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License to Liberate Fish and Wildlife

License Details

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.

Fee License Duration
No Fee Varies

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

Complete and submit the Liberation of Wildlife Application (PDF) (108KB)

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)

Please visit the website for New York State Legislature (Leaves DEC website)

  • 11-0507 Liberation of Fish, Shellfish and Wildlife

Contact Information

DEC Special Licenses Unit
625 Broadway, Albany NY 12233
SpecialLicenses@dec.ny.gov
(518) 402-8985

Other Related or Similar Licenses

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

  • PDF Help
  • For help with PDFs on this page, please call 518-402-8985.
  • Contact for this Page
  • NYSDEC Fish and Wildlife
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-4752
    518-402-8985
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