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New York Hunting Guide

Like many northeastern states, New York offers hunters a variety of popular game species. Despite being very heavily urbanized in some areas, New York supports significant hunting opportunities through its diverse landscape.

What to Hunt

New York offers strong population densities for several popular game species, including big game, small game, and waterfowl.



New York supports a population of around 1,000,000 whitetail deer. These deer can be found on public land throughout the entire state. Deer density is particularly high in the state’s northern region. A high number of trophy bucks are taken from New York each year.



Unlike many states, New York offers an affordable nonresident turkey permit. The statewide bag limit for fall season is one turkey of either sex; spring is two bearded turkeys. Hunters may use a bow or crossbow, a shotgun or handgun with shot between #2 and #8, or a muzzleloading shotgun. Dogs are only permitted in the fall season, not the spring season. It is not permitted to use bait or electronic calls, but decoys and scopes are permitted.



New York hunters take a wide variety of duck subspecies each year, including mallards, buffleheads, wood ducks, black ducks, wigeon, pintails, redheads, bluebills, goldeneyes, and green-winged teal. The state has an abundance of public land and suitable waterfowl habitat areas. Duck season generally runs from October through January, depending on the region. There is a daily bag limit of six, with a possession limit of 18. New York is also home to other waterfowl, including Canada geese, snow geese, scaup, and brant.



New York has between 6,000 and 7,000 black bears in the wild. Hunting is the main method used to control bear populations. Bear hunting in New York occurs throughout parts of the northern, southeastern, and central-western regions. Bear seasons are divided into bowhunting, crossbow, regular, and muzzleloading seasons. There is also a youth firearms season for bear. Crossbow may only be used in certain seasons and zones.

Other New York game species include: Ruffed Grouse, Cottontail Rabbit, Pheasant, Hare, Squirrel, Quail, Bobcat, Coots, Mergansers, Scaup, Brant, Canada Geese, Woodcock, Crow, Snipe, Rail, and Gallinule, etc. found in the "Hunting Seasons" section at bottom of the page.

Where to Hunt

Although much of New York is privately-owned, the state also provides hunters with significant public land areas.

Wildlife Management Areas

New York is home to over 115 Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). These lands comprise a total of 197,000 acres. New York WMAs are subject to individual, site-specific rules. However, there are also statewide WMA regulations that will apply to all Wildlife Management Areas.

State Forests

New York has over 800,000 acres of State Forest areas, maintained by the Department of Environmental Conservation. State Forests are generally open to hunting, with only a few exceptions. These areas contain deer, bear, and waterfowl species throughout the year.

Wildlife Refuges

Within New York, there are ten wildlife refuges. Of these, hunting is permitted (with some restrictions) on three: Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, and Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge.

State Parks

New York has dozens of state parks that are generally open to hunting. However, hunters wishing to take animals in New York State Parks must obtain a regional hunting permit for each individual park. This permit will specify the species, method of take, and any other additional restrictions for the permit holder.

Licensing Fees

A hunter education course is required before obtaining a New York hunting license. Everyone 12 years and older using a firearm or bow to hunt must have a hunting license. Discounted license fees are available based on age and military status.

License Resident Nonresident
Annual Hunting License $22.00 $100.00
Bowhunting Privilege $15.00 $30.00
Muzzleloading Privilege $15.00 $30.00
Turkey Permit $10.00 $20.00

Hunter Education

A hunter education course is required to obtain a hunting license in New York. The course can be taken online or in person, however the online option is only available to youths 11 or older. The hunter education course includes bow and crossbow use. A trapping course is also available.

Youth Hunting

No one under 12 years old may hunt in New York. Youths 13-15 must be accompanied by a licensed adult when hunting deer and bear, and certain method-of-take restrictions apply.

A Columbus Day weekend special junior and youth hunt is available to youths age 13-15. During this hunt, youth may take one deer and one bear. Supervising mentors are not permitted to bring a firearm or hunt alongside the youth hunters.


A trapping education course is required to obtain a trapping license in New York. The following are trappable furbearers in New York: American marten, beaver, bobcat, eastern coyote, fisher, gray fox, long-tailed weasel, mink, muskrat, raccoon, red fox, river otter, and striped skunk. These species are strictly regulated and may only be trapped during appropriate hours and seasons.

Hunting Seasons

Game Season Begins Season Ends
Deer* Sep 27 2023 Jan 31 2024
Black Bear* Sep 9 2023 Dec 31 2023
Turkey* Oct 1 2023 Dec 1 2023
May 1 2024 May 31 2024
Ruffed Grouse* Sep 20 2023 Feb 29 2024
Cottontail Rabbit Oct 1 2023 Mar 17 2024
Pheasant* Oct 1 2023 Feb 29 2024
Hare* Oct 1 2023 Feb 29 2024
Squirrel - Gray, Black, Fox* Sep 1 2023 Feb 29 2024
Red Squirrel no closed season no closed season
Quail* Oct 1 2023 Feb 29 2024
Bobcat* Oct 25 2023 Feb 15 2024
Ducks, Coots, Mergansers* Oct 7 2023 Jan 28 2024
Scaup* Nov 21 2023 Jan 28 2024
Snow Geese* Oct 1 2023 Apr 15 2024
Brant* Oct 14 2023 Jan 28 2024
Canada Geese* Sep 1 2023 Feb 21 2024
Raccoon, Fox, Skunk, Opossum, Weasel* Oct 25 2023 Feb 25 2024
Coyote* Oct 1 2023 Mar 31 2024
Bobcat* Oct 25 2023 Feb 15 2024
Woodcock, Crow, Snipe, Rail, and Gallinule* Sep 1 2023 Mar 31 2024

*Hunting dates for this species may vary by zone, method of take, or subspecies of animal. Visit the state’s website here to find out more.

Disclaimer: The information provided here is not to be construed as legal advice or acted upon as if it is legal advice: it is provided for informational purposes only. While we strive to provide accurate, up-to-date content, we cannot guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or currency of the information.