Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Migratory Game Bird Hunting

This is a summary of regulations about hunting migratory game birds. You may also download a copy of the 2017-2018 Waterfowl Hunting Seasons and Regulations Guide (PDF, 1.72 MB), or read the actual state and federal regulations on the Internet. The state regulations are in Title 6, New York Code of Rules and Regulations, Section 2.30. (link leaves DEC's website.) The federal regulations are in Title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 20 (link leaves DEC's website.)

What is a "migratory game bird?"

  • All wild ducks, geese, and brant. (These also are "migratory waterfowl").
  • Coot, Virginia rails, sora rails, and gallinules.
  • Woodcock and snipe.
    Note: For hunting common crows, some migratory game bird hunting regulations do not apply. Please read the regulations in the Crow Hunting, General Hunting and Small Game Hunting sections.

Waterfowl Hunters: To stop the spread of aquatic invasive species, new regulations prohibit the launching and retrieving of watercraft at state boat launches and other state lands with any plant or animal part in, on, or attached.

The new regulations apply to the use of phragmites or other invasive plants for covering hunting boats and blinds. They do not apply to the use of non-invasive plants used for camouflage (such as cedar); dogs; and legally taken game and fish.

Help stop the spread of aquatic invasives

Reporting Banded Migratory Game Birds

Please report band recoveries on-line (see link in right-hand column) or by sending your information to: Bird Banding Lab, 12100 Beach Forest Road, Laurel, MD 20708. The call center supporting the 1-800-327-BAND toll-free phone number will be discontinued no later than June 30, 2018, possibly on June 30, 2017. People calling this toll-free number will be directed to report their bird bands using the REPORTBAND website or by mail. We rely heavily on your cooperation in reporting banded birds to help in their management, and we would like to thank you for your continued support in this effort.

Watch a clip about duck decoy carving and check out other clips on DEC's YouTube Channel.

More about Migratory Game Bird Hunting: