Deer Management Program

Cornell Plantations relies on the assistance of dedicated volunteers, stewards, and other conservation partners to preserve, maintain, and restore natural communities and locally rare plant habitat within the Finger Lakes region.

Natural Area Visitors

Visitors please note that all Plantations' Natural Areas with firearm deer hunting programs are closed for public use during the firearm deer seasons, from November 21 through December 22, 2015. Additionally, sites in the Deer Management Focus Area that are listed below are closed to the public from January 9 through January 31, 2016.  All Natural Areas remain open to the public during the archery deer season, with runs from October 1 through November 20, 2015.


Plantations is accepting responsible sportsmen into our sanctioned hunting program in order to reduce deer populations. This is not only an opportunity to help preserve the integrity of these unique habitats, it is a privilege that is earned and maintained.  This year, all Cornell deer management programs have been combined, and now encompass over 10,000 acres open for deer hunting opportunities. 

Applications for the 2015-2016 hunting season will be accepted again in late-August, 2015. At that time, after reading through the program website, rules, and regulations, click on-line test and permit application at the top left side of this page to apply. Hunters must pass this on-line test to demonstrate that they have read and understood program rules, regulations, and expectations. The test is not designed to be difficult and there are no trick questions, but hunters will have to read the rules and regulations carefully. Hunters must pass the test before they can apply for a permit.   

Deer Management Focus Area

Hunters that wish to participate in the Deer Management Focus Area Program (DMFA) on Cornell Deer Management Program properties within the DMFA zone must also posess a Cornell Deer Management Program PERMIT.  Note that a DEC issued DMFA Permit is NOT a Cornell issued PERMIT. Hunters without a Cornell issued permit will be prosecuted. For more information on the DMFA program, see the News and Updates section below.


All hunters are expected to follow all Cornell and Department of Environmental Conservation rules and regulations and, to conduct themselves in a safe and ethical manner.  Hunters that meet these criteria will remain eligible to reapply for permits annually.

Deer Hunting Areas

Maps to view hunting program areas, the DEC Deer Management Focus Area boundary, other Cornell near campus hunting zones, and some state parks and forests are on the left sidebar above. 

Site maps for each hunting area are provided on the reservation pages for each specific site:

7H Wildlife Management Unit

Edwards Lake Cliffs *
McDaniels (Townley Swamp)
A12 * %
A13 * %
A14 * %
F1A *
F1B *
F2 (Monkey Run)

7J Wildlife Management Unit

Eames Bog (Mud Creek) #
McLean Bog #
Salt Road Fen

7R Wildlife Management Unit

Allen Tract (Cayuta Lake)
Bald Hill
Carter Creek East (Connecticut Hill)
Carter Creek West (Connecticut Hill)
Coy Glen  *
Dunlop Meadow *
Frost Ravine *
Lick Brook *
Ringwood  *
Slaterville 600 (Hammond Hill)
Polson (Snyder Hill) *
South Hill Swamp * %
A1 * % (Bull Pasture Ponds)
A2 * % (Fall Creek North)
A3 * % (Fall Creek South)
A4 * % (Monkey Run)
A5 * %
A6 * %
A7 * % (McGowan Woods)
A8 * % (Upper Cascadilla)
A9 * %
A10 * % (Warren Woods)
A11 * %
A15 *
F3 *
F4 *
F5 *
F6 *
F7 *
F9 *
F10 *
F12 *
M1 *
M2 *

Sites identified with an (*) are located within the Ithaca Deer Management Focus Area (DMFA).  For more information, see the first "News and Updates" item below.

Sites identified with an (%) are restricted to archery and crossbow only hunting. Unless otherwise noted, all listed sites are open to archery, crossbow, and firearm hunting opportunities.  

Sites identified with a (#) will have free DEC Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) tags for eligible hunters, by request to Plantations.  These tags are intented to help us meet our deer management program goals of reducing the doe population.  Learn more.

Prospective hunters with questions about hunting at "restricted sites" or "restricted parking areas" such as Eames Bog Lot #1, Edwards, Coy Glen Lot #4, or McLean Bog should contact Plantations from our Contact Information webpage.

For more information on Plantations' sites, visit our Natural Areas Profiles. For site specific and program information on hunting activity and harvest at each site, visit our deer management program summary for 2008 - 2014 here.

News and Updates for 2014

  1. Deer Hunting Program Areas: Cornell has now combined all three deer management programs (Plantations, Earn-a-Buck, Arnot) into one program open to all permittees. For maps and additional details on Campus Lands, visit their website here. Information and maps to Arnot Forest can be found on their website here.  
  2. On-line Deer Management System: Approximately 2-3 weeks after passing the test and completing the permit application, you will be notified of your approval for the Cornell Deer Management Program via email. You then will be required to create an on-line account for our Deer Management System in order to print out your permit, maps, manage all hunting reservations, and report hunting and harvest activity. Hunters must make reservations for specifics sites and days through the Deer Management System in order to hunt. Reservations must also be removed if hunters are not able to hunt on the reserved day. Repeated failure to remove unused reservations will result in the hunting permit being revoked.
  3. Rewards and incentives: Continuing this year, we are providing a reward and incentive component to our deer program through how our reservation system works.  Returning, veteran hunters that have harvested an antlerless deer in the prior year will be allowed to make reservations for 7 days in advance the day's date.  All other hunters will be allowed to make reservations for 3 days in advance of the day's date.
  4. Hunting Activity and Harvest Reporting: All hunters must report harvest and hunting activity within three days after hunting for each reservation. You will not be able to make additional reservations until reporting activity is completed. Completing hunting activity and harvest reports for unfilled/non-hunted reservations is also required.
  5. Deer Management Focus Areas: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has announced the continuation of the Deer Management Focus Area (DMFA) for 60,000 acres surrounding Ithaca.  This program was established in central Tompkins County to intensify use of hunting to assist communities with the burden of overabundant deer populations. The DMFA program is established to reduce total deer populations within the focus area by providing more time and more tags to hunters who can gain access to huntable land. Hunters who register to participate in the focus area program may legally harvest two antlerless deer per day during the regular season and during a special January 9 through January 31, 2016 DMFA season. Click here to REGISTER for the Deer Management Focus Area.
  6. Youth Firearm Hunt: Cornell Plantations is NOT participating in this year's youth firearm hunt.  Youth firearm hunting during this season is prohibited. 
  7. Blaze Orange Requirement: Hunters are now required to wear a “hunter’s orange” hat and/or vest at all times while deer hunting during firearms seasons in areas where firearms are permitted. Archery only areas are exempt from this rule. 
  8. Crossbows: It is now legal to hunt with crossbows in New York State. Crossbows may be used during the last two weeks of the archery season and during all respective firearm and DMFA seasons. Crossbows are allowed in designated crossbow and firarm areas. 
  9. Setback distances: Discharge restrictions for archery and crossbow equipment were legally changed in 2014. Archery discharge restriction is now 150' from an inhabited dwelling; Crossbow discharge restriction is 250'. Shotgun and muzzleloader distances remain unchanged at 500'.  
  10. Collared or Ear-tagged Deer: If a hunter takes a collared or ear-tagged deer, the collar and tags should be dropped off at the Resource Ecology and Management Lab (REM) on Judd Falls Road (driveway entrance is just south [uphill] of the old railway bridge).  Drive past the first building and the concrete block portion of the building marked 139 Ecology Drive.  There will be a labeled drop-box in the corner just past the block portion of Building 139 where hunters can place the collars and tags.  Also, please send an e-mail to Mike Ashdown ( stating the date and location where the tagged deer was harvested.  

Information on venison processing

Note: Cornell Plantations is providing the following information for the benefit of our hunters, and makes no claim of responsibility for the quality or reliability of services by third parties.

If you are interested in donating venison to those in need, two local Venison Donation Coalition Butchers are :
Mountainside Outdoor Supply, Homer, NY (607-749-5714)
Jon’s Custom Meats, Moravia, NY (315-497-0849)
Ty's Deer & Custom Meat Processing, Scipio Center, NY (315-364-8266)

Other nearby non-VDC Butchers are:
Tim & Beth Ceurter, Richford, NY (607-657-8007)

Contact information for local DEC environmental conservation officers

Osman Eisenberg (607) 564-9458.

Local Dog Tracking Services

For private (not Cornell affiliated) tracking services, please text 607-280-6240 between the hours of 9:00AM and 9:00 PM. Messages will be answered on a first come, first served basis. Tracks will be taken depending on the details of the shot. Suggested donation of $50 to cover fuel and dog care costs. 

Information on DEC Land adjacent to Plantations Natural Areas.

Hammond Hill State Forest (Slaterville 600)
Connecticut Hill Wildlife Mgmt. Area (Carter Creek)
Shindagin Hollow State Forest (Bald Hill)