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For Release: Tuesday, August 27, 2019

DEC Announces Special Waterfowl Hunting Permits Needed for Opening Weekend of Duck Season at Oak Orchard and Tonawanda Wildlife Management Areas

Applications Will Be Accepted through Sept. 15

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced that special permits will be issued for the opening weekend of duck season to hunt waterfowl at two popular state-managed locations. The permit requirement applies to waterfowl hunting at the Oak Orchard and Tonawanda Wildlife Management Areas located primarily in Genesee and Niagara counties (with small portions in Orleans and Erie counties). The intent of the special permits is to promote hunter safety and increase the quality of hunting on days when the areas receive the greatest use.

The special permit is required to hunt waterfowl at these Wildlife Management Areas on the duck season's first Saturday and Sunday. These two days are the only times the special permits are required. Waterfowl may be hunted without a special permit during the remainder of the season. The permit system has been used successfully at both Wildlife Management Areas for many years. No special permits are required to hunt other game species at these management areas.

DEC announced 2019-2020 duck hunting season dates earlier this year. Western New York's opening day for duck hunting is Oct. 19. No special permit is needed for goose season this year.

Opening weekend waterfowl hunting permits for the two Wildlife Management Areas will be distributed by a random lottery. For each of the two days, DEC anticipates issuing 100 permits for Tonawanda Wildlife Management Area and 50 permits for Oak Orchard Wildlife Management Area.

To apply for the lottery, hunters must send in a postcard with their name, address and their first three choices in order of preference, clearly indicated. Hunters must choose from four options:

  • Oak Orchard first Saturday;
  • Oak Orchard first Sunday;
  • Tonawanda first Saturday; and
  • Tonawanda first Sunday.

Phone numbers and email addresses are optional on the postcard, but if a phone number and/or an email address is available, applicants can be contacted if there is an issue with their card. Applicants must also have completed a Waterfowl Identification Course, and their course certificate number must be indicated on the postcard. Applications will be accepted through Sept. 15, 2019 and must be mailed to:

New York State Bureau of Wildlife
1101 Casey Road, Box B
Basom, New York 14013

Each permittee will be allowed to bring one companion over the age of 18 and an additional companion 18 years old or younger.

Issued permits are nontransferable and are not valid for companion(s) unless the permittee is present and hunting within 50 yards. The permittee is responsible for completing and returning the questionnaire portion of the permit to the New York State Bureau of Wildlife by November 15, 2019. If the completed questionnaire is not received by November 15, the permittee will be ineligible for next year's (2020) lottery.

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