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Hunting in New York State

Hunting activities actively take place in all states of the United States, and the state of New York is no exception. New York gives hunters numerous opportunities to hunt all manners of wildlife ranging from big game to small game to game birds. Hunting in this great state is monitored by the Department of Environmental Conservation. In this post, we shall walk you through every important thing you need to know with regard to hunting in the Empire State. If you plan of embarking on a hunting expedition anywhere within the confines of New York State, then this highly insightful post is going to be extremely useful to you.

Obtaining a Hunting License in New York

Just like in all states in America, in order to receive a hunting license in New York, certain requirements must be met. Getting a license to hunt in New York isn’t as difficult as most people assume it to be. But before thinking about securing a license, there are two important questions you should ask yourself. The first question is about how old you are and second being whether you are a resident of the Empire State or not. The answers to these questions will determine whether you qualify for a license, and if you do, what kind of license you can get from the state and how much you are going to end up paying for it.

Requirements for obtaining a License

These are the basic requirements that one has to meet in order to qualify to apply for a hunting license in New York:

  • You should be old enough to hunt. And by being old enough for hunting, the law states that you should be at least 12 years of age to qualify for a hunting license. If you are 12 years and above, but not more than 16, then you are going to need the consent of your parents or guardians in order to get a license to go hunting.
  • Are you a resident of New York? If yes, you qualify for a license. If no, you also qualify for a license. However, the major difference between a resident and nonresident of New York is the fact that being in the latter category will see you paying more for your hunting license than a member of the former category will. In addition to paying less for a license, if you are a resident of New York State, you also enjoy the opportunity to apply for a lifetime hunting license. Non-residents are ineligible to get a lifetime license.

How to qualify as a resident of New York

In order to be considered a resident in the eyes of the law, you must meet any of the following requirements:

  • You should have lived in New York State for over 30 days right before submitting your application for the license. Some people are of the wrong impression that once they own land in the state, they automatically become residents, but this isn’t true!
  • You should be attending a full-time college in New York.
  • You should be a member of the US Armed Forces who is on duty in New York.

Once you have met the necessary requirements, the next step is to register with the State to take a hunter education course applicable to the particular type of hunting you will be doing. However, if you are not applying for a license for the first time, then you don’t need to take the hunter education course. The classes are free and often take just seven to eight hours to complete. You should visit the Department of Environmental Conservation to select your course. All the sportsman education courses there are not only completely free, but are also taught by highly qualified instructors.

Despite the courses designed mainly for first-time hunters, they can be attended by all manners of hunters, even experienced ones.  Below are the courses offered:

  • Hunter Education: This course is designed for first-time hunters hunting big game, small game, waterfowl, turkey and game birds with the use of either a firearm or an archery weapon.
  • Bowhunter Education: As the name implies, this course is designed for hunters hunting bear and deer with only bows and arrows. This course is taken in conjunction with the Hunter Education course mentioned above.
  • Trapper Education: This is the course that a trapper hunting game by setting traps is required to take. The course teaches the trapper, among several other important things, how to operate safely and responsibly.
  • Waterfowl Hunter Education: Just as the name suggests, the Waterfowl Hunter Education course is required in order to have access to hunt waterfowls in Wildlife Refuges or sanctuaries that allow waterfowl hunting.
  • Crossbow Hunting Qualification: If your weapon of choice to hunt big game, turkey, small game, or any animal that falls under the category of unprotected species, then the Crossbow Hunting Qualification is required.

After you have successfully finished your chosen course and passed it, just call 1-866-933-2257 to add your certificate to your profile.

Get Your Hunting License/Permit/Privilege

There are three main ways you can purchase your license. They are as follows:

NOTE: Hunters should take note of the fact that they would have to wait for at least 14 business days in order to receive their licenses if they purchase it online or via the phone. However, making the purchase in person at a license issuing office will see them receiving their licenses instantaneously.

How much a hunting license costs in New York State

If you are a resident of New York, you have the opportunity to either purchase the annual license or the lifetime license. If you are not a resident, you can only purchase the annual license. The amount you pay for your license depends on two things, namely your age and whether you are a resident of New York or not. The NY State license fees are as follows (the numbers below might change so make sure you click here for the latest information):

  • A lifetime license, which can only be bought by residents, currently costs $535.00.
  • Resident hunters aged between 12 and 15 pay $5 for an annual license.
  • Resident hunters between the ages of 16 and 69 pay $22 to obtain the annual license.
  • Resident hunters aged 70 and above pay just $5 for their annual license.
  • Non-resident hunters aged between 12 and 15 pay $5 for the annual license.
  • Non-resident hunters aged 16 and above pay $100 in order to obtain their annual New York State hunting license.

The lifetime license, which as the name implies lasts the entire life of the hunter. On the other hand, the annual license is valid from September 1st all the way to August 31st every year.

Extra Annual Hunting Privileges/Stamps/Permit

It is worth noting that after purchasing their licenses, hunters would often need other annual privileges, stamps, or permits depending on when they want to hunt and the type of animal they intend hunting.

Additional Annual Bowhunting Privilege fees for Residents and Non-residents

Below are the fees residents of New York will have to pay in order to enjoy Bowhunting Privileges:

  • Ages 16 to 69 pay $15 for Bowhunting Privilege.
  • Ages 70 and above pay no fee for Bowhunting Privilege.
  • Ages 12 to 5 pay $4 for Bowhunting Privilege.

Below are the fees that non-residents will have to pay for Bowhunting Privileges:

  • Ages 16 and above will pay $30.
  • Ages 12 to 15 will pay $4.

Additional Annual Muzzleloading Privilege fees for Residents and Non-residents

Here are the fees residents are required by law to pay in order to obtain Muzzleloading Privileges:

  • Ages 14 to 69 pay $15.
  • Ages 70 and over pay no fees.

The fees non-residents have to pay for Muzzleloading Privileges are as follows:

  • Ages 14 and over pay $30.

Additional Annual Turkey Permit Fees for Residents and Non-residents

These are the fees both residents and non-residents of New York have to pay to acquire their Annual Turkey Permits:

  • Resident hunters aged 12 and over pay $10.
  • Non-resident hunters aged 12 and above pay $20.

Other Additional Permits and Stamps for Residents and Non-residents

Here are the fees for other permits/stamps/privileges both residents and non-residents of the Empire State are required by law to pay:

  • Deer Management Permit: This stamp, which is needed to harvest antlerless deer in select zones, is free for resident and non-resident hunters aged between 12 and 15. However, hunters aged 16 and over are required to pay $10 whether they are residents or non-residents.
  • Federal Duck Stamp: This stamp, which is a conservation revenue stamp for the protection of the habitat of birds and other animals, will cost both resident and non-resident hunter aged 16 and above $25.
  • Harvest Information Program (HIP): Both resident and non-residents of New York have to register with the Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program in order to hunt the following birds: ducks, sea ducks, geese, snipe, woodcock, brant, gallinules, rails, and coots. The registration attracts no fees for residents as well as non-residents.
  • Permits for Disabled Hunters:Hunters with disabilities require special permits in order to hunt in New York State since they are going to be employing the use of special equipment and hunting methods. The permit for this category of hunters is free for both residents and non-residents.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about License and Extra Hunting Privileges/Stamps/Permits/Tags

Q. What are the benefits of getting a New York State hunting license

A. When you obtain this license, you are given the right and freedom to pursue and kill game animals across New York during the appropriate hunting seasons.

Q. Does a hunting license give me the right to fish in New York?

A. Since a New York hunting license isn’t the same as a freshwater fishing license, you cannot use it to catch freshwater fish or to enjoy the freshwater fishing opportunities the state has to offer. To find out more about freshwater fishing license in New York, visit the website of the New York State Home.

Q. How would I know whether I need a privilege, stamp, or permit in addition to my traditional hunting license?

A. Needing any of the additional permits/privileges/stamps would often depend on the type of species you are hunting and the season you are going to be hunting in. For example, if you’d be hunting a deer or bear with a bow during the special bowhunting season, then in addition to your normal hunting license, you’d also need a bowhunting privilege. You can visit the website of the DEC in order to know whether you’d be required to add a privilege/stamp/permit to your license, and the type you’d need in the event that the law requires you use one.

Q. Do all the licenses, privileges, permits and stamps have the same validity date?

A. The annual hunting licenses as well as privileges have the same validity date, which is from September 1st to August 31st every year. However, the Federal Duck Stamp and the Harvest Information Program (HIP) are valid from July 1 to June 30 every year.

Q. Can I replace a lost license?

A. Yes, you can. You can replace your lost licenses at any license issuing agent office in New York. It currently costs $5 to replace your missing licenses.

Q. Does the lifetime license really mean I can use it to hunt forever?

A. Yes.

Q. Can I get other privileges and permits before buying my license?

A. No. You have to purchase your hunting license before acquiring any other privileges or permits.

Q. Is there any category of people that can qualify for free hunting licenses and privileges?

A. Yes there is. The following are examples of some of the groups of people that can either enjoy the unique opportunity of acquiring their hunting licenses at reduced fees or totally free of charge: hunters serving in the army, hunters above 70 years old, young hunters aged between 12 and 15 years, military veterans with disabilities, and hunters from certain Native American tribes.

Q. Is there any specific part of the deer that I should attach the carcass tag to?

A. Despite the head of the deer being the best place to attach your tag to, you should know that DEC presently has no law that requires you to attach the tag to a specific part of the carcass.

Q. What if I already have hunter education from some other state in the United States?

A. Since New York State also recognizes hunter education certificates from other states, you can use it to apply for a hunting license in New York.

Q. Does everybody need a hunting license to hunt in New York?

A. No. Not everyone needs to get a hunting license in order to hunt in New York. The following are the category of people who can hunt without licenses:

  • A Native American who lives on a reservation and hunts small game there.
  • You are resident of New York who owns farm lands and mainly engage in farming. In such an instance, the law gives you the permission to hunt for small game animals inhabiting the land that you occupy and farm on. Members of your immediate family can also hunt small game on such farm lands without requiring a license.
  • A person doing his/her hunting on either a big game shooting facility or a shooting preserve that has been licensed by the authorities, then you are exempt from needing a license to hunt.

If you don’t fall in any of the categories above, that simply means you’ll definitely need a license to hunt legally in New York. So once you have successfully completed the requisite hunter education course(s), go ahead and buy your hunting license.

Q. Do I still need to get a privilege, stamp or permit if I’m exempt from hunting with a hunting license?

A. If you fall in any of the three categories of people who don’t need hunting license and you’d be hunting turkey, you’d need to get a turkey permit. No one is currently exempt from this.

Game Animals you can find in New York State

There are dozens of game animals that you can come across and legally kill during a hunting trip in New York. Some of these animals include the following:

  • White-tail deer: Some of the top communities in New York where a lot of white-tailed deer is hunted include Jerusalem in Yates County, Warwick in Orange County, Mount Morris in Livingston County and the Adirondack Mountains in northeastern New York.
  • Black bears: It is reported that currently at least between 6,000 and 8,000 black bears inhabit places in New York where hunting is allowed. Over 50% of these bears can be found in the Adirondack region. Significant percentages of bears can also be found in such areas of New York as the Catskill region, central-western region, Hudson Valley, and Tug Hill.
  • Wild turkeys: These turkeys are one of the most common game species hunted and taken by hunters in New York. According to the DEC, the turkey population in the state is currently at 180,000.
  • Waterfowl: The Empire State has a huge population of waterfowl across it. For example, in 2016, the New York State Ornithological Association counted over 500,000 waterfowl in the state. Some of the most common waterfowl species you can hunt in New York include coot, ducks, sea ducks, Canada geese, snow geese, and brant.
  • Pheasants: Despite the fact that the population of pheasants has seen a drastic reduction in New York, pheasants are still pursued by tens of thousands of hunters in the state. Every year, more than 25,000 mature pheasants are released across the state on both private and state-owned lands for hunters to hunt.
  • Bobwhite quail: Even though there is a rapid decline in the populations of bobwhites, there is still a decent number of them in the state of NY. Some of the best places to hunt bobwhites in the state are in areas such as Orange, Putnam, Suffolk and Nassau.
  • Squirrels: New York has a vast population of squirrels ranging from gray to black to red squirrels. The state allows you to hunt an unlimited amount of red squirrels at any time since they are in abundance.

Other common animals you can hunt in the Empire State include varying hare, ruffed grouse, cotton rabbit, American woodcock, fox, etc.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Weapons and Equipment

There are certain weapons and equipment you can use and cannot use when hunting certain species in the state of New York. There are also certain weapons and equipment that you are totally prohibited from using regardless of the type of species you are hunting in the Empire State. Here are the answers to some of New York hunters’ most frequently asked question about weapons and equipment.

Q. What types of scopes are prohibited in New York?

A. Hunters are prohibited from hunting bear and deer using a scope and laser light designed to project light outside its body.

Q. I know that not all rifles can be used legally in New York for big game hunting. What types can I use legally?

A. In New York, it is legal to use all center-fire rifles for big game hunting. However, if the firearm has any of the following features, then you are not allowed to use it:

  • Completely automatic
  • Comes with a silencer
  • Has the ability to hold over 6 shells

Q. Can I use artificial light in hunting and taking big game?

A. No. That being said, you are allowed to use a small flashlight to see your way through the woods at night when you are hunting big game. Under no circumstances must you use the artificial light to try to locate big game.

Q. What animals can I use an artificial light in hunting in New York?

A. You are allowed to use an artificial light during the night to hunt bobcat, coyote, raccoon, or fox.

Q. Can I use all types of muzzleloading firearms during special muzzleloading seasons in New York?

A. No. For instance, during special muzzleloading seasons, you are not allowed to use double-barreled muzzleloading firearms. To find out more about hunting in New York with muzzleloaders, visit the DEC website.


Hunting Regulations in New York

There are hundreds of thousands of hunters active in New York State, and accordingly the species they pursue vary. The state, in its wisdom, has set rules and regulations in order to not only maintain order in the wilderness, but to also protect the hunter and certain animal species from becoming extinct. These laws tell hunters things such as which animals they can legally hunt, where the animals can be hunted, and what weapons can be used to kill them. These laws are very extensive, so below is a summarized list for easy reference using information primarily provided by the New York Department of Environmental Conversation’s official website. For further details regarding some of these hunting regulations, you can visit the official website of the DEC.

Big Game Hunting Regulations

The laws of New York generally allow the hunting of big game animals between sunrise and sunset from Mondays to Saturdays. However, in some areas in New York, hunting can take place even on Sundays.

Hunting Deer in New York

Deer fall under the big game hunting category, and as such can only be hunted from during daylight hours. The laws of New York encourage hunters to let younger deer live and only kill adult ones. A deer that is about three years’ of age or older is considered mature. Hunters need to get specific tags on their license to hunt deer with weapons such as a crossbow or muzzleloader.  In general, the number of deer that a hunter is allowed to kill largely depends on the license and privilege they have.

In New York, any deer that is legally antlered should be one whose antler is at least three inches in length when the measurement is taken the base of its burr.

Hunting Bear in New York

Bear hunters (whether resident or non-resident) are only allowed to kill one black bear in New York every year using either a firearm or a bow. Hunters are not allowed to use trained dogs to hunt or kill any black bears. In the Southern Zone, which encompasses most of the State, hunters are not allowed to kill cubs, kill any bear belonging to a group of bears, or shoot and kill bears while they are in their domicile. In addition to this, the laws of New York require a hunter to remove a tooth from the carcass of a bear he or she has killed and submit the tooth to the DEC for data-collection purposes.  Neither the flesh of bears nor deer can be sold.

Unlawful Ways of Hunting Big Game in New York

Here are the illegal manners or ways of hunting big game animals in the state of New York:

  • Possessing or using a firearm of any manner when engaged in bowhunting or in the company of a hunter who is bowhunting during any of the special archery seasons within the confines of the state.
  • Using salt licks to attract and capture game.
  • Shooting down the game (deer or bear) while it is in a water body.
  • Using dogs, an aircraft of any manner, or bait to hunt big game.
  • Hunting big game with an air bow or an air gun.
  • Using either a firearm that employs the use of rimfire ammunition or a bow whose draw weight is 35 lbs or lower than that to pursue and kill big game.
  • Using any autoloading firearm that has a capacity of over 6 shells. An autoloading pistol whose barrel length is shorter than 8 inches is the only exception here.
  • Using a bow or gun along with an artificial source of light or any laser that casts a beam at the animal you are hunting.
  • Using a shotgun that comes with lower than 20 gauge.
  • Using arrows that come with barbed broadheads.

You can read more about the unlawful manners of taking big game in New York State on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s website and also the FAQs – answers from Environmental Conservation Police Officers in NY State.

Tagging Deer and Bear

In New York State, just like in many other jurisdictions in the United States, a hunter only legally possesses the carcass of the deer or bear they have killed when the carcass has been tagged along with other requisite things such as a hunting license, permit, etc.

After making your kill, fill in all the required information on both your carcass tag and report tag before proceeding to detach both tags from each other. In New York, you are not required by law to attach the carcass tag to the carcass of the deer or bear as you convey it from the kill site to your vehicle or camp.  However, once you get to your vehicle or camp, you should instantly attach the tag to the carcass of the animal. The tag should remain glued to the carcass until you take it to your destination and start preparing it for consumption.

Transporting Carcass

You can transport the carcass of your deer or bear in the interior or exterior of your vehicle. During the transportation process, here are some things you should be mindful of:

  • You should accompany the carcass during transportation. As you do this, remember that it is illegal to transport any big game animals whose evidence of gender isn’t attached to the carcass. And one of the best ways to show evidence of gender is by leaving the head of the carcass.
  • If for some reason you cannot accompany the carcass, then it is imperative that you provide an extra tag with the name(s) and address(s) of whoever is accompanying the carcass.
  • If you are a non-resident hunter, whose state frowns upon bringing in whole deer meat from New York, then you should cut it into smaller portions and ensure that you tag the portions individually. In tagging them, the following vital information should be included: name, address, date on which the portion was cut, license number and signature of the person who took it.

Reporting Your Take

After harvesting a bear, dear, or turkey, the law requires that you report it within a period of 7 days. You are considered to have contravened the law when you fail to do that. There are currently three methods you can use to report your harvest in New York. The methods are as follows:

  • Through the online game harvest report.
  • By calling the toll-free number 1-866-GAME-RPT (1-866-426-3778).
  • By using the new DEC’s game harvest mobile app (Apple App Store & Google Play Store versions).

In addition to reporting their harvests, the law in New York requires that any hunter who is luck enough to harvest a bear do the following things:

  • Weigh the bear after it has been dressed and record the weight.
  • Extract and keep a premolar tooth from the bear. DEC will later collect the tooth of the bear from the hunter for the sole purpose of determining its age.
  • Keep the bear’s lower jaw or skull.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs) about Hunting Regulations in New York City

Q. Can I take more than one bear by bow or gun if I am a resident of New York State?

A. Whether you are a resident or a non-resident, the law requires that you kill no more than one bear in a given license year.

Q. The law says I can only kill one bear every license year. Since I was unable to kill any bear last year, does that mean I can kill two this year?

A. No.

Q. What happens if I don’t report my harvest?

A. Failing to report the harvest is illegal. For example, refusing to report your harvest of bear, turkey, or dear can easily see you being fined as much as $250.

Q. Can I sell the meat of the bear or dear I have legally harvested?

A. It is illegal to sell any flesh of the deer or bear you harvest. Besides the flesh, the law allows you to sell other parts of the deer or bear which you harvested legally providing you properly tag them before sale.

Q. Can I hunt for small game animals using my hunting license even though I’m a big game hunter?

A. Yes, you can.

Q. In hunting deer in New York, can I use decoys and electronic calls?

A. Yes, you can.

Q. Is it legal to use electronic calls to hunt furbearers such as coyotes?

A. Yes. However, you are not allowed to hunt birds such as geese, turkey, or ducks with the aid of an electronic call.

Q. I know it is illegal to shoot on a road or across it. But how far off the road should I be in order to legally shoot a gun?

A. You have to be completely off the highway or road as well as the road shoulders before you can legally shoot your firearm.

Q. Is it legal for me to use attractants to hunt deer?

A. It is legal to hunt deer using things such as doe urine. However, it is illegal to use a salt lick to try to hunt deer.

Q. Can I my underage child accompany me during a deer hunting expedition?

A. Providing you keep them safe and do not allow them to assist you during the hunt, then yes you can take them with you while you are hunting deer.

Q. Can I train dogs to pursue bears?

A. Yes, you can train your dogs to pursue bears. This is important when attempting to reduce or prevent bears from entering into your farms and causing damage to crops such as corn.

Q. Can I use my dogs to hunt bears?

A. Despite the fact that the law allows you to train dogs to pursue bears, it is illegal to use your dogs in hunting bears.

Q. In hunting a bear, I’m I allowed to trap it?

A. It is illegal to trap or snare a bear in New York.


Hunting Seasons in New York

Hunting seasons in New York State tend to be zone and sometimes weapon-specific, so proper documentation should be consulted for more details on when, where and how to engage in a legal hunt in the Empire State. The below dates are generally when hunting seasons begin and end in New York.

Deer Hunting Seasons

Please use the following link for updated info on Deer Hunting Seasons in New York.

Bear Hunting Seasons

There are approximately four seasons for black bear hunting in New York. These seasons are: early, archery, regular and muzzleloader seasons. Please use the following link for updated info on Bear Hunting Seasons in New York.

Wild Turkey Hunting Seasons

In New York State, there are three turkey hunting seasons, namely Youth Turkey Hunt, Spring, and Fall Turkey Hunting Seasons.

Fall Turkey Season

The hunting hours for Fall Turkey Season in New York start from sunrise to sunset. The season starts from October to December. For specific season dates and areas, visit the website of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Spring Youth Hunt

The Spring Youth Wild Turkey Hunt is a two-day weekend hunt for young hunters aged between 12 and 15. All junior hunters participating in the youth hunt must be accompanied by experienced adult hunters. The 2018 youth hunt will take place from April 21 to 22. The shooting hours start from 1/2-hour before the rise of the sun to noon and the bag limit for the entire duration of the hunt is one bearded turkey per hunter. This hunt always comes a few days before the regular season hunt begins. The areas open for this hunt are the entire upstate New York (north of the boundary of Bronx-Westchester County) in addition to Suffolk County (WMU 1C).

Spring Turkey Hunt

The spring turkey hunting season in New York starts some days after the end of the Spring Youth Turkey Hunt. Hunting commences one-half-hour before the rise of the sun and ends at noon each day from May 1 to May 31. The areas open for the regular spring season are the same as the youth hunt minus Suffolk County. The bag limit for the season is two bearded turkeys per hunter.


Small Game Seasons

Small game animals range from birds such as Bobwhite quail and pheasants to mammals such as hare and rabbits to reptiles and amphibians such as turtles and frogs. Here are the general dates and bag limits for small game hunting seasons in New York State:

Bobwhite Quail Hunting Season

These are the season dates for hunting for bobwhite quail in New York:

  • October 1 through February 28. The daily bag limit for this period is 4,whereas the entire season’s bag limit is 10.
  • November 1 through December 31. The daily bag limit is 6, whereas the entire season’s bag limit is 40.

The hunting hours for both seasons above are from sunrise to sunset.

Cottontail Rabbit Hunting Season

These are the hunting seasons and bag limits for cottontail rabbit hunting in New York:

  • October 1 through March 18.
  • October 1 through February 28.
  • November 1 through February 28.

The hunting hours for the cottontail rabbit hunting seasons mentioned above are from sunrise all the way to sunset. The daily bag limit for each season is 6.

Reptile and Amphibian Hunting Seasons

These are the hunting seasons for reptiles and amphibians in New York:

  • Frogs can be hunted across the majority of wildlife management units across the state from June 15 to September 30. There are no daily or season bag limits for hunting frogs. You are allowed to take frogs at any time regardless of whether it is night or day.
  • Snapping turtles can be hunted statewide from July 15 to September 30. The daily bag limit for snapping turtles is 5. The season bag limit is 30. During the open season for snapping turtles, you are allowed to take them at any time you like, whether day or night.
  • Diamondback terrapin can be hunted across certain hunting areas from August 1 to April 30. Diamond terrapin can also be hunted any time – whether day or night. There are no daily or season bag limits for hunting diamond terrapin.

NOTE: It is imperative that hunters in New York State take note of the following facts:

  • From May 1, 2018, the commercial harvesting of diamondback terrapins will be abolished owing to the fact that the population of the turtles is rapidly declining.
  • Snakes, salamanders and lizards cannot be hunted during these seasons or during any other time.

Pheasant Hunting Seasons 

Below are the pheasant hunting seasons in New York:

  • Cocks only: Hunters are allowed to hunt cocks only from October 21 through December 31and November 1 through December 31. Cocks can also be taken during Youth Hunt on October 14 & 15 and October 28 & 29.
  • Cocks and hens only:Cocks and hens only can be hunted from October 21 through February 28October 1 through February 28, and November 1 through December 31. During Youth Hunt, cocks and hens can also be taken on October 14 & 15September 23 & 24 and October 28 & 29.

The hunting hours begin at sunrise and end at sunset every day.

Ruffed Grouse Hunting Seasons

In New York, you can take ruffed grouse from sunrise to sunset on the following dates:

  • September 20 through February 28. The daily bag limit for this period is 4.
  • October 1 through February 28. The daily bag limit for this period is also 4.

You are not allowed to hunt woodcock if you haven’t registered in the HIP (Harvest Information Program).

Squirrel Hunting Seasons

Gray, black & fox squirrels can be hunted in New York from sunrise to sunset on the following dates:

  • September 1 through February 28(daily bag limits 6).
  • November 1 through February 28(daily bag limits 6).

The law allows you to hunt red squirrels at any time since they are unprotected species.

Varying Hare Hunting Seasons

In New York State, varying rare hunting seasons take place on the following dates from sunrise to sunset:

  • October 1 through March 18with a daily bag limit of 6.
  • January 1 through January 31with a daily bag limit of 2.
  • December 11 through February 28with a daily bag limit of 2.

Furbearer Hunting Seasons in New York

There are only 10 species of furbearers that can be legally hunted in New York State. These species are listed below: Bobcat, Coyote, Gray Fox, Mink, Muskrat, Opossum, Raccoon, Red Fox, Skunk and Weasel.

Opossum, Raccoon, Weasel, Skunk, and Gray and Red Fox Hunting Seasons

Hunting these species in New York can be done on the following dates:

  • October 25 through February 15.
  • November 1 through February 25.

There are no daily or seasonal bag limits for these species. Hunting hours for these species start after sunrise on the first day of the open hunt season. After the opening day, hunters can hunt these species at any time of the day or night.

Mink and Muskrat Hunting Seasons in New York

Here are the season dates for hunting muskrats and minks in New York:

  • Minks can be hunted from November 10 to April 7November 25 to February 15December 15 to February 25 and October 25 to April 15. During the latter season, a hunter isn’t allowed to use a firearm to take a mink. However, on the other seasons, a firearm that is lower than 5.6 mm caliber (.22 caliber) can be used.
  • Muskrats  can be hunted from October 25 to April 15. Hunters are not allowed to use any firearm which is bigger than 5.6 mm caliber (.22 caliber) to take muskrats.

Bobcat Hunting Seasons in New York

Hunting hours during the open bobcat hunting seasons in New York start after sunrise on the first day of the season and at any time of the day or night. The hunting seasons are as follows:

  • October 25 through February 15.
  • October 25 through November 17.

There are no daily or seasonal bag limits for taking bobcats during these seasons.

Coyote Hunting Season

The coyote hunting season starts from October 1 through March 25. The hunting hours start after sunrise on the first day of the hunting season and at any time during the day or during the night of the subsequent days of the hunting season.

NOTE: The above are just a summarized version of some of the major Hunting Seasons in New York. The majority of the hunting dates mentioned above are not statewide, thus they do not apply to all hunting areas and wildlife management units in New York. For a complete version of all the hunting seasons in New York, specific dates as well as season zones or areas, you should visit the website of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

FAQs about Hunting Seasons in New York

Q. When is the best time to hunt in New York?

A. According to the majority of hunters, fall is the best time to hunt in New York because it is the time when a significant percentage of the best legal big game hunting occurs.

Q. Can I hunt on a Sunday during hunting season in New York?

A. Yes, you can. However, you should take note of the fact that not all state parks and Wildlife Management Areas in New York allow Sunday hunting in their forests.

Q. What are the penalties of taking a deer during a closed hunting season in New York?

A. You are considered to be poaching or engaging in illegal hunting when you take a deer before or after the end of a hunting season. In November 2017, the 56th Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law that increased the fine for deer poaching from $250 to $500.


Hunting Places in New York State

There are literally hundreds of hunting places on both private and public lands scattered all over New York State where you can lawfully take game animals during the appropriate hunting seasons.

Public Hunting Lands

Across New York there are many state-owned lands where hunters can hunt and trap game animals. Some of these public lands include State Forests, State Parks, and Wildlife Management Areas (WMUs). However, hunters are often required to receive official permissions before they can hunt on a state owned land. You can get all the necessary information you need to know about hunting on any public land through any of the numerous DEC regional offices across the state. You can also get in touch with an agency like the New York State Forest Rangers for more information with respect to hunting  on a piece of land owned by the state.

Below are some of the common public lands in New York you can hunt in:

Wildlife Management Areas

For an updated list of Wildlife Management Areas in New York please click here. You can also visit the following map in order to explore NY State Recreation Lands.

New York State Parks that allow Hunting

Here are some of the state parks in New York that allow hunting ranging from big game to small game.

For a complete list of all state parks offering hunting as one of the activities that can take place on the parks, you can contact the nearest New York State Department of Environmental Conservation regional office or visit the agency’s website. We recommend that you get in touch with any of the parks listed here to find out more about the regulations governing them before venturing into them to hunt.


Hunting on Private Lands in New York

Just like in all other states in America, hunting can be legally done on private lands. However, it is illegal in New York State as it is in other states in America to trespass into a private land and hunt there without first seeking the permission of the owner of the land.

Most private properties place signs on them which would either state that hunting or trespassing on them is either allowed or strictly prohibited. If the sign says that hunting is allowed, more often than not it would be an ASK Permission sticker, which means that the landowner allows hunters into his property only if they ask.

When hunting on private property, we recommend that you do the following important things:

  • Always seek permission. Even if you hunted there last season, it is still imperative that you see permission again this season.  And in seeking permission, it is not wise to show up on the very day that you intend hunting to ask for permission. You should always seek permission in advance.
  • Ask the landowner what manners of weapons and equipment they allow on their property.
  • Under no circumstances must you liter the place or deliberately cause damage to the vegetation on the land.
  • At the end of the hunt, remember to thank the owner of the land for their generosity. In addition to that, you can also give them a portion of the game you harvested just to show them your sincere appreciation.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Hunting Places in New York State

Q. Where are the top places to hunt deer in New York?

A. Despite New York State not being the best state in the United States to hunt deer, the state has some places that are home to huge populations of deer.  Some of the best places to hunt deer in New York include Steuben County, Charlie Alsheimer’s Farm located in Steuben County, Suffolk County, Fort Drum Military Base and Adirondack Mountain Region.

Q. What happens if I venture into a private land to hunt without asking permission from the landowner?

A. If you are caught, the landowner can easily prosecute you for trespassing, and that can result in your hunting license being taken away from you.

Q. What are hunting leases?

A. As a result of shrinking public lands, hunting leases are rapidly gaining popularity across the United States, and the state of New York is no exception. A hunting lease is an agreement made between a hunter and the owner of a private land giving the hunter the opportunity to hunt on the property after he/she has paid a specified amount of money to the landowner.

Q. Where can I find lands to lease for a hunting expedition in New York?

A. There are many of such lands scattered all over the state. To find some of the best hunting lands for lease available in New York State, you can visit sites such as the National Hunting Lease Network, New York State Hunting Land Leases and Base Camp Leasing.


Hunter Accommodation in New York   

For the sake of guidance, safety or companionship, hunters may prefer to associate with their own during hunting trips. In fact if you are hunting in an area for the first time it is imperative you become affiliated with hunters already resident there who can accommodate your unforeseen needs. Here are a few of such entities, including their contact information, and some of them can even help you obtain licenses and other required material for hunt certain game:

C.P.’s Guide Service

If you’d be hunting in New York, then a business like the C.P.’s Guide Service can easily help in enhancing your hunting experience. C.P. not only provides several types of guided hunts ranging from deer to coyote to turkey hunts in a number of places, including the Adirondack Mountains of New York, but also provides among other things decent sleeping accommodations and home cooked meals for hunters. Here are the contact details of C.P.’s Guide Service:
Richfield Springs, NY
(315) 360-7113
[email protected]

Quality Adventures Guide Service

Another good business that not only offers guided hunting trips in New York, but also offers among other services, meals, coaching and decent places for hunters to lodge is the Quality Adventures Guide Service.
P.O. Box 187, Stottville, New York 12172
(518) 822-9353

 Catskill Seasons Inn

The Catskill Seasons Inn is another place that provides decent lodging for hunters – especially those who would be hunting in the Catskill Forest Preserve. Hunters can unwind and relax here after an adventure in the wild. The inn also has a nice restaurant and bar where you can enjoy good food and a local beer.
Catskills, Shandaken, New York
(845) 688-2505
[email protected]

DC Outdoor Adventures Inc.

DC Outdoor Adventures provides hunters with guided hunting trips in places such as the Adirondacks and Long Island. The company also offers both tent and lodge lodging for hunters at relatively fair rates. Contact D.C. Outdoor Adventures here:
P.O.Box 26 Selden, NY 11784.
(631) 786-7871


Other excellent places to stay in New York during a hunting Expedition

Below are some other outstanding places for hunters to secure accommodation during a hunting trip. Some of these places offer more than a place to stay but also offer hunting excursions, meals, etc to hunters.

Allegany State Park-Red House Area
2373 ASP, Rte 1 Salamanca, NY 14779
(716) 354-9121

Oneida Nation Outfitters
6537 East Hill Road, Munnsville, NY 13409
(315) 225-9748

Hunter Mountain  
Hunter, New York 12442
(518) 263-4223

Steuben County Conference and Visitors Bureau
1 W. Market St. Corning, NY 14830
(607) 936-6544

Lake Erie State Park
5838 Route 5 Brocton, NY 14716
(716) 792-9214

Taughannock Falls State Park
1740 Taughannock Blvd.
Trumansburg, NY 14886
(607) 387-6739

Robert H. Treman State Park
105 Enfield Falls Rd.
Ithaca, NY 14850
(607) 273-3440

Selkirk Shores State Park
7101 State Route #3
Pulaski, NY 13142
(315) 298-5737

For an unlimited number of cool places to lodge in New York during a hunting expedition, we recommend visiting this website run by the New York Department of Economic Development.


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