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General License Information

Hunting Regulations Icon New York Hunting

Mandatory Hunter Education

A hunter education course is required for persons who cannot provide proof that they have ever possessed a hunting license. You must be at least 11 years of age to take this class. The general course is a minimum seven hours in length. Once the course is complete, the individual must have the education certificate added to their sportsman profile. This can be done anywhere licenses are sold or by calling 1-866-933-2257. DEC honors hunter education certificates and sporting licenses from all other states and countries.

Mandatory Bowhunter Education

Hunters wishing to bowhunt for big game must present either:

  1. Proof that he or she successfully completed an approved bowhunter education course; (Note: Approved courses are International Bowhunter Education Program courses or an equivalent course. If in doubt, call toll free — 1-888-HUNT-ED2) OR
  2. Proof that he or she previously held a NYS bowhunting license or stamp issued in 1980 or later; if proof is from prior to 1980, he/she must take an additional 7-hour minimum bowhunter education course.

Mandatory Crossbow Requirement

Hunters wishing to use a crossbow must complete qualifications in the safe use of hunting with a crossbow and responsible crossbow hunting practices.

Residency

To qualify for a resident license, a person must live in New York State for more than 30 days immediately preceding the date of application. Land ownership in New York does not make you a resident. Residency is that place where a person maintains a fixed, permanent and principal home (regardless of where temporarily located), such as where a person is registered to vote. If under 18, the residence of parents or legal guardian shall be deemed such person’s residence.

Active members of the U.S. Armed Forces stationed in New York and full-time college students in residence in the state during the school year (proof required) qualify for annual resident licenses.

Minimum Hunting Age

Minors under the age of 12 may not obtain a hunting license or hunt wildlife.

License Year

Licenses and permits are valid from September 1 through August 31.

License Responsibilities

  • A license or tag is not transferable and may be used only by the person to whom issued.
  • It is illegal to possess another person’s license while hunting.
  • A license to hunt, trap or fish does not give the holder any right to go on private property without permission of the landowner.
  • You can legally purchase and possess only one hunting license per year.
  • Your license must be carried on your person when hunting or trapping.
  • It is illegal to refuse to show your license on demand to a law enforcement officer or the owner, lessee or person in control of the lands (or their designees) while on their property.
  • Make sure that your license has all the correct information. Carefully check it immediately after receipt. If you discover an error, have it corrected as soon as possible.
  • Do NOT heat laminate your license. High temperatures will destroy the license and tags and turn them black. If destroyed, there is a fee for replacement.

Back Tags

Must be visibly displayed on the middle of your back while hunting, except in the Northern Zone and Catskill Park.

Hunting License Exceptions

All residents must have a valid hunting license in their possession except:

  • Resident owners primarily engaged in farming, lessees and members of their immediate families do not need a hunting license when hunting small game on farm lands they are occupying and cultivating.
  • Native Americans living on a reservation do not need a hunting license while hunting on reservation lands.

Free Licenses/Patriot Licenses

Free hunting, fishing and trapping licenses are available to members of the Shinnecock and Poospatuck tribes and members of the Six Nations residing on reservations in the state. They must be obtained from some tribal councils or DEC headquarters in Albany (518) 402-8843.

Free hunting, fishing and trapping licenses are also available to NYS residents who have the appropriate Sportsman Education and are active service members of the NYS Guard, US Reserve Forces or certain members of the US Armed Forces. For more detailed information, visit our website or call (518) 402-8843.

Lost Licenses

A current year lost license may be replaced at any license-issuing outlet at a cost of $5 for a license panel. Big game carcass tag sets or turkey carcass tag sets may be replaced at a cost of $10. There is no charge to replace a lost backtag.

Deer Hunting Privileges and Tags

Resident and Non-Resident hunter licenses

  • Hunting or Junior Hunting (ages 14-15 only): You will receive a Regular Season Deer Tag and a Regular Season Bear Tag.
  • Muzzleloading privilege:* You will receive a Bow/Mz Season Either Sex Tag.
  • Junior bowhunting or bowhunting privilege:* You will receive a Bow/Mz Season Either Sex Tag. Junior bowhunters may also use this tag during the regular season.

Residents and non-residents must purchase a hunting license to be eligible for bowhunting and muzzleloading privileges. If you purchase both bowhunting and muzzleloading privileges, you will receive one Bow/Mz Either Sex Deer Tag and one Bow/Mz Antlerless Deer Tag. Both tags may be used in either season, with the appropriate implement.

Special Licenses for Hunters with Disabilities

Non-Ambulatory Hunter Permit

This permit allows qualified hunters to shoot a firearm from a motorized vehicle (including an off-road vehicle) that has the motor turned off and that is completely off the highway right-of-way.

To qualify for a Non-Ambulatory Hunter Permit, a person must be physically unable to move about except with the use of a mechanized aid such as a wheelchair.

Modified Longbow Authorization

This authorization allows qualified people to hunt big or small game with a legal bow that is equipped with a device to hold it in a drawn and cocked position. It does not allow for the use of a crossbow.

To qualify for a Modified Longbow Authorization, a person must be permanently physically unable to draw and hold a legal bow.

Modified Crossbow Permit

This permit allows qualified people to hunt big or small game during bowhunting season with a crossbow that has been specifically modified with a device that only allows it to be discharged (fired) by means of a breath tube. This permit does not allow the use of an unmodified crossbow.

To qualify for a Modified Crossbow Permit, a person must be permanently physically unable to hold or draw a legal bow or to fire a legal bow that has been modified to hold and release the string.

If a person can pull the trigger on a gun, he or she will not qualify for a Modified Crossbow Permit.

For more information on these permits, write the NYS DEC Special Licenses Unit, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4752, email speciallicenses@dec.ny.gov or call (518) 402-8985. The application process takes time; write or call well before you intend to hunt.

Licenses, Privileges and Permits

Type

Age or Special Qualifier

Price

Hunting (Ages 16+)

Privileges: Hunt small game species with gun, bow or crossbow. Hunt deer or bear with gun, muzzleloader, bow (with proof of bow education or a bow privilege), or crossbow during the regular season, or hunt with shotgun or muzzleloader during the January firearms season (permit required) in Suffolk County (WMU 1C). You may hunt frogs with a valid hunting or fishing license.

Qualifications: Hunter Education Certificate OR previous hunting license. Certificates to possess firearms do not qualify.

Note: Those less than 18 years of age who are hunting big game for the first time as a holder of a hunting license must be accompanied for the entire season by a parent or legal guardian, or a person 18 years of age or older designated in writing (see permission form) with at least one year’s experience hunting bear or deer. Accompanist must have a current hunting license and meet all requirements as specified.

16–69 (NYS Resident)

$22

70+ (NYS Resident)

$5

Military Disabled1

$5

Patriot2

FREE

Native American3

FREE

16+ (Non-Resident)

$100

Junior Hunting (Ages 12–15) 12–15 (NYS Resident)

$5

12–15 (Non-Resident)

$5

  • Ages 12–13: Hunt small game species with gun or bow during appropriate seasons when accompanied* by a parent, legal guardian, or person 21 years of age or older with written permission from parent or guardian (see permission form).
  • Ages 14–15: Hunt small game with gun, bow or crossbow when accompanied* by a parent, legal guardian or person 18 years of age or older with written permission from parent/guardian. Hunt deer or bear with a gun, bow (with proof of bow education or a bow privilege) or crossbow during the regular season, or hunt with shotgun or muzzleloader during the January firearms season (permit required) in Suffolk County, when accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or “youth mentor” 21 years of age or older designated in writing (see permission form).

* Accompanist must have a current hunting license and meet all requirements as specified.

Qualifications: Hunter Education Certificate OR previous hunting license (certificates to possess firearms do not qualify). Must be accompanied by parent/legal guardian to purchase. First-time applicants must show proof of age (birth certificate or passport). Junior hunters do not need a Federal Duck Stamp but are required to register in NY’s Harvest Information Program (www.NY-HIP.com) to hunt migratory game birds.

Bowhunting Privilege (Ages 16+)

Privileges: Hunt deer and bear with a bow during bowhunting seasons.

Qualifications: Current year NYS hunting license, PLUS acceptable Bowhunter Education Certificate, OR NYS Bowhunting Stamp issued in 1980 or later, OR NYS Junior Bowhunting License issued 1980 or later.

Note: To hunt deer or bear with a bow during the regular season, hunter must possess both a valid hunting license and either a current bowhunting privilege or a valid Bowhunter Education Certificate. This includes Westchester and Suffolk counties.

16–69 (NYS Resident)

$15

70+ (NYS Resident)

FREE

Military Disabled1

FREE

Patriot2

$15

Native American3

FREE

16+ (Non-Resident)

$30

Junior Bowhunting (Ages 12–15) 12–15 (NYS Resident)

$4

12–15 (Non-Resident)

$4

Privileges:

  • Ages 12–13: Hunt deer and bear with a bow during the bowhunting season or the regular season when accompanied* by a parent, legal guardian, or a “youth mentor” 21 years or older and designated in writing (see permission form). Youth hunter will receive a deer of either sex tag for use in the regular season, instead of a Regular season buck tag.
  • Ages 14–15: Hunt deer and bear with a bow during the bowhunting season and the regular season when accompanied* by a parent, legal guardian or “youth mentor” 18 years of age or older designated in writing (see permission form).

* Accompanist must have a current hunting license and meet all requirements as specified.

Qualifications: Current year NYS hunting license, PLUS acceptable Bowhunter Education OR previous Junior Bowhunting License. Must be accompanied by parent/legal guardian to purchase.

Muzzleloader Privilege (Ages 14+)

Privileges: Hunt deer and bear with a muzzleloading firearm during muzzleloading season, and the January special firearms season in Suffolk County (WMU 1C). Hunt deer and bear with a crossbow.

Qualifications: Current year NYS hunting license.

14–69 (NYS Resident)

$15

70+ (NYS Resident)

FREE

Military Disabled1

FREE

Patriot2

$15

Native American3

FREE

14+ (Non-Resident)

$30

Deer Management Permit Application (Ages 12+)

Privileges: Application for up to two antlerless deer tags issued through a random computer selection process. Tags are valid for hunting antlerless deer only (both antlers less than 3″ long) in a specified Wildlife Management Unit. Application deadline is October 1 annually.

Qualifications: Must hold a current year NYS hunting license to apply and pay a non-refundable $10 application fee. Fee is waived for hunters 12–15 years of age and holders of Lifetime (Sportsman) Licenses purchased prior to October 1, 2009.

12–15 (NYS Resident)

FREE

16+ (NYS Resident)

$10

Military Disabled1

$10

Patriot2

$10

Native American3

$10

12–15 (Non-Resident)

FREE

16+ (Non-Resident)

$10

Turkey Permit (Ages 12+)

Privileges: Hunt turkey during fall and spring turkey seasons. To hunt turkey, all hunters must possess a turkey permit. There are no exceptions.

Qualifications: Current year NYS hunting license. Turkey tags are included with a Lifetime License (formerly Lifetime Sportsman).

12+ (NYS Resident)

$10

Military Disabled1

$10

Patriot2

$10

Native American3

$10

12+ (Non-Resident)

$20

Trapping

Privileges: Set traps for species during their appropriate seasons.

Qualifications: Trapper Education Certificate or previous trapping license.

12–15 (NYS Resident)

$5

16–69 (NYS Resident)

$20

70+ (NYS Resident)

$5

Military Disabled1

$5

Patriot2

FREE

Native American3

FREE

12–15 (Non-Resident)

$5

16+ (Non-Resident)

$275

Remember to Report Your Game Harvest

Visit http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/
8316.html
for details.

It’s the law!

Lifetime Licenses and Tags for Young Hunters

Young hunters who hold a lifetime hunting license and wish to receive their tags must first take the appropriate hunter safety training course. A copy of the certificate(s) must be sent to the DEC License Sales Unit (see address above) before their tags can be fulfilled. Young hunters should take the appropriate training course well in advance of the season to allow adequate time for their tags to be mailed. Tags cannot be obtained from a license-issuing agent.

When purchasing a lifetime license for a child, the purchaser must bring proof of the child’s age (e.g., birth certificate or passport) and a copy of the parent’s proof of residency.

Lifetime Sporting Licenses

The following Lifetime Licenses are available to New York State residents only and may be purchased at all license-issuing outlets throughout New York State.

Applicants must prove NYS residency for one year prior to application (proofs are the same as annual licenses with the exception of the one-year requirement).

For additional information and clarification on Lifetime License sales, contact our License Sales Unit, NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4790, call 518-402-8843, or visit our website www.dec.ny.gov.

Lifetime License Holders should expect to receive their annual carcass tags in the mail by no later than Sept. 1 annually. License Issuing Agents will replace licenses and tags free of charge until Nov. 1 annually. After Nov. 1, there will be a charge up to $15. If you have a lifetime license card, you will only have to replace carcass tags at a fee of $10.

Lifetime License (Sportsman)
(combined hunting and fishing licenses,
includes turkey permits):

For a person age 0–4 $380
For a person age 5–11 $535
For a person age 12–69 $765
For a person age 70 or older $65

Other Lifetime Licenses/Privileges

Hunting License $535
Fishing License (age 0–69) $460
Fishing License (age 70 and older) $65
Trapping License $395
Bowhunting $235
Muzzleloading $235

Stamps / Donations

Type

Age or Special Qualifier

Price

Habitat & Access Stamp

Donations are used to create or improve fish and wildlife habitat or improve access to those resources for recreation or educational activities.

Any

$5

Venison Donation

Help feed the hungry by supporting NY’s venison donation program.

Any

$1 or more

Federal Duck Stamp

Available at most post offices and some sporting goods stores.

16+

$25

Privileges: Hunt migratory waterfowl. It is not needed for gallinules, coot, crows, rails, woodcock or snipe. All migratory game bird hunters, including junior hunters, must register with the Harvest Information Program by calling toll free 1-888-427-5447 or registering online at: www.ny-hip.com

Qualifications: Validated by holder’s signature on the face of the stamp. Hunter must also possess a current year NYS hunting license.

Sportsman Education

All first-time hunters, bowhunters and trappers must pass one or more courses before they can purchase a license in New York. Trained volunteer instructors certified by DEC teach safe and responsible outdoor practices and the important role of hunters and trappers in conservation.

Beginning in 2016, all Sportsman Education Courses require the completion of homework prior to attending the course. Proof of the completed homework must be brought to the course led by an instructor. The homework may take several hours to complete, so one should not begin the work the night before the course.

There are a few simple ways to obtain the study materials to complete the homework requirement:

  • Download the free manual and worksheet OR
  • Obtain the manual and worksheet through the guidelines of the course announcement OR
  • Complete the online homework (fee) and print the voucher to bring to the course.

Visit www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7860.html
for more information on materials, including a list of courses.

There are NO “online-only” courses. All courses have an in-person field day. All courses are free of charge, but space may be limited. As hunting seasons approach, many classes fill quickly. SIGN UP EARLY!