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Big Game Boundary Descriptions/Legal Implements

Hunting Regulations Icon New York Hunting

Complete descriptions of all wildlife management units are available on DEC’s website www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/8302.html

Northern-Southern Zone Line

A line commencing at a point at the north shore of the Salmon River and its junction with Lake Ontario and extending easterly along the north shore of that river to the Village of Pulaski, thence southerly along Route 11 to its intersection with Route 49 in the Village of Central Square, thence easterly along Route 49 to its junction with Route 365 in the City of Rome, thence easterly along Route 365 to its junction with Route 28 in the Village of Trenton, thence easterly along Route 28 to its junction with Route 29 in the Village of Middleville, thence easterly along Route 29 to its junction with Route 4, thence northerly along Route 4 to its junction with Route 22, thence northerly and westerly along Route 22 to the eastern shore of South Bay on Lake Champlain in the Village of Whitehall, thence northerly along the eastern shore of South Bay to the New York-Vermont boundary.

Closed Areas

The following closed areas are specific portions of the state where the taking of deer and bear is prohibited by the Environmental Conservation Law. This section does not include areas covered by town laws, local ordinances or posting by landowners.

Albany County

Area around Alcove Reservoir: bounded by Albany County Rt. 111 from Rt. 143 to Albany-Greene County line to Albany County Rt. 411 to Rt. 143 to point of beginning. Closed except to landowners and lessees of lands in the area actually occupying and cultivating such lands.

Erie County

Area around Buffalo: bounded by Tonawanda Creek from East Branch Niagara River to Rt. 78 to Greiner Rd. to Rt. 268 to Rt. 5 to Ransom Rd. to Rt. 33 to Rt. 78 to Rt. 20 to Rt. 20A to Lake Erie.

Herkimer County

Area along Big Moose Lake: bounded by Judson Rd. from Herkimer-Hamilton County line to Higby Rd. to Big Moose Rd. to Martin Rd. and along it to its eastern end and then to the lake shore and back (starting westerly) along the shore to Herkimer-Hamilton County line and along it to Judson Rd.

Herkimer and Hamilton Counties

Area bounded by Rt. 28 from Old Forge to Inlet and by South Shore Rd. from Inlet to Old Forge.

Nassau County

All of Nassau County.

New York City

All of the city.

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Implement Descriptions for Big Game Hunting

The following describes implement requirements for big game hunting. See map above to determine where each can be used.

Bow­—Long (stick), recurve or compound
bow with a draw weight greater than 35 lbs. A legal arrowhead is non-barbed, has 2 or more cutting edges and is at least 7⁄8-inches wide.

Crossbow—Consists of a bow, a string, and either compound or recurve limbs with minimum width of 17 inches (tip of limbs, uncocked), mounted on a stock. The stock shall have a trigger with a working safety that holds the string and limbs under tension until released. It shall have a minimum overall length from the butt of the stock to the front of the limbs of 24 inches and be able to launch a minimum 14-inch arrow/bolt, not including the legal arrowhead. It shall have a draw weight of 100 to 200 pounds. Optical sights are allowed on crossbows.

Muzzleloader—Firearm loaded through the muzzle, a minimum bore of .44 inches and shooting a single projectile. Scopes or fiber-optic sights may be used at any time. Double-barreled muzzleloaders and percussion cap revolvers are not legal during the special muzzleloading season. If you hunt with a single-shot muzzleloading pistol, you must have a New York State pistol permit.

Handgun—Any centerfire pistol or revolver. Barrel length may not exceed 16 inches. Note: Non-residents may not use handguns to hunt in New York.

Shotgun—Must be 20 gauge or larger and fire a single projectile. Rifling in the barrel or choke is allowed.

Rifle—Any centerfire rifle.

It is illegal to hunt big game with:

  • A fully automatic firearm
  • A semi-autoloading firearm that holds more than 6 shells (except an autoloading pistol with a barrel length under 8 inches)
  • Any firearm equipped with a silencer
  • Any rifle using rimfire ammunition
  • A firearm or bow aided by any artificial light or a laser that projects a beam toward the target (use of illuminated reticle scopes, red dot scopes, or illuminated sight pins is allowed, provided no light is projected toward the target)
  • An air gun