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Waterfowl Hunting on Oak Orchard and Tonawanda

A special permit is required to hunt waterfowl on the Oak Orchard and Tonawanda Wildlife Management Areas in Genesee and Niagara Counties (with small portions in Orleans and Erie counties) the first weekend (Saturday and Sunday) of Duck Season because these days receive the greatest hunting pressure. This permit system has been developed to increase hunter safety and improve the quality of hunting on these areas. For many years, the permit system has been used successfully at both Oak Orchard and Tonawanda.

There will only be two permit days-the first Saturday (Opening Day) and the first Sunday. Waterfowl hunting season dates are not finalized until the federal regulations are adopted in late Spring or early summer. Hunters are advised to confirm the final dates before hunting any waterfowl.

During the remaining days of the Duck Season, no permits are required for these areas. In addition, no special permits are required to hunt other game species at Oak Orchard or Tonawanda.

View the Reported Waterfowl Harvest for Oak Orchard and Tonawanda (PDF).


The waterfowl hunting permits for each day (100 for Tonawanda and 50 for Oak Orchard) will be distributed by a random lottery. These permits are non-transferable.

Permits will not be issued to hunters who have received a permit to hunt on the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge. Therefore, cards from hunters who have been selected to hunt on Iroquois on the Opening Day/first Saturday will be excluded from the lottery for the Opening Day/first Saturday at Oak Orchard and Tonawanda.

Lottery Application Period: August 15 through September 15, Annually

To apply for the lottery, hunters will need to fill out the online Oak Orchard and Tonawanda hunting lottery form. The online form will ask for hunters to enter their name, e-mail address (needed in order for DEC to e-mail the permit), zip code, and their Waterfowl Hunter Education certificate number. Please remember that Waterfowl Hunter Education is required to hunt these properties on the opening weekend. Hunters will also need to indicate their preferences for day (opening day or the second day) and property (Tonawanda WMA or Oak Orchard). Hunters will be selected by random number lottery and assigned reservations based on hunter preferences until each property has reached the maximum number of hunters.

Successful applicants will have their permit e-mailed to them by September 25th.


Each permittee will be allowed to bring one companion. An additional companion, age 18 or younger, will be allowed as well. The companion(s) must be hunting within 50 yards of the permittee.


The permittee is responsible for completing the online reporting form by November 15th of the same year. If the permittee fails to report, the permittee will be ineligible for next year's lottery.

All hunters are reminded that, to legally hunt waterfowl, they must have a current hunting license, be registered with the Harvest Information Program (HIP), and have a duck stamp signed across the face (if 16 years of age or older).

Season Dates

For information on waterfowl season dates, visit our Migratory Bird Hunting Seasons page.

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