The NYS Adventure License: An All-Purpose Outdoor Pass

By Ken Schultz

Feb 09, 2022

Here’s how the NYS Adventure License serves as an all-outdoors pass for those with permanent hunting and fishing licenses and boating certifications

There was a time when my wallet was crammed with “stuff” - including assorted paper fishing and hunting licenses from various states, plus paper boat registrations.

What is a NYS Adventure License?

With digital record keeping I’ve been able to lighten that wallet, but if you’re a New Yorker, you can do that with the NYS Adventure License, which could have helped me when I was a resident of that state. In essence, the NYS Adventure License centralizes a person’s outdoor license(s) info and other certifications onto a New York-issued photo document, which for most people will be a driver’s license. It’s sort of an all-purpose outdoor pass.

How Can You Get A NYS Adventure License?

Need to prove that you have a New York State boating safety certificate? Or have a New York lifetime fishing license? Through the NYS Adventure License program, you can just show your currently valid driver’s license.

As New York puts it, the New York Adventure License is “a way for holders of a New York State-issued photo document (driver license, learner permit, or non-driver identification card) to have any of the various lifetime sporting/recreational licenses, privileges, or certifications you have purchased from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and/or the Office of Parks and Historical Preservation (Parks) added to your DMV-issued photo document.”

Icons can be placed at the bottom of your photo document to indicate that you’ve obtained or completed specific licenses, privileges, and/or certifications. These include Sportsman, Boating Safety, Small/Big Game, Fishing, Bow Hunting, Muzzle Loading, Trapping, and the Empire Passport. To see what the icons look like visit the program’s web page. Info is also there about how to get a current license or other document reissued to include these icons, as well as what, if any, fees may be required and how long the process will take.

Check out the NYS Adventure License if you’re a New Yorker. Keep in mind that this is not for annually issued licenses, just permanent ones. Although I’m no longer a New York resident, my New York lifetime sportsman license, purchased decades ago, entitles me to hunt and fish in that state for the rest of my life. I also have lifetime hunting and lifetime fishing licenses from my current state of residence, and wish these could be noted on my driver’s license as New York is doing.

Ken Schultz
Ken Schultz
Ken Schultz was a longtime staff writer for Field & Stream magazine and is the former Fishing Editor of He’s written and photographed nineteen books on sportfishing topics, plus an annual fishing tips calendar, and his writing has appeared on various websites for more than two decades. His author website is