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Rifle, Shotgun, and Bow Areas

Legal Implements for Early Antlerless Deer Season, Regular Deer Season, Early and Regular Bear Seasons

Map showing what hunting implement is legal in all areas of New York.
New legislation in 2020 authorized the use of rifles for big game hunting in Tompkins County.

  • See Crossbow Hunting for license and training requirements, general rules, and specific season opportunities.
  • Special Deer Season for firearms deer hunting opportunities in parts of Suffolk County
  • Written descriptions of areas show on map
  • Closed area boundary descriptions
  • Implement Descriptions

It is illegal to hunt big game with:

  • a fully automatic firearm;
  • an autoloading firearm that holds more than 6 shells (except an autoloading pistol with a barrel length under 8 inches);
  • any firearm equipped with a silencer; or
  • an air gun or air bow.

Big game hunters are permitted to carry:

  • a .22 caliber rim-fire handgun during regular deer season or early and regular bear seasons, if they possess a NYS pistol permit; or
  • a.22 caliber rim-fire cannot be used as a primary or secondary weapon to take deer or bear.

Written Descriptions of Areas Shown on Legal Implements Map

Bow, Crossbow, Muzzleloader, Handgun, Shotgun, and Rifle Areas:

All of Northern Zone (see description of Northern-Southern Zone Line).

All of Albany (except WMU 4J which is bow only), Allegany, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chemung, Chenango, Columbia, Cortland, Delaware, Fulton, Genesee, Greene, Herkimer, Livingston, Madison, Montgomery, Oneida, Ontario, Orange, Orleans, Oswego, Otsego, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Seneca, Schenectady, Schoharie, Schuyler, Steuben, Sullivan, Tioga, Tompkins, Ulster, Washington, Wayne, Wyoming, and Yates counties. Also, the portion of Chautauqua county south of Rt. 20 and all of Broome County except the city of Binghamton.

Bow, Crossbow, Muzzleloader, Handgun, and Shotgun Areas:

All of the following counties, except the areas listed in parentheses: Chautauqua (except south of Rt. 20 where rifles are also legal), Dutchess, Erie (except WMU 9C which is closed to big game hunting), Monroe (except WMU 8C which is bow only), Niagara, Onondaga, Putnam, and Rockland counties.

Bow only areas:

Albany County (WMU 4J)

Monroe County (WMU 8C)

Suffolk County (WMU 1C). All of Suffolk County. Except shotguns and muzzleloaders may be used during the Special January Firearms Season in Suffolk County.

Westchester County (WMU 3S). All of Westchester County.

Description of Legal Hunting Implements for Big Game
Implement Description
Bow Long (stick), recurve or compound bow with a draw weight in excess of 35 pounds. A legal arrowhead is non-barbed, has 2 or more cutting edges and is at least 7/8 inches wide.
Crossbow Consists of a bow, a string, and either compound or recurve limbs with minimum width of 17 inches (tip of limbs, uncocked), mounted on a stock. The stock shall have a trigger with a working safety that holds the string and limbs under tension until released. It shall have a minimum overall length from the butt of the stock to the front of the limbs of 24 inches and be able to launch a minimum 14 inch arrow/bolt, not including the legal arrowhead. It shall have a draw weight of 100 to 200 pounds.
Muzzleloader Firearm loaded through the muzzle with a minimum bore of .44 inches and shooting a single projectile. Scopes or fiber-optic sights may be used at any time. You must possess a NYS Pistol Permit to hunt with a muzzleloading pistol.


Any centerfire pistol2 or revolver. Barrel length maximum is 16 inches.
NOTE: Possession of handguns in New York State requires a NYS Pistol Permit. New York does not recognize permits issued by other states.
Shotgun1 Must be 20 gauge or larger and fire a single projectile. Rifling in the barrel or choke is allowed.
Rifle1 Any centerfire rifle.