Waterfowl Hunting Information and Season Rationale
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 use of phragmites or other invasive plants for covering hunting boats and blinds is prohibited. This does not apply to non-invasive plants used for camouflage (such as cedar); dogs; and legally taken game and fish.
- Check, Clean, Drain, Dry, and Disinfect your boat and hunting equipment after each hunt. Pay special attention to boat trailers, decoy anchors & lines, decoy bags, and waders.
- Drain, dry and disinfect aqua keel decoys as the water trapped inside could contain nearly invisible aquatic invasive species such as spiny water flea or zebra mussel larvae.
The Seasons and Regulations
Most migratory game bird seasons are set based on five hunting zones that have been approved by the U.S. Fish Wildlife Service. For written descriptions of these zones see the waterfowl zones page.
ALL New York waterfowl hunters are required to register annually for the Harvest Information Program (HIP). HIP is a federally mandated program which is used solely to survey migratory game bird hunters. For more information about HIP and how to register, see Harvest Information Program (HIP). HIP registration is valid from July 1 - June 30 annually.
Final 2016-17 Migratory Game Bird Seasons are now available.
Youth Waterfowl Hunt
DEC established youth waterfowl days in 1996. This special two-day hunt prior to the regular season in each waterfowl hunting zone provides young waterfowl hunters (ages 12-15) with the opportunity to spend time afield with an experienced adult hunter pursuing ducks, geese, and brant. The timing of the Youth Waterfowl Hunt allows for a break in hunting between the youth hunt and the beginning of the regular waterfowl season (usually 1-3 weeks depending on the zone). Holding the youth waterfowl hunt before the start of the regular season allows participants an increased opportunity to harvest local and early migrating waterfowl. Preseason Youth Days also tend to have milder weather and help young hunters develop the skills needed to be successful during the regular season.
Daily bag limits for ducks are the maximum allowed for ducks during the regular season and two/day for geese. Junior hunters must be fully licensed and registered with HIP (see link for HIP above; a federal duck stamp is not required for 12-15 year-olds). The junior hunter must be accompanied by a licensed adult hunter (including current HIP registration and duck stamp) in accordance with all New York State regulations. Only the junior hunter may take birds on these days, unless the respective regular season is open.
Migratory game bird hunting regulations are set by the Federal government in the spring and final waterfowl seasons and bag limits are announced in July. Be sure to visit the Waterfowl Hunting Seasons page or review the Waterfowl Hunting Seasons and Regulations Guide prior to going afield.
More about Waterfowl Hunting Information and Season Rationale:
- Places to Hunt Waterfowl - A list of waterfowl hunting locations open to the public.
- Waterfowl Hunter Task Forces - To allow waterfowl hunters the opportunity to become directly involved with the duck hunting season-setting process, a group of selected hunter representatives sit as a Citizen Task Force (CTF) to discuss and decide, by consensus, recommendations for opening and closing dates for the upcoming duck hunting and other seasons.
- Waterfowl Season Input - DEC invites waterfowl hunters to submit recommendations for the dates of future waterfowl hunting seasons to regional Waterfowl Season Task Forces or DEC's waterfowl season-setting team.
- Rationale for 2016-17 Waterfowl Hunting Seasons - The Waterfowl Hunter Task Forces for each zone provided recommendations for duck season and youth waterfowl hunting dates, and they provided the following rationale for those dates.
- Snow Goose Conservation Order - Waterfowl hunters in New York will have a special opportunity to harvest snow geese in most areas of the state beginning in spring 2009.
- Road Boundary Descriptions for Goose Hunting Areas - Descriptions of New York State's Goose hunting areas based on road boundary descriptions rather than Wildlife Management Units.
- Avoiding Conflicts Between Waterfowl Hunters and Waterfront Property Owners - Tips for avoiding conflict between waterfowl hunters and waterfront property owners.
- Waterfowl Hunting on Oak Orchard and Tonawanda - Hunters who would like to hunt waterfowl on Oak Orchard and Tonawanda must have a permit for Opening Day and the first weekend
- Waterfowl Harvest for Oak Orchard and Tonawanda - Opening weekend waterfowl harvest summary for Oak Orchard and Tonawanda WMAs.