Thursday, February 9th, 2023
Thursday, February 9th, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

NY: Crossbow users may need smokepole tag

For use during muzzleloader hunt

Albany – When New York lawmakers last year approved legislation
that will allow limited use of crossbows this fall, the bill didn’t
carry with it provisions for a separate crossbow hunting
license.

But crossbow users will find, under proposed DEC regulations
governing the implements, they’ll have to purchase a muzzleloader
tag if they’re going to use a crossbow during that season.

“We have to draft regulations governing the use of the crossbow,
and we’re in the middle of discussing how we’re going to do
that,” DEC’s chief wildlife biologist Gordon Batcheller told hunter
education instructors last month at a gathering in Ballston Spa
(Saratoga County). “It will have to go through the rulemaking
process. We want to keep it simple; we want people to be out there
using a crossbow if that’s their choice.”

Some sportsmen were disappointed last year the legislation approved
by the House and Senate was watered down and didn’t place crossbows
in the traditional archery season. Instead, crossbows will be
allowed only during the regular firearms big-game seasons, as well
as the Southern Zone and Northern Zone late muzzleloader deer
seasons.

Crossbows won’t be allowed in the Northern Zone’s weeklong early
muzzleloader deer season in mid-October, officials said.

“That’s the way the legislation was written,” Batcheller said. “We
(DEC) have a different view (of what seasons where crossbows should
be allowed), but that’s the law. We were hoping for a broader
opportunity for using crossbows.”

Sportsmen will have an opportunity to comment on DEC’s draft
regulations prior to their final adoption, but those regulations
won’t alter the seasons in which crossbows may be used this fall or
in 2012.

DEC will soon be working against the clock in an effort to have the
regulations governing crossbow use and education requirements in
place in time for publication in the hunting and trapping
regulations guide.

Crossbow use, under the legislation signed into law last year by
then-Gov. David Paterson, will be allowed for two hunting seasons.
“Our plan is to implement crossbows for two years and the
policymakers will decide what’s next,” Batcheller said.

The arrival of crossbows in New York also sparked numerous
questions from the state’s sportsman education instructors who will
be responsible for educating new hunters on the crossbow. Crossbow
information is already included in the bowhunter education manual,
but instructors will now have to touch on that subject during
hunter ed courses.

“For the current hunter, we’re looking at an online option and
probably in the (regulations) guide,” Batcheller said. “They can
carry a certificate that says they’ve read it and signed. We’re
hoping to implement this law in a low-impact way that will get
people out there using crossbows if that’s their choice.”

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