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For Release: Wednesday, September 8, 2021

DEC Announces 24th Annual Youth Waterfowl Program

Instructional Class Saturday, Oct. 23; Youth Waterfowl Hunt Day Nov. 6

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is holding its 24th Annual Youth Waterfowl Program for young hunters on Long Island ages 12 to 15, on Oct. 23 and Nov. 6, Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today. Since its inception in 1998, the Long Island Youth Waterfowl Program has trained approximately 650 young waterfowl hunters.

"The Youth Waterfowl Program has long been a staple of DEC's efforts to help experienced, responsible hunters pass down traditions to the next generation," said Commissioner Seggos. "The abundant hunting opportunities on Long Island are a perfect setting for hunters to share the skills necessary to become safe and responsible members of the hunting community through the youth waterfowl program."

DEC collaborates on the youth program with the New York Conservation Officers Association, Suffolk County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation, Ducks Unlimited, Tanglefree, Peconic River Sportsman's Club, and the South Shore Waterfowlers Association.

The Youth Waterfowl Program helps 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 Oct. 23. The designated hunting day is Nov. 6. Proper COVID-19 precautions will be made to ensure a safe learning environment. These protocols are subject to change based upon guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the State Department of Health.

Certified hunter education instructors and DEC Environmental Conservation Police 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 Peconic River Sportsman's Club on Oct. 23, which qualifies them for the youth hunt at Southaven County Park or Hubbard County Park on Nov. 6.

Participants must be 12 to 15 years of age by Nov. 6, have completed a hunter education course by Oct. 23, possess a junior (small game) hunting license by Nov. 6, and be registered with the Harvest Information Program. For further information regarding the Youth Waterfowl Program or to sign up for the Oct. 23 instructional class, please contact DEC Region 1 Hunter 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. 15, and space is limited to 25 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 24th Annual Youth Waterfowl Program is a part of the 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. 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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