With new state legislation authorizing the Department of Environmental Conservation to allow the taking of big game (deer and bear) or small game by the use of a crossbow at certain times and places in New York, DEC is now accepting public comment on proposed regulation changes so crossbows may be a legal implement for the fall 2014 hunting seasons. DEC will accept written public comment on the proposed hunting rule changes through July 21.
"Crossbow hunting is growing across the country, and Gov. Cuomo's commitment to increase hunting opportunities here in New York state is demonstrated by the signing of the new law to authorize the use of crossbows for hunting under certain circumstances," said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens.
Specifically, the law changes authorize DEC to:
•Allow the take of deer and bear by the use of a crossbow during a limited portion of the early bowhunting seasons (14 days at the end of the existing bowhunting season in the southern zone, and 10 days in the northern zone), and during any big game hunting season in which use of a firearm (shotgun, rifle or muzzleloader) is allowed, except for the Youth Deer Hunting weekend and the January firearms deer season on Long Island.
•Allow the harvesting of small game mammals, wild turkey and other upland game birds by the use of a crossbow during their respective hunting seasons.
DEC's proposed rule changes also clarify the technical descriptions of a legal crossbow and the license privilege and training requirements for any person hunting with a crossbow, as specified in legislation. The new law prohibits all hunting with crossbows in Suffolk, Nassau and Westchester counties or in the archery-only portions of Albany and Monroe counties, and DEC's proposed rule reflects these restrictions.
Details of the proposed rule can be viewed in the June 4 publication of the New York State Register and on DEC's website at www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/34113.html#Part1Part2p. For a general summary of the law, see DEC's information on crossbow hunting at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/68802.html.
DEC's position on crossbow use for deer hunting is provided in Appendix 5 of the state deer management plan (www.dec.ny.gov/docs/wildlife_pdf/deerplan2012.pdf).
Cuomo signed the changes to Environmental Conservation Law in April. DEC's proposal maximizes the use of crossbows allowed under the law's provisions.
Citizens who wish to make formal public comments through July 21 may do so by sending an email to: [email protected] (include "crossbow regulations" in the subject line) or by writing to: Mr. Bryan L. Swift, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Bureau of Wildlife, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754.
The "NY Open for Fishing and Hunting" initiative is an effort to improve recreational opportunities for sportsmen and women, and to boost tourism activities throughout the state. This initiative includes streamlining fishing and hunting licenses, reducing license fees, improving access for fishing and increasing hunting opportunities in New York state.