Hunting seasons are about to begin, and for many families throughout the Hudson Valley, it is an annual tradition and a rite of passage for the younger members of the family. Early bear hunting season began on Saturday, September 8.

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, bears are quite active this time of year as they are foraging for food, building reserves for the upcoming winter. Foods they are searching out include acorns, berries, corn, apples as well as other vegetation. These are key places to find bears as the hunting season begins,

The early bear season runs from September 8 through September 23 in Southeastern New York while it runs September 15 through October 12 in Northern New York. During this season, hunters may use a bow, as long as they are eligible to do so, crossbow, muzzleloader, handgun, shotgun, or rifle (where allowed).

Due to the potential for high heat, as we have seen the past few days, hunters need to be prepared to properly handle the bears to protect the quality of the meat. The Department of Environmental Conservation uses these hunting seasons to keep black bear populations at a manageable level, one that is acceptable to the public.

With the start of another hunting season in New York, the DEC encourages everyone to remember gun safety; Point guns in a safe direction, treat every gun as if it were loaded, be sure of the target and beyond, keep the finger off the trigger until ready to shoot, and remember to wear Hunter Orange.

Happy, and safe hunting