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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.

License Details


No fee

License Duration


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.
  • Landowner Permission: 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

Renewing & Reporting

License Renewal

These licenses are for one-time release and are not renewable. A new application must be submitted for releasing wildlife in subsequent years.

Annual Reporting

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)

To find this law click on the link, click on ENV, find Article 11, click on the appropriate law.

Contact Information

DEC Special Licenses Unit
Address: 625 Broadway, Albany NY 12233
Phone: 518-402-8985

Other Related or Similar Licenses

DEC also issues the following licenses for permitting the release of wildlife:

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  • Contact for this Page
  • NYSDEC Fish and Wildlife
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-4752
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