Environmental Conservation Police: Hunting and Trapping Q&A
Hunting and Trapping Regulations
Q: Can I use someone else's carcass tag?
It is illegal to use another person's tags, except for properly consigned Deer Management Permits (DMPs) or landowner DMAPs. See DMP tag transfer instructions for more details.
Q: Is hunting allowed on NY State-owned lands?
State lands are owned by various agencies like DEC, DOT, SUNY, etc. Check specific rules for each property. Some DEC lands are off-limits to hunting. Contact your local ECO for legality.
Q: What must I carry while hunting?
A: Required Documentation
Carry your hunting license, carcass tags, special permits, duck stamp with HIP#, and back tag (where required). Use the HuntFishNY app for license proof, but physical tags are still needed.
Q: Why can stores sell deer bait and salt blocks?
A: Sale vs. Use
Selling deer bait and salt blocks is legal, but using them for hunting or feeding deer and bear is prohibited.
Q: Are deer urine scents legal?
A: Yes, but Caution Advised
Natural deer urine products are discouraged to prevent Chronic Wasting Disease. Use synthetic products instead.
Q: Why are food plots not considered baiting?
A: Agricultural Exemption
Food plots are considered standard agricultural practices and don't concentrate deer like feed sites, reducing disease spread and ecological damage.
Q: Rifle use in counties prohibiting deer hunting with rifles?
A: Limited Use
Rifles up to .22 caliber can be used for small game if no deer season is open. Restrictions apply in Long Island and Westchester county.
Q: Hunting and trapping same species?
A: Season Dependent
Seasons and legality vary by species. Some can be hunted and trapped with different season dates. Example: coyote.
Q: Exceptions to the 500' firearm discharge rule?
A: Specific Conditions
Exceptions include ownership, lease, family employment, owner's consent, or hunting waterfowl over open water without nearby dwellings or people.
Q: Post-reporting carcass tag disposal?
A: Disposal After Use
The tag is not needed post-consumption preparation. Dispose of carcass waste in a landfill to minimize disease risks.
Q: Retrieving game from neighboring properties?
A: Owner's Permission Required
Gain permission from the property owner to retrieve the animal.
Q: Eligibility for resident hunting license?
A: Residency Criteria
Owning land or paying taxes in NY doesn't grant resident license eligibility. Residency is based on a fixed, principal home.
Q: Sharing Deer Management Permits?
A: DMP Usage
Only the DMP holder may take an antlerless deer. Consignment must occur before the deer is harvested.
Q: Target shooting on DEC lands?
A: Conditional Permission
Allowed on some DEC lands with specific rules. Check ahead for designated areas.
Q: Junior hunters using firearms for deer?
A: Age and County Specific
12- and 13-year-olds can hunt deer with firearms only in participating counties. 14- and 15-year-olds can hunt in any open county. Adult supervision and safety gear required.
Q: Handgun possession during bowhunting?
No firearms, including handguns, are allowed during bowhunting seasons. A NY Pistol Permit is required for handgun possession.
Q: Importing deer carcasses into NY?
Importing whole carcasses of deer, elk, moose, or caribou from outside NY is banned to protect against Chronic Wasting Disease.
Q: Tree stand removal on state lands?
A: End of Season Removal
Remove tree stands labeled with your details at the end of the hunting season. Permanent structures require landowner permission on private land.
Q: Duck blind removal regulations?
A: Annual Removal by March 15
Hunting blinds in navigable waters must be labeled and removed by March 15 each year.
Q: Offshore anchoring for waterfowl hunting?
A: Location Dependent
Legality varies by location. Confirm the underwater lands are public domain and ensure no dwellings or people are within 500' of the shooting direction.
Q: Pelt sealing requirements?
Fisher, Marten, Otter, and Bobcat require pelt seals. Contact your local DEC office or an ECO for sealing.
Q: Legal specifications for crossbows?
A: Specific Requirements
Crossbows must meet minimum size, limb width, arrow length, and draw weight criteria set by the NYS Legislature.
Q: Using semi-automatic rifles for hunting?
A: With Restrictions
Legal for hunting game that can be taken with a rifle. The SAFE Act governs semi-automatic firearms features and magazine capacity. The SAFE Act website provides detailed information.