Small game includes upland and migratory game birds, small game mammals, and reptiles and amphibians.
Please read general hunting regulations first.
- You may not use a rifle or handgun to hunt pheasant or migratory game birds. See more information on turkeys.
- See additional information on migratory game birds.
- Air guns may be used to hunt squirrels, rabbits, hares, ruffed grouse, and furbearers that may be hunted (e.g., raccoons and coyotes) and unprotected species. Air guns may not be used to hunt waterfowl, pheasant, wild turkey, or big game.
- In Wildlife Management Unit 2A, hunting is permitted by falconry only.
Reptiles And Amphibians
Frogs—“Frogs” are defined as eastern spadefoot toad, eastern American toad, Fowler’s toad, northern cricket frog, northern gray treefrog, northern spring peeper, western chorus frog, bullfrog, green frog, mink frog, wood frog, northern leopard frog, southern leopard frog, and pickerel frog.
A fishing or small game license is required to take frogs with a spear, club, hook, or by hand. A small game license is required to take frogs with a gun or bow.
Snakes, Lizards, and Salamanders—You may not harvest, take, or possess any native snakes, lizards, or salamanders at any time.
Turtles—The only turtle species for which there is an open hunting season are the snapping turtle and the diamondback terrapin. You may not harvest, take, or possess any other turtle species at any time.
Snapping turtles—A small game hunting license is required to take snapping turtles. The only legal implement for taking snapping turtles is a gun or a bow.
If you choose to eat snapping turtles, you should carefully trim all fat and discard fat, liver and eggs prior to cooking to reduce exposure to contaminants. For information on these health advisories, call 1-800-458-1158 or visit the website
Diamondback terrapin—A valid diamondback terrapin license is required to take diamondback terrapin. Application for, and purchase of, a diamondback terrapin license must be made by mail or in person at NYSDEC, SUNY Stony Brook, 50 Circle Road, Stony Brook, NY 11790-3409.
Diamondback terrapin may only be taken using dip nets, hand capture, seine nets, and traps. The traps must be capable of capturing diamondback terrapin alive, and the trap must be marked with a tag bearing the name and address of the licensee and must be checked daily.
Possession of a diamondback terrapin on the waters or shores of New York State during the closed season is prohibited. Diamondback terrapin legally taken during the open season may be sold throughout the year only if they were killed and processed for consumption prior to May 5.
To hunt small game species with trained raptors you must possess a Falconry License and a small game license. Licensed falconers may take small game from October 1 through March 31 in any area of the state open to hunting these species EXCEPT:
- Waterfowl may be taken only during the regular firearm hunting season or during a specific period outside of the firearms seasons as specified by DEC.
- Common crow may only be taken during the open firearms season.
- A licensed falconer may take both male and female pheasants anywhere in the state when hunting under a Falconry License.
For more information on falconry contact the DEC Special Licenses Unit, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4752 or call 518-402-8985.
Possession & Release Of Game Birds
It is illegal to possess or release migratory game birds and upland game birds without the proper license(s) from DEC. Before you take possession of any captive-reared or wild game birds, contact DEC Special Licenses Unit, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4752 or call 518-402-8985.
Use of Hunting Dogs