Junior Hunting License Nearing A Reality

Dale M. Volker

January 26, 2006

I was pleased to have read in the NYSCC Grass Roots News your article mentioning the State Legislature’s quest to institute a Junior Big Game Hunting license in New York State. Building upon last years legislative success, and enactment into state law, allowing hunting in the Southern Tier using rifles, I am sponsoring legislation in the State Senate that would authorize a Junior Big Game License in New York State. Although, not mentioned in your article, there is more than enough votes in the State Senate to pass this legislation, and I will be bringing my bill to the floor of the New York State Senate in the next few weeks for immediate action and approval.

There is simply no reason whatsoever, why the State of New York should penalize our young people and their parents from participating in one of our state’s most distinct and proud traditions--hunting, fishing and trapping. My legislation would expand Chapter 450 of the Laws of 1991, which created the junior hunting license, where only after completion of the mandatory sportsmen education class, junior hunters under specified adult supervision and other conditions could hunt small game beginning at age 12. My bill would add wild deer and bear to the species they may already take with no change in the mandated sportsmen education classes and adult supervision provisions.

The current Junior Hunting program has been proven to be extremely successful and profoundly safe, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation, with junior hunters (numbering approximately 20,000 each year since inception of the program) accounting for only 4 accidents while under the supervision required by law. I firmly believe that those in the sportsmen community are extremely responsible individuals who care deeply about our hunting tradition and proper wildlife management. Instilling this same commitment and responsibilities within our young people the proper safety and hunting protocols, will continue this impressive safety record and allow for new and exciting hunting opportunities for our young people, build character, and improve "quality time" spent between parents and our children.