There are significant changes this year for 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. CAC Card
  2. Military Dependent or Family Member I.D.
  3. Retired Military I.D. Card
  4. Civilian Department of Defense I.D. CAC Card
  5. Retired Civilian I.D. Card
  6. 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 9 Aug 2018). 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 runs through the entire big game season until December 9, 2018. This also applies to crossbows for use for antlerless deer only in Hunting Areas L01-L32 and 70-92 for the entire season starting September 27 due to a special exception by NYSDEC.   

Archery and crossbows are the only legal means to hunt in the Cantonment Area. 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.

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, a hunter must shoot 3 of 5 arrows/bolts 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. Archery Qualification Cards are no longer issued; hunters that pass the qualification session must obtain a Cantonment Area Archery permit from the iSportsman system and be displayed in their vehicle while hunting in the Cantonment Area.

"Earn-A-Buck" - Shooting an Antlerless Deer before an Antlered Deer &               Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) Permits

To reduce the deer density in the Cantonment Area, all Cantonment Area hunters will be required to first shoot and check-in an antlerless deer before legally shooting a male antlered deer (or both deer have to be checked-in at the same time) in an Earn-A-Buck Program. Each hunter can utilize their own Deer Management Permit (DMP or “doe tag”), Either Sex Archery/Muzzleloader tag, or a Deer Management Area Program (DMAP) Permit provided by Fort Drum Natural Resources.

      (1) DMAPs are available to be signed out from the Natural Resources Branch (Bldg. T4848) after a hunter has successfully completed their archery qualification. [We have not received DMAPs from NYSDEC yet--a notice will be posted on the web site when DMAPs are available to be signed out.] The DMAP will be held by the hunter for the duration of the season. Additional DMAPs will be provided after a DMAP tag is filled by a hunter. All harvested deer (males and females) must be checked-in with the Natural Resources Branch (see paragraph 9(v)).

      (2) Any harvested deer can be donated through the Natural Resources Branch to a foodbank if desired.

      (3) DMAP permits are valid only within the Cantonment Area.  DMAP permits can not be used in Hunting Areas 61-65 outside the perimeter fence.

      (4) Unused DMAP tags must be returned to the Natural Resources Branch at the end of the season.


Check-in Using Sportsman's Hotline

Cantonment Area hunters must check-in and check-out daily via the Sportsman's Hotline. 

Hunting Areas

There are 60 designated hunting areas (Areas L01-32 and 70-92 within the perimeter fence of the Cantonment Area and 60-65 outside the perimeter fence of the Cantonment Area).  See Fort Drum Cantonment Area Hunting Map (updated 9 August 2018) for hunting area locations. 


Details of Area

L01-L32 Available daily to one hunter (and a dependent) selected by lottery for a one-week period (Wednesday – Tuesday) throughout the season starting September 27 to the end of the season. DMAPs are available to use. Hunting must be conducted at least 10 feet from the ground.
L01-L02 Hunters eligible for accessible accommodations in paragraph 11(a) will have preference in the lottery drawing for these two areas. Available daily to one hunter (and an assistant) selected by lottery for a one-week period (Wednesday – Tuesday) throughout the season starting September 27 to the end of the season. DMAPs are available to use. Hunting may be conducted from a vehicle, ATV, or mechanical device in designated areas. (See Appendix D.)

70-72 & 74-86

Open daily to anyone (no lottery) throughout the season starting September 27 to the end of the season. DMAPs are available to use.  Hunting must be conducted at least 10 feet from the ground.


Open daily to anyone (no lottery) throughout the season starting September 27 to the end of the season. DMAPs are available to use.  Hunting can be conducted from the ground or elevated structure.


Open to anyone (no lottery) on weekends, federal holidays, and training holidays only from September 27 to the end of the season.  DMAPs are available to use. Hunting can be conducted from the ground or elevated structure.


Open to anyone (no lottery) on weekends, federal holidays, and training holidays only from September 27 to the end of the season.  DMAPs are available to use. Hunting must be conducted at least 10 feet from the ground.

61-65 Open to anyone (no lottery) daily from September 27 to the end of the season.  These areas are outside of the perimeter fence.  These areas have designated parking areas. These areas are not part of the Earn-A-Buck Program and no DMAPs can be used. Hunting must be conducted at least 10 feet from the ground. Harvested game are still required to be checked-in at Bldg. T4848.


There is no hunting in Remington Park or the skeet range.  Hunters must not hunt closer than 150 feet from designated recreational trails or Pannels Road and North Star Spring Road behind Guthrie Ambulatory Health Care. All hunting must occur within the unmaintained portions (i.e. unmowed areas) of the hunting areas and hunters should minimize their visibility from roads.

Lottery Areas & Selection

NEW in 2018: Hunting in Areas L01-L32 (see Appendix C) will be available only to hunters selected in a lottery. Hunting will be allowed approximately one week from Wednesday – Tuesday starting September 27 to the end of the season for the exclusive use of the selected hunter and their dependents (if any). Hunting in these areas must be conducted at least 10 feet from the ground, but there is no limit to the number of stands placed in a lottery area.

Only equipment (e.g., stands, cameras, etc.) by the selected hunter is allowed in the area during the week-long period they have been selected. If the same hunter is selected for consecutive weekly periods, they may leave their equipment in place for the duration of their lottery hunt. If a new individual is selected for the following weekly period, all stands/equipment must be removed by Tuesday evening and the newly selected person can begin placing their stands/equipment in the area Wednesday morning.

A valid hunter can apply for a lottery hunting area starting two weeks before the lottery deadline. The deadline for the lottery drawing will be at 6:00 am on Wednesday the week before the hunting period starts. Lottery selections will be made the week prior to the hunting period so hunters will know their status one week in advance. Exact dates are available.

Lottery Process: To enter the lottery, a hunter must send an email to  with “Cantonment Area Lottery Hunt” as the subject name.  A hunter can attach this form with preferences or list the hunting period and hunting areas in order of preference in the email. If more than three areas are being requested, then please use the form.  Email applications should include the hunter’s name and permit number (and dependent).

On Wednesday morning, Natural Resources staff will assign hunters to the lottery areas—either of their choosing if no one else applies and based on preference, or a name will be selected randomly if more than one person applies.  Hunters will be notified COB Wednesday with the selections so they can plan for the following week. (Hunters can keep their equipment from one period to the next if they are selected for consecutive weeks. A list of permit numbers of selected individuals for each area will be posted on by COB Wednesday or Thursday morning at the latest.

Hunters not selected for the initial lottery drawing can apply for other open areas by emailing   After the deadline these areas will be filled on a first come, first served basis based on email time stamp received.


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.

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

Parking for areas 61-64 outside the perimeter fence must be immediately next to Fort Drum (i.e. no parking on private property, school property, etc.).  Parking for Hunting Area 61 and 62 must be along Co. Rte 129, Co. Rte. 283, or Military Road; parking for Hunting Area 63 and 64 must be at the intersection of Rte. 971V and First St.; and parking for Hunting Area 65 must be in the parking area off of DES Training Center Road next to the tower (T-2580) or in the designated parking area south of the helicopter display off of Munn’s Corner Road.

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 readily removed.

Treestands/Ground Blinds

All hunters are required to hunt from commercially-available portable elevated tree stands or tripod stands (including turkey season) except in Hunting Areas 73 and 87-91 where ground blinds or stands less than 10 feet from the ground are allowed. 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 stands

Except in Areas 73 and 87-91, a stand must be a minimum of 10 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 and blinds may be left overnight, but the stands/blinds 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 Natural Resources Branch (315-772-9303).


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

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 during the entire deer season are from 7:00am – 4:30pm Monday through Friday; and 10:00am – 2:00 pm Saturday and Sunday.  The check station will not be open on Thanksgiving Day. 

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 Natural Resources Branch (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 while providing recreational opportunities. Beginning in 2018, the goal is to more intensively harvest deer to allow for forest regeneration and minimize the incidences of ticks and tick-borne diseases.
Deer Management Assistance Program (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.”)