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 16 through December 17, 2013. Additionally, sites in the Deer Management Focus Area that are listed below are closed to the public from January 11 through 31, 2014.  All Natural Areas remain open to the public during the archery deer season, with runs from October 1 through November 15, 2013.


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, nineteen natural areas encompassing nearly 1900 acres will be open for deer hunting opportunities. 

Plantations Natural Area Deer Management Program hunting permit applications for the 2013 hunting season are no longer being accepted. 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.  

Deer Management Focus Area

Hunters that wish to participate in the Deer Management Focus Area Program (DMFA) on Cornell Plantations Deer Management Program properties within the DMFA zone must also posess a Cornell Plantations Deer Management Program PERMIT.  Note that a DEC issued DMFA Permit is NOT a Cornell Plantations issued PERMIT. Hunters without a Plantations 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 Plantations 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.

Participating Natural Areas

To view a county map showing all Plantations Natural Areas hunting program areas, the DEC Deer Management Focus Area boundary, and other state properties, click here.

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)

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 % *

Sites identified with an (*) are located within the Ithaca Deer
Management Focus Area (DMFA).  For more information, see the first "News and Updates for 2013" item below.

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

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 - 2012 here.

News and Updates for 2013

  1. Plantations Deer Hunting Program Test: Because safety issues and confusion over the various Cornell deer hunting programs and DEC’s Deer Management Focus Area (DMFA) surpassed administrative capabilities during the 2012/13 season, we have made two major changes to the Cornell deer hunting programs this year. The first change is limiting hunters to participate in only ONE hunting program. The second change is that hunters must pass an 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.
  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 Plantations 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 11 through January 31, 2013 DMFA season. Click here to REGISTER for the Deer Management Focus Area.
  6. DMFA Boundary: The boundary for the DMFA was changed this year. McDaniels Natural Area is now included in the DMFA. 
  7. Youth Firearm Hunt: Cornell Plantations is NOT participating in this year's youth firearm hunt.  Youth firearm hunting during this season is prohibited. 
  8. No multiple program permits: Hunters will only be able to apply for and receive permission to hunt within ONE of Cornell's two deer management prograsm: Plantations Natural Areas or Cornell Earn-a-Buck (EAB). When filling out your application, those interested in hunting on sites listed above should select "Plantations Natural Areas." 
  9. 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. 
  10. New acreage this year: We
    have added an additional 10 acres at our Salt Road Fen Natural Area north of Groton.
  • The provisions in the Environmental Conservation Law that allow the use of crossbows for deer hunting expired on December 31, 2012.  Hunting with crossbows is now prohibited.
  • Individuals interested in archery hunting at Plantations' Etna, Monkey Run, Turkey Hill, Bluegrass Lanes, Upper Cascadilla, Mitchell Street Hawthorn Thicket, or Fall Creek Natural Areas should visit and apply through the Cornell Earn-A-Buck Deer Management Program website to hunt these sites. 

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)

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.

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)