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Highlights of Changes For 2014–2015

New License Structure

Effective February 1, 2014, changes were made to the types of licenses available and the fees associated with those licenses. These changes include reduced fees, reduced number of license types, changes to valid license dates and more. If you previously purchased combination licenses, such as Super Sportsman, you will now have to purchase each privilege separately, including fishing. For more information about the types of licenses now available and associated fees, see General License Information.

License Year Adjusted

Starting with the 2014–15 season, the license year will run from September 1 to August 31. Previously the license year was from October 1 to September 30. For this year only, when hunting species with open seasons in September, you may use either last year’s license or this year’s license for a successful harvest.


If you have any questions or concerns about the SAFE Act, please visit Governor Cuomo’s SAFE Act website at or call 1-855-LAW-GUNS (529-4867).

Crossbows Once Again Legal Implements

Governor Cuomo signed the annual budget bill for 2014–15 which included language authorizing the use of crossbows for hunting under certain circumstances. Please see Crossbows Are Back for an overview of the new crossbow law and regulations.

Bear Hunting Season Changes

DEC has adopted changes to bear hunting seasons that open most of upstate New York for bear hunting and create an early bear season in parts of southeastern New York. See Bear Hunting for details.

Setback Distances

Setback distances for crossbows and bows have been changed from 500 feet to 250 feet and 150 feet, respectively. See General Hunting Regulations for more details.

Rifles in Albany and Livingston Counties

At press time, legislation was pending that would make rifles legal hunting implements for big game in Albany and Livingston counties. Check DEC’s website for updates.


New regulations are now in effect for all DEC boat launch facilities. Before you launch your boat or leave a site, you are required to:

  • Clean all visible plant and animal material from your boat, trailer and associated equipment.
  • Drain your boat’s bilge, livewell, baitwell, and other water holding compartments.

Click here for more information.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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