Democrats Giveth and Democrats Taketh Away by Tom Reynolds
The NY State Budget was passed and it includes legislation lowering the age for deer hunting with a firearm and crossbow in participating Upstate counties. But Counties Must Adopt a Local Law Allowing Youth Hunters 12-13 to Hunt Deer per ECL-0935.
For nearly two decades, youth aged 12 and 13 in New York have been safely hunting deer and bear with archery equipment and small game with firearms. But until now, New York didn't allow 12- and 13-year-olds to hunt big game with a firearm. Environmental Conservation Law 11-0935 is a temporary measure that will pilot program lowering the age through 2023. It includes the following provisions:
· Allows 12- and 13-year-old licensed hunters to hunt deer with a rifle, shotgun, or muzzle loading firearm in areas these firearms may be used during hunting season;
· Allows 12- and 13-year-old licensed hunters to hunt deer with a crossbow during the times when other hunters may use crossbows;
· Requires that these youth hunters be supervised by experienced and licensed adult hunters at all times; and
· Requires the youth hunter and adult mentor to wear fluorescent orange or pink clothing and to remain at ground level while hunting deer with a crossbow, rifle, shotgun, or muzzleloader.
The legislation requires each county to "opt-in" to the program by adopting a local law allowing for 12- and 13-year-olds to hunt deer in accordance with ECL 11-0935. The legislation specifically excludes Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Queens, Richmond, Suffolk, and Westchester counties from participation in the new program.
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos enthusiastically promoted this law and pointed out the societal advantages of deer hunting when he said, “Deer hunting…provides millions of pounds of quality food to New Yorkers while reducing the negative impacts of abundant deer populations on agriculture, forests, and communities...I encourage all upstate counties to consider 'opting-in' to support New York's young hunters and their potential contributions to deer management."
Contact your County Executives and legislators and request that your county ‘opt in’ on allowing licensed youth aged 12-13 to hunt big game with a firearm and/or crossbow.
Important Note: While this is a rare NY law which encourages gun use, Federal House of Representatives proposed bill HR127 would require these same 12 and 13 years old and their adult supervisors to each pay $800 for a liability insurance policy. But don’t worry about the cost to these young people since HR127 would also make it illegal for anyone under 21 to possess a firearm. In essence, if HR127 passes, it makes the above change to NY law meaningless.
To all you hunters who have said the gun control laws won’t affect you…guess what? Do you have $800 to pay, every year, to possess a firearm? The actual cost of deer meat will be going sky-high if HR127 passes and ”the negative impacts of abundant deer populations on agriculture, forests, and communities” will sky-rocket. Contact your Congressperson and tell him/her that you oppose HR127.