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For Release: Friday, September 23, 2016

DEC Announces Start of Small Game Hunting Seasons

Wild Turkey, Waterfowl and Pheasant Seasons

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today that several small game hunting seasons open October 1. In addition, there are special youth-only hunting seasons for pheasants and waterfowl opening prior to the start of the regular season.

"Hunting is a proud tradition in New York State, and this year we are offering more opportunities for the next generation of hunters to be introduced to this important sport," Commissioner Seggos said. "Our youth only hunting seasons are an excellent way to connect people to the natural world and teach to become safe and responsible hunters, and I encourage experienced hunters across New York to bring a novice hunter afield this fall."

Season dates, bag limits, and other hunting regulations can be found in the New York Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide, which can be obtained from a license issuing agent, and on the DEC website (see links below).

Wild Turkey Hunting

Beginning last fall, DEC updated the fall turkey hunting season structure in response to declines in turkey populations and to ensure that harvest opportunities are sustainable. Season dates for fall 2016:

  • October 1-14 in the Northern Zone
  • October 15-28 in the Southern Zone
  • November 19-December 2 in Suffolk County, Long Island

The statewide, season bag limit is one bird of either sex.

The change to the fall turkey season is being evaluated as part of a four-year research program during which DEC staff track hen harvest and survival. This data will be used along with information collected annually on turkey abundance, productivity, and hunter activity and harvest to determine future fall harvest opportunities that are sustainable under current environmental conditions and trends in turkey populations.

Waterfowl Hunting and Youth Waterfowl Days

Hunting seasons for waterfowl-ducks, geese, and brant-begin in early October in many parts of the state, but there are also special opportunities for junior hunters 12-15 years old prior to the regular season. Junior hunters must be accompanied by a licensed adult hunter, and both the junior hunter and adult must be registered with the Harvest Information Program (HIP). Adult hunters must also have a federal migratory bird stamp. Youth waterfowl days this fall are:

  • September 24-25 in the Lake Champlain Zone
  • October 1-2 in the Western Zone
  • November 12-13 in the Long Island Zone

Pheasant Hunting

Approximately 30,000 adult pheasants will be released on lands open to public hunting for the upcoming fall pheasant hunting season. The pheasant hunting season begins:

  • October 1 in northern and eastern portions of New York
  • October 15 in central and western portions of the state
  • November 1 on Long Island

Since 2007, DEC has offered a special youth-only season to provide junior hunters the opportunity to hunt pheasants during the weekend prior to the regular pheasant hunting season. In western New York, the youth pheasant hunt weekend is October 8-9. In northern and eastern New York, the youth pheasant hunt weekend is September 24-25, and on Long Island it is October 29-30. Both the junior hunter and their adult mentor must have a hunting license; only the junior hunter is allowed to carry a firearm and harvest birds on these dates.

All release sites for pheasants provided by state-funded programs are open to public hunting. Pheasants will be released on state-owned lands prior to and during the fall hunting season, and at a number of sites on New York City Watershed lands thanks to a partnership with New York City Department of Environmental Protection. Pheasant hunting opportunities have also been augmented by private landowners who have opened their land to public hunting. DEC is grateful for their help in providing high quality hunting experiences for New York's sportsmen and sportswomen. A list of statewide pheasant release sites and sites receiving birds for the youth-only pheasant hunt weekends can be found on DEC's website.

Citizen Science

"Citizen science" efforts such as the Grouse and Woodcock Hunting Log, Bow Hunter Sighting Log, and the Furbearer Sighting Survey provide hunters with the opportunity to partner with DEC to monitor game species. To learn more about how to participate in these efforts, visit the DEC website.

Hunting and wildlife observation information for the following links can be found on DEC's website:

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