New York Hunting Regulation Updates

Key Updates in New York Hunting Laws

2023-2024 Changes

Rifles Authorized in Onondaga County

Legislation now permits the use of rifles for big game hunting in Onondaga County. This regulation is set to expire on October 1, 2025.

2021-2022 Adjustments

Expanded Youth Hunting Opportunities

The NYS Legislature introduced a program allowing 12- and 13-year-olds to hunt deer with firearms or crossbows in selected counties. Detailed maps and participating counties can be found in the Junior Big Game Hunting section.

Holiday Deer Hunt

The DEC has extended the late bow and muzzleloader season in the Southern Zone, adding a Holiday Deer Hunt from December 26 to January 1. More details are available under Deer Hunting Seasons.

New Deer and Bear Hunting Regulations

Significant updates include:

  • Extended hunting hours for deer and bear.
  • A new 9-day antlerless deer season in certain WMUs.
  • Revised antlerless harvest rules during the early muzzleloader season in Northern Zone WMUs.
  • Streamlined bear hunting season in the Adirondack region.
  • Mandatory fluorescent orange/pink for deer or bear hunting with a firearm.

2020-2021 Developments

WMU 4W Included in Early Bear Season

The Early Bear Season in the Southern Zone now encompasses WMU 4W.

Rifles in Tompkins County

Legislation passed in August permits rifle use for big game hunting in Tompkins County during the Regular Season. Specifics are outlined in the Rifle, Shotgun, and Bow Areas section.

New Migratory Game Bird Hunting Regulations

Changes include:

  • Additional hunting days for veterans and active military in certain waterfowl zones.
  • Legalization of electronic duck stamps for migratory game bird hunting.
  • Mentorship rules for youth migratory game bird hunting.
  • Simplified boundaries for special sea duck areas.
  • Adjusted scaup bag limits due to population decline.

2019-2020 Updates

Big Game Import Restrictions

Restrictions on importing whole carcasses or intact heads of certain animals from outside New York have been imposed. Acceptable items include deboned meat, cleaned skull caps, and other specific parts. More information is available on the Big Game Importation Restrictions page.

Mallard and Canada Goose Bag Limit and Season Changes

Due to population declines, there are new limits on mallard and Canada goose hunting. Details can be found on the Waterfowl & Migratory Game Bird Season page.

Rifles in Orleans and Broome Counties

The use of rifles for big game hunting is now permanently allowed in parts of Orleans and Broome Counties.

2017-2018 Revisions

American Black Duck Bag Limit Increase

The daily bag limit for black ducks has been raised to two, a significant change after over 30 years.

Bobcat Hunting & Trapping in HEA

Regulations for hunting and trapping bobcats in the Harvest Expansion Area (HEA) have been relaxed, removing the need for special permits and submission of skulls/jaws.

Fisher Trapping Season Changes

Adjustments to the fisher trapping season and permit requirements have been implemented in select WMUs.

Diamondback Terrapin Season Closure

The diamondback terrapin season has been permanently closed, effective May 1, 2018.

Rifle Use Legislation

New laws have expanded rifle use for big game hunting in various counties, including Orleans, Broome, Genesee, Schenectady, and Seneca.

Wild Advisor Pro


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