Sunday, February 5th, 2023
Sunday, February 5th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Sporting bills fizzle in N.Y. Legislature

By Don Lehman Contributing Writer

Albany – A proposal to create a late archery season for
antlerless deer in the Northern Zone failed to get out of the state
Legislature this spring, one of a number of hunting-themed bills
that didn’t advance and likely won’t be passed for this fall’s
hunters.

The Legislature also sat on a bill that would have created a
junior big game license for hunters as young as 14, meaning it
likely won’t make it into law for this fall barring a quick passage
of the measure when and if the Legislature returns to session this
summer.

Harold Palmer, president of the New York State Conservation
Council, which represents sportsmen’s federations from around the
state, said the council had lobbied for the archery and youth big
game bills, and was hopeful something would happen with them later
this year.

“We’re hoping they (legislators) can look at it later this
year,” he said.

The archery bill would create a 7-day late archery season for
antlerless whitetails in the Northern Zone that would extend the
bow season one week past the end of the rifle season. It was
sponsored by Assemblywoman RoAnn Destito, R-Oneida County, in the
Assembly and Sen. Raymond Meier, R-Oneida County.

This year was the second it was proposed and the second it was
referred to the Environmental Conservation Committee of each house
without a vote.

State Sen. Elizabeth Little, R-Warren County, a co-sponsor of
the archery proposal, said she didn’t know why it didn’t advance
this year. She said it might have been a victim of a lack of
promotion.

She said the Legislature plans to return to session in
September, mainly for legislative confirmations. But a few bills
might make it to the floor for a vote.

The junior big game license has been more controversial, as
anti-hunting groups dig in because it is seen as a way to grow
hunter numbers.

The Conservation Council, many of its member federations and the
state Department of Environmental Conservation have pushed for the
creation of the junior big game license, which would allows teens
as young as 14 to hunt deer and bear under adult supervision.

Earlier this year, DEC Commissioner Denise Sheehan called the
bill a “huge priority,” pointing out New York is the only state in
the nation where 14-year-olds can’t hunt big game.

The Conservation Council had lobbied extensively for the measure
to help bring along another generation of hunters. This year’s
legislative session was the fifth straight that it failed to make
it to the floor of either house for a vote.

“That bill had a lot of support from sportsmen groups,” Little
said.

It also had a lot of opposition from downstate legislators.

Palmer said the Environmental Conservation committees in both
the Senate and Assembly are dominated by downstate legislators who
have deliberately stalled them.

They not only don’t favor lowering the age for big-game hunting,
but actually support a raising of it, he said.

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