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Special Seasons Designated for Young Hunters

Hunting Regulations Icon New York Hunting

Share Your Knowledge…Reconnect To Nature…

Take a Junior Hunter Afield During These Special Seasons!


Brianna Palumbo, Age 15 (left) with her brother Marco Palumbo, Age 13 (right). September 12, 2015 Early Canada Goose Season,
Onondaga County.

Once again, DEC is providing a special youth deer season over the three-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 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, crossbow 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 Hunts

Youth Pheasant Hunt

Northern and Eastern New York

September 24–25, 2016

Western New York

October 8–9, 2016

Long Island

October 29–30, 2016

Youth Waterfowl Hunt

Waterfowl Hunting Zone

Tentative Dates


September 17-18, 2016


September 17-18, 2016

Lake Champlain

September 24-25, 2016


October 1-2, 2016

Long Island

November 12-13, 2016

Youth Wild Turkey Hunt

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

April 22–23, 2017

Youth Firearms Deer Hunt*

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

Columbus Day Weekend; October 8–10, 2016

* At the time of publication, regulations were still pending that would allow youth to take bear during the youth firearms season. Be sure to check DEC’s website for the latest regulation changes before heading afield this fall.

PJ Doran, Age 14, mentored by father Pete Doran. October 10, 2015 Youth Deer Hunt, Greene County.

Junior Hunter/Trapper Mentoring Program