Before heading out on your first hunt in the Empire State, make sure you’re familiar with the New York hunting laws and regulations.

New York Hunting Laws New York Hunters Should Know

It’s a must to stay up-to-date on New York hunting laws and regulations before heading out on your first hunt. Studying your state’s hunting laws might be a bit time-consuming, and we know you’re impatient to get out there and start shooting.

But breaking the law and having to pay a fine can put a serious damper on your hunting season. Not to mention all the fun you’ll be missing when camping out with your hunting buddies.

Keep reading to learn about New York hunting laws, including dates, which animals you’re allowed to hunt, which weapon you’re allowed to use, how to get a hunting license, and much more.

1. White-tail Deer Hunting in New York

    • Bowhunting Only
      • October 1, 2016 – January 31, 2017
    • Special Firearms
      • January 1 – January 31, 2017 (Special Permit Required)

  • Future Hunting Seasons
    • Northern Zone
      • Early Muzzleloading
        • 7 consecutive days beginning on the 1st Saturday after Columbus Day.
      • Regular Season
        • 44 consecutive days beginning on the 2nd Saturday after Columbus Day
      • Late Bow and Muzzleloading (Open only in specific WMUs)
        • 7 consecutive days immediately following the regular season
      • Southern Zone
        • Early Bowhunting
          • October 1 through the Friday immediately preceding the regular season
        • Regular Season
          • 23 days beginning the third Saturday of November
        • Late Bow and Muzzleloading
          • 9 consecutive days immediately following the regular season
        • Westchester County
          • Regular Season (bowhunting only)
            • October 1 through December 31

If you want to know more details on existing and future deer hunting seasons and maps, you can browse through them here.

Method of Take

  1. Bowhunting
    • Long bow, recurve, or compound bow with a draw weight in excess of 35 lbs.
    • Legal arrowheads must have 2 or more cutting edges, non-barbed, and is at least 7/8 inches wide
  2. Crossbow
    • Must have a draw weight of 100 to 200 lbs.
    • Must have a minimum width from the tip of limbs of 17 inches if uncocked.
    • Shall have a minimum overall length of 24 inches from the butt of the stock to the front of the limbs
    • Mounted on a stock
    • Stock must have a trigger with a working safety
    • Shall be able to launch a minimum 14-inch
  3. Muzzleloader
    • Must be loaded through the muzzle
    • Has a minimum bore of .44 inches
    • Shoots a single projectile
    • Scopes is allowed during Special Muzzleloading season in addition to the Regular Big Game Season
  4. Shotgun
    • Must be 20 gauge or larger
    • Fires a single projectile
    • Rifling in barrel or choke is allowed
  5. Any Centerfire Rifle
  6. Handgun
    • Any centerfire pistol or revolver
    • Maximum barrel length is 16 inches
    • Requires a NYS pistol permit
    • Any other permit issued outside NY is not recognized by the state
  7. It is illegal to hunt with:
    • Any firearm equipped with a silencer
    • An autoloading firearm that holds more than 6 shells except an autoloading pistol with a barrel length under 8 inches.
    • A fully automatic firearm.

For more specific details on the methods of taking, mapping, and specific areas, hunt for them right here.

2. Duck Hunting in New York

  • Ducks, Coots, Mergansers
    • Long Island
      • December 5 – January 29

hunting laws 20 us

Daily Bag Limit:

  • 6 Ducks/Sea Ducks
  • Includes all mergansers, sea ducks (scoters, eiders, and long-tailed)
  • May include no harlequin ducks and no more than 4 mallards (2 of which may be hens)
  • 2 wood ducks, 1 black duck, 2 pintail, 2 scaup, 2 redheads, 2 canvasback, 4 scoters, 4 eiders, 4 long-tailed or 2 hooded mergansers
  • For all other duck species daily limit is the same.

Possession Limit: 18 Ducks/Sea Ducks

For other waterfowl seasons, hunting zones, and descriptions, hunt for them here.

Method of Take

  • A shotgun should hold only a maximum of three shells
  • A plug can be used to meet the requirement but cannot be removed unless by disassembling the shotgun
  • Must be 10 gauge or smaller
  • Nontoxic shots must be used which include steel, bismuth/tin, tungsten/polymer, tungsten/matrix, tungsten/nickel/iron, tungsten/iron, or other shots approved by the USFWS.

Search for more details about migratory game bird hunting regulations.

3. Turkey Hunting in New York

  • Spring Youth Turkey Hunt
    • April 22 – 23, 2017
    • Bag Limit: One Bearded Turkey
  • Regular Spring Season
    • May 1 – May 31, 2017
    • Bag Limit: Two bearded turkey (One per day)

hunting laws 21 pb

Bag limit for Fall Season: 1 bird of either sex

For fall turkey season, search here.

Method of Take

  • You may hunt with a bow or crossbow, muzzleloading shotgun
  • Shotgun or handgun using shot no larger than #2 and no smaller than #8
  • A rifle or handgun firing a bullet is not allowed
  • Crossbow hunting is prohibited in the Northern Zone when using dogs in the fall
  • Hunting with a dog during the spring season is illegal.
  • Any type of scope is permitted

Learn more about turkey hunting regulations in New York.

How to Get a License

First-time hunters must pass one or more courses prior to acquiring a hunting license in NY. A hunting license can be purchased through a licensed issuing agent location, by phone, or online.

hunting laws 17 us

Find out more on how to acquire a license and the different types and corresponding fees right here.

Watch this compilation video from Lively Legz/Livingfortheoutdoors of an entire White-tail season:

As long as you are knowledgeable with the hunting laws in the state of New York and abide by them to the letter, you and your hunting buddies will surely enjoy every minute of hunting. You can even show some Jerky recipes with a DIY barbecue grill or how to make your own outdoor gear while you’re camping.

Hunt safe and hunt proud!

There are other gadgets that you can surf in the Survival Life Store that surely will come in handy when you’re out hunting.


Is hunting in your blood? Then you can start learning the art of setting your rifle scope first before going out on a hunt! 

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on January 19, 2017, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

Featured Image via Game and Fish Mag

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