Cornell Deer Hunting Program
Cornell Plantations staff are now managing the deer hunting reservation system (see hunting information) for lands near campus. A hunter may harvest any legal deer during an open season. However, we still strongly encourage harvesting antlerless deer first. Any hunter who takes an antlerless deer in the previous year, will receive VIP status for the current year. VIP status allows a hunter to reserve a site online 7 days prior to the hunting date, rather than the usual 3 days. If a hunter kills a buck prior to harvesting an antlerless deer, then the hunter has 2 years to take an antlerless deer on Cornell lands. If the hunter fails to do so, he or she will lose future Cornell hunting privileges for one or more years.
This program requires that each hunter must have a unique e-mail address to use the online system. After reviewing the Cornell University hunting program regulations, all hunters must complete a brief online test. When you pass the test, you will be directed to the hunter application form. As in past years, Cornell University Police will conduct a background check on all hunter applicants.
Hunting applications for the 2015 season closed on October 15. We are no longer accepting hunting applications online.
All hunters are required to reserve hunting sites online. There are maps and descriptions for each site available within the reservation system. A hunting report must be completed for each hunting reservation, whether you hunt or not. Otherwise, you will not be able to make future hunting reservations. If your plans change, and you can’t use an existing hunting reservation, please remove your name so another hunter may use that location.
Crossbows are legal and may be used in archery-only zones when appropriate. Click here for state restrictions.
Discharge distances from occupied dwellings have been reduced to 150 feet for archery equipment and 250 feet for crossbows. Our maps within the hunting reservation system will be updated to reflect these changes.
NY State is blessed with a healthy and productive deer herd. White-tailed deer are revered by sportsmen and non-hunters for a variety of reasons. Through the 1900’s, NY’s deer herd rebounded from perhaps 20,000 to over 1,000,000. This remarkable recovery is due to wise management and improved habitat conditions. The total statewide deer harvest has more than doubled over the past 20 years. Unfortunately, in some parts of the state, the deer population has created health and economic concerns. Visit the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) website for more information: http://www.dec.ny.gov/.
DEC Bureau of Wildlife is responsible for maintaining deer population levels compatible with the carrying capacity of the habitat and human interests. Historically, management has been primarily focused on optimizing the reproductive capacity of the state’s deer herd through hunting regulations that restrict the harvest of does, while permitting more liberal harvest of bucks. Consequently, the sex ratio is skewed in favor of does and relatively few bucks live past 1.5 years of age.
Prime deer habitat in the Southern Tier, consisting of agriculture and forest/brush cover, supports population densities greater than 40 deer per square mile in some locations. Hunting, as under current regulations, may soon no longer be adequate to control deer populations as hunter numbers decrease and more land becomes inaccessible to hunting. In other northeastern states with similar histories, the explosive growth of the deer herd has resulted in unstable deer herds and significant damage to habitat and forest health.
Deer Management Focus Area
Hunters that wish to participate in the NYSDEC Deer Management Focus Area Program (DMFA) on Cornell properties within the DMFA zone must also possess a Cornell Deer Management Program PERMIT. Note that a DEC-issued DMFA Permit is NOT a Cornell-issued PERMIT. Hunters without a Cornell issued permit will be prosecuted. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has announced the continuation of the Deer Management Focus Area (DMFA) for 60,000 acres surrounding Ithaca. This program was established in central Tompkins County to intensify use of hunting to assist communities with the burden of overabundant deer populations. The DMFA program is established to reduce total deer populations within the focus area by providing more time and more tags to hunters who can gain access to huntable land. Hunters who register to participate in the focus area program may legally harvest two antlerless deer per day during the regular season and during a special January 10 through January 31, 2015 DMFA season. Click here to REGISTER for the Deer Management Focus Area.
Small game and deer hunting will continue to be legal at the Arnot Forest and on some campus lands. For an Arnot Forest hunting permit, contact Diana Bryant at email@example.com. Small game hunting is NOT permitted on lands managed by Cornell Plantations.
The Arnot Forest (4,075 acres) is owned by Cornell University and managed by Cornell’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR). As part of NY’s Land Grant Education Institution, DNR is responsible for fulfilling the mission of conducting research, teaching, and delivering extension programs on issues of importance to the citizens of NYS. Forest management is a significant issue as nearly two-thirds of NY’s land is covered by forests. The DNR uses the Arnot Forest as a research base and demonstration forest from which to develop innovative programs for the citizens of the state.One of the primary management goals at the Arnot is the production and harvest of high-quality, high-value sawtimber. Unfortunately, similar to the situation across much of NY’s Southern Tier, the deer population at the Arnot has been too high to allow sufficient natural regeneration despite proper sawtimber management. In an effort to resolve this problem and gain valuable experience that may be applied elsewhere in the state, we have recently initiated studies designed to assess the impact deer are having on tree regeneration at the Forest. A critical component of this research is implementation of a deer hunting system that will reduce the overall deer population. As in most areas of the state, sport hunting is still the most effective manner by which to control deer populations. Sport hunting has been, and continues to be, totally compatible with the philosophy of multiple-use management at the Forest.
The Arnot Forest is mostly woodlands off Schuyler County Route 13 in the Towns of Van Etten (Schuyler County) and Newfield (Tompkins County). Shotguns, muzzleloaders, and archery implements (no rifles) can be used in this area during the appropriate Southern Zone deer seasons. Access is only provided through the south gate. There is a maximum of 99 hunting slots open during any legal time at this site. Contact Don Schaufler (firstname.lastname@example.org, 607-589-6076) to obtain DMAP doe tags for use on this property.