New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens today 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.