NY State's New 2020 Migratory Game Bird Hunting Regulations

DEC recently announced the adoption of changes to the state’s migratory game bird hunting regulations in preparation for the fall hunting seasons. Specifically, the regulations:

  • Allow for a new two-day waterfowl hunting opportunity for veterans and active-duty military personnel in addition to the regular waterfowl seasons;
  • Allow for the general public to purchase electronic federal migratory bird conservation and hunting stamps and to make these electronic stamps legal for the purposes of duck and goose hunting;
  • To be consistent with other mentored hunting opportunities, the licensed adult hunter supervising a junior hunter participating in the special youth migratory game bird hunt days may not carry a firearm, longbow, or crossbow afield. The prohibition does not apply to other hunters in the party that are not mentoring a youth;
  • Allow crossbows as a hunting implement to be consistent with other small game species;
  • Correct special methods of take during special goose seasons to align with federal regulations (e.g., allowing unplugged shotguns, extended shooting hours, and electric calls, when all other waterfowl seasons are closed);
  • Clarify conflicting zone boundary descriptions between federal and state regulations.

These changes are not reflected in the annual hunting regulations guide that was printed prior to the adoption of these regulatory changes; however, they go into effect immediately and will apply during the fall 2020 hunting seasons.

Late last summer, the federal government approved the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act. The legislation allowed states to establish special two-day military days in each waterfowl zone for qualifying members of the active duty armed forces or military veterans to hunt migratory game birds (including ducks, geese, and brant). Standard licensing requirements apply (i.e., hunters are required to have a valid hunting license, migratory bird hunting and conservation stamp, and current Harvest Information Program registration). Based on input from New York waterfowl hunters last fall, the Waterfowl Hunter Task Forces in each zone selected the following season dates for this special opportunity:

Waterfowl Hunting Military Days

  • Lake Champlain Zone: No special season
  • Long Island Zone: November 14 and 15, 2020
  • Northeast Zone: September 19 and 20, 2020
  • Southeast Zone: October 10 and 11, 2020
  • Western Zone: November 11 (Veteran’s Day) and November 14, 2020

During this new special season, licensed military veterans (as defined in section 101 of title 38, United States Code) or members of the Armed Forces on active duty, including members of the National Guard and Reserves on active duty (other than for training), may take ducks, geese, mergansers, coots, moorhens, and gallinules during the dates in each zone listed above. Veterans and active-military hunters must carry at least one of the following forms of identification while participating in the Veteran and Active Military Waterfowl hunt days:

  1. Active duty identification card
  2. Actively participating Guard or Reservist identification card
  3. Retired military identification card
  4. New York State Driver’s License with Veteran Status
  5. Form DD214, Certificate of Discharge
  6. Form DD215, Corrected Certificate of Discharge

Similar to youth waterfowl hunting days, daily bag limits for all species are the same as those allowed during the regular season for all species (excludes September Canada goose bag limits).


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