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The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has added a link to a translation service developed by Microsoft Inc., entitled Bing Translator, as a convenience to visitors to the DEC website who speak languages other than English.

Additional information can be found at DEC's Language Assistance Page.

Waterfowl Identification Education

waterfowl in flight

A certificate from this course is required to get an access permit for select National Wildlife Refuges and state lands open to waterfowl hunting. While this course is not required for waterfowl hunting in general, it is recommended and of value to attend.

Register for a Waterfowl ID Education Course

The Waterfowl ID Education course is offered as a "Traditional" option only, which does not require home study work.

Course Type Online Registration Link Course Information
Traditional Course

Register for a Waterfowl ID Education Traditional Course
(link leaves DEC's website)

The traditional course is taught completely by an instructor or team of instructors. All study materials are supplied at the time of the course.
Cost: Free

General Course Details and Requirements

Course Topics Covered

  • Key features when identifying birds in the field
  • Waterfowl hunting rules and regulations
  • Waterfowl hunter's responsibilities and ethics
  • Waterfowl hunting safety
  • Waterfowling ballistics

Age Restrictions/Requirements


Course Length

Minimum of 3 hours.

Waterfowl ID Education Certificate

Students must attend all sessions of the course, demonstrate proper attitude and safety, and pass a final exam of 25 questions. After successful completion of the course, students will receive a Waterfowl Education Certificate of Qualification, which is required for accessing several National Wildlife Refuges and state lands open to waterfowl hunting.

Get more details on certificates: including how to replace a lost certificate and out of state certificate requirements.

Reference Materials

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Ducks at a Distance: A Waterfowl Identification Guide (PDF, 3.8MB) - Study the markings and characteristics of ducks to help you recognize birds on the wing while out in the field.