NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A238
TITLE OF BILL:
An act to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to
crossbows; and to repeal certain provisions of such law relating thereto
To clarify that the taking of deer, bear, small game, fish and wild
upland game birds by crossbow is akin to the taking of such game by a
longbow; removes restrictions related to the maximum peak draw weight
and minimum limb width; establishes parity in relation to the minimum
distance with which a crossbow could be discharged from an occupied
structure consistent with that of a longbow; clarifies use of a crossbow
in relation to the hunter safety course be presented as part of the bow
hunter education course; and permits the use of a crossbow by youth
hunters 12 and 13 years of age.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1 - amends ECL 11-0701 to permit the taking of fish by crossbow;
removes language prohibiting the use of a crossbow by 12 and 13 year
olds in relation to the holder of a hunting license with a bow hunting
privilege; codifies that a crossbow be included within the bow hunting
privilege on a hunting license which authorizes the taking of wild deer
or bear; permits a non-resident to hunt bear with a crossbow so long as
the non-resident holder also possesses a hunting license with a bow
hunting privilege; removes the term crossbow from language governing a
Section 2 - amends ECL 11-0703 to codify that the hunting of deer and
bear by crossbow be included with long bows regarding the special arch-
Section 3 - repeals ECL 11-0713 subdivision 6, which requires training
in the safe use of hunting with a crossbow as part of the basic hunter
education course for new hunters.
Sections 4 and 5 - amends ECL 11-0901 to permit the use of crossbows to
take wild game and wild upland birds and remove the provision that
crossbows may be used only by those 14 years of age and older.
Sections 6 and 7 - amends ECL 11-0901 to remove the maximum peak draw
weight requirement of 200 pounds in relation to the use of a crossbow
and minimum limb width of such crossbow to be seventeen inches for both
the taking of deer and bear. Codifies the taking of deer and bear with a
crossbow within the provision related to the possession of a bow hunting
Section 8 - repeals ECL 11-0901 subdivisions 11 and 16 restricting the
carrying of a longbow afield which is equipped with a mechanical device
used to draw, hold or release the bow string or arrow and the issuance
of a permit to take big game or small game by use of crossbow equipped
with an apparatus which releases the bowstring by means of such person's
Section 9 - amends ECL 11-0903 to permit-DEC to promulgate regulations
on the taking of wildlife by the use of a crossbow. The summary of such
regulations must be published annually in the hunting syllabus.
Section 10 - repeals ECL 11-0907 subdivision 10, which provided for a
limited crossbow season.
Section 11 - amends ECL 11-0929 to permit 12 and 13 year olds to hunt
with a crossbow so long as they are supervised by a parent or legal
guardian, or by a person 21 years of age or older who is designated by
the parent or guardian and holds a hunting license.
Section 12 - amends ECL 11-0929 removes the provision that the minor
hunter and his or her chaperone remain at ground level while hunting.
Section 13 - amends ECL 11-0931 to reduce, in relation to the discharge
of a crossbow in proximity to a dwelling or generally occupied struc-
ture, from 200 feet to 150 feet.
Section 14 - amends ECL 11-0933 to permit the use of a crossbow, for the
taking of small game and wild upland game birds, to include any licensed
person ages 12 and older. Makes a technical change to remove references
to the use of a crossbow in areas where shotgun or muzzle loaders are
Section 15 - sets forth an immediate effective date.
Crossbow hunting in New York State has proven to be a safe and effective
option for many hunters since their use was first authorized in 2014.
Unfortunately, for crossbow users the hunting season has been adversely
impacted due to the current statutory restrictions which do not recog-
nize the correlation of the crossbow with that of conventional bows.
The crossbow contains limbs and strings which are used to propel an
arrow, the same as that of a compound bow and long bow. Importantly, the
Federal government, via the Internal Revenue Service, has classified
crossbows, accessories attached to them and their arrows as archery
equipment subject to the archery excise tax.
This legislation rightfully identifies hunters' use of a crossbow to be
in sync with the privileges afforded to those which hunt with a conven-
tional bow, thereby providing for additional hunting opportunities which
will ultimately help properly manage wildlife populations and stimulate
the economy of our great State.
2019-20: A3677 referred to Environmental Conservation/S538 referred to
2017-18: A479A referred to Environmental Conservation/S1386A referred to
2015-16: S.7005/A.9623 Referred to Environmental Conservation (both
This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK
2021-2022 Regular Sessions
January 6, 2021
Introduced by M. of A. GUNTHER, LUPARDO, WOERNER, STECK, SANTABARBARA,
BUTTENSCHON -- read once and referred to the Committee on Environ-
AN ACT to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to
crossbows; and to repeal certain provisions of such law relating ther-
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-bly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. Paragraph a of subdivision 1, the closing paragraph of
2 paragraph a of subdivision 2, paragraphs 1 and 2 of subdivision 3,
3 subdivision 5 and subdivision 9 of section 11-0701 of the environmental
4 conservation law, paragraph a of subdivision 1 as amended by section 21
5 and subdivision 9 as amended by section 17 of part EE of chapter 55 of
6 the laws of 2014, the closing paragraph of paragraph a of subdivision 2,
7 paragraphs 1 and 2 of subdivision 3 and subdivision 5 as amended by
8 section 1-a of part R of chapter 58 of the laws of 2013, are amended to
9 read as follows:
10 a. entitles a holder who is twelve or thirteen years of age to hunt
11 wildlife, except big game, as provided in title 9 of this article
12 subject, specifically, to the provisions of section 11-0929 of this
13 article. It entitles such holder to possess firearms as provided in
14 section 265.05 of the penal law. [A holder who is twelve or thirteen
15 years of age shall not hunt with a crossbow.]
16 A holder may take fish with a longbow or crossbow as provided in
17 titles 9 and 13 of this article.
18 (1) who is between the ages of twelve and sixteen years to hunt wild
19 deer and bear with a longbow or crossbow during the special archery
20 season and during the regular season, as provided in title 9 of this
21 article, subject to the provisions of section 11-0929 and subdivision 3
22 of section 11-0713 of this article;
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.
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1 (2) who is eighteen years of age or older to hunt wild deer and bear
2 with a longbow or crossbow, as provided in title 9 of this article, in a
3 special [longbow] archery season; and
4 5. A non-resident bear tag entitles a person who has not been a resi-
5 dent of the state for more than thirty days who also possesses a hunting
6 license to hunt bear during the regular open season therefor or in an
7 open season fixed by regulation pursuant to subdivision eight of section
8 11-0903 of this article. It entitles a non-resident holder who also
9 possesses a hunting license with bowhunting privilege to hunt bear with
10 a longbow or crossbow during the open bear season. It entitles a non-re-
11 sident holder who also possesses a hunting license with muzzle-loading
12 privilege to hunt bear with a muzzleloader during the open bear season.
13 9. A muzzle-loading privilege when included on a hunting license enti-
14 tles a holder who is fourteen years of age or older to hunt wild deer
15 and bear with a muzzle-loading firearm [or crossbow], as provided in
16 title 9 of this article, in a special muzzle-loading firearm season.
17 § 2. Paragraph b of subdivision 6 of section 11-0703 of the environ-
18 mental conservation law, as amended by section 2 of part R of chapter 58
19 of the laws of 2013, is amended to read as follows:
20 b. Except as provided in section 11-0707 and section 11-0709 of this
21 title, no person shall (1) hunt wild deer or bear unless such person
22 holds and is entitled to exercise the privileges of a hunting license,
23 and meets the requirements of this article; (2) hunt wild deer or bear
24 with a longbow or crossbow in a special [longbow] archery season unless
25 such person holds and is entitled to exercise the privileges of a hunt-
26 ing license with a bowhunting privilege and meets the requirements of
27 this article; or (3) hunt wild deer or bear with a muzzle-loading
28 firearm in a special muzzle-loading firearm season unless such person is
29 at least fourteen years old and holds a hunting license with a muzzle-
30 loading privilege and meets the requirements of this article.
31 § 3. Subdivision 6 of section 11-0713 of the environmental conserva-
32 tion law is REPEALED.
33 § 4. Subparagraph 3 of paragraph c of subdivision 3 of section 11-0901
34 of the environmental conservation law is REPEALED.
35 § 5. Paragraph c of subdivision 3 of section 11-0901 of the environ-
36 mental conservation law, as amended by section 19 of part EE of chapter
37 55 of the laws of 2014, is amended to read as follows:
38 c. Wild small game and wild upland game birds shall be taken only by
39 longbow, crossbow or gun, or by the use of raptors as provided in title
40 10 of this article, except that:
41 (1) skunk, raccoon, bobcat, coyote, fox, mink and muskrat may be taken
42 in any manner not prohibited in this section or in title 11 of the Fish
43 and Wildlife Law; and
44 (2) frogs may also be taken by spearing, catching with the hands, or
45 by the use of a club or hook[; and].
46 § 6. Subparagraph 9 of paragraph b and subparagraph 9 of paragraph c
47 of subdivision 4 of section 11-0901 of the environmental conservation
48 law, subparagraph 9 of paragraph b as added by section 6 and subpara-
49 graph 9 of paragraph c as added by section 7 of part EE of chapter 55 of
50 the laws of 2014, are amended to read as follows:
51 (9) with a crossbow unless such crossbow shall consist of a bow and
52 string, either compound or recurve, that launches a minimum fourteen
53 inch [bolt] arrow, not including point, mounted upon a stock with a
54 trigger that holds the string and limbs under tension until released.
55 The trigger unit of such crossbow must have a working safety. The [mini-
56 mum limb width of such crossbow shall be seventeen inches, have a] mini-
A. 238 3
1 mum peak draw weight [of] shall be one hundred pounds [and a maximum
2 peak draw weight of two hundred pounds]. The minimum overall length of
3 such crossbow from buttstock to front of limbs shall be twenty-four
5 (9) with a crossbow unless such crossbow shall consist of a bow and
6 string, either compound or recurve, that launches a minimum fourteen
7 inch [bolt] arrow, not including point, mounted upon a stock with a
8 trigger that holds the string and limbs under tension until released.
9 The trigger unit of such crossbow must have a working safety. The [mini-
10 mum limb width of such crossbow shall be seventeen inches, have a] mini-
11 mum peak draw weight [of] shall be one hundred pounds [and a maximum
12 peak draw weight of two hundred pounds]. The minimum overall length of
13 such crossbow from buttstock to front of limbs shall be twenty-four
15 § 7. Subdivision 13 of section 11-0901 of the environmental conserva-
16 tion law, as amended by section 23 of part R of chapter 58 of the laws
17 of 2013, is amended to read as follows:
18 13. Persons engaged in hunting deer and/or bear with a longbow or a
19 crossbow must possess a current bowhunting privilege or a valid certif-
20 icate of qualification in responsible bowhunting practices issued or
21 honored by the department.
22 § 8. Subdivisions 11 and 16 of section 11-0901 of the environmental
23 conservation law are REPEALED.
24 § 9. Section 11-0903 of the environmental conservation law is amended
25 by adding a new subdivision 12 to read as follows:
26 12. Notwithstanding any inconsistent provision of this article, the
27 department is authorized to adopt regulations which authorize the taking
28 of wildlife by the use of crossbow. A summary of regulations adopted
29 pursuant to this subdivision shall be published each year in the hunting
30 syllabus issued pursuant to section 11-0323 of this article.
31 § 10. Subdivision 10 of section 11-0907 of the environmental conserva-
32 tion law is REPEALED.
33 § 11. Subdivision 1 of section 11-0929 of the environmental conserva-
34 tion law, as amended by section 20 of part EE of chapter 55 of the laws
35 of 2014, is amended to read as follows:
36 1. A licensee who is twelve or thirteen years of age shall not hunt
37 wildlife with a gun, crossbow or a longbow unless he or she is accompa-
38 nied by his or her parent or legal guardian, or by a person twenty-one
39 years of age or older designated in writing by his or her parent or
40 legal guardian on a form prescribed by the department, who holds a hunt-
41 ing license. [A licensee who is twelve or thirteen years of age shall
42 not hunt with a crossbow.]
43 § 12. Subparagraph 5 of paragraph b of subdivision 2 of section
44 11-0929 of the environmental conservation law is REPEALED and subpara-
45 graph 6 is renumbered subparagraph 5.
46 § 13. Subparagraph 2 of paragraph a and subparagraph 1 of paragraph b
47 of subdivision 4 of section 11-0931 of the environmental conservation
48 law, as amended by section 8 of part EE of chapter 55 of the laws of
49 2014, are amended to read as follows:
50 (2) discharge a firearm within five hundred feet, a long bow within
51 one hundred fifty feet, or a crossbow within [two] one hundred fifty
52 feet from a dwelling house, farm building or farm structure actually
53 occupied or used, school building, school playground, public structure,
54 or occupied factory or church;
55 (1) The owner or lessee of the dwelling house, or members of his imme-
56 diate family actually residing therein, or a person in his employ, or
A. 238 4
1 the guest of the owner or lessee of the dwelling house acting with the
2 consent of said owner or lessee, provided however, that nothing herein
3 shall be deemed to authorize such persons to discharge a firearm within
4 five hundred feet, a long bow within one hundred fifty feet, or a cross-
5 bow within [two] one hundred fifty feet of any other dwelling house, or
6 a farm building or farm structure actually occupied or used, or a school
7 building or playground, public structure, or occupied factory or church;
8 § 14. Section 11-0933 of the environmental conservation law, as added
9 by section 22 of part EE of chapter 55 of the laws of 2014, is amended
10 to read as follows:
11 § 11-0933. Taking small game by crossbow.
12 Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter, or any prior notwith-
13 standing language in this article, the department may, by regulation,
14 authorize the taking of small game and wild upland game birds by the use
15 of a crossbow by any licensed person [fourteen] twelve years of age or
16 older, in any small game season[, in any area designated in items (a),
17 (b), (c), (d), (e), (f), (i), (k), and (l) of paragraph a of subdivision
18 two of section 11-0907 of this title in which a shotgun or muzzle loader
19 is permitted].
20 § 15. This act shall take effect immediately.