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New York



Special Seasons Designated for Young Hunters

Introducing a new generation to the outdoors — Take a youth hunter afield this fall

Youth Hunts

Youth Pheasant Hunt

Northern and
Eastern New York

September 23–24, 2023

Western New York

October 14–15, 2023

Long Island

October 28–29, 2023

Youth Waterfowl Hunt

Hunting Zone



September 23–24, 2023


September 23–24, 2023

Lake Champlain

September 23–24, 2023


September 30 and October 1, 2023

Long Island

November 4–5, 2023

Youth Wild Turkey Hunt

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

April 20–21, 2024

Youth Firearms Deer and Bear Hunt

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

Columbus Day Weekend; October 7–9, 2023

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 supervising adult must also have a federal duck stamp. During the youth pheasant, turkey, and big game hunts, adult hunters are not allowed to possess a firearm, crossbow, or bow, or to harvest an animal while accompanying a junior hunter. During the youth waterfowl hunt the adult hunter supervising the junior hunter may not carry a firearm, longbow, or crossbow afield, but the prohibition does not apply to other hunters in the party that are not mentoring the junior waterfowl hunter.

Crossbows may be 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.