Hunting and Trapping Newsletter

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
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Hunting and Trapping Newsletter

Online Application for Waterfowl Hunting Permit Lottery for Duck Hunting Opening Weekend at Oak Orchard and Tonawanda Wildlife Management Areas

brown sign with yello letters for oak orchard wildlife management areaDEC will be issuing special permits for duck hunting opening weekend at Oak Orchard and Tonawanda Wildlife Management Areas. The intent of the special permits is to promote hunter safety, reduce hunter conflicts, and increase the quality of hunting on days when the areas receive the greatest use. Waterfowl may be hunted without a special permit any other days of the open duck season. The permit system has been used successfully at both WMAs for many years. Special permits are not required to hunt other game species in these WMAs.

To apply for the lottery, hunters will need to fill out an online form. Hunters must enter their name, email address, zip code, and waterfowl ID number (applicants must have taken a waterfowl identification course to enter the lottery). Hunters also need to indicate their choices of hunt day (Saturday or Sunday) and area (Oak Orchard or Tonawanda) in order of preference. There is also an option to request email updates regarding habitat conditions (helpful information when planning your trip) and restoration projects at these WMAs. 

For general questions, or for those unable to access the survey online, please call DEC's regional wildlife office at 585-948-5182. Online applications will be accepted through midnight Sept. 15, 2020. The permittee is responsible for completing an online harvest report (a link will be provided with your permit) by Nov. 15, 2020. Even if the hunter did not go hunting, they must report.

What's Happening with the Deer Population in Your Area?

Line graph showing deer takes from 2008 - 2019Every year, DEC wildlife biologists compile Deer Season Forecasts for each Wildlife Management Unit (WMU). Use these to help plan your hunt or just to keep up with what is happening with deer hunting in your area.

Across the state, deer hunting has been changing, with more hunters voluntarily choosing to Let Young Bucks Go and Watch Them Grow. In 2019, for the first time, harvest of 2.5-year-old bucks exceeded that of yearling bucks. That’s good news for New York hunters and their families, because the average 2-year old buck generally yields 25-30% more meat and carries antlers twice as large as the average yearling. Just letting bucks age to 2.5 years old pays dividends.

2020 DMP Targets and Chances of Being Selected for a Doe Tag

White tailed deer walking along the edge of the water and forestThis fall, DEC is increasing the statewide allocation of Deer Management Permits (DMPs) in hopes that hunters will respond by increasing the antlerless deer harvest by about 10%. See DMP Availability and Probability of Selection to review DEC's target allocation of DMPs for each WMU and to anticipate your odds of being selected for a tag. There's no need to rush out to be first in line for a DMP, though. Your chances of obtaining a DMP remain the same throughout the entire application period. Just be sure to apply for a DMP before the October 1 deadline. For questions, call the DMP Hotline (1-866-472-4332) or read about the DMP application process.

Photo by Mary Tashjian

Find Places to Hunt

New York has over 4 million acres of land open to the public for recreation. Check out Places to Go or use our DECinfo Locator to explore new areas.

Woman hunter standing in a meadow with a dog holding a shotgun