Message from the Commissioner
New York Hunting
Fall is a spectacular season across New York, bringing brilliant colors and an abundance of exciting outdoor opportunities to share with family and friends. Whether pursuing New York’s abundant game species, or introducing a youngster to the world of hunting or trapping for the first time, New York State’s magnificent open spaces and precious natural resources have something to offer nature lovers of all ages and abilities.
Over the past 30 years, national statistics show a steady decline in the number of hunters, trappers, and anglers, and the significant revenue these activities help to generate. In response, many state fish and wildlife agencies and conservation organizations have developed recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) initiatives designed to reverse the trend of declining participation rates. Here in New York, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is targeting a growing group of new hunters bucking the national trend—women. According to the National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife Associated Recreation, women are the fastest growing demographic of new hunters. While overall numbers of hunters are declining, the number of female hunters is holding steady and in some cases, rising. New York currently has approximately 53,000 women licensed to hunt.
As a part of DEC’s R3 efforts, extensive outreach is being conducted to better understand the diverse values, interests, and motivations of women who hunt and to address the challenges of recruiting and retaining female hunters.
In 2018, DEC hosted a “WomenHuntFishNY” photo contest encouraging New York’s women hunters to share their unique perspectives and experiences afield. DEC received more than 2,000 entries, many accompanied by personal stories offering valuable insight to guide future recruitment efforts. Many of the photos submitted, including the contest winners, can be found in this guide.
In addition to providing the primary funding source for the state’s fish and wildlife conservation efforts, hunting, fishing, and trapping are critical management tools for DEC biologists. A prime example is the effort to manage overabundant deer populations. Increasing participation also helps connect more people to nature, raising our collective environmental conscience to groom and grow the ranks of future stewards and conservationists.
This hunting season, I encourage New York’s strong hunting, fishing and trapping community to introduce someone new to the many wonders our state’s great outdoors have to offer. Increasing inclusion will ensure the rich traditions of hunting, fishing and trapping continue to be a vital part of New York’s culture for generations to come.
Good luck and be safe.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation