Is It Illegal To Kill Pigeons In NYC [Check Rules Here] 

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Killing an animal is inhumane. Many states across the USA have labeled it illegal. However, some animals are annoying, including pigeons. They damage your house property and carry diseases dangerous for you and the pets. Therefore, each state has its own rules about the killing of pigeons. So, is it illegal to kill pigeons in NYC?  

It is not illegal to kill pigeons in NYC. According to the state rule, you can kill annoying pigeons on your property only if you have a hunting license. It is illegal to trap pigeons of any species unless it is the cause of annoyance and destruction. However, it is against the state rules to kill homing, leg bands, and Antwerp pigeons.  

Continue reading the articles to find details on the rules regarding hunting and killing pigeons in NYC.

Which Type Of Pigeons Are Illegal To Hunt And Eat In NYC?

It is illegal to hunt and eat homing, leg bands, and Antwerp pigeons in NYC. Plus, you cannot hunt pigeons in NYC without a permit. Hunting for any species of pigeons in NYC without a license issued by the state is illegal, and you can end up in jail.

The government is lenient toward farmers and property owners. However, hunting or killing endangered species is not allowed.  

For centuries, people are hunting and eating pigeons. Due to this practice, many pigeon species have gone endangered. Therefore, the government of the United States allows the hunting of some species and forbids the killing of endangered pigeon species. It is illegal to hunt and eat the following,

Homing Pigeons 

Homing pigeons are migratory birds. According to the migratory bird act of 1918, hunting birds that move according to the season is illegal.  

Leg Band Pigeons

Leg bands pigeons belong to local clubs or national organizations; they have coded bands on its leg for their identification. Only owners of leg band pigeons can hunt them.  

Antwerp Pigeons

Antwerp pigeons are fancy and are protected as their population is at risk of ending. Therefore, according to NYC state rules, you cannot hunt and kill Antwerp pigeons.  

Why Is It Illegal To Hunt And Eat Pigeon In NYC?

It is not illegal to hunt and eat pigeons in NYC if you possess a permit and hunting license. In fact, Americans enjoy eating pigeon meat, which is served in many fine dining restaurants in NYC.

The local government has no restriction on people shooting pigeons on their private property, even without a license.

Every year there is a pigeon hunting competition in a sports festival organized by local authorities at central park. Many NY residents participate in the competition.

Hunting pigeons is encouraged by many local authorities and people in NY state because they are known as rats with wings. However, certain species of pigeons are not legal to hunt and eat in NYC.

Can You Kill Pigeons On Your Property In NYC?

Yes. You can kill pigeons on your property in NYC with or without a license. However, it is better to check with the local authorities beforehand because it is illegal to shoot certain species of pigeons. You can kill any annoying species of pigeon that is damaging your property.  

Before shooting the pigeon, find alternate methods to remove it. Shooting the pigeons residing on the property must be the last step when no other trick is working.  

Trapping pigeons is legal in NYC only when it is the cause of destruction and annoyance. You will need a hunting license to trap pigeons on your property. However, shooting and trapping the pigeons must be a humane way.

What Are The Other Pigeon Control And Removal Methods In NYC?

Pest infestation in NYC residential areas is common and causes distress to many locals. Look for other alternatives to eliminate pigeons before killing them.

If the pigeon infestation persists after all these tips and tricks, the only option is to kill them. Below are a few tips; you can utilize to eliminate pigeons from your property before shooting them.  

To prevent pigeons from trespassing and nesting on your property, install nets in the outdoor areas, especially in high-rise buildings.  

Install bird spikes on roofs, towers, awnings, garden walls, and window sills. Pigeons prefer to land on a flat surface. The bird spikes prevent pigeons from landing on them.  

Bird wires are a cheap and effective option to prevent pigeons from landing on window sills and attics. The nylon-coated steel cloth mesh makes it difficult for pigeons to stand.  

Laws Governing About Pigeon Shooting In NYC State

The government of the United States has specific laws regarding the hunting of pigeons. Some rules are general and are implemented across all US, while others are certain to each state. These laws assist people in shooting pigeons in the most humane way.  

General License To Kill Pigeons  

Anyone experiencing a pigeon-related problem on their private property in NYC can shoot it with or without a license. However, it is not legal to shoot pigeons in a residential area.

You can only shoot without a permit when there is no one living within the range of 600 meters. Shooting pigeons in NYC might not be possible unless you are a good shooter.  

Minors under the 12 are not allowed to use a firearm or bow for hunting purposes. Junior hunters within the age limit of 12 to 16 must inform local authorities and should have a license to shoot pigeons even on their own property.  

Migratory Bird Treaty Act

The migratory bird treaty act is a pact between four countries, including the US, Canada, Mexico, and Japan. This rule was implemented in the US in 1918.

According to this rule, it is illegal to kill, capture, hunt, sell, or trade; migratory bird species. This act included all the common birds found in all four countries. This law includes all the pigeons that migrate according to the season in NYC, like a homing bird.

How Can You Shoot And Hunt Pigeons In NYC State? 

Pigeons are not harmless. The pigeon infestation on private properties can cause a lot of destruction. Therefore, for centuries people have been shooting down pigeons to get rid of them.

On the other hand, people also shoot pigeons simply for pleasure and to enjoy the pigeon meat. To shoot and hunt pigeons in NY state, follow the procedure below.

  • Hunters need a license issued by the local authority. The hunting license depends upon age and residential status.  
  • You will have to pay fees for the license, which are different for each area.  
  • Below the age of 16 must possess a junior hunter license, and those above 16 must have an adult hunting license.  
  • Landowners possessing a large area can shoot pigeons on their property without a license only if there is no residential area for the next 600 meters.  
  • After securing the hunting license, select a good firearm that can kill the bird within microseconds without causing much pain.  
  • When hunting for pleasure, select a place with a dense pigeon population to achieve more targets.  
  • You can also use pigeon decoys to attract the pigeons to the hunting area.  


It is allowed to kill a pigeon in NYC, but it requires a license. The pigeon infestation is usual across the state. These birds cause a lot of destruction, including damaging the building structure and eating the crops. The state allows people to kill pigeons on private property without a license only when the pigeon infestation is severe.  

Many pigeon species live in NYC, including rock dove and American pigeon. However, it is illegal to hunt certain species, like homing birds and leg band pigeons. Hunting pigeons for pleasure or eating requires a license and state permit, which you can obtain from a local authority office.