Press release from Senator Michael Ranzenhofer:
Participation in hunting is declining across New York State and much of the nation.
This not only has a dramatic impact on conservation funding but also a negative impact on state revenues. It is important that the state examine ways to both attract and retain hunters.
Expanding opportunities for hunters can help boost state revenue and aid the environment.
The issue of hunters “aging out” is well documented and it is important for New York State to do all it can to reverse this trend.
Expanding crossbow-hunting opportunities and loosening ambulatory hunting requirements would provide thousands of willing hunters the opportunity to continue pursuing their passion.
Current laws regarding ambulatory licenses, require that license holders need permanent assistance to qualify.
That being said, many hunters do not need assistance devices to complete daily activities but are unable to navigate a field or more rugged terrain without assistance.
This reality should be reflected when determining who qualifies for these privileges. If enacted, these proposals would help countless hunters.
In addition to retaining hunters, attracting new hunters is critical.
Lowering the hunting age has long been discussed as the primary way to get youth more engaged at a younger age.
While I do believe that reducing the big game hunting age to 12 would be helpful, hunter apprentice programs should also be examined.
Hunter apprentice programs have proven to be an extremely safe and effective way to introduce more youths to hunting in other states.
With the state facing a $6.1 billion deficit, I believe there is a tremendous opportunity to advance proposals that are positive for hunters as well as generate much needed license revenue and conservation dollars for the state.
I have shared these opinions with the Governor and colleagues in the legislature and will continue to advocate for their adoption.
Supporting hunting helps the environment, supports rural communities and provides license revenue for New York State.