Hunters are hitting the woods of the Southern Tier, stalking prized big-game for the next few weeks.

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New York's regular big game season for deer and bear opened November 17 and continues through December 9 for most of the state outside of the Adirondacks.

The New York State Department of Conservation is asking hunters to try for larger bucks instead of small-antlered deer to allow the youngsters to mature. In addition, hunters are asked to opt for non-lead ammunition. The DEC says that can reduce lead exposure in the wildlife and environment and for families that eat the meat.

85% of the hunters in New York State shoot in the Southern Zone.

There are 6,000 licensed hunters in the state, taking abut 60% of the overall deer harvest and 30-60% of the bears during the regular Big Game Season.

Bow hunting and muzzle-loading season follows the traditional hunting period.

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