DEC announces the start of the small game hunting seasons –

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that most small game hunting seasons will open on Friday, October 1 in New York State.

Season dates, bag limits and other hunting regulations for New York small game species are available in the Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide, which can be obtained from an Issuing Officer of permit or on the CED website.

Waterfowl hunting and special youth and military days

New York offers extensive waterfowl hunting opportunities, as hunters can harvest over 30 species of waterfowl. New York State has five waterfowl zones and nine Canada geese zones that help maximize hunting opportunities in a variety of habitats. Most waterfowl areas also have special hunting days for youth and members of the military (active duty and veterans) that often begin before the regular hunting season, giving these hunters the opportunity to hunt with less. competition and hunting pressure.

Youth Waterfowl Days:

  • Southeast zones and Lake Champlain: Sept. 25-26
  • West Zone: 2-3 Oct
  • Long Island Zone: November 6-7

Military and veteran hunting days:

  • South-East Zone: October 9-10
  • West Zone: November 11 (Veterans Day) and November 13
  • Long Island area: November 13-14
  • There are no special military / veteran days for the Lake Champlain area.

Opening dates for regular duck seasons:

  • North-East Zone: October 2
  • Lake Champlain zone: Oct. 13
  • West and south-eastern zones: October 16
  • Long Island area: November 20

To learn more about waterfowl hunting season dates and bag limits, visit the Waterfowl Seasons page on the CED website.

Ruffed grouse hunting

The ruffed grouse hunting season runs from October 1 to the last day of February in most areas of the state. In upstate New York, the season opens on September 20 and ends on the last day of February. In New York and Long Island, the season is closed.

Ruffed grouse hunters in the northern zone are reminded to positively identify the quarry before shooting. The northern area, specifically Wildlife Management Units 5C, 5F, 6F, and 6J, is also home to the spruce grouse, a state threatened species whose hunting is illegal. The loss of a single spruce grouse, especially a female, could be a major setback for a small local population. For advice on how to distinguish between the two species, see the Guide to Hunting and Trapping Regulations or the Ruffed Grouse Hunting Information page on the DEC website.

DEC encourages ruffed grouse hunters to participate in the grouse logging program and submit harvested bird feathers to assess recruitment (number of young produced per adult female grouse) for different parts of the state. Interested hunters should visit the DEC website.

Pheasant hunting

DEC will release approximately 30,000 adult pheasants on land open to public hunting for the next fall pheasant hunting season. The pheasant hunting season begins:

  • October 1, in the northern and eastern parts of New York
  • October 16, in the central and western parts of the state
  • November 1 in Long Island

Since 2007, the DEC has offered a special season reserved for young people in order to offer young hunters the opportunity to hunt pheasants during the weekend preceding the regular pheasant hunting season. In western New York State, Youth Pheasant Hunting Weekend takes place October 9-10. In northern and eastern New York City, Youth Pheasant Hunting Weekend is September 25-26, and in Long Island, October 30-31. Both the junior hunter and his adult mentor must hold a hunting license. Only the junior hunter can carry a firearm and harvest birds on these dates.

All pheasant release sites provided by state-funded programs are open to public hunting. Pheasants will be released on state-owned land before and during the fall hunting season and at several sites in New York City watershed lands through a partnership with the Department of Conservation. New York City environment. Pheasant hunting opportunities have also been increased by private landowners who have opened up their lands to public hunting. A list of statewide pheasant release sites and sites receiving birds for youth-only pheasant weekends can be found on the DEC website.

Squirrel, rabbit and hare hunting

Opportunities to pursue squirrels and rabbits can be found statewide, including on many public lands. Squirrel seasons began on September 1 in upstate New York and begin on November 1 in Long Island. The rabbit hunt begins October 1 in upstate New York and November 1 in Long Island. With plenty of opportunities and mild weather, squirrel and rabbit hunting is a great way to introduce newbies to hunting.

The snowshoe hare (or mountain hare) season begins on October 1 in the northern zone. Hare hunters in the southern zone, where the season begins in late fall or early winter, are encouraged to report their sightings to DEC through the DEC website.

Wild turkey hunting

Wild turkeys can be found statewide, but reach their highest densities in landscapes made up of forests, old fields, and farmland. Wild turkeys are less vulnerable to harvesting in areas with abundant food (e.g. hard and soft masts), as they do not have to roam far for food, so it is important to scout before the season. Season dates for fall 2021:

  • From October 1 to 14, in the north zone
  • From October 16 to 29, in the southern zone
  • November 20 – December 3 in Suffolk County, Long Island

The statewide seasonal bag limit is one bird of both sexes. Hunting hours are from sunrise to sunset.

Fur hunting seasons

With 16 species of furbearing animals living in New York City, the possibilities for hunting and trapping furbearing animals are plentiful. Coyote hunting season begins October 1 in much of the state, and hunting seasons for other fur-bearing animals such as bobcats, racoons, and foxes begin October 25. Guide to hunting and trapping regulations.

Citizen science

Citizen science efforts such as the Grouse and Woodcock Hunting Journal, the Ruffed Grouse Coin Collection, and the Bow Hunter Observation Journal offer hunters the opportunity to partner with the DEC to monitor wildlife. game species. To learn more about how to participate in these efforts, visit the CED website.

CED promotes the safety of hunters

While statistics show New York City hunting is safer than ever, mistakes are made every year. DEC believes every hunting-related shooting incident is preventable, and Commissioner Seggos encourages hunters to use common sense this season and remember what they learned in the DEC Hunter Education Course. .

Gun Safety:

  1. Point your gun in a safe direction.
  2. Treat each weapon as if it were loaded.
  3. Be sure of your target and beyond.
  4. Keep your finger away from the trigger until you are ready to shoot.

In addition to the orange or pink blaze required for big game hunting with firearms, the DEC encourages small game hunters to wear orange blaze or pink blaze. Wearing orange or pink prevents other hunters from mistaking a person for an animal or shooting in a hunter’s direction. Hunters dressed in Blazing Orange are seven times less likely to be shot.

For more information and other important safety tips, please visit the DEC website and watch hunter safety videos. For more information on safe and responsible outdoor trips, visit the CED website.



Information attributed to NYSDEC is taken from press releases and announcements from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

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