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Sporting Licenses & Use of State Land Permits

Use the links below to jump to a section of licenses/permits by activity or category:

Fishing License Types
License/Permit Name Description/Requirement
Freshwater fishing license Required to catch/harvest freshwater fish species during the regulated freshwater fishing seasons. Available as annual (365-days), 7-day or 1-day licenses.
Saltwater (marine)
fishing registration
Required to catch/harvest saltwater and migratory marine fish species during the regulated saltwater fishing seasons. The registry is free.
Lobster permit (recreational) Required to catch/harvest lobsters recreationally during the regulated season. Available to residents only ($10 fee). Call 631-444-0430 for more information on getting a lobster permit. (view regulations for size limits & seasons)
Farm Fish Pond Allows a landowner to manage man-made ponds (less than ten acres) for fish production including control of undesirable fish, vegetation and insects; stocking and propagation of fish and harvesting by nets without requirement of other permits.
Hunting/Trapping License Types
License/Permit Name Description/Requirement
Trapping License Required to take/harvest furbearers (coyote, beaver, snowshoe hare, etc.) during the regulated trapping seasons.
Hunting License Required to take/harvest wild game during the regulated hunting seasons.
Hunters with Disability Various special licenses required for hunters with disability who have difficulty discharging a firearm or bow without the use of special equipment or a motorized vehicle.
Harvest Information Program
(for migratory bird hunting)
Required in addition to a hunting license for the following migratory bird species: woodcock, ducks, geese, brant, rails, snipe, coots, gallinules or sea ducks. A USFWS Federal Duck Stamp (external link) is also required for waterfowl species.
Deer Management Permit (DMP) Take one antlerless deer (in addition to deer taken with a hunting license) within a designated Wildlife Management Unit during the regulated deer hunting season. Must apply prior to October 1 each year.
Deer Management Assistance
Landowner/homeowner may take extra deer (in addition to a hunting license and/or a DMP) during the regulated deer hunting season. Number of deer is determined by factors such as location and deer population.
Leashed Tracking Dog
(for tracking injured bear and deer)
For training a certified leashed tracking dog for locating wounded, dead or injured deer or bear. Typically used to assist hunters during the big game hunting season.
Black Bear Tracking Dog Allows an individual to train dogs of certain breeds to track, trail, pursue and tree black bears. This is for training purposes only. Dogs cannot be used to hunt black bear during the regulated hunting season.
Field Trial Authorizes a competitive event for evaluating a hunting dog's performance on flushing captive bred game (mallard, chukar, gray partridge, pheasant and quail) or wild game (Eastern cottontail, snowshoe hair, red and gray fox, coyote, raccoon, American woodcock and ruffed grouse).
Falconry Required for pursuing wild small game (squirrels, hares, etc.) using a trained raptor such as a falcon, hawk or owl.
Release/stock wildlife
(typically for pheasant or quail hunting)
Authorizes individuals to release wildlife to the wild. Most commonly used for stocking/releasing ring-necked pheasant and quail for hunting.
Lifetime Sporting Licenses and Reduced Fee or Free Sporting Licenses
License/Permit Name Description/Requirement
Lifetime Sporting Licenses Fish, hunt or trap for life with a lifetime license! Available to residents only.
Reduced Fee/Free Sporting Licenses Free/reduced fee hunting, trapping or freshwater fishing licenses/privileges are available to the following groups who meet certain qualifications: military members and veterans, seniors (ages 70+), juniors (ages 12-15), Native American members, persons with disability and nonresident students attending a NYS college/university.
Fishing/Hunting Facilities and Preserves Licenses
License/Permit Name Description/Requirement
Shooting preserve
(for captive bred game birds)

Allows a landowner to possess captive bred game birds within enclosed land, which can be used as a private, commercial or club membership hunting facility. Captive bred game birds include ducks, geese, turkey, quail, grouse, pheasants, etc. To breed birds on the facility, you will need a domestic game bird breeder license.

Deer breeder/shooting facility Allows a landowner to possess captive bred white-tailed deer within enclosed lands, which can be used as a private, commercial or club membership hunting facility.
Fishing preserve license Authorizes a single landowner with a man-made pond/s to provide fishing facilities to fisherman. Allows the landowner and immediate family to fish without a fishing license, and to charge others to fish within their facility/preserve. Individuals that pay to fish in the preserve may fish without a fishing license and sell fish taken from the licensed waters. If under club ownership, dues may be charged allowing fishing by members of the club.
Recreational Events / Access to State Land Permits
License/Permit Name Description/Requirement
Back country camping A free permit required for back country camping for more than three days, or in a group of ten or more. Regional forest rangers issue these permits.
Temporary Revocable Permit For accessing or using state lands temporarily for events, transportation of materials, vegetation management, military training, biological surveys, etc.
NYC Watershed Recreation
Access Permit
(link leaves
DEC website)
Issued by New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYC DEP). Apply using the NYC DEP Online Access Permit system or apply at town hall or sporting goods store.
Accessing DEC Managed Lands
in Suffolk County

A free 3-year Managed Land Access Permit is required to use state lands in Suffolk County. Visit DEC's nForm page if you need information on how to obtain a account, which is required for these permits.

Free Fishing Clinics Allows attendants of qualifying fishing clinics to fish without the need of a fishing license. Application to hold a free fishing clinic (PDF)
Free Fishing Event for Armed Services Veterans or Active Duty Members Allows an organization to host a fishing event for armed services veterans and active duty members. Application to hold a free fishing clinic for veterans (PDF)
Marine Regatta
(Boat Racing)
This permit is required for individuals or organizations wishing to conduct a Regatta on waters within the Adirondack or Catskill Parks. DEC Marine Regatta permit application (PDF)
Outdoor Guide Licenses
License/Permit Name Description/Requirement
Outdoor Guide For those offering guide services for outdoor recreational activities (fishing, hunting, rafting, hiking, etc.)
Party/Charter Boat Operator (saltwater) Allows an individual to operate a party boat or charter boat within the marine and coastal district to take paying customers on fishing trips to catch and land fish according to state recreational regulations. $250 fee. Must have a USGS Captain's License and Certificate of Inspection. To apply for this licenses, contact DEC's Bureau of Marine Resources at 631-444-0470
Hudson River Party Boat Herring Registration Authorizes a party boat owner to allow each paying customer to possess 10 river herring. Only for Hudson River south of Tappan Zee Bridge.
Vehicle Registrations/Certifications (boats, snowmobiles, ATVs)
NOTE: most links below leave DEC's website.
Most of the following licenses/registrations are issued by other state agencies
License or Registration Description/Requirement
Boat Registration Boats must be registered with the New York State Dept. of Motor Vehicles. A boater safety certificate may be required as well (see below). A registration form can be downloaded from the NYS DMV website. It can be used for new registrations, renewals and changes.
Boater Safety Certification If you were born on or after 5/1/96, you must successfully complete an approved boater education course to operate a motorboat. Courses are offered by the following agencies:
NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation Boater Safety classes,
U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Boater Safety classes, or
U.S. Power Squadron Boater Safety classes
Boating on NYC Reservoirs If you want to boat on New York City water supply reservoirs you must get an Access Permit (NYC DEP Access Pass), a boat tag, and have your boat steam-cleaned by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYC DEP) (NYC DEP Boat Tag and steam-cleaning). The pass, tag and cleaning are free.
Watercraft Transport Permit for Aquatic Invasive Species This self-certified permit is required for individuals desiring to transport a boat that has not been drained and cleaned of visible plant or animal materials from a DEC boat luanch site to a location on land (i.e. storage, cleaning or repair facility, etc.)
Snowmobile Registration Registration is required to ride a snowmobile in New York. If the snowmobile is already registered in another state, you must still get a temporary (15-day) snowmobile registration from the NYS Dept. of Motor Vehicles. NYS Dept. of Motor Vehicles snowmobile registration
ATV Registration You must have a valid NYS registration to ride your ATV in New York State, unless it is only used for agricultural purposes or not-for-hire snow removal on private property, or is registered in another state to a resident of that state. Register an ATV in NY

If you purchased an ATV from a NYS ATV dealer, the dealer will register it in NYS for you.