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Ithaca, New York Gets Special Deer Hunting Season

Since there’s a special kind of population problem, Ithaca, New York employs a special deer hunting season.

For most of us around the country, deer-hunting season is a mere memory. We’ve moved on from long days spent out in the woods to long hours of cleaning up our gear, putting everything in storage, and filling out our state-required hunting surveys.

But for those who reside in an around Ithaca, New York, deer season isn’t over yet, as reported on On the contrary, Ithaca is enjoying a bit of a reprieve from the quick passing of the autumn deer season, with a specialized hunting season open in the area until the end of January.

Established as a part of the Deer Management Focus Area (DMFA) program in 2012, the January hunting season is designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to help curb the Ithaca area’s striking overabundance of deer. Thanks to the DMFA program, hunters in Ithaca can now keep their deer pursuits going through the entire month of January, all with the legal approval of New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation at their backs. Consider it a slightly belated Christmas gift for Ithaca deer hunters.

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Of course, the special bonus deer season has its own set of rules and regulations that hunters must adhere to. The DMFA program establishes a 60,000-acre area where hunters are allowed to pursue and kill deer with both bows and firearms. The sprawling acreage encompasses the town of Ithaca and numerous nearby villages – including Cayuga Heights, which is notorious for its recent deer overpopulation struggles.

The bonus hunting season is run entirely through the DMFA, so hunters interested in participating must register with the program. There, hunters can also download a DMFA permit, as well as carcass tags and a hunter activity log. On the DMFA website, hunters can also view maps of allowed hunting areas and learn other information about the program.

Once they are registered, hunters can get out into the field and start hunting deer. The bag limits are incredibly open-ended, allowing hunters to shoot a pair of antlerless deer each and every day of the limited hunting season. Weapons used for hunting can range from shotguns to muzzleloaders to bows and even to handguns. After the DMFA hunting season closes on January 31st, hunters have a week until their hunting log is due on February 7th. Hunters must record all of their bonus hunting season information on the log, including their hunting spots, their harvests, and other activity. The activity log must be submitted to New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation

However, while the DMFA January hunting season in Ithaca seems to be governed by many of its own rules, hunters are still bound to follow the laws and ordinances of the state of New York and of the local towns and cities included within the 60,000 acre hunting territory. For instance, since Cayuga Heights has an ordinance that prohibits the discharge of a weapon within city limits, hunters are required to steer mostly clear of the village – even though it is within the territory map and even though the town could use some aggressive deer culling to temper the overpopulation of its herds.

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Ithaca, New York Gets Special Deer Hunting Season