hunting-standHunting is a very complicated topic. Where does one start?  The New York Hunting & Trapping 2015-2016 Official Guide to Laws and Regulations defines hunting as:

To pursue, shoot, kill or 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 taking wildlife.

Why Do People Hunt?

These days hunting is most often referred to as “sporthunting.” Sporthunters can be a combination of trophy hunters and meat hunters. When the average person is asked why people hunt they say it is done for food and population control. After years of study we have come to the conclusion that there is much more to the hunting story. In an attempt to understand what drives people to kill wildlife, some of our members have attended hunting organization meetings, outdoor shows and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation forums. They have watched videos and read books and even participated in debates with hunters on radio and television programs.

Some have even attended hunter training classes, passed the courses and purchased hunting licenses. They have spent many hours in the field and seen firsthand how some hunting is actually done.

These days it seems it is rare that a hunter in New York State has to kill wild animals for food or go hungry. While they may enjoy eating wild game, they also eat meat from the grocery store.

Population Control?

Often hunters will proclaim they must kill wildlife to control their populations or “save the animal from disease or starvation.” The issue of wildlife population control is much more involved than that. Wildlife populations respond to human hunting by either increasing the numbers of young they have or, depending on the species, actually become threatened.

"Canned" Hunts

Then there are the “canned hunts” or hunting preserves.  There are such places in New York State…even in WNY. Hunters pay for the privilege of killing certain desired animals. The hunters are often guaranteed a kill. The animals offered for killing depends on the preserve. Some offer such animals as trophy deer, elk, wild boar and sheep. This can hardly be considered population control—it should be considered “trophy hunting.”

There are also preserves that provide various birds to hunt. The birds are set out or released for hunters. In a local newspaper a hunting preserve owner described how he “dizzies” birds by swinging them around before releasing them for the hunters. Others have tower shoots where they release the birds from towers to hunters waiting below. There is a “put and kill” program for pheasants in NYS. Money is spent to raise pheasants and then put out for hunters to kill. Obviously, this is not hunting for population control. Hunters are even given the location and when some pheasants will be released.

Many Different Kinds of Animals Are Hunted

When hunting is mentioned, the first thing people seem to think of is deer. There are many more hunting seasons than deer season and even many different deer seasons. The following is an idea of what wildlife can be hunted in NYS:

Big Game

Deer and Bear: Hunted with bow and arrow, crossbow, muzzle loader, handgun, shotgun and rifle. Seasons as well as limits on weapons used in certain areas are listed in the NY official guide.

Small Game

Frogs: A fishing or hunting license is required to take frogs with a spear, club, hook, or by hand.

Turtles: Snapping turtles—gun, bow or crossbow

Diamondback terrapin: Hunted with dip nets, hand capture, seine nets and traps

Cottontail rabbit, varying hare rabbit, gray, black & fox squirrel, pheasant, ruffed grouse, bobwhite quail


Migratory Game Birds: Wild ducks, geese, brant, coot, rails, gallinules, woodcock and snipe


Bobcats, red and gray fox, coyote, raccoon, skunk, mink, weasel and opossum: Furbearers can be hunted with handgun, shotgun, muzzleloading rifle, crossbow or airgun

As you can see by the above, there is a plethora of animals and seasons so hunters can pursue their recreational killing.



"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated" ~ Mahatma Gandhi

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