The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is now accepting public comment on proposed regulation changes that would allow the use of large bore air rifles to hunt big game beginning in the fall 2016 hunting seasons.
DEC will accept written public comment on the proposed rule changes through February 8, 2016.
DEC is proposing to amend the regulations found in Title 6 of the New York Codes, Rules and Regulations (6 NYCRR section 180.3) to allow the use of certain air-powered firearms for hunting big game. According to a statement issued by DEC, “air-powered rifles that meet certain specifications, termed ‘big bore air rifles,’ have adequate downrange energy to effectively harvest New York big game species.” In 2010, DEC amended these regulations to allow the use of air-powered firearms for hunting small game.
“The popularity of air-powered firearms is growing, largely because of technological advancements,” said Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a statement sent to the press. “These modern firearms produce the force necessary to efficiently harvest big game animals. In addition, because big bore air rifles are not as loud as conventional rifles or shotguns, allowing their use may make hunting more acceptable in locations with higher human densities, including areas where deer are overabundant.”
Under the proposed regulations big bore air rifles would be allowed in most New York counties for taking big game where other types of rifles are allowed.
The proposed rule can be viewed on DEC’s website under Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources Proposed, Emergency and recently adopted regulations http://www.dec.ny.gov/
Comments may also be sent via email to: WildlifeRegs@dec.ny.gov (include “air rifle regulations” in the subject line) or by writing to: Bryan L. Swift, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Bureau of Wildlife, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754.
Photo: A 14-year-old hunter with the first deer believed to have been taken with an air rifle in the United States in 2008.