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DEC announces 25th annual Youth Waterfowl Program

  • / Updated:
  • Concetta Durso 

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the 25th annual Youth Waterfowl Program for young Long Island hunters aged 12 to 15 will be held on Saturday, Oct. 22, and Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022.

“The Youth Waterfowl Program is a staple of DEC’s efforts to encourage responsible hunters to pass down traditions to the next generation and grow New York’s environmental stewards,” said Commissioner Seggos. “The abundant hunting opportunities on Long Island are the perfect setting to share the skills necessary to become safe and responsible members of the hunting community.”

Photo courtesy of NYSDEC – Past participants of DEC’s Annual Youth Waterfowl Program

DEC collaborates on the youth program with the Suffolk County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation, Peconic River Sportsman’s Club, South Shore Waterfowlers Association, New York Conservation Officers Association, and Ducks Unlimited.

The Youth Waterfowl Program helps prepare junior hunters prepare for the Youth Waterfowl Days being held this year on Nov. 5 and 6, for the Long Island zone. The program includes instruction in:

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  • hunting ethics and regulations;
  • waterfowl identification;
  • firearms safety review;
  • retriever and decoy use;
  • cold water survival and boating safety; and
  • trap shooting.

The Youth Waterfowl Program instructional course is set for Oct. 22, and the designated hunting day is Nov. 5. Applications for the Youth Waterfowl Program are due by Oct. 14. Space is limited to 30 students. DEC will follow appropriate COVID-19 precautions to ensure a safe learning environment. These protocols are subject to change based upon New York State Department of Health guidance.

Since its inception in 1998, the Long Island Youth Waterfowl Program has trained approximately 650 young waterfowl hunters.

Experienced, waterfowl hunting volunteers act as mentors to help guide participants through the program and encourage youth hunters to become part of the long tradition of waterfowl hunting on Long Island. All new applicants must attend the instructional day at Peconic River Sportsman’s Club on Oct. 22, which qualifies participants for the youth hunt at Southaven County Park or Hubbard County Park on Nov. 5.

Participants must be 12 to 15 years of age by Nov. 5, have completed a hunter education course by Oct. 22, possess a junior (small game) hunting license by Nov. 5, and be registered with the Harvest Information Program. For further information regarding the Youth Waterfowl Program or to sign up for the Oct. 22 instructional class, please contact the DEC Region 1 Hunter Education Program at (631) 444-0255 or e-mail [email protected]. For more information on the Youth Waterfowl Hunt, visit DEC’s website.