By Will Elliott
New York –-(Ammoland.com)- Add New York State to the 27 states allowing crossbow use for hunting during part or all of an open archery hunting season in the United States.
Entered as an item in part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s budget, crossbow use successfully passed senate and assembly debate and approval officially on Tuesday (April 1 2014) with some stipulations.
Anti- and pro-crossbow factions have debated in New York State for decades. Anti-crossbow proponents, mainly the New York Bowhunters (NYB) organization, began in 1991 opposing it use. In recent years, NYB lobbyists supported crossbow use only during firearms seasons, not during any open archery seasons.
Legislation passed in 2010 allowed crossbow use only during firearms seasons, not during any open archery season in the state. That legislation passed with a sunset clause and the hunt ended December, 2012. Hunters could not use a crossbow in any 2013 season.
Senator Patrick Gallivan (R. Elma) and Assemblyman Sean Ryan (D., Buffalo) had proposed recent bills to grant the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) crossbow regulation. Those bill proposals were stalled in committees, as previous legislation been held up in environment committees.
Gallivan and Ryan were principal advocates in supporting the inclusion of crossbow legalization in the Cuomo budget, despite continued opposition from anti-crossbow voices that most recently included the Humane Society of the U.S.
“Pro-crossbow groups included the NRA, Safari Club International, NYS Conservation Council NYS Rifle and Pistol, the Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, The NYS Farm Bureau, and county federations statewide,” said Rick McDermott with the New York State Crossbow Coalition.
Wording of the Gallivan-Ryan legislation proposal to legalize crossbow use entered the governor’s budget as an item; opponents nearly had all crossbow items eliminated during discussions in March. Statewide input from pro-crossbow individuals and groups prompted legislators and the governor’s officials to retain the item and continue discussing details.
After much deliberation, a compromise opened crossbow use statewide except on Long Island and in Westchester County for hunters aged 14 and older during small game season and for parts of big game seasons.
Crossbow use will be granted during firearms big-game seasons and during the last 10 days of the Northern Zone and the last 14 days of the Southern Zone archery seasons as well as the open wild turkey seasons.
First-time hunters can use a crossbow by successfully completing either a hunter or an archery certification class.
Gallivan said that the DEC has been given authority to include crossbow use starting with upcoming hunting season openings, adding, “This is now written into law and it would take legislation, not just one faction, to eliminate crossbow use.” He concluded, “The crossbow law will allow more female, disabled, and older hunters who lack the upper body strength for a regular bow to hunt deer with arrows.”
New York Bowhunters spokesmen and other anti-crossbow groups could not be reached for comments on the new legislation.
About Will Elliott
Will Elliott is a lifelong writer with 55+ years in print, 26 with Buffalo News as well New York Outdoor News. Publishing and photo credits include Walleye, Great Lakes Angler, NY Outdoor Times and regional publications. Contact him [email protected]