For information, go to www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7844.html.
Always ASK landowner permission to hunt on private land. If it were your land, how would you want a visitor to act?
Many landowners use ASK permission stickers (see General Hunting Regulations) on their signs which show the landowners’ willingness to allow access to their lands. Stickers are available for free from your local regional wildlife office (see Important Numbers) or from DEC, 625 Broadway, Albany NY 12233-4754. For more information on hunting on private lands, visit our website:
Remember: Damaging bark or cutting trees, branches or plants is illegal without permission of the landowner.
Rights of way, such as for power lines and railroads, that cross private property are NOT public land. Trespassing on these areas without permission from the landowner is illegal.
FWMA Cooperative Areas
Through cooperative agreements under New York’s Fish and Wildlife Management Act (FWMA), Cooperative Hunting Areas provide access and management services to privately-owned lands in order to increase public hunting opportunities. When using these areas, remember that you are a guest on private property. Littering and other abuses will only result in closure of many excellent hunting areas.
A Word About Liability
Whether or not the land is posted, New York State General Obligations Law protects landowners from liability for non-paying recreationists engaged in hunting, trapping and fishing on their property. Because of this protection, recreational liability lawsuits against rural landowners are uncommon. This protection does not apply in cases of willful or malicious failure to guard or warn against dangers.
For information on hunting and trapping opportunities and rules governing the use of state land, contact the regional office for the county where you would like to hunt or trap (see Important Numbers). Wildlife staff can provide information on wildlife management areas (WMAs) and Cooperative Hunting Areas. Forestry staff and NYS Forest Rangers can provide details on state forest lands and the forest preserve. In some instances, written permission or permits are required to use state areas. These are available from DEC regional offices during normal business hours.
Motorized Access To State Lands
DEC has designated routes on state forests, wildlife management areas, and in the forest preserve, for motor vehicle use by people with a qualifying mobility disability. The list of these opportunities, along with information on how to obtain a statewide permit for this purpose, is available by writing to the Regional Land Manager at DEC regional offices (see Important Numbers) or www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/2574.html.
Wildlife Management Areas
The Division of Fish, Wildlife, and Marine Resources manages about 187,000 acres of wildlife management areas. These areas are located throughout the state and contain a variety of different types of habitat and wildlife. They are managed primarily for wildlife and wildlife-related public use.
WMAs have specific use regulations in addition to the general use regulations for state land. Hunting, trapping, and fishing are permitted, except as specifically restricted by posted notice.
On wildlife management areas, it is unlawful to:
Lands and Forests
The Division of Lands and Forests manages nearly 4,000,000 acres of land, located in almost every county of the state. From the remote locations of the Adirondack and Catskill mountains to the rolling hills of the western parts of the state and the forested areas on Long Island, a wide range of hunting and trapping opportunities await the outdoor recreationist.
Hunting and trapping are permitted in the Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserves.
State-owned lands located within these preserves are designated “Forever Wild.” All state land rules and camping requirements apply to the preserves, as well as additional rules specific to certain areas. Contact the regional DEC office (see Important Numbers) or nearest NYS Forest Ranger for further information.
Conservation easements are tracts of privately owned property on which the State of New York has acquired certain public rights, which are outlined in the easement document as well as in a Recreation Management Plan jointly developed by the State and the landowner. Public hunting and trapping is allowed on many conservation easements, but due to the individual nature of each conservation easement, members of the public wishing to hunt or trap on a given easement property are strongly encouraged to contact a local DEC office (see Important Numbers) for details on how to properly access the property and the hunting and trapping regulations unique to the easement.
State Forest (Reforestation Land)
Outside the Adirondacks and Catskills, reforestation areas are the most common type of state lands. Many recreational activities can be pursued on reforestation areas, including hunting and trapping. Reforestation areas are marked with signs saying “State Forest.”
In some instances, permits are required to camp overnight on undeveloped state forest lands. Unless specifically prohibited, groups of less than 10 people may camp on state forest lands (other than developed campgrounds and wildlife management areas) for three nights without a permit. To camp for four nights or more, a permit must be obtained. Groups of 10 or more people need a permit to camp on such lands for one night. Further information may be obtained from DEC regional offices for the county you want to camp in or from local NYS Forest Rangers (see Important Numbers).
Remember, it is unlawful to:
Many state parks offer waterfowl, small game and big game hunting. For more information, contact the appropriate DEC regional office or visit the state parks website (http://nysparks.state.ny.us/parks/). Call each state park to find out specific hunting and access regulations. For a listing of state parks that allow deer hunting, visit the DEC website: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7844.html
Other Areas To Hunt
Camping is sometimes available during the big game season. Reservations for DEC campgrounds can be made by calling 1-800-456-CAMP or online at reserveamerica.com.
For information on licensed professional guides in New York, contact NYS DEC, 625 Broadway, NY 12233-2560 or phone (518) 402-8838.
Remember: It is a crime to possess a rifle, shotgun or firearm in or upon buildings or grounds used for educational purposes (see Penal Law Section 265.01-3).
Native American Tribal Lands
Some tribal governments have made provisions for limited public hunting, trapping, fishing and snagging access, while others do not permit non-tribal members to hunt, trap, fish or snag on their land. Check with the governing tribal office to determine the requirements for hunting, trapping, fishing and snagging within the reservation boundaries. A special permit is required.
Use of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and off-road vehicles (ORVs) is restricted on most state land.
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.