DEC Announces Proposed Rule Changes to Implement New Crossbow Hunting Law

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Public Comments Accepted Through July 21

Albany, NY - June 24, 2014 - With new state legislation authorizing the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to allow 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, 2014.
 
"Crossbow hunting is growing across the country and Governor 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 take 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, 2014 publication of the New York State Register and on DEC's website under Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources Proposed, Emergency and recently adopted regulations. For a general summary of the law, see DEC's information on crossbow hunting. DEC's position on crossbow use for deer hunting is provided in Appendix 5 of the NYS Deer Management Plan.
 
Governor Cuomo signed the changes to Environmental Conservation Law in April, 2014. DEC's proposal maximizes the use of crossbows allowed under law's provisions.
 
Citizens who wish to make formal public comments through July 21 may do so by sending an email to: wildliferegs@gw.dec.state.ny.us (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.
 
In support of this initiative, this year's budget includes $6 million in NY Works funding to support creating 50 new land and water access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have not reached their full potential. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the 2014-15 budget includes $4 million to repair the state's fish hatcheries; and renews and allows expanded use of crossbows for hunting in New York State.
 
This year's budget also reduces short-term fishing licenses fees; increases the number of authorized statewide free fishing days to eight from two; authorizes DEC to offer 10 days of promotional prices for hunting, fishing and trapping licenses; and authorizes free Adventure Plates for new lifetime license holders, discounted Adventure Plates for existing lifetime license holders and regular fee Adventure Plates for annual license holders.
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