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.
- 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
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)
- 11-0507 - Liberation of Fish, Shellfish and Wildlife (External Link)
DEC Special Licenses Unit
Address: 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.