N.Y. Bowhunters again opposed to latest plan

By Steve
Piatt
Editor

Albany – A Southern Zone deer hunting proposal, revised for the
third – and likely final – time by the DEC, shortens the archery
season by as many as six days, the statewide bowhunters’ group
contends.

That’s why New York Bowhunters, as it has the previous two
proposals, opposes the latest plan.

In a position statement on its Web site
(www.newyorkbowhunters.com), the group says the recent proposal,
altered following a series of statewide meetings with sportsmen,
shortchanges archers on both the front and back end of their
seasons.

“The archery season will be shortened by one very valuable
weekend during the rut…by opening the regular (shotgun) season on a
Saturday,” said the Web site, noting that moving the shotgun opener
from Monday back to a Saturday lops two days off the end of the
archery season during what is often the peak rutting period. “The
Saturday after Columbus Day (for the archery opener) can be as late
as Oct. 19, resulting in the loss of an additional four days on the
front end of the season when compared to the present Oct. 15
opening date.”

That’s why New York Bowhunters President Kevin Armstrong is
urging his members to oppose the plan by submitting comments to DEC
officials prior to final approval of the proposal.

Indications are that the DEC is poised to approve the plan with
little change, although additional public comments are being
accepted through May 23.

DEC removed a pair of earlier proposals that were viewed as a
lightning rod by New York Bowhunters. Initially, the Southern Zone
deer regulation overhaul included a weeklong muzzleloader season in
mid-October, during which time the archery season, then set for an
Oct. 1 start, would be halted.

That plan eventually was tailored into a concurrent
archery-muzzleloader week of doe-only hunting. After widespread
public opposition at the sportsmen’s meetings, DEC came back with a
primitive weapons, three-day muzzleloading season in mid-October.
That, too, was shelved in the recent proposal, as was the early
archery start.

What remains is a plan highlighted by the Saturday opening date;
an archery season from the Saturday following the second Monday in
October to the day before the regular shotgun season, which will
start on the third Saturday in November; and a concurrent, nine-day
late archery and muzzleloader season.

Archers have traditionally had a five-day late season. New York
Bowhunters said in its statement that the added four days are of
little consequence “as the deer are too spooked to hunt effectively
with a bow after the regular shotgun season ends.”

New York Bowhunters will push DEC officials for additional
hunting days, the Web site indicated.

“We cannot support opening the regular season on the third
Saturday in November unless bowhunters are compensated for the loss
of weekend hunting opportunity and time lost hunting during the
rut,” the statement read. “The DEC needs to add at least one
weekend of hunting opportunity on the front end of the early
archery season by opening (the season) on the second Saturday in
October, which is the Saturday before Columbus Day.”

New York Bowhunters noted that the DEC proposal does adjust
bear, turkey and pheasant hunting seasons to “maintain the same
number of hunting days for these species.”

While the bowhunters have seen their season adjusted, the
muzzleloading fraternity saw an early season proposal eliminated
entirely. Their statewide organization isn’t happy about that,
either.

“We are disappointed with the final proposal that made it into
the New York State Register,” said New York State Muzzleloaders
Association President Eric Bratt. “I think the Deer Team at DEC did
an excellent job of taking the public comments gathered from the
various meetings, and modifying the proposal to address the issues.
The early muzzleloader season was shortened to three days from
five, it went from all muzzleloaders to a primitive-style firearm,
it protected the early small game season, and did not split the
archery season. It seems like politics has ruled instead of
reason.”

Bratt says it’s likely the latest proposal will stand in its
present form, as DEC shifts its focus to the Chronic Wasting
Disease situation in central New York, where five cases of CWD were
discovered in two captive herds.

“I believe the CWD issue is going to get most of the attention,
as it well should right now,” Bratt said.

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