permitted to harvest deer using Bow/Muzzloader/DMP/DMAP/Reg. Big Game tags.

All other recreational activities are still allowed at the Preserve during hunting season. Recreationists are encouraged to wear blaze orange while hiking, and remember to always keep your dog leashed whenever you visit the Preserve.

How does hunting help the Preserve?

To fulfill our mission of protecting the Shawangunks, the Preserve must manage land and natural resources. Behind this problem lies the growing abundance and concentrated presence of deer. Reasons behind this trend include the historic elimination of predators (like wolves and cougars), increasingly mild winters, and development that creates lawns, gardens, and wooded edges that provide deer with plentiful food and habitat.

In our forests, deer are heavy consumers of saplings and other vegetation, and many areas 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 nature of the Shawangunks.

Our program follows both New York State and our own permitting and safety regulations. Hunters are required to bring their deer to check stations, allowing researchers to collect information (for example age and sex) so that we can monitor and help ensure the herd’s health over time. This is one of the research activities underway at the Preserve to understand and address the role of deer in the environment.