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New York


Message from the Commissioner

Living with the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year plus has been challenging and unprecedented. COVID-19 altered almost every aspect of our daily lives. However, with much of the world on lock-down to flatten the COVID curve, DEC saw record numbers of hunters and outdoor enthusiasts flocking to New York’s natural resources seeking solace and a sense of normalcy.

As another year of hunting and trapping seasons approaches, many of us will once again turn to nature to rejuvenate our spirits and revive cherished annual traditions.

DEC is fortunate to have the help of many partners in the conservation community, including hunters and trappers who are among some of the strongest stewards of New York’s natural resources. Throughout this guide, you’ll find essays and quotes submitted by New Yorkers explaining why they hunt or trap. Several key themes emerge in these stories, highlighting the importance of these activities:

  • The sense of self-confidence that comes from meeting the physical and intellectual challenge of finding and harvesting game;
  • The solace of securing a sustainable, local source of food;
  • The satisfaction that comes from being self-sufficient;
  • The restorative quality of observing nature;
  • The gratification of learning about wildlife and their habitats;
  • The value in connecting to and taking care of a special piece of land;
  • The joy of creating or reinforcing family traditions and strengthening bonds with family and friends; and
  • The pride in helping to manage game species like deer

As a result of the pandemic, more New Yorkers sought out the experience and benefits of venturing afield. DEC adapted quickly and creatively to meet this challenge and provided online hunter safety education courses to nearly 70,000 people. In-person hunter education courses resumed last fall. Additionally, DEC adopted an updated Deer Management Plan that describes strategies for enhancing hunting opportunities for our most popular game species while addressing the challenges caused by overabundant deer.

As New York continues to put the pandemic behind us, I am more grateful than ever to be able to spend time outdoors, hunting with family and friends, and I know many of you feel the same.

Have fun afield this season, and please continue to put safety first.

Basil Seggos


New York State Department of Environmental Conservation