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Stances vary on proposed crossbow legislation

Legislation has been introduced in the state senate and assembly that will basically classify a crossbow as archery hunting gear.

Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther (D, Forestburgh) sponsors bill A9623; Senator Patrick Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma) sponsors bill S7005. These companion bills will mainly classify crossbows as a bow.

Features of the bills include eliminating the 20-pound maximum draw weight and 17-inch minimum width restriction; setting ages for bow and crossbow use for youths at age 12 and 13; permitting crossbow use at 150 feet, the same distance as a vertical bow and bow-fishing use; allowing use of a draw-lock device without a required permit; removing the ground-only requirement for youths and mentors while crossbow hunting; and allowing crossbow use in all open archery seasons.

The New York Bowhunters has opposed crossbow use during archery season and opposes the proposed legislation. The Bowhunters contend that crossbow features resemble a firearm more than an archery device.

The New York Crossbow Coalition has striven to legalize the device for all hunters to use and is expected to lobby in favor of bill passage this legislative session.

Currently, crossbows are basically aligned with muzzleloaders in their classification for permitted use and for most open hunting seasons.

To locate a state assembly member in your area and express your opinion on the bills, visit assembly.state.ny.us/mem/search. For senate members, visit nysenate.gov/find-my-senator.

Women’s workshop

Spring wild turkey season opens May 1 in New York State and women can upgrade their field prowess during an informative workshop.

The Great Swamp Conservancy and Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program are offering a “Turkey Hunting Skills Workshop for Women” at the conservancy in Canastota from 9 a.m. until noon on April 16.

Outdoorsman Hall of Fame instructor Lin Menninger conducts the workshop for women. Minimum age is 12 and minors must attend with a parent or guardian.

Registration ($35 per person) must be made by Friday. For details, call (315) 697-2950 or email: greatswampconservancy@gmail.com.

Punishing poachers

Modern conservation enforcement has upgraded tools and networking to nab fish and game poachers, but violations are increasing in some states. In Minnesota, the Dept. of Natural Resources in 2015 issued 35 percent more hunting citations than during the previous year.

In response, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton called for increased penalties for fish and game law violators, repeat offenders in particular. Legislators and the general public are in support of Dayton’s appeal to make major violations a felony-level offense.

State representatives are considering the governor’s proposals of upgraded fines and license revocations up to 10 years for offenses that take more than $2,000 of the state’s wildlife resource.

The new penalties would be for poaching four or more deer, two or more trophy deer, five of more bear or turkeys, 40 or more ducks, geese, pheasant, grouse or salmon, or 67 or more walleye or northern pike.

Officials in New York State and Pennsylvania are considering options for increased fines, confiscations and imprisonment for serious fish and game violations.

On-line pistol course

The National Rifle Association is now offering its “Basics of Pistol Shooting Course” on line.

Web-based instruction is offered in 11 lessons to be completed within 90 days and prior to a session at a local range with NRA certified instructors. For more details on this course, visit onlinetraining.nra.org.

email: odrswill@gmail.com