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Leashed Tracking Dog License

License Details

This license authorizes an individual to use a certified trained dog to locate dead or wounded white-tailed deer or black bear. Typically this license is used to assist hunters during big game hunting seasons.


First-time applicants have an application fee of $25. The license fee is $50.


The duration of this license is 5 years.

Age Requirement

The age requirement for this license is 18 years of age or older.

What This License Allows

  • Using a certified dog (defined below) to track and recover deer or bear that are dead, wounded or injured during any big game hunting season (including on weekends and 24-hours after last day of the hunting season), or following a motor-vehicle collision.
  • Using a firearm to humanely kill wounded or injured deer or bear.
  • Possessing the deer or bear carcass until lawfully tagged by hunter or delivered to an Environmental Conservation Officer.

What This License Does Not Allow

  • Tracking without notifying an Environmental Conservation Officer of the location and hunter information, if applicable.
  • Pursuing and taking big game with aid from certified tracking dog.
  • Charging a fee for services without a valid outdoor guide license.

Other Pertinent Information

Certified Dogs and Breeds
A certified dog can be any breed of dog as long as they are licensed, collared, identified and vaccinated against rabies in accordance with the NYS Agriculture and Markets Law (Article 7) (leaves DEC website).

How to Apply

  1. Pass the leashed tracking dog license examination with a score of 80% or higher. See Registering for the Leashed Tracking Dog Examination below.
  2. Have a current year hunting license.
  3. Complete and submit the Leashed Tracking Dog License Application (an application and instructions will be sent by mail after passing the exam).

Registering for the Leashed Tracking Dog Examination

  1. Register on-line. Registration Deadline is April 12, 2023.
    You will receive a registration confirmation once complete along with additional information on taking the exam.
  1. At the end of the examination, upon successful completion with a grade of 80% or greater, you will be provided with a license application form and further instructions on how to apply for the license.

Renewing & Reporting

License Renewal

Licenses expire 5 years from the date of issuance. A renewal form will be sent by mail prior to the license expiration date noted on the license. If a license renewal form is not received at least 2-weeks prior to the expiration date, please contact us.

Laws & Regulations

Environmental Conservation Law (ECL)

Please visit New York State Legislature (leaves DEC website)

  • 11-0928 Tracking dogs
  • 11-0521 Destructive wildlife; taking pursuant to permit

New York Codes Rules and Regulations (NYCRR)

Contact Information

DEC Special Licenses Unit
625 Broadway, Albany NY 12233
(518) 402-8985

Other Related or Similar Licenses

DEC also issues the following licenses for permitting the use of tracking or hunting dogs on wildlife or game:

  • Field Trial License: authorizes release of wild and captive-bred game for competitive events to evaluate a hunting dog's performance.
  • Black Bear Tracking Dog License: authorizes an individual to train dogs of select breeds to track, trail, pursue, and tree black bear for training purposes only.
  • PDF Help
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  • Contact for this Page
  • NYSDEC Fish and Wildlife
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-4752
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