Small game hunting season in New York is too good to get so little love

I don’t often hear a lot of discussion these days about small game. Usually when December rolls around, when hunters mention “the end of hunting season,” they’re talking about the close of deer season. The excitement generated by big game hunting (deer and bear season) overshadows almost everything else.

A couple of notable exceptions are pheasant and turkey, both of which are popular. Pheasant season stays open through Feb. 28, but honestly, the birds you may be hunting are on reserves or have escaped from reserves; there is scant evidence of wild pheasants left here in New York. Even most of the birds on state land can be traced back to the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Reynolds Game Farm near Ithaca in Tompkins County. The remainder comes from commercial game preserves or club-sponsored preserves scattered throughout the state. They might be the occasional wild bird, but they would be few and far between.

A ringed rooster pheasant

According to the DEC, while there are more than 60,000 small game hunters in New York, they just don’t get the same attention as big game.

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