- In early December, the New York Sportsmen’s Advisory Council (NYSAC) submitted two veto requests to New York Governor Kathy Hochul for Senate Bill 6510 (S. 6510) and Assembly Bill 9895 (A. 9895).
- S. 6510 would have allowed counties and municipalities to opt out of a prescribed hunting season.
- A. 9895 would have prohibited the harvesting of deer in the town of Southampton, Suffolk County, on any state lands directly adjacent to County property being used for wildlife rehabilitation purposes by a wildlife rehabilitator.
- On December 16, Governor Hochul vetoed both restrictive bills (S. 6510 Veto Memo; A. 9895 Veto Memo), making special note in her message relative to S. 6510 to say that the legislation would “have the consequence of undermining the DEC’s statutory authority over wildlife governance.”
- The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) serves in an ex-officio position with the NYSAC.
Why It Matters: There is no questioning that New York suffered several setbacks in 2022 on the sportsmen’s-policy front. Despite this, the New York Sportsmen’s Advisory Council (NYSAC) fought ardently against the anti-sportsmen and their efforts towards restricting and abolishing our sporting heritages. Governor Hochul’s vetoes of Senate Bill 6510 and Assembly Bill 9895 provide clear examples of NYSAC’s effectiveness and its ability to shape legislative course in New York. The group serves crucial roles in not only combatting the antis, but also in advancing pro-hunting, fishing, recreational shooting, and trapping policies in the Empire State. NYSAC and its members serve as New York’s premier collective of organizations fighting on behalf of the state’s sportsmen and women and their sporting traditions.
On Friday, December 16, New York Governor Kathy Hochul vetoed two restrictive hunting bills that, if passed, would have resulted in limited access and opportunities for sportsmen and women in the Empire State. Senate Bill 6510 (S. 6510) would have allowed counties and municipalities to opt out of the seven-day special late bow, special longbow, and muzzleloader season held between December 26 until January 1. Assembly Bill 9895 (A. 9895) would have prohibited the harvesting of deer in the town of Southampton, Suffolk County, on any state lands directly adjacent to County property being used for wildlife rehabilitation purposes by a wildlife rehabilitator. The New York Sportsmen’s Advisory Council (NYSAC) dedicated itself towards advocating against both bills as they reached the Governor’s desk, encouraging her swift rejection.
NYSAC was formed in 2012 by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) to provide on-the-ground assistance to the bipartisan and bicameral New York Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus in Albany, NY. Over the years, NYSAC has assisted in a wide variety of event planning and policy efforts, and it works to leverage the knowledge and resources of each of the member organizations and individuals to speak in a united voice on matters related to hunting, angling, recreational shooting, and trapping and to support the work of the Caucus.
It is from this unified experience that Bill Schwerd, Chair of NYSAC (representing New York 4-H Shooting Sports), first submitted a veto request for S. 6510 on behalf of the collective, followed by the second letter of opposition submitted in December. The letter highlighted that, if passed, the legislation would hinder the state’s Department’s ability to effectively manage wildlife within New York – a point that certainly resonated with the Governor as it was specifically reiterated in her veto message. In NYSAC’s veto request relative to A. 9895, this same point was driven home yet again, along with the general fact that the bill would result in the removal of access for New York’s sportsmen and women. In rejecting this bill, Governor Hochul rightly stated that “Hunting opportunities are already heavily regulated in Suffolk County, and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has the statutory authority to regulate hunting in New York.” Her message continued to once again recognize the overarching theme in NYSAC’s letters, stating “This bill would undermine DEC’s statutory authority over wildlife governance and would establish a problematic precedent.”
The vast majority of successes last year for New York’s sportsmen and women resulted from the defeat of anti-sportsmen’s efforts, and in many ways, the antis were successful. With that in mind, as we celebrate the Governor’s vetoes of S. 6510 and A. 9895, we must remain cognizant of the fact that there is much work to be done in 2023.