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DEC Announces 2018-2019 Waterfowl Season Dates

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced that information is now available about the state’s upcoming waterfowl hunting seasons, including season dates and updated regulations.

“New York offers hunters the unique opportunity to see and hunt nearly all of the waterfowl species found in the Atlantic Flyway; from common eiders on the eastern end of Long Island to wood ducks in the North Country and mallards in the Finger Lakes,” said Commissioner Seggos. “This year’s season selections were developed by dedicated volunteer task force members and DEC biologists, with input from waterfowl hunters throughout the state. The task force members are charged with developing the best seasons possible by balancing the varied interests of hunters pursuing New York’s diverse waterfowl species.”

The season dates and regulations can be viewed in full detail on the DEC website. Waterfowl hunting zone descriptions and boundaries are available on the DEC website. A summary of the task force meetings and the rational for season dates can be found on the DEC website.

Youth Hunting Opportunities

Duck hunting seasons begin with designated “youth waterfowl hunts” in each zone of the state. Youth hunts allow young hunters to spend time afield with experienced adult hunters and gain necessary knowledge and skills to become safe and responsible members of the hunting community. Junior hunters (12 to 15 years of age) accompanied by a licensed adult hunter (including current HIP registration and duck stamp) may participate. The accompanying adult may not possess a firearm or shoot any birds unless the respective regular season is open. The daily bag limit for ducks and brant during these youth hunts is the same as during the regular season, except three geese per day in all zones. The youth hunts are held on weekends in each zone of the state, as follows:

Northeastern Zone – September 22-23
Southeastern Zone – September 22-23
Lake Champlain Zone – September 29-30
Western Zone – October 13-14
Long Island Zone – November 10-11

Duck Season

Most waterfowl seasons are similar to previous seasons. Season dates for each zone are as follows:

Northeastern Zone – October 6 to October 28 and November 3 to December 9
Southeastern Zone – October 6 to October 14 and November 10 to December 30
Lake Champlain Zone – October 13 to October 21 and November 10 to December 30
Western Zone – October 27 to December 8 and December 26 to January 11
Long Island Zone – November 22 to November 23 and December 1 to January 27

A complete list of season dates can be found on the DEC website.

Goose and Brant Season

September Canada goose seasons begin on September 1 throughout upstate New York, and on September 4 for central and eastern Long Island, and hunters can look forward to another 50 days or more (depending on area) to pursue these popular game birds again this fall and winter. Resident geese remain abundant in many areas of the state with the population estimated to be approximately 240,000 birds statewide, and migratory populations that pass through New York were estimated to be similar to recent years. Hunters are reminded that Canada goose seasons are set for different geographic areas of the state than other waterfowl seasons, so be sure to review the maps and season dates closely. Canada goose season dates and bag limits in most areas are similar to last year.

A special conservation season for snow geese, in addition to the regular hunting seasons in each zone, will be open in all of upstate New York from January 16 through April 15. These birds have become so abundant that they are causing harm to wetland habitats throughout their range. Special seasons have been established in many eastern states and provinces to increase hunter harvest and help reduce this population. The daily limit for snow geese is 25 per day, and there is no possession limit. Electronic calls and shotguns capable of holding more than three shells may be used to take snow geese at any time when all other waterfowl hunting seasons are closed.

Lastly, the bag limit and season length for Atlantic brant will remain two birds per day and 60 days long.

Hunting Safety:

Hunters should follow simple safety guidelines and use good judgment when choosing a time and place to hunt. Whenever water is involved, it is important to wear a life jacket as boating mishaps occur every year.

As a responsible waterfowl hunter, every effort should be made to be considerate of other people enjoying the outdoors or who live nearby can help avoid potential conflicts and ensure a safe and enjoyable season. As coastal areas become more populated, new landowners unfamiliar with the safety, ethics and traditions of waterfowl hunting sometimes respond by seeking to limit hunter access to popular waterfowl hunting areas. Hunters should be considerate and try to minimize disturbance of local residents whenever possible. More information about avoiding conflicts between waterfowl hunters and waterfront property owners can be found on the DEC website.

Habitat Stamp:

Hunters are and all outdoor enthusiasts are encouraged to consider purchasing a Habitat/Access Stamp, an optional stamp that helps support the DEC’s efforts to conserve habitat and increase public access for fish and wildlife-related recreation. Buying a $5 stamp is a way to help conserve New York’s fabulous wildlife heritage. More information about purchasing a Habitat Stamp is available on the DEC website.

For More Information

New York’s 2018-2019 Waterfowl Season and Bag Limit Pocket Guide is available on the DEC website, and hard copies will be available from regional offices or by e-mailing wildlife@dec.ny.gov later this summer.