DEC proposal would legalize crossbow hunting in St. Lawrence County
Saturday, June 28, 2014 - 8:47 am

St. Lawrence County residents may be able to hunt with crossbows this fall.

The Department of Environmental Conservation is accepting public comment on rule change that would allow crossbow hunting in New York State.

DEC will accept written public comment on the proposal through July 21.

“Crossbow hunting is growing across the country and Governor Cuomo’s commitment to increase hunting opportunities here in New York State is demonstrated by the signing of the new law to authorize the use of crossbows for hunting under certain circumstances,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens.

Specifically, the law changes authorize DEC to allow the take of deer and bear by the use of a crossbow during a limited portion of the early bowhunting seasons (14 days at the end of the existing bowhunting season in the Southern Zone, and 10 days in the Northern Zone, which includes St. Lawrence County. It also allows crossbows to be used during any big game hunting season in which use of a firearm (shotgun, rifle or muzzleloader) is allowed, except for the Youth Deer Hunting weekend.

The change would also allow the take of small game mammals, wild turkey and other upland game birds by the use of a crossbow during their respective hunting seasons.

DEC’s proposed rule changes also clarify the technical descriptions of a legal crossbow and the license privilege and training requirements for any person hunting with a crossbow, as specified in legislation.

The new law prohibits all hunting with crossbows in Suffolk, Nassau and Westchester counties or in the archery-only portions of Albany and Monroe counties, and DEC’s proposed rule reflects these restrictions.

Details of the proposed rule can be viewed in the June 4, 2014 publication of the New York State Register and on DEC’s website at www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/34113.html#Part1Part2p. For a general summary of the law, see DEC’s information on crossbow hunting at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/68802.html. DEC’s position on crossbow use for deer hunting is provided in Appendix 5 of the NYS Deer Management Plan (www.dec.ny.gov/docs/wildlife_pdf/deerplan2012.pdf).

Gov. Cuomo signed the changes to Environmental Conservation Law in April, 2014. DEC’s proposal maximizes the use of crossbows allowed under law’s provisions.

Citizens who wish to make formal public comments through July 21 may do so by sending an email to: wildliferegs@gw.dec.state.ny.us (include “crossbow regulations” in the subject line) or by writing to: Mr. Bryan L. Swift, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Bureau of Wildlife, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754.