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For Release: Thursday, October 5, 2017

DEC Announces 20th Annual Youth Waterfowl Program

Instructional Class set for Nov. 4 and Youth Waterfowl Days Set for Nov. 11 and 12

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is holding its 20th Annual Youth Waterfowl Program for young hunters on Long Island ages 12 to 15, on Nov. 11 and 12, Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today.

"Long Island's diverse wetlands, rivers, lakes, and streams provide abundant opportunities for waterfowl hunting," said Commissioner Seggos. "The Youth Waterfowl Program is a great chance for adult hunters to take the younger generation afield, pass down traditions, and share the skills necessary to become safe and responsible members of the hunting community."

DEC collaborates on the youth program with the New York Conservation Officers Association, Suffolk County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation, Shikar Safari Club International, Ducks Unlimited, Tanglefree, and the South Shore Waterfowlers Association.

The Youth Waterfowl Program is a special event to help junior hunters prepare for and participate in Youth Waterfowl Days. The program includes instruction in:

  • Hunting ethics and regulations;
  • Waterfowl identification;
  • Firearms safety review;
  • Retriever and decoy use;
  • Cold water survival and boating safety; and
  • Trap shooting.

The Youth Waterfowl Program instructional course is set for Nov. 4. Youth Waterfowl Program designated hunting days are Nov. 11 and 12.

Since its inception in 1998, the Long Island Youth Waterfowl Program has trained approximately 570 young waterfowl hunters.

Certified sportsman education instructors and DEC Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs) guide participants through the program and help youth hunters become part of the long tradition of waterfowl hunting on Long Island. All new applicants must attend the instructional day at Hubbard County Park in Flanders on Nov. 4, which qualifies them for the option of hunting at Hubbard County Park in Flanders or Southaven County Park in Yaphank on Nov. 11, and anywhere else hunting is allowed on Nov. 12.

Participants must be 12 to 15 years of age by Nov. 11, have completed a hunter education course by Nov. 4, possess a junior (small game) hunting license by Nov. 11, and be registered with the Harvest Information Program.

For further information regarding the Youth Waterfowl Program or to sign up for the Nov. 4 instructional class, please contact DEC Region 1 Sportsman Education Program at (631) 444-0255 or e-mail For more information on the Youth Waterfowl Hunt, visit DEC's website.

Applications for the Youth Waterfowl Program are due by Oct. 25. Space is limited to 35 students.

About Youth Waterfowl Days:

Each year, two days are set outside the regular duck hunting season in each waterfowl zone to allow junior hunters to hunt ducks and geese. On these Youth Waterfowl Days, junior hunters (ages 12 to 15) must be accompanied by a licensed adult hunter. Adults cannot hunt during these two days.

The 20th Annual Youth Waterfowl Program is a part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, an effort to improve recreational activities for in-state and out-of-state sportsmen and sportswomen and to boost tourism opportunities throughout the state. Under this initiative, New York is streamlining the purchase of hunting and fishing licensing and reducing license fees, improving fishing access at various sites across the state, expanding fishing clinics, and increasing hunting opportunities in various regions.

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