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New York: Legislation to Expand Hunting Opportunities Awaiting Consideration in Albany!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Assembly Bill 924 and Senate Bill 6793, bills authorizing Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to promulgate rules for the use of crossbows for hunting in the Empire State, are pending consideration in the Assembly and Senate Environmental Conservation Committees, respectively.

The aggressive expansion of hunter choice and opportunity by DEC is needed at a time when hunter retention and recruitment rates are declining at unsustainable rates.  For every 100 hunters who permanently quit hunting in New York, only 55 replace them.  If this trend is allowed to persist, our proud hunting heritage will be placed in serious jeopardy.  This legislation is one significant step forward in the effort to reverse this decline.  Opposition is coming from a group of vertical bow hunters who are simply opposed to sharing the woods with more hunters.  Nothing in the proposed legislation changes a single thing that “traditional” bow hunters can do today.  It does not introduce the noise of rifle fire into the bow hunting season, something that would, indeed, alter deer behavior.  The bow hunting season would remain the “quiet season.”  Interestingly, the arguments against the inclusion of crossbows during the archery-only season are the same arguments that were once used by “traditional” bow hunters to oppose the inclusion of compound bows.  They argued that it would spell the end of bow hunting.  They claimed compound bows weren’t bows, were too easy to shoot, allowed for too much technological advancement, and would result in the killing of too many deer.  

The opponents were wrong then and they are wrong now.  If the DEC chooses to expand crossbow hunting opportunities as authorized by these bills, it will enhance hunter participation and recruitment during the archery season.  Due to physical limitations, bow hunter participation usually declines dramatically when hunters reach their mid-forties.  In states that have implemented full inclusion of crossbows, participation remains fairly constant into the hunters’ seventies.  This provides a significant expansion of time available for hunters to recruit family, friends, coworkers and others into the hunting ranks.  Also, younger hunters who lack the physical strength to draw a vertical hunting bow will be able to hunt during the bow season for the first time.  For those truly interested in saving our hunting heritage, these are all good things.

Please take time today to contact lawmakers and ask that they support A924 and S6793.  More hunters entering the fields and woods of New York would be a good thing for wildlife conservation and the preservation of our hunting heritage.

State Assembly Members can be reached by phone at (518) 455-4100.  To find your Assembly Member, please click here

Your State Senator can be contacted through the Senate switchboard at (518) 455-2800.  To find your State Senator, please click here

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