Earlier this year the NYSDEC adopted a regulation that allows the taking of small game with an air gun. The air gun must be no smaller than 17 caliber and have a velocity of at least 600 feet per second. An air gun can be used to take any small game that can be taken with a .22 rimfire round.
The NYSDEC press release:
Air Guns Now Allowed for Small Game Hunting. DEC has adopted a new regulation that will allow small game hunters to go afield with an air gun. Modern air guns are very advanced and many are designed to effectively take small game. Prior to the recent change, DEC regulations did not clearly allow their use for hunting. The new regulation permits the use of air guns that shoot a pellet that is .17 caliber or larger, using either a rifled or smooth bore barrel. The air gun must produce a pellet velocity of at least 600 feet per second. Air guns may be used to take any small game species that may also be taken with a .22 caliber rimfire firearm. This includes rabbits, squirrels, ruffed grouse, and hunted furbearer species, such as fox, coyote, and raccoon. Modern air guns are also available in “big bore” calibers and are very suitable for larger mammals, including furbearers. At the present time, air guns are not allowed for hunting big game. Review the new regulation online.