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Bureau of Wildlife

The Bureau of Wildlife is responsible for managing all the wildlife species in the State of New York. The Bureau had its origin in the Fisheries, Game and Forest Commission established by an act of the legislature April 25, 1895, at a time when wildlife populations were at one of their lowest points in recorded history. Populations of several species that once had been common such as beaver, white-tailed deer and black bear were nearly extirpated. The wild turkey had not been seen for over half a century and was presumed to be extirpated. This decline was due in part to massive habitat changes and unregulated harvest both for subsistence and market hunting. The Commission's primary focus was to propagate fish and wildlife species to restock the state's populations which had been depleted over the previous 300 years.

Picture of a cow moose with a radio collar
Picture of a cow moose
with a radio collar

Today many of these species have been brought back from near extirpation. Some of these, such as beaver, white-tailed deer, wood duck, bald eagle, peregrine falcon, ruffed grouse and wild turkey, are now commonly observed in the wild. Many wildlife species are more abundant today than they were when the European colonists settled in New York. Other species, such as those listed as endangered or threatened in New York, still need our help.

The Bureau of Wildlife is involved in the restoration, recovery and range expansion of many species such as the river otter, black tern, karner blue butterfly and bog turtle, to enhance and stabilize populations for the enjoyment of future New Yorkers. We manage many of the now common species such as deer, bear, turkey and Canada goose to provide recreational opportunities, ecological and economic values, and enjoyment to the people of the state while ensuring that their existence is never again threatened in New York State. At the same time we attempt to control populations of some species such as deer, Canada goose and beaver, through regulated hunting and trapping seasons, to keep damage to agricultural crops and residential landscaping to tolerable levels. We provide the public with information about wildlife, technical assistance in land management to attract wildlife or to enhance wildlife populations and technical assistance to reduce damage caused by nuisance wildlife. We identify and inventory populations of rare wildlife species and assess overall wildlife diversity through partnership programs such as the Amphibian and Reptile Atlas and Breeding Bird Atlas projects. We protect wildlife species and critical wildlife habitats through the environmental permitting process.

More than 200,000 acres of land have been purchased by the State and are designated as "Wildlife Management Areas". These lands are managed by the Bureau to provide quality wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities. Wildlife biologists and technicians also provide input into management plans for an additional 3 million plus acres of public land in New York which are managed by other Divisions and Agencies.

Our primary focus has been and continues to be ensuring that our great wildlife heritage remains for future generations.

  • Contact for this Page
  • NYSDEC Fish and Wildlife
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-4754
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