Be Safe, Be Seen
With several hunting and trapping seasons now open, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) are encouraging outdoor enthusiasts to follow some commonsense safety precautions this fall and winter.
New York State DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “Outdoor recreation in autumn is a longstanding tradition in New York State. Whether you are a hiker, a nature photographer, a leaf peeper, or a mountain biker, I encourage you to follow a few simple safety measures and make your choice of recreation as safe as possible while hunters and trappers are afield.”
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Rose Harvey said, “Across New York, our diverse parks provide outdoor enthusiasts with so many ways to experience all that our state has to offer. We welcome hunters to many of our parks, and encourage them to stay safe and be familiar with the rules governing hunting at each individual park.”
Since most public lands in New York are open to hunting, as well as other forms of outdoor recreation, outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds will be sharing these lands with hunters. Hunters in New York have an outstanding safety record thanks to mandatory hunter education training delivered by a large group of dedicated volunteer instructors.
DEC encourages every outdoor enthusiast to wear blaze orange, pink, or another bright color, especially during fall and winter. Doing so will allow these individuals to be seen more easily and from greater distances.
“Data from hunting-related shooting incidents show us that hunters that wear hunter orange are seven times safer,” Commissioner Seggos said. “If it makes sense for hunters, it makes sense for other outdoor enthusiasts as well.”
In addition, wearing blaze orange or pink or another bright color also makes it easier to be found by a Forest Ranger, Environmental Conservation Police Officer, or other rescue personnel if visitors become lost, sick, or injured while afield. Pet owners are encouraged to dress dogs, as well. Dogs should wear blaze orange or pink or another bright color too, and stay leashed at all times.
Trapping seasons for many species including fox and coyote are open throughout the fall and early winter; traps set for these species can also capture dogs that are not under control. Trapping is a highly regulated activity and regulations are strongly enforced. Trappers are required to take an educational course before getting a license and DEC works closely with the trapping community to encourage trapping techniques that minimize risks to non-target wildlife and other animals like dogs. Keeping dogs on a leash is safer for the dog, for other people, and gives pet owners peace of mind.
Hunting is among the most popular forms of wildlife recreation in the state, drawing nearly 700,000 New Yorkers and more than 50,000 out-of-staters. Hunting is a safe and economically important outdoor pursuit, helping to balance wildlife populations, promote family traditions, while fostering an understanding and respect for the environment and the complexity in which it functions. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters bearing firearms or archery equipment while hiking on trails. Hikers are encouraged to recognize that these are fellow outdoor recreationists with the legal right to participate in these activities on Forest Preserve and Conservation Easement lands. Hunting accidents involving non-hunters are extremely rare.
Hunting Within State Parks
New York state lands offer many places to hunt, including 81 parks, three historic sites, three golf courses, and 50 boat launches that provide chances to hunt a variety of different wildlife including big game, small game, turkey, furbearers, waterfowl and migratory bird species. Learn more about Statewide Hunting Regulations in NY State Parks and the Policy on Possession of an Unloaded Firearm for the Purpose of Accessing Adjacent Lands for Lawful Hunting Purposes.
In addition to a valid hunting license, all hunters wishing to take advantage of select hunting seasons within State Parks need to obtain a regional hunting permit for each individual park. The hunting permit will specify which species can be hunted, any additional seasonal restrictions, areas available for hunting, and what implements (e.g. shotgun, bow, or crossbow) can be used. Please contact the park directly to learn about what hunting opportunities are available at that location.