The Big Apple is the melting pot of the United States. Whether it be the variety of cultures, foods, or lifestyles, New York has seemingly unlimited opportunities to explore. What many people may overlook, however, is the hunting that can be found just a short drive from the metropolitan powerhouse.

Hunting In New York State

New York Bear Hunting

Ask the average New Yorker where the closest restaurant is, and they will likely have a favorite right around the corner. Ask them where the closest bear is and they might say British Columbia or the zoo.  They would likely be surprised to hear that New York is home to nearly 8,000 of the toothy critters, with large numbers in both the north, south, and western areas of the state. Hunters must only purchase a base license for general season, and either an archery or muzzleloader permit for the respective seasons to take their one bear limit. Unlike much of the northeast, hunters are also allowed to use scent or lures to attract bears over the long three-month season, a technique that greatly increases the likelihood of an encounter. 

New York Deer Hunting

New York is also home to some fantastic deer hunting, boasting a population of over one million whitetails and a deer hunting tradition as old as your granddaddy’s trusty lever action. With extensive wilderness all around the state, there are countless areas that produce quality deer, and Boone and Crockett scoring deer are put on the ground season after season. Hunters are allowed one buck with a general season tag, and an additional buck and doe throughout the bow or muzzleloader season. On top of this, the license costs are extremely low, offering an inexpensive option to chase some big deer and fill the freezer. Alternatively, if you prefer leaning up against an old oak tree with a 12 gauge over climbing a treestand with your bow, you want to get down to business and talk turkey.

New York Turkey Hunts

If you prefer leaning against an old oak tree over climbing into a treestand, a Turkey hunt might be more your style. New York estimates that there are over 180,000 turkeys in the state, so there are a lot of turkeys to go around. Unlike many areas, these birds can be hunted during a fall season that allows for the harvest of one bird of either sex and a regular spring season that allows for two bearded birds. If you love eating wild turkey, as most folks do, it does not get much better than a young fall hen as far as food quality goes. Hunters must only purchase a base license and turkey permit, both of which are very reasonably priced, to chase wild turkeys this upcoming season. 

New York Upland Bird Hunting

Upland bird numbers are strong in New York, as is the hunting opportunity. The New York Department of Environmental Conservation raises and releases around 25,000 pheasant annually, and provides a map of their release sites to help aid hunters during the fall season. There are also good opportunities for ruffed grouse throughout the state as well as bobwhite quail in some counties. Hunters must only purchase a base license to hunt upland birds in the empire state, making this a great option for a weekend getaway with some friends or family. However, if you prefer camo waders to an orange vest, you will want to check out New York’s waterfowl hunting.

Waterfowl Hunts In New York

The waterfowl season is split into three time periods that allow for hunting during peak periods of activity. This broken up season is especially effective for diver ducks like scoters, eiders and long-tailed ducks that are thick in the winter months, and the earlier seasons are great for chasing puddle ducks like mallards, wood ducks, and teal over freshwater ponds and sloughs. Hunters also frequently shoot limits of Canada and snow geese during field hunts as well as over water. As these types of hunts require a great deal of local knowledge and an even greater number of decoys, it is recommended that you go with a New York hunting guide to improve your chances. A trip with an expert guide will be much cheaper than the startup cost of building your own decoy spread, so we urge you to check out some of the outfitters we have on our site. These guys are guaranteed to show you a fantastic hunt that won’t require you to bring a trailer full of expensive decoys.

Book Your New York Hunt

Whether you want nothing more than to harvest a monster black bear, enjoy the camaraderie of deer camp after a good hunt, or burn through five boxes of steel shot knocking down snow geese, New York has opportunities for hunters of all skill levels and interests. Check out our list of expert guides and outfitters at, and book a trip you will not soon forget.

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