Hunting for consistency

Waterfowl, rails, shorebirds and crows — all are part of New York’s official list of migratory game birds.

Last month, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation proposed changes to its migratory game bird program, which would bring inconsistencies and state regulations in line with those at the federal Environmental Protection Agency level.

“Current lack of agreement between federal and state regulations leads to confusion among hunters and the general public and potentially undermines the enforcement of the state regulations,” the proposal reads in part.

Open for public comment through Aug. 2, the proposal is comprised of six major components.

Special waterfowl hunting opportunities for veterans and active members of the military would be outlined in the state migratory game bird program, as is permitted by the federal government.

“Allowing a special two-day waterfowl season outside of the regular hunting seasons provides veterans and active members of the military a quality opportunity to hunt waterfowl and enjoy the outdoors with limited competition from other hunting parties,” the proposal reads.

Similarly, the existing special waterfowl hunting opportunities for youth are upheld in the proposal, but mentors who accompany youth during the youth opportunity timeframes will no longer be allowed to carry a firearm, longbow or crossbow.

“The rule would allow for additional opportunity to provide a quality hunting and educational experience for the mentored youth hunter and would be more consistent with all other New York youth hunting seasons that prohibit the mentor from carrying a firearm,” the proposal reads.

During non-mentoring ventures, however, the DEC is proposing hunters be allowed to use crossbows as a hunting implement to be consistent with crossbow regulations for other small game species.

The proposed regulations would also correct and clarify prohibitions related to hunting methods allowed during special goose seasons, and clarify conflicting zone boundary descriptions between federal and state regulations.

The DEC reports the regulation adjustments would not require any additional hunter paperwork, enforcement costs or additional costs for coordinating the migratory game bird program.

The proposal is accessible on the DEC’s Fish and Wildlife Regulatory Revisions website, and comments can be directed to Joshua Stiller, 625 Broadway, Fifth Floor, Albany, NY 12233. Comments may also be made by telephone, 518-402-8883, or emailed to wildliferegs@dec.ny.gov.

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