Wednesday, February 8th, 2023
Wednesday, February 8th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Pataki vetoes tougher deerjacking penalties

By Don Lehman Contributing Writer

Albany – Gov. George Pataki vetoed a bill in late July that
would have significantly raised penalties for certain types of

The law would have made it a misdemeanor to take a deer out of
season or with the aid of artificial light.

It also would have lengthened hunting license suspensions for
first-time offenses to two years, raised the maximum fine to $3,000
and increased penalties for repeat offenders

It passed both the Senate and Assembly earlier this summer
despite the fact it did not have the support of the New York State
Conservation Council, which represents sportsmen’s federations
around the state.

It also reportedly was opposed by the state Department of
Environmental Conservation

Wally John, the council’s legislative vice president, said the
council did not know who had pushed for the bill, which was
sponsored by Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte,a Niagara County
Democrat, and co-sponsored by two other Buffalo-area Democrats.
Calls to DelMonte’s offices in Albany and Niagara Falls were not
returned as of presstime.

The Senate’s version was sponsored by western New York
Republican Senator Dale Volker.

John said the initial bill proposed by DelMonte would have made
taking a deer out of season or through spotlighting a felony, which
he called too severe. That portion of the bill was reduced to a
misdemeanor and it breezed through both houses.

He said his main problem with the bill as it was passed was that
it doesn’t differentiate between a fawn and trophy buck.

John said he believes the law should make it a lesser offense
for a person who is deerjacking simply for meat to feed a family
vs. someone who kills just to put a rack on the wall.

“This doesn’t address the new phenomenon of commercial trophy
deerjacking,” he said. “This (bill) is a shotgun approach instead
of a targeted approach.”

John said the council likely would have supported the
legislation if it specified taking of a buck.

“If it was just spotlighting and taking a trophy buck out of
season, we’d have no problem with it,” he said.

DEC spokeswoman Maureen Wren referred comment on the bill to the
governor’s office, saying the DEC was “deliberating” it with the
governor’s staff.

Pataki’s office did not comment on the veto.

His veto means the bill would have to be re-introduced and pass
both the Assembly and Senate to be considered for signature into
law again.

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