Hunting & Trapping FAQs

For general information about hunting and trapping, please visit Hunting & Trapping.

Are hunting regulations on DEP Hunting Areas the same as New York State hunting laws and regulations?

Yes. All New York State hunting laws and regulations apply and are enforced on City-owned hunting areas. Additional DEP regulations also apply and are enforced on DEP hunting areas Rules for the Recreational Use of Water Supply Lands and Water. Each hunter is responsible for familiarizing him or herself with, and abiding by, both the NYS and DEP hunting restrictions.

What is Quality Deer Management (QDM)?

Many hunters are probably familiar with the term “Quality Deer Management” (QDM) from hunting magazines and other sources. QDM is the concept that a deer herd is healthiest when females (does) and males (bucks) co-exist in a one-to-one balance and young bucks are allowed to grow into bigger, stronger, mature bucks that will pass their genetic material on to future generations. Thus, QDM focuses on bringing deer populations down to levels that the landscape can support over the long-term, primarily through the increased harvesting of does and restrictions on the harvesting of immature bucks. This management approach is particularly important in the City’s water supply watersheds where estimates of the female-to-male deer ratio may be as high as three-to-one in some areas. Heavy deer browse impacts on vegetation not only impacts the growth of young tree seedlings into a healthy and diverse forest, but it threatens the very habitat that deer need to survive.

A QDM project is underway in Putnam County in partnership with the Kent Rod and Gun Club and with support from the Putnam County Sportsmen’s Federation and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The Kent Rod and Gun Club unanimously decided to practice QDM on their own lands.

Can I hunt for wildlife other than deer?

Yes. At designated hunting areas you may hunt bear, turkey and small game as well as deer. Use our Interactive Recreation Map or Recreation Area Maps and Use Designations by County to determine what areas are open for hunting.

What about doe hunting?

Does and antlerless deer may be taken on City-owned water supply lands open for hunting. DEP encourages hunters to take doe before buck to help reduce overbrowsing of watershed forests. Please refer to hunting maps and the list of hunting areas for information regarding Wildlife Management Units; this information is needed to apply for extra doe permits from NYS DEC.

I heard that DEP has additional doe tags to give to deer hunters—how can I get one?

DEP sometimes receives additional antlerless deer tags under the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP). DEP distributes these tags to eligible hunters through a lottery drawing. The tags may be used by the selected hunters on specific hunting areas for the harvest of does only.

Are there any deer harvest restrictions in effect on DEP hunting areas?

Yes, on the Knapp Road Unit, West Branch Headwaters Unit, Richardsville Road Unit, and Boyds Corner North Unit in the Town of Kent and Putnam Valley in Puntam County. This is part of a Quality Deer Management Program in this area.

Are the City-owned hunting areas also open for hiking and fishing during hunting season?

Yes. Most hunting areas are also open to hiking and fishing under DEP permit. All visitors to hunting areas during big game gun hunting season must wear blaze orange for safety. Big game gun hunting seasons are generally mid-October through mid January in Delaware, Dutchess, Green, Putnam, Schoharie, Sullivan, and Ulster Counties. Visit NY State Department of Environmental Conservation Hunting Seasons for more information. Please take every precaution to ensure the safety of all visitors to City Water Supply lands.

Do I have to wear blaze orange when hunting?

All visitors to DEP hunting lands during big game gun hunting seasons, including hunters, must wear blaze orange in the form of a vest, jacket, or hat at other times, blaze orange is optional, but recommended, if possible.

I have a NY State bow permit. Can I hunt with a bow on City-owned watershed hunting areas?

Yes. DEP Hunting Areas are open for bow hunting during the appropriate New York State bow hunting seasons.

I have a NY State permit to hunt with a gun. Can I hunt with a gun in Putnam County?

All New York State laws and regulations apply on DEP lands. Thus, for example, hunting with a rifle on DEP lands in Putnam County is not permitted, but shotgun hunting is allowed. Permit holders must know and abide by all applicable State laws and regulations.

Can I hunt with a handgun on City hunting areas?

Yes, handguns are permitted for purposes of hunting in accordance with NYS law.

Can I use tree stands or blinds?

Temporary, portable tree stands and hunting blinds may be placed at Hunting Areas beginning on the first day of pre-season scouting (14 days prior to opening day of deer season). All tree stands and blinds must be marked with the user’s name, Access Permit number, and telephone number. Tree stands and hunting blinds must not damage trees and must be removed at the end of the season.

What about hunting with dogs?

Dogs may be used for hunting in compliance with NY State Department of Environmental Conservation regulations. Dogs shall be under the control of their handlers at all times. Dogs cannot be used for tracking injured deer.

Can I clear shooting lanes?

Hunters may cut tree limbs smaller than two inches in diameter that are within 25 yards of their tree stand. Limbs may only be cut using a hand tool; the use of chainsaws or other motorized equipment is not allowed. Cutting or removal of vegetation is otherwise prohibited.

How can I replace my lost Access Permit, or Vehicle Tag?

If you lose your permit or vehicle tag, mail a note including your name, address, Access Permit number and phone number to NYC DEP—Access Permits, 71 Smith Avenue, Kingston, NY 12401 or send an email to requesting a replacement. If you obtained your permit and vehicle tag via the Access Permit System, you may reprint them from there.

Do I have to wear my NY State Hunting tag?

Yes. Hunters on City-owned lands are in accordance with State law, required to have and display the appropriate NYS hunting back tag. It must be displayed on the hunter's back so that all writing is clearly legible.

What if my Access Permit application information (i.e., name or address) changes, or is recorded incorrectly on my permit?

If your information has changed, you can update your mailing address, phone number and e-mail by using our Access Permit System.