Sportsman Safety Education Requirements
Mandatory Hunter Education: A hunter education course is required for persons who cannot show proof that they have ever possessed a hunting license. The general course is a minimum 10 hours in length. DEC honors hunter education certificates and sporting licenses from all other states and countries.
Mandatory Bowhunter Education: Hunters wishing to bowhunt for deer and bear must take an additional 8 hour minimum bowhunter education course. DEC also honors bowhunter education certificates issued by:
- National Field Archery Association or National Bowhunter Education Foundation or International Bowhunter Education Program issued in 1974 or later in any state or country,
- Any state or provincial fish and wildlife agency (certificate or card must specify the course was for bowhunting and not a general hunting course with a bowhunting segment),
- Ontario Bowhunters Association (on green or brown letterhead stationery with moosehead-bow and arrow emblem until July 31, 1987), or
- Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (on letterhead after August 1, 1987).
Find additional information about Sportsman Education or look for an education course offered near you. You can also find information by contacting a DEC Regional Office or by calling 1-888-HUNT-ED 2 (1-888-4868-332).
To qualify for a resident license, a person must live in New York State for more than thirty days immediately prior to date of application. Land ownership in New York does not make you a resident. Residency is that place where a person maintains a fixed, permanent and principal home (regardless wherever temporarily located), such as where a person is registered to vote. If under 18, the residence of parents or legal guardian shall be deemed such person's residence.
Active members of the US Armed Forces stationed in NY and full-time college students in residence in the State during the school year (proof required) qualify for annual resident licenses.
You will need one of the following proofs of residency at time of purchase:
- NYS drivers license
- NYS non-drivers identification from DMV
- Current NYS vehicle registration
- IT-201 OR W-2 income tax form from the previous year
- Current voter registration card
- Current Student ID card
- Military LES (Leave and Earnings Statement) OR military orders
- Current pay stub OR note on letterhead from a current employer verifying your legal address
Minors under the age of 12 may not obtain a hunting license or hunt wildlife.
Licenses and permits are valid from October 1 through September 30. To hunt in small game or big game seasons starting prior to October 1, the previous year's license is required. Previous year big game licenses are available at all license issuing agents.
- A license, permit, tag or stamp (except Deer Management Permits or Lifetime Licenses) is not transferrable and may be used only by the person to whom issued.
- It is not legal to possess another person's license, permit or stamp (except a transferred Deer Management Permit) while hunting, unless accompanied by the person to whom issued.
- A license to hunt, trap or fish does not give the holder any right to go on private property without permission of the land owner.
- You can legally purchase and possess only one big game or sportsman license per year.
- It is illegal to refuse to show your license on demand to a law enforcement officer or the owner, lessee or person in control of the lands (or their designees) while on their property.
- Make sure that your license has all the correct information. Carefully check it immediately after purchase or as soon as delivered in the mail. If you discover an error, have it corrected as soon as possible. Errors render a hunting or fishing license invalid.
Must be visibly displayed on the middle of your back while hunting, except in the Northern Zone and Catskill Park.
All residents must have a valid hunting license in their possession except:
- Resident owners primarily engaged in farming, lessees and members of their immediate families do not need a hunting license when hunting on farm lands they are occupying and cultivating.
- Native Americans living on a reservation do not need a hunting license while hunting on reservation lands.
To hunt turkey, all hunters must purchase a turkey permit. There are no exceptions. For more information see our Turkey Hunting page.
- Free hunting and trapping licenses are available to members of the Shinnecock and Poospatuck tribes and members of the Six Nations residing on reservations in the state. In order to obtain a license based on the above status, you can either apply through your Reservation Tribal Office or request an application from DEC's License Sales Unit by email or by phone at 518-402-8843. You will need the following documents as proof:
- Copy of Native American ID
- Copy of NYS Residency Proof
- Copy of certification of residency on reservation - from Tribal Chief or Council
- Copy of previous license or Sportsman Education Certificate for hunting, bowhunting, muzzleloading and/or trapping licenses
- Free Small/Big Game, Fishing and Trapping licenses are also available to NYS residents who have the appropriate Sportsman Education and are active service members of the NYS Militia, US Reserve Forces or certain members of the US Armed Forces. For more information see our Patriot Plan page.
Lost Licenses, Permits and Tags
A lost license and permit may be replaced for a fee of $5 per license type and carcass tag sets may be replaced for a fee of $10 per set. There is no charge to replace a lost back tag. For example, replacing a turkey permit, sportsman, bowhunting and muzzleloading license will cost $20 ($5 x 4 license types) plus $40 ($10 x 4 carcass tag sets). Even though there are four carcass tags with your turkey permit, they are considered a set and would cost only $10 for all four.
A Falconry License is needed to obtain, buy, sell, barter, possess, and train raptors (falcons, hawks, owls) for use in the sport of falconry.
More about Hunting Licenses:
- Resident Hunting Licenses, Permits and Stamps - Hunting licenses, permits, and stamps available to New York residents.
- Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Permits and Stamps - Descriptions of qualifications, privileges and fee for hunting licenses, permits, stamps and tags for non-residents.
- Permits for Hunters with Disabilities - New York State hunting permits for people with disabilities.
- Harvest Information Program - New York State Harvest Information Program (HIP) is a legal requirement. Any person who hunts migratory game birds (this includes Woodcock) must have proof of participation whenever he or she goes afield.