As we wait for hunting season to arrive, it’s easy to forget about other opportunities throughout the year. Some animals are considered unprotected or a nuisance species. Many of those in the agricultural industry, particularly organic farmers, pay the price for letting these animals run loose with little control. New York, like many states, allows you to hunt some animals year-round, as both their numbers and their impact on the land can be detrimental. Warmer weather doesn’t mean letting your favorite firearm (or other hunting gear) gather dust. You’ll still need a small game hunting license to target these critters in New York and most other states, but for the most part they don’t have season dates or bag limits.
Be sure to check the latest requirements from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation before pursuing any of these animals.
Anyone who has tried or is trying to grow saplings in porcupine territory immediately understands the damage a porky can do to saplings. Porcupines are excellent climbers and will often strip the bark around a trunk or branch, which in turn will weaken the tree and make it more vulnerable to insect and disease damage. Porcupines have even been known to gnaw on wooden buildings like sheds or hunting cabins, damaging them costly. Not to mention the damage they can do to your hunting dog or any pet. They mostly keep to themselves and roam at night, but they can be a real threat to your property.
Those who have cabins in the woods or wooded areas around lakes will tell you how difficult red squirrels are to deal with. They will chew through siding, bird feeders, and sheds, and they are nearly impossible to stop. Capture and relocation usually only lead to their return or replacement in a short time. They eat planted seeds, even in your garden, but you can hunt them year-round in New York. Air rifles and pellet guns are good options for throwing squirrels out of trees, but when using a .22, make sure you shoot from the ground or horizontally rather than from high up in the trees for security reasons. security.
The scourge of the ubiquitous bird-feeding community, the starling comes in groups, eating everything in sight, then moving on to its neighbor’s feeding stations. They seem endless and appear everywhere. Starlings can only be hunted responsibly outside of city limits with a small game license, but they can be stopped with even the smallest shotgun and BB gun. Ravens, on the other hand, are considered unprotected in the state, but can only be hunted from early September to the end of the following March. You do not need a federal migratory bird stamp for any of these bird species.
Pigeons were brought to New York during colonization and were intended to be a kind of livestock. Over time, they have fallen off the menu and spread beyond sustainable numbers, making them a year-round target for hunters in the state. They have probably stayed longer than expected, but the biggest challenge is finding a non-urban area to hunt them, as they feel at home in big cities. Good places to find pigeons include abandoned buildings, bridge pilings, and barns.
The groundhog, whistle, groundhog or whatever you call them, burrow under your sheds, houses and gardens. One groundhog with unlimited access to an orchard can decimate it in a matter of hours, and several groundhogs can completely destroy it in a day. The worst part is that they will simply move onto your lawn below. Ask any farmer and he’ll tell you what a scourge these earth beavers are. They can be hunted up close with small arms like a pistol, or from a distance with your favorite rifle, but you’ll find they’re not that easy to stalk. If you think there’s a groundhog or two in the area, blow a loud kiss or whistle, as they’ve been known to get up to investigate and give you a clear shot.
New York also lists a couple of other species to hunt year-round: the English Sparrow and the Monk Parrot. Believe it or not, there were no sparrows in New York some 200 years ago, but now they number in the millions. Brought here on a whim in the late 1800s, they are now as common as dandelions in your lawn. As for the monk parrot, it is said to be a refugee from the southern hemisphere that escaped into the wild 50 or 60 years ago and is now fair game in New York if you can find one.
See my book “The Hunter’s Way” by HarperCollins. Be sure to follow my website, or on Facebook and YouTube.