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Conservation Police Q & A

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Question: May I hunt for small game with a firearm while my son, aged 12, hunts for big game with a bow?

Answer: No. During the archery season, he/she may not be accompanied by anyone who possesses a firearm of any description. However, during the regular big game season, you may hunt for big or small game with a gun while your child is hunting for big game with a bow.

Question: Do I need to wear my backtag while hunting on my own property?

Answer: Yes, you must always wear your backtag while hunting unless your property is within the Catskill Park or the Northern Zone, or if you are a farmer hunting small game on your own property.

Question: If a coyote is killing my chickens, do I need a hunting license to shoot it?

Answer: If a coyote is doing damage to your property and you are the homeowner, no hunting license is required to take the animal. You may shoot the coyote as long as you are not discharging a firearm within 500 ft. of a dwelling you do not own, unless you have permission from the other homeowner to do so.

Question: Does the antler restriction in those designated wildlife management units apply during the archery season?

Answer: Yes, it applies to all deer seasons. If you are 16 years old or younger, then the restrictions do not apply in any season.

Question: Can I track my wounded big game animal at night with a light?

Answer: Yes, but you may not possess a rifle, shotgun, muzzleloader, crossbow or bow.

Question: In the areas of the state where you can hunt deer only with a shotgun during the regular season, can I hunt for woodchucks with a centerfire rifle?

Answer: Yes, but only during the time of year when there is no open season for deer, including the archery season.

Question: Can I hunt for small game during the big game hunting season?

Answer: Yes, as long as you have a hunting license with a valid small game privilege.

Question: May I use my AR-15 for hunting?

Answer: Yes, your semi-automatic AR-15 may be used with a five shot magazine or with a magazine that has been altered so that it is incapable of holding more than five rounds. Be sure to check where, when, and for which species a rifle is allowed.

Question: My friend is a convicted felon. Can a felon buy a hunting license and go hunting?

Answer: Yes, he/she may buy a license, but may only use a bow or an air rifle for hunting. The New York State Penal Law has been amended to prohibit a felon from possessing a rifle, shotgun, or a muzzleloader.

Question: If I have to use crutches to walk, can I get a permit to allow me to hunt from my car?

Answer: No, you must be “non-ambulatory,” meaning you are not mobile without the use of a wheelchair. Those wishing to obtain a “Non Ambulatory Hunter Permit” can get an application from the DEC website ( Applicants must obtain a signed statement by their licensed physician certifying the nature, extent, and term of physical disability.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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Conservation Partner Advertisements: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation allows appropriate advertising in its annual regulation guides in print and online, in order to defray or eliminate expenses to the state, and support enhanced communications with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Constituents. Through a unique partnership with J.F.Griffin Publishing, LLC &, ‘Conservation Partners’ have been established that pay for advertising in support of the regulations both in print and online. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation neither endorses products or services listed or claims made; nor accepts any liability arising from the use of products or services listed. Advertisers interested in the Conservation Partners program should contact J.F.Griffin/ directly at 413-884-1001,
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