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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)

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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    Fish, Wildlife & Marine Resources
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    Albany, NY 12233-4752
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