New York Considers Allowing Crossbow Use for Big Game Hunting

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New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced proposed regulation changes that will allow the use of crossbows for big game hunting and eliminate a permit requirement for certain physically disabled hunters to use special archery equipment during any big game or small game hunting season.

"The proposed changes will provide our sportsmen and sportswomen additional opportunities while hunting afield this coming fall," Commissioner Martens said. "The popularity of crossbows is growing in New York and the use of modified equipment is in high demand to meet the needs of our hunters who are temporarily or permanently disabled."

The proposed regulations implement new legislation authorizing DEC to allow hunters to take big game (deer and bear) with the use of a crossbow during regular big game hunting seasons in areas where a shotgun or muzzleloader is permitted, and during all late muzzleloader seasons. In accordance with the new legislation, crossbows cannot be used during the early bear or archery seasons or in any of the "archery only" wildlife management units. Furthermore, hunters may use a crossbow only after they have completed required training in the safe use of hunting with a crossbow and responsible crossbow hunting practices. DEC has proposed implementing the training requirement via on-line education tools, and in the upcoming 2011-2012 New York State Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide. Hunters would be required to carry afield a certificate verifying that they have completed this training.

Hunters who are incapable of drawing, holding, and releasing a (vertical) longbow because of a permanent physical disability will continue to be allowed to take big game or small game by the use of a specially-equipped longbow. However, the new legislation replaces the former "Modified Archery Permit" with a new "Modified Longbow Authorization" allowing hunters with permanent or temporary physical disabilities to hunt both big game and small game in all hunting seasons. DEC has proposed that to qualify for this authorization, disabled hunters would need to carry afield while hunting, a standard department form, signed by their physician verifying that the hunter meets the qualifications established to use a longbow equipped with a mechanical device to hold and release the bowstring. The required form would be the only acceptable and valid form for verification of the medical condition of the hunter. The form would be available from any DEC wildlife office or from the DEC website. Disabled hunters would no longer have to apply for and obtain a special permit from DEC for this privilege.

A detailed description of the proposal and instructions for providing comments are available at www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/propregulations.html. The proposed rulemaking can also be viewed in the May 25, 2011 publication of the New York State Register at http://www.dos.state.ny.us/info/register.htm.

DEC will be accepting public comments on the proposal through July 11, 2011.

Comments

groovy mike's picture

Maybe there is still time for them to sort it out....

This is one of those good news and bad news all wrapped together sort of news releases.  On the one hand it is good news that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has announced changes that will allow the use of crossbows for hunting and eliminate a very limited number of permit requirements.  I'm all for allowing hunters to take deer and bear with a crossbow, but the idea that a crossbow is unacceptable for use during the regular archery season seems ludicrous to me.    I am not an archery hunter.  I tried it and didn’t care for it.  But I am however an addicted rifle hunter.  I was hoping that all this talk of expanding the ability to hunt with a crossbow would provide an opportunity for me to expand my hunting seasons. I was eager to try crossbow hunting, but if crossbows are not among the allowable tools for their regular archery season, I don’t think I have much use for them.  I'm not willing to sacrifice any rifle hunting time in trade for time afield hunting with a crossbow.  In fact, the ONLY application I see for using a crossbow during the regular or muzzle loading season is if you find yourself hunting in areas in close proximity to homes, or businesses etcetera where the noise of a shotgun or rifle being fired would be unwelcome.  Maybe using the crossbow in those sorts of fringe hunting areas is the answer that I would be looking for, but that is a very limited application.  I wonder if you could use crossbows to hunt geese on lake shores where you don’t want to disturb the residents in their homes at the water’s edge? 

The idea that New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has reduced the permit requirements for handicap hunters is completely offset in my mind by their introduction of a new requirement for a vastly more numerous number of non-handicap hunters in their new requirement that New York hunters may use a crossbow only after they have completed required training in the safe use of hunting with a crossbow and responsible crossbow hunting practices and then be required to carry afield a certificate verifying that they have completed this training. This would mean that all of us who have already completed our hunter safety classes, and the archery safety classes, would need to go back for an additional crossbow use safety class.  I'm all for safety, but that’s over-kill to me.  Maybe there is still time for them to sort it out during the public comment period but that’s nearly over.

Thanks for the links and information to keep us posted on this developing issue.

hunter25's picture

After readingthis one over I

After readingthis one over I don't really see why too many people would have a problem with it. I know most bow hunters don't want them in the regular archery season but this new change would limit them to the muzzle loader or I think shotgun season. So the people that really wanted to use them would finally get the chance even though in my opinion they would actually still be at a slight disadvantage.