The NYS DEC has announced that it is considering a rule change that will allow certain air-powered rifles to be used for Big Game Hunting, starting in the fall of 2016. If allowed, these rifles will have to meet a certain specifications, such as the ability to deliver a bullet of sufficient size at sufficient velocities to safely and efficiently harvest New York's big game. 

If the rule change takes place, these air-powered rifles would only be allowed in areas where rifle hunting is already allowed. Today, all but a handful of counties allow rifles to be used for big game hunting.

"The popularity of air-powered firearms is growing, largely because of technological advancements," said Acting DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "These modern firearms produce the force necessary to efficiently harvest big game animals. In addition, because big bore air rifles are not as loud as conventional rifles or shotguns, allowing their use may make hunting more acceptable in locations with higher human densities, including areas where deer are overabundant."

Hunters interested in purchasing a big bore air rifle can find some of the best selection at online retailers, including Air Gun Depot. Air guns in the .357 and .45 caliber will likely meet the final specifications set forth by the DEC. However, we may have to wait for the final specifications before we know if any or the senseless parameters set by Governor Cuomo's Safe Act will limit what we can purchase.

Shown: Benjamin Bulldog Bullpup, Realtree Xtra® Combo, .357 cal

Details of the proposed rule can be viewed in the December 23 publication of the New York State Register and on DEC's website under Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources Proposed, Emergency and recently adopted regulations.

Citizens who wish to make formal public comments through February 8 may do so by sending an email to: (include "air rifle regulations" in the subject line) or by writing to: Bryan L. Swift, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Bureau of Wildlife, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754.


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