Photo: Gladys Gifford

Hunting Policies for Our Nature Preserves

The Finger Lakes Land Trust utilizes a number of methods to preserve the integrity of our conserved lands. One method is ongoing deer management. This effort includes permit-based hunting for white-tailed deer within some of our nature preserves and conservation areas.

Why Deer Management?

White-tailed deer are a magnificent mammal native to the Finger Lakes region, part of the ecosystem, and beautiful to behold. But too many deer, eating too many native plants, have profound negative impacts on wildlife habitat and ecosystem health. There is overwhelming evidence that over-browsing by deer inhibits regeneration of native forest tree species, diminishes populations of native wildflowers, and has cascading effects on other animals, such as the loss of bird habitat in the understory of forests. Deer overabundance also impacts human health, including motor vehicle collisions and the role that deer play in the life cycle and transport of ticks that carry the bacteria which cause Lyme disease and other illnesses.

The FLLT seeks to minimize threats to the natural character and integrity of the ecological communities on our nature preserves. Without sufficient natural predators to keep deer populations in check, the FLLT has for many years engaged in a partnership with local hunters to help manage the deer population on a number of preserves. This is a great opportunity for the hunters of our communities to play a key role in conservation and protection of wildlife habitat.

To learn more about deer impacts and management considerations, see this issue of Afoot in the Field, the biannual FLLT publication distributed to owners of protected conservation properties.

How to Participate

The FLLT Deer Management Program is continually growing, with new lands being enrolled. There are opportunities across the 12-county FLLT service area, for deer hunting in both the archery and firearms hunting seasons. Currently, there are more than 450 hunting permits made available, for deer hunting on nearly 3,000 acres of land.

A permit is required to hunt on nature preserves that are enrolled in the Deer Management Program. The FLLT also temporarily owns some lands that will be transferred to government partners as additions to public lands, and at most of these places hunting is permitted without a permit.

Apply for a permit to hunt deer on an FLLT nature preserve

Read the FAQ about hunting on FLLT protected lands

Rules & Regulations for FLLT Deer Management Permit Holders

Please note the following:

  • Not all FLLT nature preserves are enrolled in the Deer Management Program.
  • FLLT does NOT permit hunting for species other than deer on its nature preserves (but legal hunting for animals other than deer is allowed on most of the properties that are temporarily owned by FLLT that will be transferred to government as additions to public lands).
  • FLLT cannot grant permission to hunt on conservation easement properties, which are privately owned.
  • The FLLT puts safety first – our hunting program is designed and implemented in ways that ensure the safety of the public, preserve neighbors, and hunting program participants.

For more information, please contact:

Jason Gorman
Nature Preserve Manager
(607) 275-9487


Please see the following links for more information:

FAQ about hunting on FLLT protected lands

Rules & Regulations for FLLT Deer Management Permit Holders

Apply for a Hunting Permit with FLLT

Afoot in the Field (Volume 14, Issue 2)

NYSDEC page about deer overabundance

Public Use Policies for FLLT Nature Preserves