By Leon Archer
It seemed like the crossbow bill was going to die in the Assembly again this year.
It had been heavily resisted by a small faction of bow hunters and various anti-hunting groups, but large numbers of sportsmen deluged the Senate and Assembly members with calls, emails and letters.
In the end, the law was passed.
As I wrote a few weeks ago, the time for this change in New York’s conservation law was long overdue. We now become one of 28 states with some form of crossbow hunting.
It isn’t perfect yet from what I’ve heard, because it was not made legal during (all) seasons when bows may be used for hunting. I am of the opinion that this illogical omission will be corrected in the next year or two, clearing the final hurdle.
It has been a long struggle – certainly longer than it should have been for such an innocuous piece of legislation.
The final step will no doubt be introduced next year, and before long, the crossbow will be an accepted weapon during any season.
In spite of bow hunters dire predictions and fears that the woods will be over-run with crossbow hunters, when the finish line is finally crossed, they will notice little or no difference as they pursue their own form of hunting with a bow.
Peace will come in a very short time, and this tempest in a teapot will settle down and no longer be a divisive topic for sportsmen.
It is my belief that the reason the crossbow did not cross that final hurdle this year was the legislators were seeking a compromise that would mollify both the crossbow and non-crossbow hunters, but in reality, they didn’t really please either party. Let’s hope next year they get it right.
Personally, I don’t have an iron in this fire. I don’t intend to buy a crossbow, and I would be unlikely to hunt with one during an early season even if there were one to hunt in.
I still like duck hunting too much to sit in the woods waiting for a deer to walk by. I will hunt with a bow for a few days this coming fall, because my grandson, Nathaniel, will be old enough to hunt deer with a bow, and he needs me to go with him. I’ll carry a bow just in case the unlikely takes place and I have a chance at a big buck. Nathaniel’s opportunity is the number one priority.
Nate and I will be practicing this summer in order to be prepared should that moment arrive when he is able to join the ranks of successful Archer, archer deer hunters. Knowing Nathaniel as I do, it will happen.
If you are one of the many hunters who have been waiting for the crossbow to be legalized in New York state, don’t forget to send a thank you to our legislators, especially to the leaders of the Senate and Assembly.
I expect those few bow hunters who were the most opposed to the new law will be sending notes voicing their displeasure. It would be good to let those people in Albany know that they got at least one thing right this year.
My son tells me the grass is starting to peek through since warm weather broke out. I don’t think there is much grass showing in Redfield, but it will happen.
I missed getting out on the trout opener. I hope those of you who were able to go fishing had a great day. I thought about you out here in Washington. I will be out there fishing with you very soon.