Rohan Mathew

Updated on:

Ready to hunt in New York? It’s one of the best places to hunt American game. Before you head out for those first trophy antlers (or a fat bird), you’ll need a hunting license. You must apply for your license through the state government. We’re covering the things you must do to get your license quickly and easily.

Requirements For Obtaining Your License

New York doesn’t mind if you’re blind hunting, tree saddle hunting, or something else, but there are universal licensing requirements: 

  • Proof of residency (for residents only).
  • Hunter education certificate.
  • Bowhunter education certificate (for bowhunters only)
  • A credit or debit card to make payments and pay fees online.

The hunter education safety course can be completed online, and most courses cost $20. Once finished, you can provide your certificate to the state for satisfying this requirement. You should also print out the certificate and keep it on your person.

Types Of Hunting Licenses In New York

  • Residents of New York

A resident who has lived in New York for at least 30 days. Residents include active-duty military personnel positioned in New York and non-citizens who are full-time New York City students in school or university.

All New York residents aged 12 and above must have a resident hunting license. Specific game species may necessitate additional rights or permits. An exemption can be found on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website.

  • Non-Residents

Non-residents must have a non-resident hunting permit if they are 12 or older. Specific game species may necessitate additional rights or licenses.

  • Youth Hunting Permits

All minors under the age of 12 are not permitted to obtain hunting license or hunt game.

Residents and non-residents between 12 and 15 in New York are eligible for a reduced-fee hunting license. Specific game species may require additional rights or permits.

  • Senior Hunting Permits

Residents of New York who are 70 or older are eligible for reduced-fee licenses.

  • License for Disabled Persons

Physically disabled New York citizens and non-residents may be eligible for disability permits.

  • Military and Veteran Qualifications

Active-duty military personnel stationed in New York for at least 30 days can obtain a resident hunting license. Active-duty military members who live in New York but are stationed overseas may also be qualified for a free hunting license while in absentia. Their absence shall be for no more than 30 days.

Military, Veterans, and Residents with a service-connected handicap of 40% or more are eligible for reduced-fee licenses.

NY hunting License Costs & discounts

New York issues licenses with fees and privileges for bowhunting, muzzleloading, youth hunters, duck, deer, turkey, and other situations. You can even get a discount in some cases. The state’s Department of Environmental Conservation lists all the license types, fees, and discounts.

  • Resident hunting license fees range from $5 for youth and elder residents and nonresidents (ages 12-15 and 70+). Adult residents pay $22 per season. Nonresidents ages 16 and up pay $100 per season.
  • Discounts are available for: Active duty military; veterans; junior hunters; seniors; Native Americans; and nonresidents attending a state university full-time.
  • New York’s licenses are valid per season, which runs from September 1 through August 31 every year. The Harvest Program and Duck Stamp is valid July 1 through June 30 each year.

Safety Equipment You Need as a New Hunter

As a new hunter, passing your safety course is important — but what’s truly important is mastering firearm safety in the field and at the shooting range. In addition to exercising the rules of gun safety, you should invest in proper shooting safety equipment and ballistic protection. Most gun range ranges and in-person hunter safety courses require that you own and bring these things, anyway:

Shooting glasses

Ballistic shooting glasses are required for virtually every privately owned range – indoor or outdoor – in New York. You will likely be turned away without having the proper PPE (personal protective equipment). 

Not just any “shop” glasses will do. You need proper shooting glasses that are rated to withstand high-velocity fragments and ricochets. You should look for glasses that provide a “Z78.1” or “Z87+” rating, or, ideally, ones with a “MIL-PRF-32432” safety rating. These ratings guarantee the glasses in question can provide proper shooting protection.

Ballistic Ear Protection

In addition to protecting your eyes, your ears also need to be protected against extremely loud sound experienced during a shooting exercise. Such loud noise can cause unexpected damage to your eardrums if earmuffs are not worn. 

Range Bag

Lugging all your equipment to the range can get overwhelming if you don’t have the proper bags and packs. Ammo, firearms, and safety gear can get heavy. We recommend a proper range backpack or gun bag. These are packs that are made to hold exactly what you need to bring to the range, or to the field for a hunt. 

They often have comfortable load-bearing straps and organized pouches for ammo, magazines, eye and ear pro, targets, and cleaning equipment. 

Tips for Training and Hunting

Focus on accuracy and shooting fundamentals

As a new hunter, you’re probably also relatively new to firearms. While practicing safety is important when hunting and shooting, becoming an accurate marksman will impact your hunt’s success above all else. We recommend getting familiar with your firearm as much as possible. We also strongly recommend mastering how to shoot accurately with fixed iron sights.

Shooting with irons helps you understand sight picture, cheek weld and sight alignment, and windage and elevation adjustments without the added complexity of a variable optic, scope, or powered reticle. It’s also easier to practice good trigger squeeze, breath control, posture, and grip without dealing with an optic.

Create a Gear Checklist

You will probably drive all the way to the local range one day, only to find you forgot your glasses or ammo. We’ve all been there. To make it easy, create a gear checklist and follow it every time you plan to practice. You should check that you have the following, at minimum, in your range gear or bag:

  • Targets
  • Tacks/stapler
  • Ammunition
  • Magazines
  • Ear protection
  • Eye protection
  • Carrying case*

*Most ranges do not allow a shooter to enter or exit the range with an unstowed firearm, even if you’re a concealed-carry permit holder. This is for safety and liability. You must store all firearms in a soft or hard container.

Proper firearm and safety maintenance

Always check that your firearms and equipment are in good, clean, working order before heading to the hunt or range. You should visually inspect your ammo, magazines, chamber, barrel, and optics or iron sights.

Ensure your firearms are clean and lubricated, ready to send rounds downrange. A great way to master proficiency in firearms is to conduct your own maintenance, field-stripping your guns for cleaning after every range session.