Many state lands, including Wildlife Management Areas, State Forests, Forest Preserve and State Parks are open for hunting and trapping during the appropriate seasons.
Eighty-five percent of the state is privately-owned and over 90 percent of all hunters will hunt on private lands during the hunting seasons. See "Hunting on Private Lands" below for more information.
Get Maps of Public Lands
- View a list of DEC Wildlife Management Areas and other State Lands and conservation easements by DEC region and county. Many of these web pages include easy-to-print maps.
- The DECinfo Locator can be used to create custom maps of trails and hunting areas on state lands.
- You can also view DEC lands in Google Earth (Google Earth must be installed on your computer).
Regional DEC Contacts
- DEC Regional Wildlife staff can suggest possibilities for the county where you would like to hunt or trap, depending on the type of game you would like to pursue.
- Regional forestry staff and NYS Forest Rangers can provide details on state forest lands and the Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserve lands.
Permits and Regulations
Written permission or permits are sometimes required to use state lands. In addition regulations can vary, depending on the type of state land. It is best to check with the nearest DEC Regional Office or a NY Forest Ranger for specific requirements or regulations for the area you are interested in.
Hunting in State Parks
Many state parks offer waterfowl, small game and big game hunting. See State Parks that Allow Hunting.
Other Areas to Hunt
New York City Watershed Lands: The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) allows deer, bear, turkey, and small game hunting on designated City Water Supply lands as provided by New York State regulations. DEP is no longer issuing Hunting Tags for hunting on City Water Supply Lands. Hunters must possess the appropriate, valid New York State hunting license and a valid Access Permit to hunt on designated hunting areas on City Water Supply Lands. DEP Access Permits are not required on Public Access Areas. For more information, visit the off-site link "New York City Watershed Lands" in the right-hand column.
Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge: Located on the south shore of Long Island in Suffolk County. This area is open for deer hunting on a controlled basis during both the archery and regular seasons. Permits are required. For current information on seasons, permits, maps and regulations, contact: Refuge Manager, Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge, 340 Smith Road, Shirley, NY 11967; Telephone: (631) 286-0485 or visit the off-site link "Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge" in the right-hand column.
Fort Drum Military Base: Located in Jefferson County, 3 miles northeast of Watertown between state Route 11 and state Route 3. The facility has an active outdoor recreation program that enhances the quality of life for soldiers, their families, military retirees, civilian employees and the general public. Outdoor recreation includes hunting, fishing, trapping, birdwatching, primitive camping, hiking, and berry-picking. Fort Drum provides one of the largest tracts of land in the northeast region available to the general public for recreational use with approximately 69,000 acres available for hunting and trapping as well as other outdoor recreational activities, dependent upon current military training operations. Fort Drum requires special permitting. Call their outdoor recreation office (315-772-9636 or 772-4999) for information or visit the off-site link "Hunting at Fort Drum" in the right-hand column.
Finger lakes National Forest: Located east of Seneca Lake in Schuyler and Seneca counties. Small and big game hunting. No special hunting permits required.
Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge: Located at the north end of Cayuga Lake in Seneca County. This area is open for deer hunting on a controlled basis during both the archery and regular seasons. Permits are required. When deer management permit use is allowed, WMU 8J permits are valid. For current information on seasons, permits, maps and regulations, contact: Refuge Manager, Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, 3395 Route 5-20 east, Seneca Falls, NY 13148; telephone: (315) 568-5987
Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge: Located east of Lockport in Genesee and Orleans counties. This area is open for deer hunting during both the archery and regular seasons. Further information is available from: Refuge Manager, Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge,1101 Casey Road, Alabama, NY 14013;telephone: (585) 948-5445
Hunting on Public Campgrounds
Hunting is not permitted within DEC campgrounds, although some campgrounds in the Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserves allow camping during big game season.
DEC operates 52 public campgrounds in the Forest Preserves. Unloaded firearms are allowed on public campgrounds only during the spring and fall hunting seasons for hunting. A valid hunting license is needed. Firearms cannot be discharged in the campground or day use facilities at any time. For more information contact the Bureau of Recreation at (518) 402-9055.
Campgrounds outside the Forest Preserves are operated by the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) (see link at right).
For all campgrounds, reservations can be made by calling 1-800-456-CAMP or on line at Reserve America (see offsite links at right).
Hunting on Private Lands
Rights-of-way, such as power lines and railroads that cross private property are NOT public lands, and trespassing on these areas without permission from the landowner is illegal. Federal law prohibits hunting and possession of firearms on lands administered by the National Park Service, including the Appalachian Trail.
Ask Permission First
Always ASK permission to hunt on private land, whether or not it is posted. Even landowners who post are likely to say "yes" to people who show their respect for private property by asking first. Most rural landowners are generous people who will gladly help visitors.
Trees and other plants on private land are private property. It is illegal to cut or remove them, or to cut limbs or damage bark (such as from putting up blinds or tree stands, or cutting shooting lanes or trails) without the landowner's permission.
Some landowners use ASK Permission stickers on their signs. These symbols, a product of the State Fish & Wildlife Management Board in cooperation with DEC, express the landowners' willingness to allow access to their property to those people who ASK. The ASK stickers are available free from DEC.
Please send your ASK sticker requests to NYSDEC, Bureau of Wildlife, 5th Floor, 625 Broadway, Albany, N.Y. 12233-4754 or [email protected].
A poor image of outdoor recreationists is one main reason why access to some private property is denied. If recreationists demonstrate courtesy to landowners and respect for property, the situation could improve. If, however, trespassing, littering and vandalism occur, access will continue to be denied.
Be courteous, ASK:
- Permission well in advance of your trip. Don't show up on opening day, or at inconvenient times, or with a gun in your hand, or your snowmobile or ATV running in the front yard.
- When you can go. Just because you hunted there in October, don't assume you can go back the next year without asking permission.
- What is permitted on the property. Do not park off-road vehicles, camp, damage vegetation, construct a permanent structure (tree stands, blinds or platforms) or store personal property without the landowner's permission.
- Where certain activities are allowed. Shooting may disturb nearby farm animals or neighbors.
- Who is welcome. More than two or three people can be an unwelcome crowd.
- About special concerns -- if the landowner's family is likely to be in the woods or fields and where the property boundaries are located.
And lastly, but very importantly, thank the landowner for his/her generosity. Show your appreciation by offering to share your game or buy a bushel of his/her crops, such as apples.
Whether or not the land is posted, New York State General Obligations Law protects landowners from liability for non-paying recreationists engaged in hunting, trapping and fishing on their property. Because of this protection, recreational liability lawsuits against rural landowners are uncommon. This protection does not apply in cases of willful or malicious failure to guard or warn against dangers.
FWMA Cooperative Areas
Through cooperative agreements under New York's Fish & Wildlife Management Act (FWMA), Cooperative Hunting Areas provide access and management services to privately-owned lands in order to increase public hunting opportunities. When using these areas, remember that you are a guest on private property and act accordingly.
Hunters are strongly advised to contact the DEC Regional Office for current information about the status of these areas. Following is a list of the areas arranged by county.
|DEC Region / Phone
|Region 7 / (607) 753-3095 x 247
|Region 6 / (315) 772-9636 or 772-4999
|Shaupeneak Ridge Area
|Region 3 / (845) 256-3098
|Region 9 / (716) 372-0645
Safety While Afield
Check out the Hunter Safety Basics page for tips on firearm safety and reasons why wearing hunter orange can keep you from harm.
If you come across suspected Abandoned Oil & Gas Wells please report the location to the DEC; these can pose an environmental or safety threat.