Legislation is now pending in the New York State Legislature to lower the minimum age for big game hunting to 12. Assembly bill A8358 sponsored by Aileen Gunther (D,I,WF-Forestburgh) and companion Senate bill S5434 sponsored by Joseph Griffo (R-Rome) are currently pending in their respective houses’ Environmental Conservation Committees.
The New York State Conservation Council (NYSCC), a sportmans and gun rights advocacy group, has been advocating for the change. Currently, the “junior hunter mentoring program” allows youths ages 14 and 15 to hunt big game with a firearm while accompanied and supervised by an adult.
“The NYSCC strongly supports this change,” a press release issued by the NYSCC last week stated. “Increasing the opportunities for young people to participate in one of the state’s premier outdoor activities will help our youth develop new skills and cultivate lifelong participation in outdoor sports.”
The DEC’s current five-year deer management plan recommends that the minimum age for big game hunting with a firearm be lowered to twelve.
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.