Since Feb. 3, 2012, the New York State Crossbow Coalition has been fighting for equal hunting to those of the compound bows.
On Feb. 18, it received a letter from 39th District Sen. James Skoufis that he agreed that all individuals should have the equal opportunity to safely participate in hunting.
“I enthusiastically agree that all individuals should have equal opportunity to safely participate in hunting,” he wrote. “Additionally, I appreciate the important opportunity crossbows afford to hunters of different backgrounds and capabilities to participate in and enjoy an archery sport. My office and I will support legislative efforts to responsibly expand crossbow hunting.”
As a crossbow hunter, I am very glad to see another state representative helping the Crossbow Coalition include the crossbow and be able to hunt with the regular bowhunters, especially those who can no longer draw and hold a regular bow.
MORE HUNTING OPPORTUNITIES
State Sen. Michael H. Ranzenhofer says hunting is declining across New York State and much of the nation. This not only has a dramatic impact on conservation funding, but also a negative impact on state revenues. It is important that the state examine ways to both attract and retain hunters.
The issue of hunters “aging out” is well-documented, and it is important for New York State to do all it can to reverse this trend. Expanding crossbow hunting opportunities and loosening ambulatory hunting requirements would provide thousands of willing hunters the opportunity to continue pursuing their passion.
Current laws regarding ambulatory licenses, require that license holders need permanent assistance to qualify. That being said, many hunters do not need assistance devices to complete daily activities but are unable to navigate a field or more rugged terrain without assistance. This reality should be reflected when determining who qualifies for these privileges. If enacted, these proposals would help countless hunters.
In addition to retaining hunters, attracting new hunters is critical. Lowering the hunting age has long been discussed as the primary way to get youth more engaged at a younger age. While I do believe that reducing the big-game hunting age to 12 would be helpful, hunter apprentice programs should also be examined. Hunter apprentice programs have proven to be an extremely safe and effective way to introduce more youths to hunting in other states.
With the state facing a $6.1 billion deficit, I believe there is a tremendous opportunity to advance proposals that are positive for hunters as well as generate much needed license revenue and conservation dollars for the state. I have shared these opinions with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and colleagues in the legislature, and will continue to advocate for their adoption.
Supporting hunting helps the environment, supports rural communities and provides license revenue for New York State.
RECORD BLACK BEAR
On Feb. 8, bow hunter Dakota Waverly shot a black bear Dakota in Morris County, New Jersey. It was Dakota’s first bear taken with a stick bow from a tree stand and it weighed in at 700 pounds.
To determine if the bear was a record, the Pope and Young Club hosted a special panel for judging in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, during the Great American Outdoors Show. Pope and Young, based in Minnesota, said it is recognized as the official repository for records on bow-taken North American big-game animals. It also maintains a scoring system and sets standards.
FISHING SARATOGA LAKE
My friend and fellow outdoor writer Ed Sporupski of Stillwater told me he hasn’t had a good day ice fishing on Saratoga Lake since Jan. 28. However, he has been catching quite a few big golden shiners.
He has put a couple of them out on “tip-ups” but so far has only caught one small northern pike. He also said it seems to be the same everywhere, except for Port Henry, where the perch fishing has been good.