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HUNTING IN THE CANTONMENT AREA

The Cantonment Area is that portion of Fort Drum south of Rte. 26 (the area generally between Routes 26, 11, 3, and 342 behind the fence where the buildings are located). Approximately one-third of the Cantonment Area is open for archery hunting only for deer, bear, and turkey during their respective seasons beginning September 27.

Hunting in the Cantonment Area is restricted to those persons possessing one of the following:

  1. Military I.D.
  2. Military Dependent or Family Member I.D.
  3. Retired Military I.D.
  4. Civilian Department of Defense I.D. CAC Card
  5. Contract personnel with a Department of Defense I.D. CAC Card. This is not the same as a Rapid Gate Pass.

Hunting and other recreational use of Fort Drum is in accordance with New York State Hunting Laws and Fort Drum Regulation 420-3 Hunting, Fishing, & Other Outdoor Recreation (unofficial version updated 1 Aug 2017). Fort Drum is Wildlife Management Unit 6H. Big game hunting seasons on Fort Drum coincide with the Northern Zone seasons in New York State.

Hunting in the Cantonment Area begins September 27 during the early archery season and now runs through the entire big game season until December 10, 2017.  

Archery and crossbows are the only legal means to hunt in the Cantonment Area in 2017. See the NYSDEC web site for more information on the use of crossbows in New York State. Firearms are not allowed to be used for hunting in the Cantonment Area. Firearms may be possessed in the Cantonment Area only in accordance with Fort Drum Regulation 190-6 (updated 15 Aug 2016).

Hunter Education

Hunter education courses are offered by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). A hunter education course is required for persons who cannot provide proof that they have ever possessed a hunting license. The general course is a minimum of 10 hours in length and offered free of charge. NYSDEC honors hunter education certificates and sporting licenses from all other states and countries. Note that NYSDEC also requires a hunter education course specific to bowhunting. See the NYSDEC Hunter, Bowhunter, and/or Trapper Education web site for more information.

Below are links to the different classes offered that can be sorted by distance from a zip code location. 

Archery/Crossbow Qualifications

Hunters planning to hunt in the Cantonment Area are required to attend and pass an archery and/or crossbow qualification session to prove shooting proficiency.

To qualify and receive an Archery and/or Crossbow Qualification Card, a hunter must shoot 3 of 5 arrows/bolts equipped with hunting or practice points (i.e. no field points) in the vital area of life-size 3-D deer targets or other designated area of a target. Hunters must qualify from an elevated structure 10 feet high and will be shooting at targets between 10 - 30 yards away. Only one qualifying shot will be allowed at each target. Hunters failing to qualify on the first attempt may try again, but only at a later qualifying session. Hunters may qualify with a bow and a crossbow on the same day. No practicing will be allowed at the qualification site. Qualifications are held rain or shine. Click on the New News or Calendar of Events section on the home page of this web site for qualification times if available. Neither a NYS bowhunter education certification or hunting license are required to attend a qualification session; however, the appropriate DoD I.D. card and (new in 2014) a Fort Drum Recreational Access Pass are required to be shown before the qualification attempt takes place.
All hunters must re-qualify annually before hunting on Fort Drum. The Archery and/or Crossbow Qualification Card must be in the hunter's possession while hunting in the Cantonment Area.

Check-in Using Sportsman's Hotline

Cantonment Area hunters must check-in daily telephonically with Range Branch, Bldg. P-4855, by calling the Sportsman's Hotline (315-772-7153) and pressing Option #2 for Cantonment Area Hunting and leaving their Fort Drum Recreational Access Pass number prior to hunting. Cantonment Area hunters are not required to physically check-in and check-out at Range Branch, but Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) Permits must still be picked up in person.

Hunting Areas

There are 33 designated hunting areas (Areas 10-22 and 38-55 within the perimeter fence of the Cantonment Area and 60, 61 and 63 outside the perimeter fence of the Cantonment Area).  See Fort Drum Cantonment Area Hunting Map (updated 1 May 2016) for hunting area locations. 

Area

Details of Area

10-22

Open only on weekends and federal holidays from September 27 to the end of the season. DMAPs are available to use. No hunting is allowed within 150 feet from the Sexton Field Trail or 150 feet from the edge of a road.

39-52

Open daily from September 27 to the end of the season. DMAPs are available to use. No hunting is allowed within 150 feet from the designated Remington Park Trail in Hunting Areas 40, 42, 50, 51, and 52.

53-55

[NEW IN 2017 (BUT SAME AS 2013)] Open on weekends, federal holidays, and training holidays from September 27 to the end of the season.  DMAPs are available to use.  No hunting is allowed within 150 feet of Pannels Road and North Star Spring Road behind the Guthrie Ambulatory Health Care between Hunting Areas 54 and 55. [NEW IN 2017] Hunting from a ground blind is an option in Hunting Area 54 only.

    60, 61,    & 63

Open daily from September 27 to the end of the season. These areas are outside of the perimeter fence. These areas have designated parking areas and are not eligible for DMAPs.

     

There is no hunting in Remington Park or the skeet range. Hunters may not hunt closer than 150 feet from the designated Remington Park Trail in Hunting Areas 40, 42, 50, 51, and 52; Sexton Trail in Hunting Areas 10-14; or Pannels Road and North Star Spring Road behind the Guthrie Ambulatory Health Care Clinic.

Parking

All vehicles must be parked on the shoulder of roads or other areas in such a manner to allow other vehicles to pass and not cause an obstruction to traffic.  

Parking for areas 60-63 outside the perimeter fence must be adjacent to Fort Drum (i.e. no parking on private property, school property, etc.).  Parking for Hunting Area 60 and 61 must be along Co. Rte 129, Co. Rte. 283, or Military Road; parking for Hunting Area 62 must be at the intersection of Rte. 971V and First St.; parking for Hunting Area 63 must be at the end of Putney Lane.  

Recreational Access Passes must be clearly displayed with the pass numbers facing up, on the vehicle dashboard, windshield, or driver side window.
  

Scouting & Trail Cameras

Cantonment Area scouting is allowed at any time as other uses are allowed (e.g., hiking, jogging, etc.) Check-in procedures are not required for scouting in the Cantonment Area.

NEW in 2014: Use of remote/trail cameras are allowed only in areas that are designated as hunting areas.  Trail cameras can not be used in Remington Park or along the Remington Park Trail or other trails where hunting is not allowed.  Leaving a camera overnight is at your own risk.  All cameras and their security cases must be permanently marked with the full name and phone number of the owner.  Permanently marked means with a permanent marker, etching, riveting a metal tag, or other means that cannot be removed.

Treestands

With the exception of Area 54, all hunters are required to hunt from commercially-available portable elevated tree stands or tripod stands (including turkey season). Stands are defined to include the platform and climbing device if it is affixed to the tree.

Still-hunting, stalking, or deer drives are NOT allowed.  Arrows may not be nocked until bowhunters are safely in their treestands.  Crossbows should be cocked before entering a stand, but not loaded until the hunter is in the stand.  Crossbows must be cocked, unloaded, and decocked within 10 feet of the stand.  

The use of a safety belt is required while in a stand. 

A stand must be a minimum of ten feet off the ground and must be portable. Damage to trees to be hunted from must be minimized which includes no removal of more than ten branches and none greater than 2 inches in diameter.  No cutting of vegetation for shooting lanes is allowed.   

Stands may be left overnight, but the stands must be permanently marked with the first and last name and phone number of the owner in such a way to be visible and legible from the ground.  Permanently marked means with a permanent marker, etching, riveting a metal tag, or other means that cannot be removed.

One individual may not have more than two stands in the Cantonment Area at any given time. Placing a stand in an area does not guarantee or reserve that site for the hunter.  Stands are left overnight at your own risk -- Fort Drum is not responsible for any lost, stolen, or damaged stands.  If a stand is missing, it should be reported to the Military Police (772-5156 or 772-5157). 

Nothing can be screwed or nailed into a tree (including screw-in pegs, bow hangers, or any other equipment or hardware).
 
Stands must be removed at the end of the big game hunting season. Any stands left between January 1 - April 15 and June 1 - August 31 will be considered abandoned property and removed. Portable stands used outside this period will be considered on a case-by-case basis by contacting Fort Drum's Fish & Wildlife Management Program (315-772-9636).

Baiting

There is absolutely no baiting allowed while hunting in NYS including the Cantonment Area.

Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) Permits

DMAPs allow the harvest of anterless deer in addition to a hunter's regular deer tags. These are permits issued to Fort Drum by NYSDEC for use in the Cantonment Area ONLY. DMAP permits are available at Range Branch (Bldg. P-4855) on a “first come, first served” basis for 1-day use. DMAP permits are available anytime on the day of use. If a hunter wants to utilize a DMAP permit, the Archery Qualification Card must be exchanged for a DMAP permit while hunting; the Archery Qualification Card will be returned to the hunter when the DMAP permit is returned. An Archery Qualification Card or DMAP permit must be on the archer's person at all times while hunting in the Cantonment Area. If the DMAP permit is not filled that day, it must be returned to Range Branch by 9:00 pm of the day it was issued. There is no limit to the number of times a DMAP permit may be checked out at Range Branch. Hunters may fill up to four DMAP permits per license during the season. DMAP tags are available from October 1 through December 14, 2014. 

Wounded Big Game

Hunters with wounded game that leave the designated Cantonment Archery Hunting Areas must notify Fort Drum Law Enforcement Officials before tracking the animal. For assistance, hunters may call the Military Police (772-5156 or 772-5157) or stop by the Directorate of Emergency Services in Bldg. P-10715.

Licensed leashed tracking dog handlers are allowed on the installation to track wounded animals. United Blood Trackers is one organization that provides contact information for licensed dog handlers including one on Fort Drum.

Reporting Harvested Game

Only hunters harvesting ANY deer and bear within the Cantonment Area are required to bring their harvest to the Check Station at Bldg. T-4848 (located near Range Branch) for weighing and aging. Hours of operation are from 7:00am - 4:30pm Monday through Friday. The check station will not be open on weekends or federal holidays. Deer harvested when the check station is closed must be brought in on the next business day during normal working hours. If the meat is in danger of spoiling before it can be reported, the meat may be processed but the head must be brought in for aging within 3 business days. Persons must call the Fish & Wildlife Management Program (315-772-9303) if other arrangements are necessary.

Follow NYSDEC regulations for tagging and reporting harvested game. You are required by law to report your take via the toll free DECALS game reporting system within 48 hours, by calling 1-866-GAME-RPT (1-866-426-3778).

Deer Management in the Cantonment Area

Archery hunting in the Cantonment Area began in 1996. Approximately one-third of the Cantonment Area is available for hunting.

Deer management in the Cantonment Area is more intensive than in the Training Area. The overall management goal is to intensively harvest deer annually to minimize potential conflicts including deer-vehicle accidents and deer browsing on landscape vegetation. Aerial surveys of the Cantonment Area have been conducted four times. In 2003 and 2005, 330 and 336 deer were estimated, respectively; in 2007 and 2009, 215 and 207 deer were estimated, respectively. Although these are probably conservative estimates, the observers and methods for all four years were the same. The overall decrease in numbers can be partly attributed to a decrease in habitat. Although approximately one-half of the Cantonment Area remains undeveloped, there has been over 700 acres developed the past several years as Fort Drum infrastructure has expanded.

To increase the deer harvest, Fort Drum’s Fish & Wildlife Management Program applies annually to NYSDEC to obtain at least 50 Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) permits. DMAP permits are issued by NYSDEC to allow additional harvest of antlerless deer for landowners who need improved harvests of deer to meet management goals on their property. Fort Drum first issued DMAP permits in 1999 to allow hunters to take additional deer in addition to their regular tags in the Cantonment Area only.

As part of the more intensive management regime, all deer harvested in the Cantonment Area are required to be checked in to the Fish & Wildlife Management Program where sex, age and weight information is recorded. Harvest information of deer taken in the Cantonment Area from 1996-2010 is available. (Only deer without antlers or antlers less than 3" in length are considered “antlerless.”)