Places to Hunt in New York
New York State boasts a variety of public lands available for hunting and trapping, including Wildlife Management Areas, State Forests, Forest Preserve, and State Parks. These areas are open during appropriate seasons.
Accessing Maps of Public Lands
- DEC Wildlife Management Areas: Find a list of areas and conservation easements by DEC region and county, many with easy-to-print maps.
- DECinfo Locator: Create custom maps of trails and hunting areas on state lands.
- Google Earth: View DEC lands using Google Earth (installation required).
Contacting Regional DEC
- Wildlife and Forestry Staff: Regional DEC staff can provide hunting or trapping suggestions based on game type and county.
- Permits and Regulations: Inquire at the nearest DEC Regional Office or a NY Forest Ranger for specific area requirements or regulations.
Private lands constitute 85% of New York State, with over 90% of hunters using these lands during hunting seasons.
Hunting on Private Lands: Key Considerations
- Permission is Crucial: Always seek permission to hunt on private land, whether or not it is posted.
- Respect Property Boundaries: Rights-of-way like power lines and railroads are not public lands. Federal law prohibits hunting and firearm possession on National Park Service lands, including the Appalachian Trail.
- ASK Permission Program: Some landowners may use ASK Permission stickers, indicating openness to hunters who request access.
State Parks Hunting
Many state parks in New York allow hunting for waterfowl, small game, and big game. Specific parks and regulations can be found under the State Parks that Allow Hunting section.
Other Hunting Areas
- New York City Watershed Lands: Hunting for deer, bear, turkey, and small game is allowed on designated City Water Supply lands. An appropriate New York State hunting license and a valid Access Permit are required.
- Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge: Located in Suffolk County, it offers controlled deer hunting. Permits are necessary.
- Fort Drum Military Base: Provides a vast area for recreational activities including hunting, located in Jefferson County. Special permits are required.
- Finger Lakes National Forest: Open for small and big game hunting, no special hunting permits needed.
- Montezuma and Iroquois National Wildlife Refuges: Offer controlled deer hunting in Seneca and Genesee, Orleans counties respectively. Permits are required.
Hunting on Public Campgrounds
- DEC Campgrounds: Hunting is not allowed within DEC campgrounds. Firearms are permitted only during specific hunting seasons, with a valid hunting license.
- OPRHP Campgrounds: Operated by the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, these campgrounds have different regulations.
Liability and FWMA Cooperative Areas
- Liability Protection for Landowners: New York State law protects landowners from liability for non-paying recreationists engaged in hunting, trapping, and fishing.
- Cooperative Hunting Areas: These areas provide public hunting access on private lands. Contact the DEC Regional Office for current information.
Safety While Afield
- Hunter Safety Basics: Essential tips on firearm safety and the importance of wearing hunter orange.
- Reporting Abandoned Oil & Gas Wells: If encountered, report these to the DEC due to potential environmental or safety threats.