New York's early bear-hunting season starts Saturday

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An American black bear sits in a tree. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service file)

New York State officials announced the start of the early bear-hunting season.

"Early black bear hunting seasons are an important tool for managers to control and maintain healthy bear populations," Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos. "Bears are feeding heavily this time of year, gorging on wild nuts and berries and corn in the field if they can find it."

The early bear season runs from September 10 to 25 in specific wildlife areas in southeastern New York. The early bow hunting season for bears opens in the entire Southern Zone on October 1, followed by the regular firearms season on November 19.

The early bear season in parts of northern New York runs from September 17 to October 14. Bow hunting season for bears also begins September 17. Muzzleloader season opens October 15. The regular firearms season for bears starts October 22.

The Department of Environmental Conservation is suggesting that hunters be prepared to skin the bears in the field because of warmer weather during the early season. "Hunters may opt to skin and quarter the bear in the field, then pack out the meat in game bags to a waiting cooler of ice," the DEC said.

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