January 11, 2021

New York Considers the Next Decade of Deer Management

Contact: Brent Miller, Senior Director, Northeastern States and States Program Team Administrator

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation released a draft of their Management Plan for White-tailed Deer in New York State, 2021-2030 for public comment in late November. The plan quickly drew the attention of both in-state and national conservation organizations and policy makers. Formal comments were submitted by New York Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair, Assm. Colin Schmitt, as well as the New York Sportsmen’s Advisory Council – a group of in-state and national conservation partners formally aligned to support the Caucus and provide guidance on policy issues impacting the state’s sportsmen and women.

Assm. Schmitt’s letter expressed support for several proposals in the plan, including a long-standing Caucus priority of lowering the hunting age for big game with a rifle to 12-years-of-age (presently, New York is the only state to require hunters to reach 14-years-old before they can hunt big game with a rifle). Assm. Schmitt also expressed strong support for aligning New York State with the vast majority of other states in the start and end time to legal hunting hours being 30 minutes prior to sunrise and 30 minutes following legal sunset. Presently, New York hunting times start and end with the legal sunrise and sunset times, and do not include the first and last 30 minutes of visible light when many hunted species are the most active. Another area of the plan that Assm. Schmitt supports is the expanded hunter opportunity that would result from the implementation of a special holiday hunt for deer hunters in the southern zone between Christmas and the start of the New Year.

The New York Sportsmen’s Advisory Council’s letter also expressed strong support for the Caucus priority of lowering the hunting age while also touching on a second long-standing priority – full inclusion of crossbows in the archery season. Following a collaborative effort between the Caucus and Advisory Council members in 2013, crossbows are now authorized for nearly half of the season but barred from being used for the remainder. 

The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation will report on relevant updates as they become available.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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