License to Liberate Fish and Wildlife
This license authorizes releasing/stocking species into the wild. More commonly used for stocking/releasing ring-neck pheasant and quail for hunting, and releasing butterflies at weddings or other ceremonial events.
What This License Allows
- Transporting and releasing species authorized by DEC into the wild on a one-time basis.
What This License Does Not Allow:
- Selling or exhibiting species
- Taking released game birds outside of their respective hunting season and without a hunting license
- Releasing any of the following species:
- European hare
- European San Juan rabbit
- Texas or jack rabbit
- Zebra mussels
- Captive-bred red or gray fox
- River rat/Nutria
Other Pertinent Information
Releasing on State Land
If releasing wildlife on New York State lands or conservation easement lands, a Temporary Revocable Permit is needed.
If releasing wildlife on private land other than the licensee's own property, permission from the landowner is needed.
Releasing pheasants and quail
Birds cannot be released after the last day of their respective hunting seasons.
How to Apply
Complete and submit the Liberation of Wildlife Application (PDF) (108KB)
Renewing & Reporting
These licenses are for one-time release and are not renewable. A new application must be submitted for releasing wildlife in subsequent years.
A written annual report for select species may be requested prior to the license expiration date. If reporting is applicable, it will be noted on the license conditions.
Laws & Regulations
Environmental Conservation Law (ECL)
Please visit the website for New York State Legislature (Leaves DEC website)
- 11-0507 Liberation of Fish, Shellfish and Wildlife
DEC Special Licenses Unit
625 Broadway, Albany NY 12233
Other Related or Similar Licenses
DEC also issues the following licenses for permitting the release of wildlife:
- Liberation of Wildlife: Purple Loosestrife Bio-control License: authorizes the release of two species of leaf-feeding beetles for controlling the invasive purple loosestrife plant.