HUNTING IN THE CANTONMENT AREA
Although the FD Reg 420-3 is not being updated this year, there are a few changes for hunting in the Cantonment Area in relation to the Cornell deer project:
Paragraph 9.n. Hunters are allowed to harvest deer with colored ear tags or neck collars, but the ear tag number must be reported through FortDrum.iSportsman.net and neck collars must be dropped off at the self-check station in the kiosk outside of the Natural Resources Branch (Bldg. T4848).
Paragraph 9.r. Hunters harvesting game in the Cantonment Area are required to report it through FortDrum.iSportsman.net during the daily check-out. (Deer do not have to be checked in through FortDrumDeer.org.) Although no physical check-in of deer is required, a blood swab (instead of tissue sample) must be submitted at the self-check station in the kiosk outside of the Natural Resources Branch (Bldg T-4848).
No other changes are planned for this season. Any additional hunting days available will be posted here.
- Friday, 08 October is a training holiday & Monday, 11 October is a federal holiday--all Cantonment Hunting Areas will be open these two days and the weekend
- Thursday, 11 November is a federal holiday & Friday, 12 November is a training holiday--all Cantonment Hunting Areas will be open these two days and the weekend
- Thursday, 25 November is a federal holiday & Friday, 26 November is a training holiday--all Cantonment Hunting Areas will be open these two days and the weekend
In 2021 (like 2020), instead of a qualification or in-person briefing, there is a mandatory on-line briefing to view on iSportsman prior to obtaining a permit. This is available 01 September.
- Access your iSportsman account and click on the "My Safety Briefs" tab at the top.
- Click on "Take Quiz: 2021-2022 Fort Drum Cantonment Safety Brief". (There is only one option.)
- This is a PowerPoint on a YouTube video which means you can NOT view it on a military computer. Click on "Start Safety Briefing."
- It's a 7+ minute video with no sound. (It's going to be 7 minutes long even if you scroll ahead, so you might as well watch the entire thing.)
- At the end of the video, click on "Take Quiz" at the bottom left.
- It's not really a quiz--you are being asked whether to agree or disagree that “I acknowledge I have reviewed the Cantonment Area Hunting safety/informational briefing and will abide by federal laws, New York State laws, NYS Environmental Conservation laws pursuant to provisions of Section 11-0321, and Fort Drum regulations."
- If you agree, click on the "I agree" button and click on "Submit Answers"
- Click on "Continue to Permits"
- You will be brought back to the "Available Permits" on your account and "2021 Hunting Cantonment Area" will now be an option that is available.
- Fort Drum Regulation 420-3 Hunting, Fishing, & Other Outdoor Recreation (updated 1 Aug 2020) unofficial version for distribution (20 pages with changes highlighted). There will be no update before the 2021 hunting season.
- Fort Drum Regulation 420-3 Hunting, Fishing, & Other Outdoor Recreation (updated 1 Aug 2020) official version (31 pages with summary of changes). There will be no update before the 2021 hunting season.
- Fort Drum Cantonment Area Hunting Map (for south of Rte. 26 -- updated 1 Sep 2021) and Fort Drum Cantonment Area Hunting Map (for north of Rte. 26) (updated 1 Sep 2021)
- Explosives Safety Education Program - Recognize, Retreat, & Report Unexploded Ordnance
This section pertains to areas primarily within or adjacent to the Fort Drum Cantonment Area or Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield. With a few exceptions, these areas are behind a perimeter fence and access control point. Hunting in these areas are restricted to those persons possessing one of the following:
- Military I.D.
- Military Dependent or Family Member I.D.
- Retired Military I.D.
- Civilian Department of Defense (DoD) I.D. (i.e. CAC card)
- Retired Civilian Department of Defense (DoD) I.D.
- Contract personnel with DoD I.D. (i.e. CAC card with green stripe and magnetic strip.)
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 01 Aug 2020). Fort Drum is Wildlife Management Unit 6H--the Cantonment Area is in the Town of LeRay. 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 12, 2021. The use of crossbows is allowed per NYSDEC regulations from October 13 through December 12, 2021. See the NYSDEC web site for more information on the use of crossbows in New York State. Shotguns are allowed in designated areas during the regular season October 23 through December 5, 2021. Shotguns are allowed in designated areas during the spring turkey season (May 1-31, 2022), but NOT during the fall turkey season. Hunting during the early bear season is not allowed. Shotguns and crossbows must be registered with the Directorate of Emergency Services.
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. (NYSDEC does not accept a combined hunter education course for bowhunting certification.) 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.
NEW: Due to COVID-19, an online option for Hunter Education classes is now available. Anyone 11 years of age and older can obtain a hunter education certificate by completing the online course and virtual field day, passing the final exam, and paying a fee.
Cantonment Area Hunting Info/Safety Briefing
For the 2021 season, all hunters must view and acknowledge an on-line Info/Safety briefing that will be on the iSportsman web site starting September 1, 2021. See the instructions on the top of this page.
After successful completion of the Info/Safety briefing, the hunter will be validated to obtain a Recreational Access Pass for Cantonment Area Hunting. The access pass for Cantonment Area Hunting must be displayed in your vehicle while hunting in the Cantonment Area.
Scouting & Trail Cameras
Scouting in the Cantonment Area is allowed at any time as other uses are allowed (e.g., hiking, jogging, etc.). Check-in/check-out procedures are not required. All areas on iSportsman will be “closed” outside of the hunting season although non-hunting activities are allowed at any time--the iSportsman system is used only to denote areas open or closed for hunting during the hunting season. It is always good practice to place your recreation pass in the windshield of the vehicle when parked in the Cantonment Area when you are scouting.
During the hunting season, normal check-in/check-out procedures through iSportsman apply.
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 in such a way to be visible and legible. Permanently marked means with a permanent marker, etching, riveting a metal tag, or other means that cannot be readily removed.
There are 39 designated hunting areas. See Fort Drum Cantonment Area Hunting Map (for south of Rte. 26 -- updated 1 Sep 2021) and Fort Drum Cantonment Area Hunting Map (for north of Rte. 26 -- (updated 1 Sep 2021) for hunting area locations. 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. Hunters must not hunt closer than 250 feet from occupied dwellings whether using archery or a crossbow.
|31 – 34||Open daily for archery and crossbow only. These areas are outside of the perimeter fence and have designated parking areas (Paragraph 6g). DMAPs can NOT be used. Hunting must be conducted at least 10 feet from the ground.|
|41||Open daily for archery and crossbow only. These areas are inside the perimeter fence adjacent to Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield. DMAPs can NOT be used. Hunting can be conducted from a ground blind or elevated structure.|
|42-43||Open on weekends, federal holidays, and training holidays only for archery and crossbow only. This area is inside the perimeter fence adjacent to Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield and part of Training Area 6C. DMAPs can NOT be used. Hunting can be conducted from a ground blind or elevated structure.|
|44||Open to hunters eligible for accessible accommodations in paragraph 11(a) on weekends, federal holidays, and training holidays only for archery and crossbow only. This area is inside the perimeter fence and part of Training Area 6C. There are four designated sites on a first come-first served basis when checking into iSportsman. These areas are available daily to one hunter (and an assistant). DMAPs can NOT be used. Hunting can be conducted from an elevated structure or from the ground in a blind, vehicle, ATV, or other mechanical device in designated areas (Appendix D.)|
|50 - 52 & 54 - 73||Open daily for archery and crossbow only. DMAPs are available to use. Hunting must be conducted at least 10 feet from the ground.|
|53||Open daily for archery and crossbow only. DMAPs are available to use. Hunting can be conducted from a ground blind or elevated structure.|
|76||Open on weekends, federal holidays, and training holidays only for archery and crossbow only. DMAPs are available to use. Hunting can be conducted from a ground blind or elevated structure.|
|77 - 78||Open on weekends, federal holidays, and training holidays only for archery and crossbow only. DMAPs are available to use. Hunting must be conducted at least 10 feet from the ground.|
|74, 75, 79, & 80||Open on weekends, federal holidays, and training holidays only. During archery and crossbow seasons, hunting can be conducted from the ground or elevated structure—wearing blaze orange is not required. During the regular season, shotguns, archery and crossbow can be used ONLY from at least 10 feet from the ground and all hunters must follow the blaze orange requirements. DMAPs are available to use. Turkey hunting with shotguns is allowed during the spring season from the ground; turkey hunting with shotguns during the fall season is NOT allowed.|
Tree Stands / Ground Blinds
Hunting from blinds or stands is allowed depending on the area (see the table above for more information). Still-hunting, stalking, or deer drives are NOT allowed. When hunting from a stand, all hunters are required to hunt from commercially-available portable elevated tree stands, harnasses, or tripod stands. Stands are defined to include the platform and climbing device if it is affixed to the tree.
(1) 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 only exception to have an arrow nocked or bolt loaded on the ground is to dispatch a wounded animal.
(2) The use of a safety belt is required while in a stand.
(3) When required to hunt at least 10 feet from the ground (Areas 31-34, 54-73, and 77-78 all season; and Areas 74-75 and 79-80 during the regular season), a stand must be a minimum of ten feet off the ground and must be portable.
(4) 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. Nothing can be screwed or nailed into a tree (including screw-in pegs, bow hangers, or any other equipment or hardware).
(5) All unattended stands and blinds must be permanently marked with the 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 readily removed.
(6) An individual hunter may not have more than two stands and two blinds 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 or blind is missing, it should be reported to the Military Police (315-772-5156 or 315-772-5157).
(7) Stands and blinds may be placed in hunting areas from 1 September – 30 December and 16 April – 31 May. Stands or blinds outside this period will be considered abandoned property and removed unless prior arrangements have been made with Fort Drum’s Natural Resources Branch (315-315-955-5173) which will consider requests on a case-by-case basis.
All vehicles must be parked on the shoulder of roads or designated areas in such a manner to allow other vehicles to pass and not cause an obstruction to traffic. Vehicles may not be parked on trails or blocking access to trails.
Vehicles may be parked on the shoulder of roads after November 1, but not during heavy snow or when snow plow operations are occurring.
Recreational Access Passes must be clearly displayed with the pass numbers facing up, on the driver side dashboard, windshield, or driver side window of the vehicle.
Parking for areas 31-34 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 31 and 32 must be along Co. Rte 129, Co. Rte. 283, or Military Road; parking for Hunting Area 33 and 34 must be at the intersection of Rte. 971V and First St.
No feeding or baiting of wildlife for the purpose of hunting is allowed.
In 2021, hunters are allowed to harvest deer with colored ear tags or neck collars, but the ear tag number must be reported through FortDrum.iSportsman.net and neck collars must be dropped off at the self-check station in the kiosk outside of the Natural Resources Branch (Bldg. T4848).
Wounded Big Game
Hunters with wounded game that leave the designated Cantonment Hunting Areas (Appendix C) and/or beyond authorized access or shooting times must notify Fort Drum Law Enforcement Officials before tracking the animal by calling the Military Police (315-772-5156 or 315-772-5157) or stopping at the Directorate of Emergency Services (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.
Tagging & Reporting Harvested Big Game
Hunters must tag a harvested animal per New York State regulations. For deer harvested in the Cantonment Area during the regular season, the regular season tag must be used even if archery/crossbow are the only legal weapons. During the designated archery seasons, the archery/muzzleloader tag must be used. DMPs or DMAPs can also be used any time when authorized. Follow NYSDEC regulations for tagging and reporting harvested game--call the DECALS game reporting system within 48 hours by calling 1-866-GAME-RPT (1-866-426-3778).
Hunters harvesting game (deer, turkey, or bear) in the Cantonment Area are required to report it through FortDrum.iSportsman.net during the daily check-out.
In 2021, although no physical check-in of deer is required, a blood swab must be submitted at the self-check station in the kiosk outside of the Natural Resources Branch office (Bldg T-4848) located near Range Branch. Instructions will be located at the kiosk and fortdrumdeer.org.
Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) Permits
To increase the number of deer harvested in the Cantonment Area, Deer Management Area Program (DMAP) permits will be made available to all interested hunters.
(1) DMAP permits are valid only within the fenced-in Cantonment Area south of Rte. 26. DMAP permits can not be used in Cantonment Hunting Areas 31-34 outside the perimeter fence or Areas 41-44 north of Rte. 26.
(2) Any harvested deer can be donated through the Natural Resources Branch to a foodbank if desired.
(3) Unused DMAP tags must be returned to the Natural Resources Branch at the end of the season.
(4) After a hunter has reviewed the mandatory briefing and has the appropriate permits, DMAPs are available to be signed out for the duration of the season by contacting Fred Ossman at 315-955-5173 or email Fred.J.Ossman.email@example.com make arrangements.
Call 315-955-5173 or email Fred.J.Ossman.firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.
Deer Management in the Cantonment Area
Archery hunting in the Cantonment Area began in 1993 (but the earliest records are from 1996). The use of crossbows was allowed in 2014 and shotguns in specific areas in 2018. Approximately one-third of the Cantonment Area is available to hunting.
Deer management in the Cantonment Area is more intensive than in the Training Area. Beginning in 2018, the goal has been to intensively harvest deer to allow for forest regeneration and potentially minimize the incidence of ticks and tick-borne diseases, as well as reduce deer-vehicle collisions and reduce deer browsing on landscape vegetation.
To assist in deer management, Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) permits are issued by NYSDEC to allow for the additional harvest of anterless 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.
Harvest information of deer taken in the Cantonment Area from 1996-2019 is available. (Only deer without antlers or antlers less than 3" in length are considered "antlerless.")