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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.

Bear age and weight data

Hunters who harvest bears in New York are 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). A collection packet including instructions and a postage-paid return envelope will be mailed to each hunter that reports taking a bear. There are many cooperating taxidermists in New York who can extract the requested premolar teeth, weigh bears, and submit the data to DEC on your behalf, so check with your taxidermist. Generally, taxidermists do not use teeth or the lower jaw when preparing mounts or rugs. All successful hunters are still required to report their bear harvest online, via the mobile app, or via the automated phone system.

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.

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 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 2022 NYS Black Bear Cooperator Patch. Samples will be aged in the summer of 2023. Cooperating hunters will receive patches and letters indicating the age of their bear in early fall 2023.

“Living with New York Black Bears”

(Great Outdoors Multimedia 2007).

Take an inside look at the mysterious world of black bears and learn some secrets to sharing the landscape with bears. This video will explore the history of black bears, the challenges that face New York black bear biologists, and how landowners can responsibly and safely share their neighborhood with bears.

Available for viewing or loan from your local library or local DEC Regional Wildlife Office.