Crossbow legislation falls woefully short

It's official - crossbows will be allowed during next year's regular and muzzleloader season, as well as during a special late season in the Southern Zone.

I know what most of you are thinking ... "So, what?"

I must concur - like I'm going to leave my Browning in the rack in favor of a device that tosses a bolt 2,700 feet per second slower.

Granted it is a baby step toward allowing crossbow enthusiasts the right to practice their craft in the Empire State.

But, for me, the legislation falls woefully short of its original intent because it doesn't allow those with physical limitations to hunt during the regular archery season with a crossbow.

I have a unique insight on this subject - I am one such person. My left hand remains partially-paralyzed after a negligent hunter sent a shotgun slug tearing through my neck in 1993.

Since that time, I've struggled to regain my ability to practice the sport I love. As I was recovering, one of the first questions I had of the physical therapists was, "How am I ever going to bowhunt again?"

They had very few answers. We tried all sort of adaptive devices - metal forms that would hold my wrist straight. We tried velcro wraps to hold my hand to the bow. Nothing worked.

Then, in 1995, a man named Jerry Goff came up with a device that could hold a bow at full draw, and New York passed legislation allowing such devices.

The device, called a Draw Loc, worked fabulously for me. I was bowhunting again - and I've since taken a number of deer with my adapted bow. But, it does have limitations.

Fortunately for me I do have some use of my left hand, allowing me to at least grasp the bow. Others, like amputees, are not as lucky.

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