The state is also proposing reducing the setback required for using longbows and crossbows around structures from the current 500 feet to 150.
And, lastly, DEC is proposing an increase in fines and civil penalties for violators. The current penalty structure hasn’t changed since 1996, and many sportsmen’s groups support bigger penalties for those who illegally take wildlife.
According to Hurst, some of these proposals are more likely to be seen before others. The DEC is allowed to establish some rules on its own, like antler restrictions and season dates, while others take new laws in Albany.
Recommendations like the minimum hunting age, increasing penalties and the use of crossbows, for example, take legislative approval, and will therefore take more time to put in place, as will a change to an across-the-board doe permit system in the northern zone.
“Some of these are really just a concept, so lets not jump the gun,” Hurst cautioned. “There is no way, for example, that the Deer Management Permit system would come into play next year.”
How to comment
For those who have not spoken up, the public comment period on the plan ended July 28, but Hurst said it will be several months before the plan is finalized and his office is not ignoring the opinion of those who are still submitting comments.
Comments may be submitted in writing to DEC Deer Management Plan, NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Hurst can also be contacted directly at 402-8867.
The plan can be found in its entirety at http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7211.html.