Senator Dan Stec (R,C,I-Queensbury) said language included in the Executive Budget proposal would expand youth hunting and allow crossbow hunting in all big game seasons.
The New York State Conservation Fund Advisory Board (CFAB), which makes recommendations to state agencies on policies and programs that affect fish and wildlife management and the conservation of New York's natural resources, supports the legislation. The Nature Conservancy and Audubon New York also have expressed support noting the role of hunting in balancing habitat for wild animals.
“The sporting community saw a big boost this past year,” said Stec. “Many more hunting licenses were sold and there was a dramatic increase in hunter education courses. The governor’s budget proposal would build on this momentum at a pivotal time.”
Part X of budget bill S2508 would institute a minimum universal hunting age of 12, which would allow 12- and 13-year-olds under adult supervision to pursue big game. New York State’s big game minimum hunting age is 14. All other states have a minimum age of 12 or younger.
The budget language also calls for full inclusion of crossbow use during all big game seasons. The proposal seeks to clarify the crossbow as archery equipment and require a license holder to purchase a bowhunter privilege in order to use a crossbow. Users would be required to take a bowhunting education course in addition to hunter safety training.
The proposed crossbow expansion could add $1.5 million in revenue to the Conservation Fund by helping recruit new hunters and retain aging hunters or hunters with physical impairments.
The fund annually supports 240 Department of Conservation jobs.
A new state budget is due by April 1.