The recent attempt to amend the very limited crossbow hunting big-game regulations have again been halted by downstate politicians influenced by a series of innuendos of what a crossbow is and is capable of doing.
But what really amazes me is how just 3,000 hunters of the New York Bowhunters Inc. could speak for the 870,000 hunters in the state.
Add to this a list of large hunting/conservation organizations that includes the state Farm Bureau, Conservation Alliance, 4H Shooting Sports, Conservation Council, Rifle and Pistol Assn., Shooters Committee on Political Education and Safari Club International, all supporting any-season crossbow hunting, and you have to wonder why their “votes” are not being heard.
We all have to give credit to the tireless efforts of Rick McDermott, who developed the New York Crossbow Coalition and spent many days in Albany expressing the true feelings of the hunting community. The coalition’s online survey asking are you “for” or “against” the use of crossbows during the regular archery season had 90 percent “for” results.
Add to this the fact that there are 17 states in which crossbows can be used during the regular bowhunting season and an additional 21 that permit the use of a crossbow for those who are physically impaired. These states don’t have any problem with the crossbow. Why do we?
Perhaps it is because of the inaccuracies that the New York Bowhunters has posted on its website “Equipment Comparison Table” that compares the crossbow to compound and traditional bows.
Apparently, this comparison has influenced tabling of the original bill (A9682) that would allow crossbow hunting during all of the state’s hunting seasons, to be replaced and passed by bill A10583A, introduced by Assemblyman Robert Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst), that extends the current crossbow hunting regulations through 2014.
There are a number of these “comparisons” or differences between the two that are incorrect. Two areas concerning accessories that they say the crossbow has and compound bows do not have are adjustable triggers and electronic/telescopic sights. The major percentage of bowhunters use trigger releases, and there are adjustable ones available. Electronic sights are available from Bushnell, Parker bows and BSA Optics. And I believe they left out the lighted pin sights, which I use myself.
Other problems I have with this comparison — NYB claims crossbows require little or no practice to shoot and can be shot by multiple individuals. That one I just don’t understand.
And lastly, the average effective range of a crossbow is 69 yards. Let’s be honest, today’s compound bow is far from traditional. They have 80 percent let-off at full draw, smooth trigger releases and lighted sights, and NYB says they want to “keep their season primitive.” I add as much to my compound bow as I legally can, and I love it.
If you are interested in a true comparison of the so-called superiority of the crossbow to the compound bow, google Q1 Big Buck Pole: Compound vs. Crossbow, or go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVxA1KP_k90.
One other problem I found tagged on the end of the Sweeney bill is opposition to a proposed new youth hunting season by state Department of Environmental Conservation as part of its five-year management plan.
Once again, NYB selfishness surfaced with its recommendation that “the only junior hunter days for big-game hunting the Department of Environmental Conservation may authorize during archery seasons are junior archery days.”
Is this group really a part of the hunting fraternity? Their opposition and self-interest attitude made national news in Outdoor Life magazine.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
I believe there is no such thing as “too much” in terms of contacting (write, email or call) legislators in Albany and explaining how you feel about crossbow hunting in all seasons, and I would also include the youth weekend big-game hunt.
Tell them you want the A9682 crossbow bill passed as it was originally submitted. There are a lot of seniors and/or physically impaired who are struggling to draw compound bows that were looking forward to again enjoying the archery season using a crossbow.
Lastly, I would like to see NYB members re-think their anti-crossbow hunting attitude and look at the wants and needs of the hunting community as a whole, not just as a bowhunter.
I would like to see a poll taken by NYSDEC that could easily be made a part of the Department of Environmental Conservation Automated License system when purchasing a hunting license. All hunters would be asked a question: “Do you support crossbow use during the New York state archery season?” It would require a simple “yes” or “no” answer and only a mouse click for the issuing license dealer. If our legislators are looking for a true poll on how the hunting community feels about this issue, not one dictated by a small part of it, this will get it done. It definitely would eliminate the politics currently involved.
As for my crossbow hunting in 2012, unfortunately, it will remain the same: turkey hunting in the spring and deer hunting during the archery season — in Pennsylvania.