Small-game hunting seasons open

Several small-game hunting seasons open Oct. 1. In addition, special youth-only hunting seasons for pheasants and waterfowl open prior to the start of the regular season.

Season dates, bag limits, and other hunting regulations may be found in the New York Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide, which can be obtained from a license issuing agent and on the DEC website.

Wild-turkey hunting

In 2015, the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation updated the fall turkey hunting season structure in response to declines in turkey populations. With good production in summer 2015 followed by two mild winters, there are more birds on the landscape than in previous years, said the DEC in a press release. However, this increase in numbers may be offset by poor reproductive success this summer due to above-average rainfall in the spring.

Hunters should also keep in mind that in areas with good hard and soft mast production, turkeys do not have to roam far and wide in search of food, so hunters may have to work harder to locate a flock.

Season dates for fall 2017 are Oct. 1 to 14 in the Northern zone and Oct. 21 to Nov. 3 in the Southern Zone.

The statewide, season bag limit is one bird of either sex.

Waterfowl hunting

Hunting seasons for waterfowl, ducks, geese, and brant, begin in early October in many parts of the state, but there are also special opportunities for junior hunters, 12 to 15 years old, prior to the regular season. Junior hunters must be accompanied by a licensed adult hunter, and both the junior hunter and adult must be registered with the Harvest Information Program. Adult hunters must also have a federal migratory bird stamp.

Youth waterfowl days this fall are Sept. 23 and 24, Northeast and Lake Champlain zones

Pheasant Hunting

Approximately 30,000 adult pheasants will be released on lands open to public hunting for the upcoming fall pheasant hunting season. The pheasant hunting season begins Oct. 1 in the northern and eastern portions of New York.

Since 2007, the DEC has offered a special youth-only season to provide junior hunters the opportunity to hunt pheasants during the weekend prior to the regular pheasant hunting season. In northern and eastern New York, the youth pheasant hunt weekend is Sept. 23 and 24. Both the junior hunter and their adult mentor must have a hunting license. Only the junior hunter is allowed to carry a firearm and harvest birds on these dates.

All release sites for pheasants are provided by state-funded programs and are open to public hunting. Pheasants will be released on state-owned lands prior to and during the fall hunting season.

partnership with New York City Department of Environmental Protection. Pheasant hunting opportunities have also been augmented by private landowners that have opened their land to public hunting. DEC is grateful for their help in providing high quality hunting experiences for New York's sportsmen and sportswomen. A list of statewide pheasant release sites and sites receiving birds for the youth-only pheasant hunt weekends can be found on DEC's website (

Squirrel, Ruffed Grouse, Rabbit, and Hare

The hunting season for squirrels began September 1, and for ruffed grouse in the Northern Zone the season began September 20. Seasons for ruffed grouse, rabbit, and hare begin October 1, in many regions. Dates and season maps can be found on the DEC website and in the annual Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide.

National Hunting and Fishing Day

National Hunting and Fishing Day is celebrated on September 23 to promote outdoor activities like hunting, fishing, and target shooting.

Reynolds Game Farm, in Ithaca, NY, will be hosting festivities from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., including demonstrations on gun safety, the Cornell Raptor Program, DEC K-9 unit, fly fishing, and more.

There are many activities across the state. Details are available on the DEC website (

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