In an effort to thin a growing deer population, hunting will be allowed in parts of Suffolk County where it had been barred, state environmental officials said Wednesday.
Hunting will be permitted throughout Suffolk when deer hunting season begins Monday — including in areas on the county’s south shore that had been closed to hunters in past years, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation said. The season will continue through Jan. 31.
Hunting is not permitted on weekends, and use of crossbows is not allowed; a statewide ban of the weapons took effect on Dec. 31.
Hunting was expanded because of increased deer counts reported by local municipalities, reports of deer damaging property and complaints from residents, the DEC spokeswoman said. Oversized deer herds pose a threat to public health, private and public property, and natural habitats, the DEC said.
Under DEC rules, hunting is restricted to properties of 10 acres or more, with written permission of the property owner. Hunters must have a big game hunting license and a town permit; they are allowed to use only shotguns with a single slug and muzzleloaders.
Hunters should ask towns and villages about local restrictions and firearm discharge ordinances. State environmental conservation officers will step up enforcement of hunting regulations, the DEC said.