Ontario rifle bill vetoed amid confusion; Schuyler OK’d

Albany – Gov David Paterson has vetoed legislation that would
have allowed the use of rifles in Ontario County during the deer
hunting season.

Indications are that Paterson vetoed the measure because the
bill was intended to allow rifle use in just a portion of the
county – south of routes 5 and 20 – and not the entire county.

The state Assembly and Senate had passed legislation (S6057 and
A7581A) that inadvertently would have allowed rifle use throughout
Ontario County.

Although DEC officials had expected the legislation to be
amended and passed to reflect only a portion of the county would
become part of the rifle zone, that didn’t happen.

Ontario County’s Board of Supervisors earlier this year approved
a resolution to allow rifle use in that portion of the county south
of routes 5 and 20. But the bills sponsored by Assemblyman Brian
Kolb, R-Canandaigua, and Sen. Dale Volker, R-Depew, didn’t reflect
that, instead proposing a countywide rifle use by deer hunters.

DEC_Assistant Director of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources
Doug Stang said he expected the legislation to be amended to allow
rifle use in just a portion of Ontario County. But for some reason,
that never occurred, and the bill that made it to the governor’s
desk called for a countywide rifle zone. DEC supported allowing
rifles in just a portion of the county, and the county supervisors,
too, indicated they favored the creation of only a partial rifle
zone.

As a result, Paterson vetoed the measure.

Paterson did sign into a law a similar proposed that would allow
rifles for big-game hunting in all of Schuyler County this
season.

Assembly Thomas O’Mara, R-Big Flats, sponsored the Schuyler
County legislation, with Sen. George Winner, Jr., R-Elmira,
crafting the Senate companion bill.

The late passage of the law creates some challenges for DEC in
getting the word out to hunters, since the 2009-10 regulations
guide has already been printed. DEC did, however, advise hunters of
the pending rifle legislation and the possibility that rifles would
be allowed in additional counties.

Paterson earlier signed into law a bill that allows for
continued rifle use in Madison County.

Madison County last year joined Allegany, Chemung, Cattaraugus,
Chenango, Columbia, Delaware, Fulton, Greene, Herkimer, Montgomery,
Oneida, Orange, Schoharie, Sullivan, Steuben, Ulster, Saratoga,
Tioga, Washington and Yates counties on the list of those that
allow rifles for big-game hunting. In addition, a portion of Broome
County – east of the Susquehanna River – is also part of the rifle
zone.

Madison’s rifle approval would have expired Aug. 1 without the
bill sponsored by William Magee, D-Nelson, and Sen. David Valesky,
D-Oneida. The state lawmakers noted in the bills’ memo that the
county’s board of supervisors endorsed the proposal.

The Madison County rifle bill was approved July 11, enough time
to allow DEC to replace the rifle zone map with an updated version
showing Madison as part of the rifle zone with the hunting and
trapping regulations guide.

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