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Special Seasons Designated for Young Hunters

Allen Smith, Age 14, mentored by father and grandfather, Justin and Robert Smith.
October 13, 2014 Youth Hunt, Allegany County

Brianna Palumbo, Age 14, with father Jim Palumbo and bird dog Bella. First Hunt, Youth Pheasant Hunt 2014, Cayuga County

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Take A Junior Hunter Afield During These Special Seasons

Once again, DEC is providing a special youth deer season over the 3-day Columbus Day weekend. Junior hunters (ages 14–15) will be eligible to take one deer of either sex with a firearm during this season and may use a Deer Management Permit, Deer Management Assistance Program tag, or a regular season tag. Junior hunters may not use a crossbow to take a deer during this hunt. Rules of the Junior Hunter Mentoring Program (Junior Hunter/Trapper Mentoring Program) also apply.

DEC also offers special opportunities for junior hunters (ages 12–15) for waterfowl, wild turkey, and pheasants.

For all youth hunts, junior hunters must be accompanied by an adult hunter. Both the junior and adult hunters are required to have a hunting license for the youth deer season, a hunting license and a turkey permit for the turkey hunt, and a hunting license and current HIP registration for the waterfowl hunt. Adults are not allowed to possess a firearm, crosssbow or bow or to harvest an animal while accompanying a junior hunter during the special seasons.

Crossbows may only be used by licensees who are 14 years of age or older.

Youth Pheasant Hunt

Northern and Eastern New York

September 26–27, 2015

Western New York

October 10–11, 2015

Long Island

October 24–25, 2015

Youth Waterfowl Hunt

Waterfowl Hunting Zone

Tentative Dates


September 19–20, 2015


September 19–20, 2015

Lake Champlain

September 26–27, 2015


October 3–4, 2015

Long Island

November 14–15, 2015

Youth Wild Turkey Hunt

Upstate NY (north of Bronx-Westchester Co. boundary) and Suffolk County

April 23–24, 2016

Youth Firearms Deer Hunt

Upstate NY (north of Bronx-Westchester Co. boundary; excluding bowhunting-only WMUs)

Columbus Day Weekend; October 10–12, 2015


Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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