New hunters must complete a mandatory hunter education and safety course to obtain a hunting license in New York State. The course covers safety practices and responsibilities that every hunter must know to use a gun, muzzleloader, bow and crossbow for hunting in Upstate NY.
A bowhunter course is also required for those who wish to hunt deer or bear with a bow and arrow. It is not required if using the bow and arrow for small game or for using a crossbow for deer; however, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) still recommends the course for people to learn safety tips for using a bow and tree stand.
The waterfowl education course is not required to obtain a hunting license, but it is required to get an access permit to hunt in certain National Wildlife Refuges.
A trapper course is also required separately to obtain a trapping license and catch wild game by setting traps. This course not only covers basic safety practices and responsibilities, but trapping laws and regulations as well. It also teaches trappers how to avoid catching non-target species and prepare pelts to make them more marketable.
Hunters following the safety techniques taught in these courses have made the hunting season in Upstate NY one of the safest for outdoor recreation.