Special Seasons Designated for Young Hunters

Hunting Regulations Icon New York Hunting

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 14–15) will be eligible to take one antlered or antlerless deer and/or 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 only be used by licensees who are 14 years of age or older.

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 26-27, 2020
Western New York October 10-11, 2020
Long Island October 24-25, 2020

Youth Waterfowl Hunt

Hunting Zone


Northeastern September 19-20, 2020
Southeastern September 19-20, 2020
Lake Champlain September 26-27, 2020
Western October 3-4, 2020
Long Island November 7-8, 2020

Youth Wild Turkey Hunt

Upstate NY (north of Bronx-Westchester Co. boundary) and Suffolk County April 24-25, 2021

Youth Firearms Deer and Bear Hunt

Upstate NY (north of Bronx-Westchester Co. boundary; excluding bowhunting-only WMUs) Columbus Day Weekend; October 10-12, 2020