The Crossbow Issue has been a messy one in NY State. Since 2012, the voices for and against have gotten louder.

Some have argued that crossbows are guns and have no place in New York’s Archery season. Others take the position that they are little more than a bow on a stick, and not far superior to today’s top of the line compound bows. Some want legalized use for the disabled and seniors. Some want crossbow use to be legal for all hunters in all seasons. The various positions are numerous and nuanced.

Over the years, politicians have been in control of the issue. And somehow, the Youth Hunt was entangled in it. This resulted in the Governor vetoing a bill in 2012 that would have extended crossbow use, while also eliminating the Youth Hunt.

The Governor’s current budget proposal includes a provision that will hand authority of crossbow regulation over to the Department of Environmental Conversation (DEC). Rick McDermott of the New York Crossbow Coalition applauds the move, stating that the crossbow issue “belongs to wildlife managers, not politicians”. 

According to McDermott, the Governor’s office agrees that there is 3-4 million in tourism dollars riding on the legalization of crossbows as a hunting implement. Some claim that the number rises to the $9 million neighborhood, when the retail sale of crossbows and related supplies are included.It’s tough to say what the impact of crossbows in the field will be. Will gun hunters cross over to archery season and will the harvest figures change drastically simply by its introduction? The regulations in other nearby states where crossbows have been legalized differ enough to prohibit us from looking at their present as our future.

The DEC has not indicated to what extent it may allow crossbow use, if at all. But McDermott and others in favor of crossbows believe that New York’s game managers are the best qualified to make that determination.

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