DEC encouraging Upstate NY counties to opt-in to new law allowing for youth deer hunting

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ALBANY, N.Y. (WWTI) — A new hunting opportunity has been announced for youth ages 12 and 13.

New York State Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos announced on April 7 that included in the State Fiscal Year 2021-2022 Budget is legislation that allows youth ages 12 and 1 to hunt deer with a firearm or crossbow.

This is through Environmental Conservation Law 11-095 and requires the youth hunters to be under the supervision of an experienced adult hunter in upstate counties that opt-in to participate.

“Deer hunting is a valued tradition for many families that provides millions of pounds of quality food to New Yorkers while reducing the negative impacts of abundant deer populations on agriculture, forests, and communities,” stated Commissioner Seggos. “This new opportunity allows experienced, adult hunters to introduce the value of hunting to the next generation. Teaching these young people safe, responsible, and ethical hunting practices will ensure a rewarding experience every time they are afield. I encourage all upstate counties to consider ‘opting-in’ to support New York’s young hunters and their potential contributions to deer management.”

According to the DEC, until now, New York was the only stated that did not allow 12 and 13-year-olds to hunt big game with a firearm.

The DEC stated that Environmental Conservation Law 11-095 will pilot lowering the age through 2023. The legislation will include the following provisions:

  • Allow 12- and 13-year-old licensed hunters to hunt deer with a rifle, shotgun or muzzleloading firearm in areas these firearms are permitted during hunting seasons
  • Allows 12- and 13- year-old licensed hunters to hunt deer with a crossbow during the time when other hunters may use crossbows
  • Requires that these hunters be supervised by an experienced and licensed adult hunter
  • Requires the youth hunter and adult mentor to wear fluorescent orange or pink clothing ad to remain at ground level

This legislation however excludes Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Queens, Richmond, Suffolk and Westchester counties from participating in the new program.

The DEC is developing a new page for counties that opt-in to participate.

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