Call Center Hours Extended to Provide Assistance on Evenings and Weekends
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today that hunting and trapping licenses and Deer Management Permits (DMPs) for the 2020-2021 season will go on sale Monday, August 10. With liberal bag limits and some of the longest seasons around, New Yorkers can enjoy hunting continuously from September 1 (squirrel) into April (snow geese).
"As more New Yorkers look for outdoor activities close to home, we have seen renewed interest in hunting and trapping for the quality recreational experiences these activities provide, especially here in New York State," Commissioner Seggos said. "Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers enjoy small and big game hunting and this fall's hunting and trapping seasons will help bring a sense of normalcy to an otherwise challenging year. As always, safety is a top priority, and we remind all hunters to follow the key principles of hunter safety."
Licenses and permits can be purchased at any one of DEC's license-issuing agents or by telephone at 866-933-2257. The new hunting and trapping licenses are valid from Sept. 1, 2020 through Aug. 31, 2021, while annual fishing licenses are valid for 365 days from date of purchase.
New York's habitat serves a vital role in maintaining healthy and sustainable fish and wildlife resources. Purchasing a hunting or trapping license helps to support DEC's important conservation projects and ensures the future of natural resources for generations to come. DEC also encourages outdoor enthusiasts to consider purchasing a Habitat & Access Stamp each year. Funds from the $5 Habitat & Access Stamp support projects to conserve habitat and improve public access for fish-and-wildlife-related activities. This year's Habitat & Access Stamp features a northern leopard frog. Last year's Habitat & Access Stamp featuring a bull moose was the most popular stamp in DEC history, with more than 25,000 sold.
Expanded Call Center Hours
Beginning Aug. 10, the DEC Call Center is accessible from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays through Oct. 1. Regular call center weekday hours will resume on Oct. 2.
Individuals should have the following items ready when buying a license:
- Complete contact information (e.g. name, address, email address, telephone number);
- DEC customer ID number (if applicable);
- Proof of residency (e.g., driver's license or non-driver's ID with a valid New York State address); and
- If purchasing by phone or internet, a valid credit card.
- If not already entered in DEC's automated licensing system, individuals are required to provide proof of hunter or trapper education certification or a copy of a previous license for all hunting and trapping license purchases. For additional information, visit the General Sporting License Information webpage on DEC's website.
In July, DEC launched a new system for the sale of fishing, hunting, and trapping licenses. The new DEC Automated Licensing System (DECALS) includes user-friendly information to help users locate vendors, receive instant copies of a license, enter and view harvest information, and more.
Previous DECALS logins will not work in the new system. To access current accounts, click on the 'Sign Up' link on the new DECALS website and use date of birth and DEC customer ID number or a driver's license number to locate existing files and create a new login. Please call DEC's customer service line at 866-933-2257 with any questions.
Deer Management Permits (DMPs)
DMPs are available at all license-issuing outlets, by phone, or online through Oct. 1, 2020. DMPs are used to manage the deer herd and are issued through an instant random selection process at the point of sale. The chances of obtaining a DMP remain the same throughout the application period; hunters need not rush to apply. The 2020 chances of selection for a DMP in each Wildlife Management Unit are available online, through license issuing agents, or by calling the DMP Hotline at 1-866-472-4332. Detailed information on Deer Management Permits and this fall's Deer Season Forecast is available on DEC's website.
The new Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide, which provides an easy-to-read compendium of all pertinent rules and regulations, is available on the DEC Hunting Regulations webpage. A summary of hunting and trapping regulations is currently available at license issuing agents, and copies of the full hunting and trapping regulations guide will be available at license issuing agents beginning Sept. 1.
On-line and In-Person Hunter Education Training Courses
All first-time hunters, bowhunters, and trappers must pass one or more courses before they can purchase a license. Traditionally, hunter and trapper education have been in-person courses taught by trained volunteer instructors certified by DEC. In April 2020, DEC began offering online hunter education courses in response to COVID-19. Be sure to check the DEC website about the availability of both in-person and on-line courses before registering.
In-person courses have a field day where new hunters can get hands-on experience. All in-person courses are free of charge, but space may be limited. Currently, all in-person classes are cancelled through Aug. 31, but if and when they resume, will fill quickly, so be sure to sign-up early. Visit DEC's website for more information on materials, including a list of courses and course registration.
All the requirements to earn a New York State hunter education certificate can also be met by completing DEC's online hunter education course and passing the exam. Upon passing, participants will receive a hunter education certificate so they can purchase a hunting license. Participants must be New York State residents and the cost of the course is $19.95. The online course can be accessed at DEC's website.
New York State is also offering a new online bowhunter education certification course. Upon passing, hunters will receive their bowhunter education certificate so they can purchase a bowhunting privilege. Participants must be New York State residents and the cost of the course is $30. The online course can be accessed at DEC's website.
Opportunities for Junior Hunters and Trappers
To foster the next generation of hunters in New York, DEC has expanded opportunities for junior hunters (licensees aged 12-15) and trappers (under 12 years old) by designating special youth hunts for deer, wild turkey, pheasants, and waterfowl. These opportunities allow youth hunters and trappers to spend time in the field with experienced adults and gain the necessary knowledge and skills to become safe and responsible members of the hunting and trapping community. More information about these programs and other opportunities for junior hunters and trappers is available on DEC's website.
Remember: Hunt Safe, Hunt Smart!
The number of hunting-relating shooting incidents is declining, but even one incident is too many. Hunters can prevent injuries and fatalities by following the cardinal rules of hunting safety:
- Assume every gun to be loaded;
- Control the muzzle in a safe direction;
- Keep your finger off the trigger until firing;
- Be sure of your target and beyond; and
- Wear hunter orange.
Tree stand falls are a major cause of hunting injuries. These hunting-related injuries and fatalities are easily preventable. Hunters are advised to use a full-body harness and fall-arrest system and stay connected from the time you leave the ground until the time you return. Check your stand (including straps and chains) every season and replace any worn or missing parts. The proper use of tree stands and full-body harnesses will help to prevent injuries and fatalities.
Keep Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Out of New York
Hunters should take the threat of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) seriously. CWD is always fatal to deer, elk, moose, and caribou. If introduced, CWD could spread rapidly and be practically impossible to eliminate once established, threatening the future of New York's deer population, hunting tradition, and many of the other benefits associated with deer. The most effective disease management strategy is to prevent CWD from entering New York. Hunters can help protect New York's deer herd from CWD by following these tips:
- If you hunt any type of deer, elk, moose, or caribou outside of New York, debone your animal before bringing it back, and follow the law about importing carcass parts from outside of New York. See CWD Regulations for Hunters. DEC will confiscate and destroy illegally imported carcasses and parts;
- Avoid natural deer urine products. Prions are shed in the bodily fluids (saliva, feces, urine) of infected deer before they appear sick. Prions bind to soil and plants where they remain infectious for years. There is no way to ensure that urine products are free of prions. Choose synthetic alternatives;
- Dispose of carcass waste in a landfill, not on the landscape;
- Hunt only wild deer and support fair chase hunting principles; and
- Report any deer that appears sick or is acting abnormally.
Venison Donation Program
Anyone-not just hunters and anglers-can help feed the hungry by making a monetary contribution to the Venison Donation Program at any license issuing outlet. Individuals should inform the license sales agent if interested in donating $1 or more to support the program. Since 1999, the Venison Donation Coalition has used these funds to process more than 330 tons of highly nutritious venison, the equivalent of 2.8 million meals served. For more information about the Venison Donation Coalition program, visit DEC's website.
Hunters: Want Older Bucks in New York? It's Your Choice
Many deer hunters dream of seeing and shooting a large buck. But there is great temptation for a hunter to take the first buck they see, often a young buck, when the opportunity presents itself. New York hunters can increase the likelihood they will harvest an older, larger buck, simply by choosing to pass up shots at young, small-antlered bucks. Older bucks create more rubs and scrapes, are more challenging to hunt, and yield more meat-all things that may enhance the deer hunting experience.
Many New York hunters are already voluntarily choosing to pass on young bucks. As a result, the availability and harvest of older, larger antlered bucks is increasing.
To see and take more, older bucks, DEC encourages hunters to work with neighbors and hunting partners to cooperatively reduce harvest of young bucks, improve habitat conditions, and ensure adequate harvest of antlerless deer.
Prevent the Spread of COVID-19
During the State's ongoing response to COVID-19, New Yorkers across the state want and need to get outside for a nature break, which is good for physical and mental health. Take the PLAY SMART * PLAY SAFE * PLAY LOCAL pledge, and promise to use common sense to protect yourself and others when enjoying the outdoors. The new campaign encourages all New Yorkers to recreate safely, responsibly, and locally this summer and to always treat fellow outdoor adventurers with respect.
Hunters should also follow recommendations on DEC's website to help protect themselves and others.