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For Release: Tuesday, September 5, 2023

DEC Announces 26th Annual Youth Waterfowl Program

Instructional Class on Saturday Oct. 21, Youth Waterfowl Hunt Day on Saturday Nov. 4

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is holding its 26th Annual Youth Waterfowl Program for young hunters on Long Island ages 12 to 15, on Saturday, Oct. 21 and Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023, Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today.

"The Youth Waterfowl Program has been a staple of DEC's efforts to pass down traditions from experienced responsible hunters to the next generation of environmental stewards," said Commissioner Seggos. "The ample hunting opportunities on Long Island offer a perfect location to 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, Ducks Unlimited, Tanglefree, Peconic River Sportsman's Club, 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 Oct. 21, and the designated hunting day is Nov. 4.

Since its inception in 1998, the Long Island Youth Waterfowl Program has trained approximately 650 young waterfowl hunters.

Certified hunter 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 Peconic River Sportsman's Club on Oct. 21, which qualifies them for the youth hunt at Southaven County Park or Hubbard County Park on Nov. 4.

Participants must be 12 to 15 years of age by Nov. 4, have completed a hunter education course by Oct. 21, possess a junior (small game) hunting license by Nov. 4, and be registered with the Harvest Information Program (HIP).

For further information regarding the Youth Waterfowl Program, or to sign up for the Oct. 21 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 October 13. 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 26th 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 sports enthusiasts 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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