DEC issues final rules for crossbow hunting
Did you enjoy your summer? ...all five or six days of it? If there is one common topic of conversation this year it is probably the cool, wet and windy weather that characterized much of the past three months. Of course, people still managed to find ways to enjoy themselves but the weather often did curtail or hamper a lot of the traditional activities and fun.
Now fall is approaching on the calendar. In fact, we have had a lot of fall-like weather, even back in June. Certainly the past weekend with its cold and wet weather reminded us that summer is over. It was a cold miserable day on Saturday when my wife Carol and I participated in the One Square Mile of Hope. See the details elsewhere in this column.
Now with hunting season rapidly approaching, it is time to get serious and work on scouting, target practice and getting gear ready. Most of us have been doing that but now it is time to pick up the pace. With the new law that allows the use of crossbows for hunting, there are many who will be eager to try that sport. Thus, we are giving you the essentials of the new rules and regulations for crossbows. We will be eager to hear about your experiences with one.
One Square Mile of Hope
Despite the cold weather, rain and a stiff wind, approximately 2,800 people braved the waters of Fourth Lake last Saturday to help set a new Guinness World Record for the largest kayak and canoe raft. Rain started about 10:15 a.m., just as the first wave of paddlers set out for the designated area near Inlet. As the raft formed, the wind kept blowing the boats beyond the marked area so it took a couple tries to get everyone in and touching boats before the planes flew overhead for the official photographs. By the time the event was recorded the wind had blown the boats over to Eagle Bay across the lake and it took some strong paddling into the face of an east wind to get back to Inlet.
There were a lot of local people participating in the event despite the nasty weather. The Rosbrook family took the occasion to gather and celebrate their mother’s birthday as well as take part in the record-setting attempt. Margaret Rosbrook, 93 years young, was the oldest participant in the One Square Mile of Hope. Although she was unable to paddle herself, she was bundled up in layers and rode in a canoe to be part of the record. She did admit that the ride back was unpleasant and spent the afternoon in front of the fireplace.
There were over 3,500 registered but the inclement weather evidently made a lot of people change their minds on Saturday. Nevertheless, a new world record of over 2,700 boats was set that day. Congratulations to all who participated and helped raise many thousands of dollars for this worthy cause.
The town of Inlet, the Kiwanis Club of the Central Adirondacks and all of the One Square Mile of Hope Committee are to be commended for an excellent job in publicizing, organizing and running an event which saw thousands of people converge to set a new world record, and most importantly, raise over ten thousand dollars for breast cancer research.
New Crossbow Hunting Regulations
The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has adopted final regulation changes to ensure that the crossbow is a legal implement for the fall 2014 hunting seasons. The final regulations adopted include the following:
Crossbows may be used only by licensees who are 14 years of age or older. With landowner permission, crossbows may be discharged within 250 feet of a home, etc.. A crossbow may not be possessed in or on a motor vehicle unless it is un-cocked.
Anyone hunting with a crossbow must have completed a Standard Hunter Education course offered by DEC on or after April 1, 2014 or completed a DEC-approved on-line or other training program (e.g., material provided in the annual hunting guide). Hunters must carry a signed self-certification in the field when hunting with a crossbow as proof of compliance.
For licensing, the new law treats crossbows as a “muzzleloader.” Hunters must possess a muzzleloader hunting privilege to legally hunt with a crossbow during any muzzleloader season or during open portions of the early bowhunting seasons. The muzzleloader license privilege is not required when hunting with a crossbow during the early bear season or the regular firearms seasons.
Crossbows may be used to take deer during early and late muzzleloader season in the Northern Zone and late muzzleloader season in the Southern Zone using Bow/Muzzleloader tags, deer management permits (DMPs), deer management assistance permit tags (DMAPs), or an unfilled Regular Big Game tag (late season only). They may be used in regular firearms seasons using a Regular Big Game tag, DMPs or DMAP tags. Crossbows may be used to take bear during the early bear season.
Crossbows may also be used to take deer or bear during limited portions of bowhunting seasons as follows, provided that the hunter possesses the muzzleloading privilege: During the last 14 days of the early bowhunting season in the Southern Zone (i.e., November 1-14, 2014); During the last 10 days of the early bowhunting season in the Northern Zone (i.e., October 15-24, 2014; this includes the seven-day early muzzleloader season in the Northern Zone); Only Bow/Muzzloader tags, DMPs or DMAPs may be used during these times.
Junior big game hunters (age 14-15) may not use a crossbow to take a deer during the Youth Deer Hunt weekend (October 11-13, 2014). Adult mentors who accompany a junior big game hunter on the Youth Deer Hunt weekend may not possess a crossbow or firearm while afield on those days.
Crossbows may be used to hunt wild turkey in either the fall or spring. Crossbows may not be used to take waterfowl or other migratory game birds.
With the purchase of a 2014-2015 sporting license, New York hunters will receive copies of the new Hunting and Trapping Law and Regulations Guide, and the new crossbow regulations are clearly described in the Guide. The Guide features information on the educational requirements for hunters using crossbows. Hunters are required to read the safety information available in the Guide and on the DEC website and certify that they have done so. This certification must be carried when afield hunting with a crossbow.
Deer Management Permits
The DEC reminded hunters to apply for deer management permits (DMPs) this week, ahead of the October 1 deadline, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens announced recently. Unfortunately, many of the licensing agencies cannot handle the changes to a new computerized system and have given up selling licenses or other transactions.
Apparently many of the towns and city offices’ computers are not functioning with the new system so they cannot issue deer management permits. Sporting goods shops such as the Gunworks of CNY in Verona are not having any problems, except that they are using the old yellow colored paper since their printers are not compatible with the camo pattern paper.
New York hunters can apply for up to two deer management permits once they have secured a hunting license. DEC’s computerized licensing system allows hunters to immediately learn the outcome of their permit application. The likelihood that a hunter will be selected for a permit is largely based on the number of deer management permits to be issued in a Wildlife Management Area and the number of hunters that historically apply for those permits. To date, applications for deer management permits have been slightly lower than in previous years.
Sporting licenses and permits can be purchased at one of DEC’s 1,100 license sales outlets statewide (maybe?). Licenses can also be ordered by telephone at 866-933-2257, or online at http://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/6101.html. The 2014-2015 hunting and trapping licenses are valid for one year beginning September 1, 2014. Under a new state law that took effect in February, fishing licenses and recreational marine fishing registrations are now valid for 365 days from date-of-purchase.