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General Waterfowl Hunting Information

The Seasons and Regulations

Most migratory game bird seasons are set based on five hunting zones that have been approved by the U.S. Fish Wildlife Service. For written descriptions of these zones see the waterfowl zones page.

ALL New York waterfowl hunters are required to register annually for the Harvest Information Program (HIP). HIP is a federally mandated program which is used solely to survey migratory game bird hunters. For more information about HIP and how to register, see Harvest Information Program (HIP). HIP registration is valid from July 1 - June 30 annually.

Youth Waterfowl Hunt

Youth Waterfowl Hunt participants

DEC established youth waterfowl days in 1996. This special two-day hunt prior to the regular season in each waterfowl hunting zone provides young waterfowl hunters (ages 12-15) with the opportunity to spend time afield with an experienced adult hunter pursuing ducks, geese, and brant. The timing of the Youth Waterfowl Hunt allows for a break in hunting between the youth hunt and the beginning of the regular waterfowl season (usually 1-3 weeks depending on the zone). Holding the youth waterfowl hunt before the start of the regular season allows participants an increased opportunity to harvest local and early migrating waterfowl. Preseason Youth Days also tend to have milder weather and help young hunters develop the skills needed to be successful during the regular season.

Daily bag limits for ducks are the maximum allowed for ducks during the regular season and two/day for geese. Junior hunters must be fully licensed and registered with HIP (see link for HIP above; a federal duck stamp is not required for 12-15 year-olds). The junior hunter must be accompanied by a licensed adult hunter (including current HIP registration and duck stamp) in accordance with all New York State regulations. Only the junior hunter may take birds on these days, unless the respective regular season is open.

Migratory game bird hunting regulations are set by the Federal government in the spring and final waterfowl seasons and bag limits are announced in July. Be sure to visit the Waterfowl Hunting Seasons page or review the Waterfowl Hunting Seasons and Regulations Guide prior to going afield.

More about General Waterfowl Hunting Information:

  • Waterfowl Season Setting Process - This page describes the season setting process for selecting duck seasons in each zone, the results of the 2017 New York State Duck Hunter Survey, and waterfowl task force contact information to for huntings to provide input on goose, brant, and youth waterfowl season date comments.
  • Places to Hunt Waterfowl - A list of waterfowl hunting locations open to the public.
  • Snow Goose Conservation Order - Waterfowl hunters in New York will have a special opportunity to harvest snow geese in most areas of the state beginning in spring 2009.
  • Waterfowl Hunting on Oak Orchard and Tonawanda - Hunters who would like to hunt waterfowl on Oak Orchard and Tonawanda must have a permit for Opening Day and the first weekend