New York Hunting Season

John Lewis

New York State Deer Hunting & DEC Games New Dates Summary

new york, New York Hunting Seasons 2023, New York Hunting Seasons 2023-2024, NY Hunting Seasons

Its diversified outdoor opportunities attract approximately 700,000 residents and over 50,000 nonresidents. The NYDEC hunting schedule is outlined below:

Diverse Opportunities:

Wildlife Highlights:

Resources and Junior Hunter Initiatives:

New York Hunting Season

The regular period for deer and bear in Southern Tier, as announced by the DEC, spans from November 18 to December 10, with robust participation from 85% of licensed hunters. Beyond the regular season, bowhunting and muzzle-loading in the Southern Tier are available from December 11 to 19 and December 26 to January 1. Late-season hunters must possess a valid bowhunting or muzzle-loading license, and the permitted hours are from 30 minutes before dawn to 30 minutes after dusk. Find the complete schedule below, and save the provided QR code for convenience.

Big Game Important dates

Significant Regulation Resources

Deer Season in NY

Early Antlerless

Regular Deer

Bow hunting


Muzzleloader Season NY



Ruffed Grouse



Migratory Bird




Virginia & Sora Rails


Clapper & King Rails

New York Waterfowl Hunting

Regular Waterfowl Season

Canada Geese

Long Island Canada Geese









Opossum & Weasel

Furbearer Trapping



Lottery Entries Open for Duck Opening Weekend at Oak Orchard and Tonawanda Wildlife Management Areas 2023

Event TypeWaterfowl Hunting Permit Lottery for Duck Hunting Opening Weekend
Hunting AreasOak Orchard Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and Tonawanda WMA
Hunting DatesOctober 21 and 22, 2023 (first Saturday and Sunday of Western Zone duck season)
Application Deadline15-Sep-23
Permit DistributionRandom lottery
Permits Issued• Oak Orchard WMA: 50 permits
• Tonawanda WMA: 100 permits
Location of WMAsPrimarily in Genesee and Niagara counties, with small portions in Orleans and Erie counties
Permit PurposePromote hunter safety, reduce conflicts, and enhance hunting quality during high-use days
ContactDEC Iroquois Wildlife Field Office: (585) 948-5182
Alternate ApplicationIf unable to complete online survey, contact the office before Sept. 15 deadline
Form to Apply for the lotteryApply Here

Big Game Youth Hunt:

From October 8-10, it hosts its annual Youth Big Game Hunt, welcoming young hunters aged 12-15 from around the state (except for Suffolk and Westchester counties and bowhunting-only areas). Depending on the county’s regulations, youth as young as 12 or 13 may use a rifle to shoot deer in the upstate New York area. Youth hunters of any age are permitted to kill one deer of either gender and one bear if they are 14 or 15. Three tags may be used on antlerless deer: regular, DMP, and Deer Management Assistance Program.

Youth Big Game Rules

Youth Big Game Hunt RulesDetails
Eligible Hunters12 to 15-year-old hunters (statewide, with the exception of Suffolk and Westchester counties and regions where bowhunting is only permitted)
Hunt AccompanimentWhen hunting large game with a rifle, licensed 12- to 15-year-olds must be accompanied by an experienced, licensed adult.
Bag LimitsAll junior hunters who qualify may take one deer of either sex and one bear at the ages of 14 and 15.
TaggingA normal season tag, a tag from the Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP), or a tag from the Deer Management Permit (DMP) may be used to tag antlerless deer that were shot during the youth hunt. Only the normal season tag may be used to tag antlerless deer.
Additional RulesOn pages 36 and 37 of the Hunting and Trapping Guide, as well as via the Junior Hunter Mentoring Program, are rules for young hunters and the adults who will serve as their mentors.

My Perspective on Hunting Opportunities in New York

As an avid hunter who has tracked game across fields and forests for over 10 years, I’ve enjoyed the challenge of hunting in New York. The diversity of habitats and variety of game species offer exciting possibilities each season. Below I’ll share location-specific tips, challenges to be aware of, and reasons why I keep coming back.

Western New York Offers Prime Whitetail Deer

Western NY is a hunter’s paradise, especially for those pursuing whitetail deer. The mix of agricultural land and dense forests provides ideal habitat. I’ve had most success finding trophy bucks in the following areas:

  • Allegany State Park – The park has strict limits on the number of hunters allowed each season, making tags highly coveted. But with over 500 square miles almost entirely forested, the chances of an encounter with a giant make obtaining a permit worth the effort. I connected with a 170 class 12-pointer at dawn opening weekend a few years back.
  • Fort Drum Military Base – Many don’t realize the base contains some of the best preserved forests in the region thanks to minimal development. Hunters lucky enough to gain access strictly through proper lottery application face no competition once on base. I missed a shot on a 140 class 10-point buck two seasons ago that still has me thinking about going back.

See the table below for other notable WNY locations and my comments:

LocationTerrainGame VarietyAdditional Comments
Cattaraugus TerritoryMix of meadows & forestDeer, turkeyRequires Seneca Nation permit
Allegheny National ForestHills & valleysDeer, grouseHigher elevation Makes tracking difficult
State Game LandsAbandoned farmlandDeer, rabbitGreat for small game hunting

Southern Zone Waterfowl Opens Options

While known for deer, New York also offers tremendous migratory bird hunting for those willing to brave leaf-bare forests and brisk marshes. I spend most falls in the state’s Southern Zone targeting ducks and geese on waters of the Lower Hudson Valley and Lake Ontario.

The secret is scouting flooding agricultural fields ahead of days where snow melt and rainfall first starts pooling. Being the first set up as birds migrate through ensures daily limits. Just be prepared to contend with thick mud surrounding makeshift blinds. My best success has come in Niagara County near lake shore tributaries, with clusters of 200+ bird days common early season.

Pursuing Elusive Eastern Turkeys

Come spring, my attention turns to the challenge of turkey hunting across Central and Eastern NY. With their exceptional eyesight and hearing, scouting and setting up properly is critical for success.

I’ve had most luck locating responsive breeding toms in territories with a mix of mature forests and openings. Reliable spots include state game lands in Chautauqua, Schuyler, and Tioga counties, though patterning daily movements takes persistence.

Nothing quite matches the excitement of having a fully fanned out tom strut into shotgun range after an hour calling and waiting. It’s a feeling that keeps me returning each spring with renewed motivation despite the long hours.

With insight and advance preparation, New York truly offers tremendous hunting. Feel free to reach out for more specifics based on my years of experience. Just be ready for challenging conditions and willing to put in the work required for an ethical harvest. But the reward of full freezers and trophy mounts back home makes all the effort worth it in my opinion. Now get out there this season and create your own memories!

NY Hunting Guides 2023

NY hunting season and  Dates Timeline
NY hunting season and Dates Timeline

Printable Schedule

Trapping Guide


NYS DepartmentContact Information
Sporting License Sales1-866-933-2257
Sporting License Office518-402-8843 or [email protected]
Hunter Education1-888-HuntEd2 (1-888-486-8332) or [email protected]
Wildlife: Hunting on Long Island Information631-444-0310 or wildlife.r1
Bureau of Wildlife518-402-8883 or [email protected]
Special Licenses518-402-8985 or [email protected]

Dates & Schedule Source:


When does hunting season start in New York?

It typically kicks off with early bow hunting at the end of September. This is followed by the crossbow season, and then the regular hunting season, which begins in mid-October.

What day does rifle season start in NY?

The Northern Zone begins deer rifle season on November 12, 2023, and the Southern Zone on November 18, 2023. Bear rifle season is from September 23 to October 14, 2023, in Northern Zone Deer Management Units 11K, 12A, 12B, 12C, 12D, 12E, 12F, 12G, 12H, 12I, 12J, 13. Regions 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 begin deer and bear rifle seasons on November 18, 2023. Region 6 begins deer rifle season on November 25, 2023, while Regions 7 and 8 begin on November 20. Deer and bear rifle seasons begin in Region 9 on November 27 and 11, 2023.

When is bow season in New York?

Deer bow season begins on October 15, 2023, and ends on November 7, 2023. Region 1 in Northern Zone begins on October 15, 2023, and ends on November 11, 2023 and in Southern Zone from October 1, 2023 till November 7, 2023. In Regions 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 his from October 1 to November 7, 2023, while the statewide bear bow season is September 1 to October 14, 2023.

John Lewis
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