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New York

Hunting

Junior Hunter/Trapper Opportunities

Junior Big Game Hunting

NEW OPPORTUNITY: 12- and 13-year-olds can Hunt Deer with a Gun or Crossbow in Counties that Opt-in

A new law adopted in 2021 reduces the age for hunting deer with firearms and crossbows:

  • Counties must pass a local law allowing the activity. See DEC website (www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/46245.html) for a list of counties that have opted-in.
  • 12- and 13-year-olds can hunt deer with a rifle, shotgun, or muzzleloader during the youth deer hunt or regular season and hunt deer with a muzzleloader during the early or late muzzleloading season.
  • 12- and 13-year-olds can hunt deer with a crossbow during the crossbow portion of the early bow season, the regular season and late muzzleloading season.
  • The new law does not authorize bear hunting.

12- and 13-year-old hunters must meet the same requirements as 14 and 15-year-olds hunting deer with a firearm.

12- and 13-year-olds junior bowhunters can hunt deer and bear with a bow if they meet the following requirements:

  • Have completed a course in both Hunter Education and Bowhunter Education.
  • Purchase a Junior Bowhunting License.
  • Be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or a “youth mentor” who is 21 years or older and designated in writing by the junior hunter’s parent or legal guardian (use the form below).
  • The accompanying adult needs to have at least 3 years of experience in hunting deer or bear by longbow AND have a license to hunt big game in the same seasons.
  • The parent, guardian or youth mentor must maintain physical control over the minor at all times while hunting.

14- and 15-year-old junior hunting license holders can hunt deer and bear with a gun if they meet the following requirements:

  • Have completed a course in Hunter Education.
  • Purchase a Junior Hunting License.
  • Be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or a "youth mentor" who is 21 years or older designated in writing (use the form below).
  • The accompanying adult needs to have at least 3 years of hunting experience AND have a license to hunt big game in the same seasons.
  • The parent, guardian or youth mentor must maintain physical control over the minor at all times while hunting.
  • The Junior Hunter must stay on the ground and cannot use an elevated (tree) stand.
  • Both junior hunter and accompanying adult must wear fluorescent orange or pink: a shirt or jacket with 250 sq inches of solid/ patterned fluorescent orange or pink (the pattern must be no less than 50% fluorescent orange or pink) OR a hat with no less than 50% of the exterior consisting of solid fluorescent orange or pink AND visible from all directions.

14- and 15-year-old junior bowhunters and first-time 16- and 17-year-old big game hunters must:

  • Be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or person 18 years or older designated in writing (use form below).
  • The accompanying adult needs to have at least 1 year of hunting experience AND have a license to hunt big game in the same seasons.

Junior Trapping

Trappers under 12 years of age:

  • May accompany and assist a licensed trapper in all aspects of trapping without possessing a trapping license themselves.
  • The licensed trapper must have at least 3 years of trapping experience and may be a parent, legal guardian, or someone 18 years or older designated in writing (use the form below).

Junior Trappers 12 years or older:

  • Must complete NY's Trapper Education Program whether they will be trapping alone or with an adult licensed trapper.