Hunting & Trapping

Hunting on City-owned lands begins each fall on September 1 (the first day of squirrel season) and ends at the close of spring turkey season on May 31. Interested hunters should refer to our Interactive Recreation Map or Recreation Areas and Use Designations by County for properties that are available for hunting during specific seasons.

Designated hunting areas are available for bow, shotgun, rifle, handgun, and muzzleloader hunting where permitted by New York State regulations. Hunters and trappers must possess a valid New York State hunting license and they must follow all applicable New York State hunting regulations, including weapons restrictions, species restrictions, and hunting during the proper seasons for the allowed game.

A DEP Access Permit is required on those properties posted with Watershed Recreation Signs that read “Entry by Permit.”

Trapping is only allowed in Public Access Areas and trappers must possess a valid New York State trapping license and follow all applicable New York State trapping regulations, including species restrictions and seasons. For answers to commonly asked questions, visit Hunting & Trapping FAQs and DEP Access Permit FAQs.

Quality Deer Management on City-Owned Lands

DEP has instituted Quality Deer Management (QDM) principles in the Richardsville, West Branch Headwaters, Knapp Road, and Boyds Corner North Units in the towns of Kent and Putnam Valley. In the QDM hunting areas, the following enforceable conditions apply to all hunters over 17 years of age:

  • Only does may be harvested on the first two days of bow season, the first two days of regular gun season, and the first two days of muzzleloader season—no bucks may be taken on these days.
  • On all other days of the legal hunting season, bucks may be harvested if they have an antler spread of at least 15 inches in width and/or a minimum of three points on a side greater than one inch long, excluding brow tines. Throughout the hunting season in general, all hunters are encouraged to harvest more does than bucks to help with maintaining balanced herd populations and healthier forests.

Deer Management Assistance Permit Program Lottery

The Deer Management Assistance Permit (DMAP)Program provides antlerless tags to hunters to assist DEP with managing the impact of deer on watershed lands. We receive DMAP tags from the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation for select areas around New York City reservoirs and make them available to the public, allowing hunters the chance to collect an additional antlerless tag for the permitted area. We use an online lottery to distribute the tags. View the 2020 DMAP Program Lottery Announcement.

Recreation Unit Closures

Please read and follow the Watershed Recreation Signs posted in these project areas.

  • Mount Royal Recreational Unit: Town of Conesville, Sullivan County. A portion of The 279 Acre Mount Royal Recreational Unit will be temporarily closed due to the construction of a pump station. Access to the unit at the intersection of NYS Route 990V and Bull Hill Road, and the areas immediately surrounding the work site will be restricted. Following construction, a portion of the unit where the pump station may remain closed. Download the Mount Royal Unit Map.
  • West Neversink Recreation Unit: Neversink Reservoir, Town of Neversink, Sullivan County. Approximately 286 acres of the recreation unit’s south western side (along Aden Hill Road between St. John’s Brook and Aden Brook) has limited access due to an active timber harvest. Within these 286 acres, recreational use is permitted November 23–27 and weekends. The remaining 922 acres of the West Neversink Recreation Unit are open to regularly permitted recreational uses. Download the West Neversink Unit Map.
  • Turkey Mountain West Recreational Unit: New Croton Reservoir, Town of Yorktown, Westchester County. Approximately 140 acres located on the eastern side of the unit, including the access and parking area on Underhill Avenue, are closed due to active timber harvesting. Download the Turkey Mountain West Recreational Unit Map.
  • Mile Shore Recreational Unit: Ashokan Reservoir, Town of Hurley, Ulster County. Approximately 76 acres located on the east end of the unit, including gates E22A and E-23 in the vicinity of Torino’s Cove, is subject to closure. Download the Mile Shore Unit Map.
  • Long Pond Recreational Unit: Town of Carmel, Putnam County. The 32 Acre Long Pond Recreational Unit is closed due to construction work on the Willow Pond spillway. Download the Long Pond Unit Map.