New York lawmakers approved Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2014-2015 budget on Tuesday, which gives the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) the authority to set regulations for a big game crossbow season. This is good news for New York’s community of devoted crossbow hunters, who have been sidelined since a law that allowed crossbows to be used in taking big game expired in 2012.
“It will increase interest in people being in the woods,” state Senator Patrick Gallivan (E-Elma) told The Capital.
Last year Gallivan sponsored Senate Bill 1699-B to empower the DEC to open a crossbow season.
“No issue looms larger for the sporting community than crossbow. For years crossbow enthusiasts have been forced to travel, spend their time and spend their money in any one of New York’s neighboring states that already allow crossbow hunting,” Gallivan said in a prior press release. “I have solicited the opinions and the input from dozens of hunting organizations and the overwhelming majority have indicated their desire to see crossbow hunting allowed in New York. It’s time to deliver.”
Not all hunters are happy with the reintroduction of a crossbow season, however. Some traditional bowhunters hold a dim view of crossbows, believing that modern crossbows offer an unfair and unsporting advantage in hunting game. Supporters of crossbow hunting reject this claim, saying instead that crossbows make hunting more accessible. Crossbow enthusiasts also argue that the easy-to-learn nature of the tool make it more appealing to youth hunters. In addition, crossbow hunting is growing in popularity in many states.
According to a press release by Governor Cuomo’s office, the upcoming crossbow season will take place through firearms season and portions of archery season. Exemptions are made for Long Island and Westchester County, where crossbow hunting will remain restricted.
The 2014-2015 budget plan also included $4 million in expanding the state’s fish hatchery system, $6 million to improve access for anglers, hunters, campers and outdoor enthusiasts, and other enhancements to New York’s outdoor recreational activities.