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Environmental Conservation Police Q & A

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Question: How far from a building can I discharge a bow, crossbow or gun?

Answer: The law changed this year.
You may not discharge a long bow within 150 ft, a crossbow within 250 ft, or a firearm within 500 ft of a house, farm structure actually occupied or used, school building or playground, public structure, or occupied factory or church. You are exempt from these requirements if you have permission from the owner.

Question: Do I have to completely unload my muzzleloader before putting it in my vehicle?

Answer: No, but you must remove the source of ignition. The cap, primer,
battery on some models, or powder from the pan must be removed to be considered unloaded.

Question: I shot a deer and trailed it but was unable to locate it. I heard there are dogs that can help me find my deer — is this true?

Answer: Yes. DEC-licensed tracking dogs can greatly improve the chances of recovering wounded deer or bear. There is no charge for the service. Call our dispatch center or visit for more information.

Question: Can I place bait out to hunt coyotes and fox?

Answer: Yes. This is one of the few exceptions that allow the use of bait to hunt wildlife.

Question: May I take a child less than 12 years old with me while hunting or trapping? What about my spouse?

Answer: Yes, an unlicensed person of any age may accompany a hunter or trapper afield as an observer as long as they do not assist in the taking of wildlife.

Question: May I hunt wildlife with an airgun?

Answer: You may use an airgun to hunt any species that may be legally taken with a .22 caliber rimfire rifle, provided the airgun is .17 caliber or larger and produces a velocity at least 600 f.p.s.

Question: What license do I need to hunt unprotected wildlife?

Answer: You are required to hold a hunting license to hunt any wildlife. Unprotected wildlife in New York State includes red squirrel, chipmunk, woodchuck, porcupine, pigeons, English sparrow, starlings, and psittacine birds existing in a wild state.

Question: What is the difference between a DMAP and a Deer Damage (Nuisance) Permit?

Answer: DMAPs are Deer Management Assistance Permits issued to landowners by DEC. They allow the harvest of antlerless deer on private property only during an open deer season. Deer Damage Permits are similar, but are used to control local deer populations on private property generally when all deer seasons are closed.

Question: I have a question whether my firearms are legal under the NY “SafeAct”. Who do I call?

Answer: Contact the SafeAct hotline at 1-855-LAW-GUNS or online at

Question: Can I use an electronic call for Canada geese in the September season?

Answer: Yes, they are allowed during the September Canada goose season when all other waterfowl hunting seasons are closed in the area you are hunting. Electronic calls are not allowed during any other Canada goose season.

Question: Do I have to affix my waterfowl or “duck” stamp to my license?

Answer: No, you do not have to affix it to your license, but the stamp must be signed across the face to be valid for hunting.

Toll-Free 24 Hour Eco Dispatch Center: 1-877-457-5680

▲ ECOs routinely check furbearer hunters and trap lines. ECO Matt Nichols is shown checking one successful hunter in a picturesque setting. The bobcat was taken in Delaware County by Allen Nichols and his two redbones, Ruby and Rose.

Poaching and illegal commercialization robs the average citizen by stealing our fish & wildlife from legal sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts who follow harvest limits, seasons and other regulations.

Report Game Law Violators by calling DEC’s
24-Hour Dispatch Center at 1-877-457-5680.

On October 5, 2013, two men shot two deer with bows over bait in a residential neighborhood of Quogue, NY, in close proximity to multiple occupied homes.
The two also trespassed and failed to tag one of the deer. ECOs Don Damrath (left) and Chris Lagree (right) issued multiple summonses including misdemeanor charges. The defendants agreed to civil compromises and each paid $1005.00 in penalties and fees. *Note that the buck next to the camo feed bags is a piebald.

In November 2013, ECOs Nate Doig and Jared Woodin answered a complaint of violations at a hunting cabin on a twisting, steep driveway in the Town of Deposit. At the cabin they saw three untagged bucks hanging from a tree. They found two subjects hunting on posted land. The five and six pointers were taken from the posted property and the eight pointer was taken with a rifle during bow season. The appropriate tickets were issued and the three deer were confiscated.

Law Enforcement Toll Free 24-Hour
ECO Dispatch 1-877-457-5680

Wildlife Violators are Stealing From You!

Call 1-800-TIPP-DEC or an officer listed below to report poaching,
trespassing, baiting or other wildlife violations.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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