New York State Waterfowl & Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations

Regulations and Guidelines for Hunting Migratory Birds in New York State

State and Federal Regulations

  • State Regulations: Detailed regulations for hunting migratory birds in New York can be found in Title 6, New York Code of Rules and Regulations, Section 2.30.
  • Federal Regulations: These are outlined in Title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 20.

Definition of Migratory Game Birds

Migratory game birds in New York include:

  • Migratory Waterfowl: All wild ducks, geese, and brant.
  • Other Birds: Coot, Virginia rails, sora rails, gallinules, American woodcock, and snipe.
  • Common Crows: Note that some migratory game bird hunting regulations do not apply to hunting common crows. Refer to the specific sections on Crow Hunting, General Hunting, and Small Game Hunting for relevant regulations.

Waterfowl Hunting and Invasive Species Prevention

  • Regulations to Curb Invasive Species: There are specific rules prohibiting the launching and retrieving of watercraft at state boat launches and other state lands with any plant or animal part attached, aimed at stopping the spread of aquatic invasive species.
  • Restrictions on Camouflage Material: The use of phragmites or other invasive plants for covering hunting boats and blinds is restricted. However, non-invasive plants like cedar, dogs, and legally taken game and fish are not subject to these restrictions.

Practices to Prevent Spread of Aquatic Invasives

  • Routine Checks: Hunters are advised to check, clean, drain, dry, and disinfect their boats and hunting equipment after each hunt.
  • Special Attention Areas: Boat trailers, decoy anchors and lines, decoy bags, and waders require particular attention.
  • Aqua Keel Decoys: Drain, dry, and disinfect aqua keel decoys to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species like spiny water flea or zebra mussel larvae.

Reporting Banded Migratory Game Birds

  • Reporting Procedure: Band recoveries should be reported online or by sending information to the Bird Banding Lab at 12100 Beach Forest Road, Laurel, MD 20708. Since June 30, 2017, the toll-free call center for reporting bird bands has been discontinued, and hunters are directed to use the REPORTBAND website.
  • Importance of Reporting: These reports are crucial for biologists in New York and across North America for wildlife management and conservation efforts.

Waterfowl and Webless Migratory Game Bird Hunting Seasons in New York State for 2023-2024

Waterfowl Hunting Seasons Updates

  • Canada Goose Season: Extended to 45 days in several zones with a 3 bird bag limit.
  • Mallard Bag Limit: Increased from 2 per day (maximum 1 hen) to 4 per day (maximum 2 hens).
  • Duck Season Dates: Under re-evaluation based on the 2023 duck hunter survey, migration data, and input from waterfowl hunter task forces.

Shooting Hours and Regulations

  • General Shooting Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset.
  • Exceptions:
    • For Canada geese during September and snow geese from January 16 to April 15, shooting hours extend to one-half hour after sunset.
  • Non-toxic Shot: Required for hunting.

Waterfowl Hunting Zones

  • Set based on five waterfowl hunting zones approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • HIP Registration: Mandatory for hunting waterfowl species.

Waterfowl Bag Limits

  • Daily Limit: Varies by species.
  • Possession Limit: Three times the daily bag limit for all waterfowl species except snow geese (no limit for snow geese).

Canada Goose Season

  • Shooting Hours: Half hour before sunrise to sunset during regular season; extended to half hour after sunset in September.
  • Bag Limits: See specific limits for each Goose Hunting Area.
  • Electronic Calls and Shotguns: Allowed during September and when other waterfowl seasons are closed.

Webless Migratory Game Bird Seasons

  • Species: Woodcock, Crow, Snipe, Rail, and Gallinule.
  • Season Dates and Bag Limits: Vary by species and region.
  • Shooting Hours: Generally, from sunrise to sunset; varies by species.
  • Non-Toxic Shot: Required for some species.
  • HIP Registration: Required for certain species.

Other Regulations

  • Youth, Veteran, and Active Military Days: Special hunting days with specific dates.
  • Non-Invasive Plant Use: Allowed for camouflage.
  • Contaminant Precautions: Recommendations for consuming certain species.
  • Banded Bird Reporting: Encouraged through the REPORTBAND website.

Waterfowl and Webless Migratory Game Bird Hunting Season Dates for 2023-2024 in New York State

Waterfowl Hunting Seasons (Ducks, Coots, Mergansers, Scaup, Snow Geese, Brant)

  1. Western Zone

    • Ducks, Coots, Mergansers: Oct. 21 - Nov. 12 and Nov. 25 - Dec. 31
    • Scaup (2 bird daily bag limit): Dec. 12 - Dec. 31
    • Snow Geese: Oct. 1 - Apr. 15
    • Brant: Oct. 14 - Nov. 12
  2. Northeast Zone

    • Ducks, Coots, Mergansers: Oct. 7 - Oct. 29 and Nov. 4 - Dec. 10
    • Scaup: Nov. 21 - Dec. 10
    • Snow Geese: Oct. 1 - Apr. 15
    • Brant: Oct. 14 - Nov. 12
  3. Lake Champlain Zone

    • Ducks, Coots, Mergansers: Oct. 7 - Oct. 11 and Nov. 4 - Dec. 28
    • Scaup: Dec. 9 - Dec. 28
    • Snow Geese: Oct. 1 - Dec. 31 and Jan. 16 - Apr. 15
    • Brant: Oct. 14 - Nov. 12
  4. Southeast Zone

    • Ducks, Coots, Mergansers: Oct. 21 - Dec. 3 and Dec. 9 - Dec. 24
    • Scaup: Nov. 30 - Dec. 3 and Dec. 9 - Dec. 24
    • Snow Geese: Oct. 1 - Apr. 15
    • Brant: Oct. 14 - Nov. 12
  5. Long Island Zone

    • Ducks, Coots, Mergansers: Nov. 18 - Nov. 26 and Dec. 9 - Jan. 28
    • Scaup: Jan 9 - Jan 28
    • Snow Geese: Nov. 25 - Mar. 10
    • Brant: Dec. 30 - Jan. 28

Webless Migratory Game Bird Seasons (Woodcock, Crow, Snipe, Rail, and Gallinule)

  1. Upstate New York

    • Woodcock: Oct. 1 - Nov. 14
    • Crow: Sept. 1 - Mar. 31
    • Snipe: Sept. 1 - Nov. 9
    • Virginia & Sora Rails, Gallinules: Sept. 1 - Nov. 9
  2. Long Island

    • Woodcock: Oct. 1 - Nov. 14
    • Crow: Sept. 1 - Mar. 31

Special Hunting Days

  • Youth Days:
    • Western: Sept. 30 & Oct. 1
    • Northeast, Lake Champlain, Southeast: Sept. 23 & Sept. 24
    • Long Island: Nov. 4 & Nov. 5
  • Veteran and Active Military Days:
    • Western: Oct. 7 & Jan. 20
    • Northeast, Southeast: Sept. 23 & Sept. 24
    • Long Island: Nov. 11 & Nov. 12


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The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.