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New York



Message from the Commissioner

Commissioner, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

New York is reaping the benefits of our shared efforts to ensure a safe hunting experience for all. The past two years have been the safest for New York hunters, and the 2022 hunting season tied 2021 for the lowest number of hunting-related shooting incidents since record keeping began.

I am proud of the progress of New York’s hunter education instructors and the hunting community to make hunting safer than ever. Although even with this success, every incident is still too many, so please remain vigilant and continue to adhere to the hunting safety tenets: point your muzzle in a safe direction, treat every firearm as if it is loaded, keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot, be sure of your target and beyond, and always wear hunter orange or pink.

Even though New York hunters have an excellent safety record, elevated hunting incidents, most often involving tree stands, are a growing concern. There is something you can do to prevent severe injuries if you fall from a tree stand or elevated platform — wear and properly use a fall-arrest system and stay connected from the time you leave the ground until you get back down to earth. Remember, a safety harness alone does not protect you if it isn’t attached to the tree the entire time you are off the ground.

To hunt safely, be sure your fall-arrest system includes:

  1. A vest style full-body harness with shoulder, chest, and leg straps;
  2. A strap that attaches to the tree when in the stand;
  3. A tether strap that attaches the harness to the tree strap;
  4. A “lifeline” to keep you safe while climbing and descending; and
  5. A suspension relief strap to be used in the event of a fall.

If you hunt from a tree stand, wear a fall-arrest system, and encourage your friends and family who hunt from tree stands to do the same.

Be safe. Be seen. And good luck this season.

Basil Seggos

Commissioner, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation