The state Senate and Assembly have approved using rifles to hunt deer in Yates and Steuben counties through 2011.
After a successful trial season last year, the state Assembly last week passed legislation that would allow deer hunting with rifles in Yates and Steuben counties through 2011.
Assemblyman Jim Bacalles, R-Corning, who sponsored the legislation, announced the bill’s passage. The legislation was approved earlier by the state Senate and will be sent to Gov. David Paterson.
The legislation was adopted in response to the area’s increasing deer population and declining number of hunters. The result has been increased crop damage and a rise in automobile/deer collisions.
“Rifle hunting is important to sportsmen in my district,” said Bacalles, whose district includes Yates County. “I’m elated that this measure has been approved by the Legislature.”
In addition, the Assembly passed a junior big-game hunting bill which would allow 14- and 15-year-olds — who are already licensed to hunt small game — to participate in big-game hunting while under strict supervision.
The legislation, long advocated by New York sportsmen, will help foster increased long-term interest and participation in hunting. Bacalles noted the legislation also creates a trapper mentoring program that would allow individuals under the age of 12 to accompany and assist licensed trappers with a minimum of three years’ experience.
New York has been experiencing a decline of around 10,000 big-game hunters per year, which has made it more difficult for the Department of Environmental Conservation to manage expanding deer populations.
Using rifles to hunt deer is already allowed in the Adirondack Mountains and many Southern Tier counties.