Friday, February 3rd, 2023
Friday, February 3rd, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

NY: Youth archery bill OK’d

Cuomo signature will lower age

from 14 to 12

Albany – Legislation that would lower the minimum age for archery
hunting from 14 to 12 has passed the state Assembly and will be
forwarded to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for final approval.

The Assembly’s approval of the bill – S177A – earlier this month
followed Senate approval on Feb. 28 by a 133-8 margin. It came
surprisingly early in the legislative session and marked another
historic step in loosening the state’s youth hunting regulations,
some of the most stringent in the nation.

“We think it’s a big step,” DEC Assistant Director of Fish,
Wildlife and Marine Resources Doug Stang said. “We’ve made some
great strides in the past couple of years.”

Three years ago, New York saw a historic passage of legislation
lowering the state’s minimum hunting age for big game from 16 to
14. Despite that progress, the 14-year-old age minimum remains the
most stringent in the U.S., since more than 40 states allow youths
age 12 – and sometimes under 12 – to hunt big game with a
firearm.

Under the bill. S177A will allow 12-year-olds to obtain a junior
archery license, making it consistent with age requirements for a
junior hunting license. Junior license holders would have to abide
by several regulations, including being accompanied at all times by
an experienced parent, guardian or adult.

S177A still needs the governor’s signature to become law. There was
no indication when the bill would reach the governor’s desk.
Sometimes there’s a delay in forwarding them to the governor for
consideration, but that’s not expected to be lengthy enough to keep
the regulation from taking effect this fall if approved by
Cuomo.

Currently, the junior archery license allows young hunters ages
14-16 to hunt deer and bear during archery season.

It was western New York Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane, who
sponsored S177A. Maziarz has been a staunch a supporter of hunting,
fishing and trapping, and has in the past pushed for loosened
restrictions on youth hunting and crossbow use.

Ironically, the bill teamed a pair of unlikely allies: Maziarz,
known for his legislative efforts to allow crossbow use, and New
York Bowhunters, Inc., the statewide organization often criticized
for its rigid stance against crossbows in New York.

“We’re encouraged by the passage of the junior archery bill in both
the Senate and Assembly. We hope Gov. Cuomo signs the bill into law
so the DEC can include this change in this year’s hunting
regulations guide,” said Gary Socola, past president of New York
Bowhunters. “New York would then join the other 49 states that
already allow junior archers to pursue big game at 12 years of age
or younger.”

Socola said members of New York Bowhunters lobbied hard for the
bill’s passage.

“All the phone calls, mailings, emails, letters and legislative
visits cost the organization thousands of dollars but we think our
kids are worth it and hopefully Gov. Cuomo will, too,” he
said.

Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, a Sullivan County Democrat, sponsored
the Assembly version of the youth archery bill (A2021A).

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