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New York


Special Seasons Designated for Young Hunters

Share Your Knowledge, Reconnect with Nature — Take a Junior Hunter Afield During These Special Seasons!

Once again, DEC is providing a special youth deer season over the three-day Columbus Day weekend. Junior hunters (ages 12-15) are eligible to take one antlered or one antlerless deer with a firearm and 14- and 15-year-old junior hunters may also take a bear with a firearm during this season. Rules of the Junior Hunter Mentoring Program (Junior Hunter/Trapper Opportunities) also apply.

DEC also offers special opportunities for junior hunters (ages 12–15) for waterfowl, wild turkey, and pheasants.

For all youth hunts, junior hunters must be accompanied by an adult hunter. Both the junior and adult hunters are required to have a hunting license for the youth deer season, a hunting license and a turkey permit for the turkey hunt, and a hunting license and current HIP registration for the waterfowl hunt. During the youth waterfowl hunt the accompanying adult must have a federal duck stamp. Adults are not allowed to possess a firearm, crossbow or bow or to harvest an animal while accompanying a junior hunter during the youth hunts.

Crossbows may used by 12 and 13-year-old hunters only to take deer. Hunters ages 14 and 15 may use a crossbow to take deer, bear, and other game for which crossbows may be used.

Note: Junior hunters (ages 12-15) must be accompanied by a licensed adult hunter whenever they are afield in pursuit of game, not just during designated special youth seasons.

Youth Hunts

Youth Pheasant Hunt

Northern and
Eastern New York

September 25-26, 2021

Western New York

October 9-10, 2021

Long Island

October 30-31, 2021

Youth Waterfowl Hunt

Hunting Zone



September 18-19, 2021


September 25-26, 2021

Lake Champlain

September 25-26, 2021


October 2-3, 2021

Long Island

November 6-7, 2021

Youth Wild Turkey Hunt

Upstate NY (north of Bronx-Westchester Co. boundary) and Suffolk County

April 23-24, 2022

Youth Firearms Deer and Bear Hunt

Upstate NY (north of Bronx-Westchester Co. boundary; excluding bowhunting-only WMUs)

Columbus Day Weekend; October 9-11, 2021