The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is accepting entries for a special permit to hunt waterfowl at two popular wildlife management areas (WMAs) in Western New York. The special permit will allow for hunting on the first Saturday and first Sunday of the Western Zone duck season at Oak Orchard and Tonawanda WMAs. The WMAs are primarily in Genesee and Niagara counties, with a small portion in Orleans and Erie counties.
Hunters need to fill out an online form to apply for the lottery. The deadline to apply is Sept. 15. The opening weekend waterfowl hunting permits will be distributed by a random lottery. Western Zone duck season opening weekend is Oct. 15-16. For each of the two days, DEC typically issues 100 permits for Tonawanda WMA and 50 permits for Oak Orchard WMA. However, this year, due to the dry conditions, DEC may reduce the number of permits issued.
For questions or concerns about the permit lottery, or access to the only entry form, contact the DEC Iroquois wildlife field office at 585-948-5182. Anyone unable to complete the online survey can contact the office before the Sept. 15 deadline.
A press release noted, “The special permits are part of DEC's ongoing efforts to promote hunter safety, reduce hunter conflicts, and increase the quality of hunting on days when these areas receive the greatest use.”