Under previous law, crossbow hunting is off limits to all but a select few -- mostly the physically disabled -- making New York one of only two states to ban the activity. The new law will promote greater use, defining acceptable crossbows for hunting deer and bear as those that use 14-inch and longer arrows and include a working safety. Specifically, the new law specifies that crossbows shall be authorized for any big game season when the shotgun or muzzleloader is permitted. Training on the safe use of crossbows will also become part of the curriculum of basic hunter education courses.
The law also enables the state Department of Environmental Conservation to establish a crossbow-hunting season and green-light crossbow use on private property during big game gun seasons.
The new law also eases the requirements for physically disabled persons to obtain permission to use a longbow modified with a mechanical device to help draw, hold, and release the long bow.