This is what the certificate looks like that the state is requiring a hunter fill out, sign and carry with their hunting license to hunt with a crossbow this season. This form can be found and printed out at www.dec.ny.gov/docs/wildlife_pdf/crossbowform.pdf
There seems to be some confusion regarding the new legislation that allows crossbow use during the upcoming 2011 big game season, and with good reason. I’ve seen very little in print since the governor signed the legislation into law last year.
The reality is it is going to affect few people, unless you’re a purist who would rather hunt with a crossbow during regular season than a high-powered rifle.
In my opinion, it’s not much of a decision.
For those who have not read the law, crossbows are legal this year only during the early bear season, regular firearms seasons, late muzzleloader seasons, and the special firearms season in Suffolk County.
They cannot be used by the elderly or handicapped, cannot be used during any bow seasons or in any archery only areas and cannot be used during the muzzleloader season in the northern zone.
They can only be used to hunt deer or bear, and cannot be used during any small game seasons or to hunt turkey.
To possess a crossbow to hunt deer or bear, all you need to do is read a short form about the rules and legal requirements, sign a business-card-size certificate and carry it with you with your big game license. You can print out the form online at www.dec.ny.gov/docs/wildlife_pdf/crossbowform.pdf.
That’s it — no special crossbow education class to sit through and no extra fee to pay for a separate license.
While the new crossbow legislation does crack the door to crossbow use in the Empire State, it is painfully obvious that there are plenty of special interest groups still holding the door securely shut on the other side.
The fact that the law doesn’t even allow the elderly or handicapped to use crossbows during bow season — something that is nearly universally supported by all user groups — is evidence of that.
Whitetail Classic free this season
Tony McCutcheon, creator of the New York Whitetail Classic, is opening the statewide big buck contest to anyone who would like to sign up, free of charge.
In a prepared statement, McCutcheon said there has been a significant drop in participation during recent years, a drop he attributes to the economy. In response, this year’s 2011 contest will be free to everyone who enters and hunters will be able to enter anytime during the season.
Hunters must enter the contest at least 24 hours before taking a deer. Sign-up sheets will be available at a number of supporting businesses and online at www.nywhitetailclassic.com. Final deadline for entry is Dec. 10. Certificates will be issued as prizes, recognizing hunters with the biggest bucks entered this season. A scoring session, will be held Jan. 14, 2012, with the location and time to be announced later.
Lease looking for members
The KC Brook Club, formerly East River Club in Tahawus, is seeking new members and I promised member Alan Huggard I’d give them a plug in this column.
The club encompasses 2,800 acres of former Finch, Pruyn land and contains four camps. There are currently 21 members, but the group would like to boost that number to 32.
I’ve personally hunted some of this area and it is definitely pretty country with great genetics for big deer. Alan tells me the crew are all tight-knit and the camaraderie is second to none. He said the recreational opportunities for members and their families do not end with deer hunting — there are miles of roads and trails for everything from hiking to cross country skiing to snowmobiling.
To find out more, or to take a tour of the property, contact Alan Huggard in Wevertown at (518) 251-3563.
John Gereau is managing editor of Denton Publications and an avid outdoorsman. His column appears regularly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org