The Adirondacks is the largest park of any kind in the lower 48 states. It is larger than Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, and Olympic National Parks combined. Larger than the state of New Hampshire and six other states.
Its 6 million acres contain more than 2,800 ponds and lakes, 1,500 miles of rivers and 40 mountaintops above 4,000 feet. Indeed, a vast majority of the big game hunting opportunities that exist north of the Mason-Dixon Line and east of the Mississippi River can be found within the Blue Line border.
Yet when it comes to the age at which our youth can hunt big game, New York is the most restrictive state in the nation.
Among the 23 states that restrict the age at which a person can first hunt, 16 require kids to be at least 12 years old. Of the remaining 8, 7 states require youth to be 14 before they can hunt big game.
New York remains the only state in the country that requires a person to be 16 to hunt big game with a firearm.
Why? Because our state is largely controlled by inner city legislators, whose concept of a 14 year old with a gun is a bit different than the average Adirondacker.
We have had a handful of small victories on the youth hunting front, however. First, youth ages 12-15 were given their own early season prior to the regular 2004 turkey season.
Now, for the first time, the DEC has created a special youth pheasant hunt prior to the start of the regular season on Oct. 1. The hunt will take place from Sept. 29-30, with young hunters able to carry a gun under adult supervision.
At the same time, the state will increase the chance of a successful experience by releasing 25,000 adult pheasants on state and private land accessible to the young hunters.