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Transcript for Hunter Education

Christopher Macropoulos: Hello, and thank you for taking the steps to becoming a safe and ethical hunter. While you’re out enjoying mother nature, you might come across one of us—

Officer: Good luck.

Hunter: Thank you.

Officer: Thank you.

Christopher Macropoulos:—an ECO, or Environmental Conservation Officer, primarily we enforce the fish and game laws that protect our resources and keep us safe. Throughout this video, you’ll hear from several different ECOs regarding how to have an enjoyable hunting experience.


Anthony Glorioso: Hello, my name is ECO Anthony Glorioso, and today I’m going to be discussing the New York State hunting and trapping regulations. As a sportsman, it is your responsibility to read and understand, every year, the laws and regulations, as they may change. So you ask yourself, how do you get a guide? Typically, the guides are given to you every year when you purchase a license, or you can receive one by contacting your local DEC office, or view at

So, what we’ll start off with today is by taking your book and turning it to the Laws and Definition page. Before you go on the field, it’s important for you to learn these definitions.

  • We’ll start off with the definition “to hunt.” To hunt means to pursue, shoot, kill, capture (other than trap) wildlife, and includes all lesser acts that disturb or worry wildlife, whether or not they result in taking. Hunting also includes all acts to assist another person in the taking of wildlife.
  • On screen: In other words, everyone helping with a deer drive, even if you do not have a gun, must have a hunting license.

  • The definition “to take” means to pursue, shoot, hunt, kill, capture, trap, snare, or net wildlife and game, and all lesser acts that disturb or worry wildlife, or to place or use any net or other device commonly used to take wildlife.
  • “Public highway”: Public highway means any road maintained by the state, county, or town. A private road is one maintained by a person or corporation.
  • Motor vehicle means every vehicle or device operated by any power other than muscle power including, but not limited to, automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, tractors, trailers, motorboats, snowmobiles, and all-terrain vehicles, whether operated on or off public highways.

Let’s open our game guides to the General License Information section. In this section, it’ll explain to you that the hunting license season runs from September 1 to the following August 31.

Important Laws & Guidelines

Darcy Dougherty: Hello, everybody. I’m Conservation Officer Darcy Dougherty. We’re going to talk about a couple of important aspects of the conservation law as it pertains to the possession, use, and transportation of firearms. It’s important that we understand the importance of these laws because they’re based in safety. Many of us understand that the possession of a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle is illegal, but what exactly does that mean?

When we’re talking about possessing a firearm that is loaded, we’re going to need to understand the idea of being in or on a motor vehicle.

  • “In” would mean in the passenger compartment of a vehicle, be it a car or a pickup truck.
  • “In” can also mean laying in the bed of the pickup truck.
  • We’re also going to need to remember that “on” is going to refer to our loaded firearms that are actually leaning against or on the outside of a motor vehicle. That’s very important to keep in mind as far as firearm safety goes.

Any time you’re going to possess a firearm, a crossbow, or a bow "in" a motor vehicle or "on" a motor vehicle, it does need to meet certain conditions.

  • Your rifle and shotgun need to be unloaded both in the chamber and in the magazine.
  • When we’re talking about crossbows, a crossbow is going to be considered unloaded when it does not have a bolt in it, but also it needs to be completely uncocked. A crossbow that is cocked, even if it doesn’t have a bolt in it, is still going to be considered loaded.

A loaded muzzleloader is going to be any muzzleloader that doesn’t meet the certain conditions spelled out in the conservation law.

  • First, the cap needs to be off of the nipple.
  • The primer must be removed.
  • The primer powder needs to be removed from the pan, or in the matter of an electric-fired muzzleloader, the battery needs to be removed.

In order to legally discharge a firearm, and in this case that’s going to include a rifle, a shotgun, a handgun, or a muzzleloader, you need to be a certain distance away from different structures. Those structures include a dwelling, a school, a playground, a farm building, or an occupied factory or church.

  • In order to discharge your firearm from those structures, you need be 500 feet away from each one of them.
  • In order to discharge a crossbow, you need to be at least 250 feet away.
  • In order to discharge a bow, you need to be 150 feet from those structures.

There are some exceptions, though.

  • The first exception is going to be if you own one of those structures in question.
  • The second exception is if you’ve received permission from the owner or lessee.
  • The third exception being hunting waterfowl over water. The 500-foot exemption requirement is an exemption in this case so long as you don’t have one of those structures within your direct line of fire.

But keep in mind that a little consideration goes a long way between hunter and property owner relations.

You’ve already learned exactly what a public highway is. It is illegal to discharge a firearm, a crossbow, or a bow so that the bullet or slug or your arrow passes over any portion of a public highway.

Let’s talk a little bit about an activity that many hunters enjoy both before and during the season, and that’s spotlighting. In New York State, it is legal to use a spotlight to observe wildlife with a certain number of conditions.

  • First thing to remember is that it is illegal to spotlight for deer or bear within 500 feet of a dwelling. Remember that that is 360 degrees from where you’re standing, so even if there is a dwelling that’s 500 feet behind you, you’re still within the distance that you’re prohibited from using a spotlight to observe deer or bear. If you have permission to spotlight within 500 feet of a dwelling, you’re certainly allowed to continue to do that.
  • It is illegal to use a spotlight when you’re in a motor vehicle if you are in possession of a firearm, a crossbow, or a bow. If that implement is either taken down, locked in a case, locked in a trunk, or the implement is a handgun, you would be allowed to continue to spotlight for wildlife in a motor vehicle while you are actually in possession of those implements.
  • One last common question that we often get pertains to the use of flashlights. It is all right to use a flashlight while you’re hunting as an aid to get in and out of your hunting location.

On screen: Use these sources to learn more on laws and regulations:

Legal Hunting Hours

Mary Grose: Hi, everybody. My name is ECO Mary Grose. Today I’m going to be talking about legal hunting hours. Part of being a responsible hunter is knowing when and where you can hunt. This is more than just knowing the dates and the locations of where you can hunt, but also the legal hunting hours for sunrise and sunset. Rather than relying on how light or dark you think it is, you should know the official time for sunrise and sunset so that you can make sure that you are in compliance. There are many places where you can find this information, including the weather app on your smartphone, the DEC Hunting Guide, a quick Google search, and even the newspaper.

  • Legal hunting hours for deer and bear are half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset.
  • Most small games, such as rabbits, squirrels, and most game bird species may only be hunted between the hours of sunrise and sunset.

There are some exceptions to the sunrise and sunset law.

  • For waterfowl, for example, such as Canada geese and ducks, it will start half an hour before sunrise until sunset. During early September goose seasons, hours are half an hour before sunrise until half an hour after sunset.
  • For furbearers, on the opening day of the season, it’ll start at sunrise and then continue for 24 hours a day through the remaining of the season.
  • For spring turkey, it’ll start half an hour before sunrise and go until noon.

At the beginning of every hunting season, make sure to pick up your current Hunting & Trapping Guide. It’ll list the current sunrise and sunset hours for the day and month that you’re going to be hunting. Either you can find a location that you’re going to be hunting and subtract or add time as accordingly. Also remember that during daylight savings time, you may have to add or subtract an hour according to the month that you are hunting.

Remember, no matter what the legal requirements are, the ultimate responsibility for making sure there’s enough light to properly identify your target and make certain that you are taking a safe shot lies with you, the hunter. As a fellow hunter, I ask you to consider the conditions every time you are afield and remember that safety and a quick, ethical kill are far more important than taking game.

Blaze Orange/Fluorescent Pink

There is a requirement to wear a minimum of 250 square inches of blaze orange or fluorescent pink above the waist when you are hunting bear or deer with a gun. If the material is patterned, at least 50% of it must be one of these colors, and it must be visible from all sides. Alternatively, you may wear a ball cap with at least 50% blaze orange or fluorescent pink that’s visible from all sides. Anyone who is accompanying the hunter must also comply with these requirements. While you are not required to wear blaze orange while archery, crossbow, or small game hunting, the extra visibility it provides is always a great idea.

Posted Property and Trespassing

Wes Leubner: Good morning, everyone. My name is Conservation Officer Wes Leubner, and I’m here to talk to you today about legal posting requirements and trespass concerns.

  • In order for property to be considered legally posted, there has to be at least one sign every 660 feet and at least one sign on each corner of the property so it’s visible from each side.
  • In addition to that, there has to be at least one sign on each side of the property so that someone would notice if they were walking on.
  • Of course, any posted property requires permission from the landowner before you go onto the property. It’s always beneficial to have written permission whenever possible.

On screen: Posted Signs: No person shall enter or remain unlawfully or engage in any activity upon lands which has been legally posted

On screen: Ask Permission: Even if the land is not posted, you still need permission to enter, hunt, or track game on it

Mark Klein: We got a complaint of hunter trespass on this property. Do you have permission to be here?

Hunter: Yes, I do.

Mark Klein: Can I see that, please?

Hunter: Sure. I actually have one of these permission slips filled out by the landowner.

Mark Klein: OK, this is our complainant, outstanding. Thank you.

When you’re approached by an ECO in the field, we like to see that this gun is pointed in a safe direction and the safety’s on, and we ask that you follow our instructions.

On screen: Get Permission: Seek permission from the landowner where the property is posted or not

Wes Leubner: Permission cards are available at local DEC offices, or you can use the ones that are found in the hunting guide.

If you have permission to hunt someone else’s posted property, it’s always important to familiarize yourself with the boundaries preferably before the start of the hunting season. If you happen to shoot an animal that runs on to someone else’s posted property, you have to get permission from that landowner before going onto their land to retrieve it. Again, it’s also beneficial to get written permission in this case.


Anthony Glorioso: Let’s talk a little bit about baiting in New York State. In New York State, it’s unlawful to hunt for deer, bear, turkey, waterfowl, or upland game birds with the aid of a pre-established bait pile. Baiting means the placing, exposing, depositing, distributing, or scattering of material. Some examples of bait include corn, apples, grain, salt blocks, or any other mineral- or salt-related product in the form of liquid, granular, or coarse material, or any other feed whatsoever capable of being consumed. In New York State, there are some acceptable methods which include wildlife food plots, browse cutting, or any other normal agricultural practice.

On screen: Prohibited Baiting & Feeding

Reduce risks associated with:

  • Communicable wildlife diseases
  • Malnutrition from indigestible food
  • Minimizes conflicts with deer
  • Protects wildlife habitats

Licenses and Tagging

Mark Klein: I’m ECO Mark Klein, and I’d like to talk about tags and the tagging, transporting, and reporting of game harvest. With the exception of DMPs, or Deer Management Permits, your tags are yours and yours alone. You’re the only one authorized to possess them and use them, and they need to be in your possession at all times while exercising the privilege of hunting.

DMPs, or Deer Management Permits, are the only tags that are transferable. If you transfer your DMP, which allows you to harvest antlerless game in an area specified on the DMP, you need to sign the DMP, transfer it to the hunter who will then record your document number on his harvest tag. If he harvests game, he is responsible for reporting the game. If the hunt is not successful, the other hunter may transfer your tag back to you or he may transfer the DMP to another hunter by following the same procedure.

So you have your tags in your go field, and you have a successful hunt. What’s the first thing you need to do?

  • The first thing is to fill out your tag completely and immediately. That means fill out all the information on the front of the tag, flip it over and either notch and mark the month or day of harvest, and sign the back of the tag.

  • The next thing you need to do is attach your tag to the carcass.
    • In the case of a turkey, you’re probably going to be carrying the bird out of the woods, so you’ll attach the tag immediately.
    • In the case of a deer or bear that you may end up dragging through a swamp or brambles, you don’t have to attach the tag until you get to your camp, your ATV, your truck, or your home.
  • So you’ve had a successful hunt and you’ve tagged your game. Now it’s time to transport it.

    Game can be transported in or outside a vehicle, it can be transported obviously by yourself, or it can be transported by someone else.

    • If someone else does transport your game, in addition to your carcass tag, you need to have a separate tag or permission slip attached with your name and address and also the name and address of the transporter on it.
    • If at any time during transport the head will be separated from the carcass—for example, if you have a trophy hunt and you want to take the head to the taxidermist but the meat goes to the processor, the carcass tag stays with the meat. A separate tag can go with the head that includes your signature, your license documentation number, the number of antler points, and also the name and address of the taxidermist. The carcass tag stays with meat as it goes to the processor, and we’ll need additional information with the name and the address of the taxidermist.
  • So you’ve gone afield, you’ve had a successful hunt, you’ve tagged and transported your deer, what’s the last thing you need to do? You’re required to report it. You can do that immediately upon take, or you can have up to seven days to report your take.

Remember three easy steps—take it, tag it, report it.

Revoking a License

So up until this point, we’ve talked a lot about the legality of hunting. Well, what can happen if you don’t follow the rules?

  • Your hunting privileges can be revoked. Generally that happens when you cause death or injury to another person by discharging a gun, a longbow, or a crossbow while engaged in the act of hunting.
  • You can also be revoked for hunting while intoxicated or hunting while impaired; an illegal take of deer, bear, or moose in New York State; two convictions of the violation of the Fish and Wildlife law within a five-year period.
  • You can also be revoked for hunting under the age of 16 without having a parent, guardian, or authorized adult present.
  • And finally, you can be revoked for failure to respond or appear when charged with a violation of the Fish and Wildlife law.

On screen: To find out more useful information, pick up your yearly copy today! Hunting & Trapping Guide

Contacting an ECO

Anthony Glorioso: Environment conservation officers are great resources to you. We specialize in the areas that we work and can offer a wide range of knowledge and opportunities, including public hunting properties such as New York State land. We can also answer any general hunting-related questions and take information on any illegal hunting activity. So by now you should be asking yourself, how do I contact an environmental conservation officer? Well, let’s go back to the game guide.

In the back of the game guide, there’s going to be a list of all environmental conservation officers throughout the state. Each environmental conservation officer will be listed in the county that they work. So for example, let’s start with me. My name is Anthony Glorioso, and I work in Greene County. So in the book, I would look up Greene County, Anthony Glorioso, and there’s a phone number where I can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

You can also call your regional office, or you can call our 24-hour dispatch number at 1-844-DEC-ECOS. Again, 1-844-DEC-ECOS.

On screen: Call 24-Hour
1-844-DEC-ECOS (844-332-3267)

Always Remember

Darci Dougherty: Remember that once you pull the trigger, that you can’t get your bullet, slug, or arrow back.

All: Hunt smart, hunt safe!

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