ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Small game hunting seasons will begin on Sunday, October 1. The Department of Environmental Conservation has released a Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide, which includes information about season dates, bag limits, and other hunting regulations in New York.

“From waterfowl and upland gamebirds to squirrels, rabbits, and more, there are abundant opportunities for hunters across New York State,” said Basil Seggos, Commissioner of the DEC. “This year, hunters can enjoy even more waterfowl hunting opportunities, with an increase in mallard and Canada goose bag limits and an extended goose season.” 

Waterfowl Hunting and Special Youth and Military Days

Hunters can harvest over 30 species of waterfowl. There are five waterfowl zones and nine Canada goose zones statewide. Most waterfowl zones have special hunting days for youth and members of the military.

On youth waterfowl days, licensed junior hunters (ages 12-15) must be accompanied by a licensed adult hunter. Only the junior hunter may take birds on these days.

  • Northeast, Southeast, and Lake Champlain Zones: September 23 and 24
  • Western Zone: September 30 and October 1
  • Long Island Zone: November 4 and 5

On days open to active members of the military and veterans, participating hunters must carry identification that verifies their active duty or veteran status. There are no special active-duty and veteran military days in the Lake Champlain Zone.

  • Northeast and Southeast Zones: September 23 and 24
  • Western Zone: October 7 and January 20
  • Long Island Zone: November 11 and 12

Regular Duck Seasons open on the following dates:

  • Northeast and Lake Champlain Zones: October 7
  • Western and Southeast Zones: October 21
  • Long Island Zone: November 18

Ruffed Grouse Hunting

Ruffed grouse hunting runs from October 1 through the last day of February. In Northern New York, the season began on September 20. In New York City and Long Island, the season is closed.

Hunters in the Northern Zone are reminded to positively identify the quarry before shooting as there are spruce grouse, which is a state-endangered species that is illegal to hunt. For tips on how to discern the two species, view the Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide or the Ruffed Grouse Hunting Information page on DEC’s website.

Hunters are encouraged to take part in the grouse hunting log program. By submitting feathers from harvested birds, the DEC can assess the number of young produced per adult female grouse in different parts of the state.

Pheasant Season and Special Youth Days

Pheasant season in New York begins on the following days:

  • Northern and Eastern portions of New York: October 1
  • Central and Western portions of New York: October 21
  • Long Island: November 1

There will be an opportunity for junior hunters to hunt pheasants before the regular season begins. Junior hunters and their adult mentors must have hunting licenses. Ony the junior hunter can carry a firearm and harvest birds. In Western New York, youth pheasant hunt weekend is October 14 and 15. On Long Island, it is October 28 and 29.

Squirrel, Rabbit, and Hare Hunting

Squirrel seasons started in Upstate New York on September 1 and will begin on Long Island on November 1. Rabbit hunting begins on October 1 in Upstate New York and November 1 on Long Island.

Snowshoe hare (or varying hare) season starts Oct. 1 in the Northern Zone. Hare hunters in the Southern Zone, where the season starts in late fall or early winter, are encouraged to report their observations to DEC through the DEC website.

Wild Turkey Hunting

The statewide fall season bag is one bird of either sex. Hunting hours are from sunrise to sunset. Season dates are:

  • Northern Zone: October 1 to 14
  • Southern Zone: October 21 to November 3
  • Suffolk County and Long Island: November 18 to December 1

Furbearer Hunting Seasons

Coyote hunting season begins on October 1. Hunting seasons for other furbearers, including bobcats, raccoons, and foxes, starts on October 25. More information about season dates and zone boundaries can be found in tips for identifying coyotes can be found on DEC’s website and in the Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide.

Hunter Safety

Hunters are urged to take proper precautions when hunting. The DEC recommends pointing your gun in a safe direction and treating every gun as if it were loaded. Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.

All big game hunters must wear blaze orange or pink. Small game hunters are also encouraged to wear blaze orange or blaze pink. The bright colors help prevent other hunters from mistaking a person for an animal.