Outdoor Journal: Antler-less deer hunting season coming to Tompkins County

Ed Noonan's weekly outdoor column

Attention deer hunters. NYSDEC recently announced there will be an antler-less deer hunting season opening in the Deer Management Focus Area (DMFA) in Tompkins County Jan. 11-31.

Licensed hunters have to register with the DMFA program and download permit carcass tags and hunting activity logs. Registered hunters may take up to two antler-less deer per day using any hunting implement that is legal during any other deer season at the site where they are hunting. 

The DMFA 60,000-acres has an overabundance of deer, which has become a problem.

The 60,000-acre focus area includes the city and town of Ithaca, the villages of Cayuga Heights and Lansing and parts of the towns of Danby, Caroline, Dryden, Lansing, Enfield, Newfield and Ulysses.

An official map and a legal description of the area is posted on the DEC’s website at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/82382.html to assist hunters who want to hunt in the DMFA.

This program will provide better management of the deer population in an area with extremely high-deer densities and limited hunting-related management tools.

With the permit will come carcass tags issued by the department. Both the DMFA permit and carcass tags must be carried while hunting in the DMFA. The permit and carcass tags are valid only within the DMFA. Hunters must submit a hunting activity log and report all deer harvested in the DMFA no later than seven days following the close of the DMFA season. The procedures for reporting a harvested deer are described on the DMFA permit.


On Dec. 3, ECOs Jason Smith and Lucas Palmateer charged three men at the Ashokan Reservoir after finding their hidden 35 smallmouth bass attached to a stringer they had hidden on the shoreline.

Two of them had live tanks in their vehicles registered to a retail fish market in New York City. They were also charged with failing to wear personal-flotation devices and trespassing. Also, one didn’t have a fishing license. It was an expensive fishing outing for the trio who had to pay $2,425 in total fines, and the DEC revoked access passes and boat permits for all of them.


My friend Ed Skorupski of Stillwater has put the boat away and will continue to fish on the ice.

His first trip this year was to Carter’s Pond in Greenwich, which had six inches of ice, and there were also four other ice fishermen there. He walked about 200 yards, poked a hole and dropped in his transducer into 10 feet of water. His bait choice was an orange tear-drop, which he called a miniature monster. They were biting, and he caught 10 to 15. No fish dinner that night, but he had fun.

The next day, he was out on his favorite lake, Saratoga, and was happy to see there was another angler 100 yards out. He didn’t waste any time filling his sled with his gear.

Using his GPS, he found his spot where all he caught were two small bluegills and one chub. I know he was not discouraged and knew that he will hook up with them shortly. When he got home, his buddy sent photos of a nice crappie and big crappie; his buddy said he would take him to the spot, but he had to wear a blindfold out and back.


Here is some very good advice from the DEC for those of you who will be ice fishing.

Rule No. 1 is before stepping on the ice, be cautious and make sure the ice is thick enough for walking and fishing. Stay away from moving water and around boat docks and houses where they have bubblers that reduce ice from forming. You can test the ice with an auger/spud bar.

If you are catching fish, especially with kids, send me all the information on what the kids and you caught, their full names, age and city where you live.

Contact Ed Noonan at [email protected].

Categories: Sports

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