Hunting Licenses & Regulations

In order to assure yourself the best possible hunting experience, you’ll want to make sure you have the required licenses and permits, and know which regulations and restrictions are relevant to you.

To hunt furbearers, you must posses a resident or non-resident hunting license. A trapping license does not allow you to hunt furbearers.

For more specific information on furbearer hunting, including bobcat, weasel, opossum, skunk, raccoon, fox, and coyote click here.

Hunting Licenses

Who Needs a Hunting License

You need a hunting license if you are 12 years and older and using a firearm or bow to hunt or take wild game. Persons under age 12 cannot hunt.

Junior Hunters (ages 12-15): Hunters aged 14-15 can hunt deer and bear with a Firearm over the 3-day Columbus Day Weekend. For more information on the Junior Hunter Mentoring Program and to review regulations and information, visit:

Additional Privileges/Permits: depending on the season and species you are hunting you may need additional privileges or permits.

You do not need a hunting license if you are:

  • A resident landowner primarily engaged in farming (including lessees and members of their immediate families) when small game hunting on farm lands they are occupying and cultivating.
  • A Native American living and hunting on reservation land.
  • Hunting on a licensed shooting preserve or big game shooting facility.

Note: To hunt turkey, all hunters must purchase a turkey permit. There are no exceptions.

Wild Pheasant Winter
Bob Magee

Hunter Safety Education Requirement

In order to get a hunting license in New York State, all first-time hunters must pass one or more Hunter Safety courses (on how to be safe, responsible, and ethical hunters and trappers). To learn more and find a free course being offered near you visit the DEC’s Sportsman Education page.

You can buy your hunting license by visiting one of the nearly three dozen License Issuing Agents in Steuben County, as well as by phone or online.

PLEASE NOTE: When making an online/phone purchase, you must wait 14 business days to receive your license/tags by mail before going hunting. To get licenses/tags instantly, visit a license issuing agent location.

Resident License

With your annual hunting license you can hunt small game or big game. This license is required before other privileges (i.e. bowhunting, muzzleloading & turkey permit) can be purchased.

To qualify for a resident sporting license, you must have permanent residency in New York State for more than 30 days. Residency is a place where you maintain a fixed, permanent home, and to which you always intend to return.

Residency Qualifications

There are special residency qualifications, as well as special license and privileges for a resident fee available to active nonresident US military members stationed in New York State and to full-time college students attending a New York State College or University. To learn what sort of proof is required, visit:

Click on the links to learn about Free or Reduced-Fee Licenses, and Lifetime Licenses.

For more information on NYS hunting licenses, including additional hunting privileges, permits, or stamps, license for hunters with disabilities, and the harvest information program, visit:

Wild Turkeys Hunting Wildlife
Bill Banaszewski

Hunting Regulations

For Deer and Bear Regulations, including Big Game Importation Restrictions, Hunting Hours, Legally Antlered Deer, “Early” and “Late” Seasons, Bag Limits, as well as Rifle, Shotgun, and Bow areas, visit the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation:

For specific game Species Regulations, visit the DEC’s Hunting Regulations page:

Age requirement: Crossbows may be used only by licensees who are 14 years of age or older. For more crossbow regulations, visit the DEC:

For New York State Rules and Regulations concerning Gun Importation for Canadian Hunters, visit:

For More Information on New York State Hunting Regulations, visit the DEC’s Hunting Licenses page:

To determine Sunrise to Sunset hunting hours in your location, check the DEC’s Sunrise-Sunset table: