Wear hunter orange in the tristate woods during big game season

Hunting. Don't be mistaken for wild game. Make sure hunters see you and your dog when you're out in the woods of New York, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania this hunting season.

17 Nov 2019 | 02:51

Don't be mistaken for wild game! Whether you are a hunter or a hiker, it's essential that you wear blaze orange when out in the woods during big game hunting season.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy recommends wearing a fluorescent or "blaze" orange hat and vest (and pack cover if backpacking), or hooded outerwear when hunting or hiking. Your dog should also wear blaze orange visible from all sides and should be leashed at all times.

Below are the dates for big game (whitetail deer and black bear) firearms hunting in the tristate area. Be aware that seasons extend far beyond these dates for hunters of other game, and for archers. So wearing hunter orange in the woods is always a good idea, whether it's winter, spring, or fall.

New York

Rifle hunting for whitetail deer and bear in New York's Southern Zone, which includes Orange County, extends from Saturday, Nov. 16, to through Sunday, Dec. 8.

For more information visit the New York State Department of Conservation website at dec.ny.gov.


On state game lands in Pennsylvania, all hunters and non-hunters are required to wear at least 250 square inches of fluorescent orange material on the head, chest and back combined, or a fluorescent orange hat. The orange material must be visible from all angles (360 degrees).

It is illegal to hunt wildlife on Sundays in Pennsylvania, except for foxes, crows, and coyotes. In Wildlife Management Unit 3D, which includes Pike County, the season for antlered whitetail deer extends from Nov. 30 to Dec. 6. The season for both antlered and antlerless deer is from Dec. 7 to 14.

The black bear season is from Nov. 30 to Dec. 7. Those with a special firearms permit (junior and senior license holders, mentored youth permit holders, disabled person permits, and Pennsylvania residents serving on active duty in U.S. Armed Services or U.S. Coast Guard) may hunt from Dec. 7 to 14.

For more information visit the Pennsylvania Game Commission website at pgc.pa.gov.

New Jersey

In New Jersey, all state lands -- state forests, parks, recreation areas, historic sites, natural areas and wildlife management areas -- were closed to hunting of black bears as of Aug. 30, 2018, and will be remain closed for the 2019-20 season.

The firearm season for whitetail deer extends from Dec. 9 to 14.

Black bear may be taken in only in six hunting zones, all of them in the northern part of the state, including portions of Sussex and Passaic counties. Hunting with firearms is permitted from Dec. 9 to 14, with some extensions allowed through Dec. 21.

For more information visit the New Jersey Department of Fish and Wildlife website at njfishandwildlife.com.

Hunting-related shooting incidents:
The Pennsylvania Game Commission, which has tracked hunting-related shooting incidents back to 1915, says these incidents have declined by nearly 80 percent since hunter education training began in 1959. The commission also attributes this decline to the use of fluorescent orange clothing. There were three hunting-related shooting incidents in Pennsylvania in 2018, compared to 15 in 1980.
New York tallied the lowest number of recorded hunting-related shooting incidents in 2018 and tied the 2016 mark -- 13 -- as the safest on record, with no fatalities, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. In seven of the two-party firearm incidents, the victims involved were not wearing hunter orange.