ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The new state budget includes an agreement that will give crossbow hunters their own season in New York.
Language within the budget will allow crossbow use for all small game, including turkeys, and any big game season in which firearms are allowed.
It will also allow crossbow use in the last 14 days of the Southern Zone archery deer and bear season and the final 10 days of the Northern Zone archery deer and bear seasons. The state Department of Environmental Conservation has not officially set the 2014 archery season for the Southern Zone, but the 2013 season was Oct. 1 (a Tuesday) through Nov. 14 (a Thursday). The traditional gun season for deer and bear began Saturday, Nov. 16.
Under the new window for crossbow use during the archery season, crossbows would have been legal for use beginning Friday, Nov. 1.
Hunters who use conventional bows and arrows had lobbied to keep the more powerful crossbows at bay to preserve the purity of their sport. They have argued that crossbows have more range, can be steadied on shooting rests — more like a rifle or shotgun — and most have modern optical sights.
Sen. Patrick Gallivan of Western New York, who successfully pushed through the crossbow-hunting law after a few failed attempts, said hundreds of thousands of hunters support it from 40 different organizations. He said it will bring in an estimated $1 million in license revenue and help the state manage the deer population. He also said it will bring more female, disabled, and older hunters into the woods who may not have the upper body strength to pull back a compound bow.
“It will increase interest in people being in the woods,” Gallivan said.
Crossbows have been legal for use during deer archery seasons in Pennsylvania, Ohio and southern Ontario in Canada for several years.