New York hunters may finally be allowed to use their crossbows for hunting, thanks to language in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s spending plan. According to The Post-Standard, state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens said hunters may be able to use crossbows as early as this fall if Governor Cuomo’s budget plan is passed.

The spending plan would give the DEC the authority to set regulations for crossbow hunting, although Martens admits the department is unsure what parameters to set.

“We haven’t thought it out yet,” Martens said.

Many of the groups that advocated for the legalization of crossbows in hunting is calling this turn of events a victory. The New York Crossbow Coalition, which is comprised of hunting and conservation associations, recently praised the governor in a statement that called the ban on crossbows “arbitrary.”

Last year, state Senator Patrick M. Gallivan (R-Elma) sponsored Senate Bill 1699-B to empower the DEC to set regulations for a crossbow season. At the time, Gallivan commented that the overwhelming majority of New York sportsmen’s associations approve of crossbow hunting in the state.

“It’s foolish to deny New York’s hunters, and hunters who wish to visit, the opportunity to hunt with a crossbow, many of whom are simply incapable of using a traditional or compound bow due to age or injury,” Gallivan stated in a release.

A previous attempt to legalize crossbows in 2012 failed in the state Assembly. Martens said it is now up to the Legislature to pass Cuomo’s proposal before the DEC can decide regulations or open a public comment period.

Image courtesy National Park Service

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