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New York



Bear Hunting

Bear Hunting

  • Resident and non-resident hunters can receive a bear carcass tag with their hunting license and may take one bear per year.
  • In the Southern Zone, hunters may not shoot a cub or a bear that should be known to be a cub, shoot any bear from a group of bears, or shoot or take a bear from its den.
  • Hunters may use and carry up to 1.5 fluid ounces of a liquid scent or lure, though such scent or lure may not be placed in a manner that it may be consumed as bait.
  • Hunting bear with the aid of bait or dogs is prohibited.

New York State Bear Management Cooperator Program

The Bureau of Wildlife is requesting the assistance of successful black bear hunters in New York State.

Hunters who harvest a bear in New York are required to report their harvest through the DECALS telephone system at 1-866-426-3778 (1-866-GAMERPT), via the mobile app, or use the new online Harvest Reporting System at Successful bear hunters are also asked to submit a premolar tooth or part of the lower jaw of the bear for DEC to determine the bear’s age and to record the dressed weight of the bear (see for more information). Successful bear hunters will be sent a tooth collection packet with premolar removal and submission instructions. Hunters may be contacted by a DEC wildlife biologist to examine your bear and extract a premolar tooth for aging.

Report your bear and return a bear tooth to receive a commemorative 2023 NYS Black Bear Cooperator Patch. Samples will be aged in the summer of 2024. Cooperating hunters will receive patches and letters indicating the age of their bear in early fall 2024.

New York State Black Bear Management Cooperator Patch

*See map on Big Game Boundary Descriptions/Legal Implements for information on legal implements during the early and regular bear seasons.

Attention Bear Hunters and Taxidermists

Bear gallbladders and bile shall not be possessed or sold unless a valid bear tag (original or copy of bear carcass tag) is attached. New York State law requires taxidermists to keep records of all bear gallbladders and bile received or sold.

Become BearWise

In 2022, DEC became a cooperating partner of BearWise®, a multi-state campaign focused on educating people on how to live responsibly with black bears. The campaign provides sound information and smart solutions that help homeowners, businesses and communities coexist with black bears. Visit to learn the BearWise basics, bear safety tips, and to download educational resources. Become NYS BearWise to help keep New York State’s black bears healthy and safe.