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Migratory Game Birds

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Waterfowl Seasons And Bag Limits Were Not Certain When This Guide Went To Press.

To find out what the regulations are, or are likely to be, go to: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28503.html.

DEC’s annual waterfowl regulations guide can be downloaded from the website in September, after federal regulations are final.

 

Migratory Game Bird Seasons and Bag Limits

Most migratory game bird hunting regulations are set by the federal government in late summer, so ALL OF THE INFORMATION IN THIS SECTION IS TENTATIVE. Due to this uncertainty, most migratory bird hunting season dates or bag limits are not included in this guide. Final season dates and bag limits will be announced in late August, and a separate brochure with all of the migratory game bird hunting regulations will be available from the DEC website and most license-issuing agents in September.

License Requirements

To hunt any migratory game bird in New York, you need a hunting license that provides you with small game hunting privileges (unless you qualify to hunt without a license).

To hunt any migratory game bird in New York except crows, you must register in New York’s Harvest Information Program (HIP). This applies to all hunters, including junior hunters and people who qualify to hunt without a license. To register, go to: www.NY-HIP.com or call 1-888-427-5447. HIP registration is valid from July 1 through June 30 annually (not the same as your hunting license!).

If you are 16 years or older and you hunt waterfowl, then you also need a federal migratory game bird hunting stamp (“duck stamp”). The stamp is not needed to hunt coot, rails, gallinules, woodcock, snipe or crows. You may buy a duck stamp at most post offices and many sporting goods stores. They may also be ordered on-line (www.duckstamp.com) or by phone (1-800-852-4897).

Consumption of Wild Waterfowl

Every year, tens of thousands of people consume wild waterfowl harvested in New York. There are many ways to cook and enjoy waterfowl, but it’s important to remember that some birds may pick up chemical contaminants from the environment. Mergansers are fish-eating birds that tend to be the most heavily contaminated waterfowl and should not be eaten. For all other wild waterfowl, the New York State Department of Health recommends that you remove the skin and fat before cooking, and eat no more than two meals per month.

Waterfowl Hunting in Populated Areas

Some excellent waterfowl hunting opportunities occur in shoreline areas of New York that are becoming more populated and developed. Waterfowl hunters have special privileges in New York, but please consider the possible concerns that nearby homeowners may have about noise, safety or invasion of privacy before you go afield. Avoiding such conflicts will help ensure that waterfowl hunting remains an accepted tradition in fast-developing shoreline areas.

DEC, in cooperation with the South Shore Waterfowlers Association (SSWA) has produced “A Pocket Reference for Police Officers and Waterfowl Hunters” that summarizes the State laws that pertain to waterfowl hunting in general and includes a “code of ethics” for waterfowl hunters to help ensure that waterfowl hunting remains a viable recreational opportunity in New York. For a copy, call (518) 402-8883.

Special Snow Goose Harvest Program

Waterfowl hunters in New York will have a special opportunity to harvest snow geese in most areas of the state during March–April 2012. This additional opportunity is offered because of concerns about impacts that snow geese are having on natural ecosystems. For more information, including harvest regulations for 2012, go to: www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/50514.html.

 

What Is A “Migratory Game Bird?”

Under state and federal laws and regulations, all of the
following are considered migratory game birds in New York:

  • All wild ducks, mergansers, geese, and brant (“waterfowl”)
  • All coot, rails, and gallinules (moorhens)
  • Woodcock and snipe

Crows are not considered migratory game birds under federal regulations, but most of New York’s migratory game bird hunting regulations apply to crows. You should assume they are the same except where differences are noted.

Mourning doves are considered migratory game birds under federal regulations, but they are not defined as such under New York state law so no hunting season has been established for this species (see: www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/59626.html).

 

Woodcock Season Expanded To 45 Days For Fall 2011

—Season Will Run October 1 through November 14—

 

Breeding Population Index chart_outlines.eps
American Woodcock Flush Rate_outlines.eps

Despite long-term declines in American woodcock populations during the past 40 years due to the loss of early-succession forest habitats, surveys for this species have indicated stable population numbers for the past 15 years in the “eastern management region.” This area runs from Quebec and New Brunswick south along the Atlantic coast through Florida. An interagency Woodcock Harvest Strategy Working Group was formed in 2007 to develop harvest guidelines. This group comprises state representatives from the Atlantic, Mississippi and central flyways, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Geological Survey. Based on stable population numbers in the eastern management region, the working group recommended that the season be expanded from 30 to 45 days. Starting in fall 2011, the woodcock season in New York will run from October 1 through November 14 statewide, and the bag limit will be three birds/day.

 

 

Migratory Game Bird Hunting Seasons And Bag Limits

2011 combo bird map.eps

 

Migratory game bird hunting regulations are set by the federal government in late summer, so all of the information on this page is tentative. If there are changes in these regulations, announcements will be made in DEC news releases statewide. Final waterfowl hunting seasons will be announced in September, and a waterfowl hunting guide containing season dates and bag limits will be available from license issuing agents in late September. All migratory game bird hunters must register annually with the Harvest Information Program (HIP). Call 1-888-427-5447 or register online at
www.ny-hip.com.

Waterfowl

  • Bag Limits:
  • Check website:
    www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28888.html
  • Shooting Hours: ½ hour before sunrise to sunset
  • Non-toxic shot: required
  • Other: Last year’s hunting license is required when hunting prior to October 1. All hunters must be registered in HIP.

Woodcock

  • Season: Oct. 1 – Nov. 14
  • Bag limits: 3 per day, 6 in possession
  • Shooting hours: sunrise to sunset
  • Non-toxic shot: not required
  • Open statewide except NYC (WMA 2A)
  • Other: All woodcock hunters must be registered in HIP.

Snipe, Rails And Gallinules

  • Season: Sept. 1 – Nov. 9
  • Bag Limits:
  • Snipe: 8 per day, 16 in possession
  • Virginia & Sora rails: 8 per day, 16 in possession
  • Clapper and King rails: closed
  • Gallinules: 8 per day, 16 in possession
  • Shooting Hours: ½ hour before sunrise to sunset
  • Non-toxic shot: required
  • Open in all of upstate NY north of Bronx-Westchester border.
  • Other: Last year’s hunting license is required when hunting prior to October 1. All snipe, rail and gallinule hunters must be registered in HIP.

Crows

  • Season: Sept. 1 – March 31 (Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays only)
  • Bag limits: No daily or possession limits
  • Shooting hours: sunrise to sunset
  • Non-toxic shot: not required
  • Open statewide except NYC (WMA 2A)
  • Other: Last year’s hunting license is required when hunting prior to October 1. Crow hunters do not need to be registered in HIP. Crows may be hunted with rifles and recorded electronically amplified bird calls or sounds.
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