The New York State Assembly’s Environmental Conservation Committee has more than 240 bills before it in the 2019 session, and dozens of those would affect a number of aspects of hunting, fishing and trapping, including several that would discount or cut fees for licenses for some people.
Various bills would reduce or eliminate the fees associated with hunting, fishing and trapping licenses for active or retired military and the disabled and elderly. Another bill would make hunting and fishing licenses tax exempt for active duty military that reside in the Empire State and yet another would provide the same benefit to members of volunteer fire fighting and ambulance squads.
Also introduced is a bill that would eliminate the requirement that hunters wear tags on their backs, and another that would lower the blood alcohol limit to .08 for those that are hunting, bringing the intoxication limit in line with the state’s driving and boating while intoxicated limits.
Currently the blood alcohol limit while hunting is 0.10 percent.
Assembly bill 2050 would require the state Department of Environmental Conservation to establish a program for gift cards for hunting and fishing licenses, while A4909 would direct the DEC to promote hunting, fishing and outdoor education in high school physical education classes.
A couple bills would ban the use of lead or toxic ammunition, and A2525 would ban the use of unmanned aerial aircraft (drones) in hunting, while A1750 would make permanent the law that allows anglers to have three lines in the water.
One bill — A3701 — would create an amendment to the state constitution that would enshrine the right of the people to hunt, trap and fish, while A3217 would result in the suspension of an individual’s hunting, trapping or fishing license if the person’s licenses were suspended by another state that is party to the Intestate Wildlife Violator Compact. Bill A3609 would change trapping rules so that traps set in water would be exempt from the current 24-hour visit period.
Bill A527 would extend use of crossbows to certain individuals during a special longbow hunting season, and A722 “Provides that it shall be unlawful for any person to organize, sponsor, conduct, promote, or participate in any contest, competition, tournament or derby where the objective of such contest or competition is to take wildlife.”
Bill A600 “prohibits New York State’s participation in any pheasant propagation programs.
“Every year the state-run Reynolds Game Farm hatches tens of thousands of Ring-Necked Pheasants in order to increase recreational pheasant hunting opportunities and to promote participation in shooting sports in New York state. These birds are not native to New York; they are bred and released specifically to be hunted at the Reynolds Game Farm,” the bill’s memo says.
“These reared birds are unnaturally easy targets for hunters, making this hunting activity ethically troublesome.
“If not shot, the birds will die from exposure to severe weather conditions, predators or starvation. DEC reports that its artificially propagated program provides approximately 70,000 pheasants (including adults and day old chicks). State money, including from the Conservation Fund, should not be used for a program that serves no conservational purpose whatsoever, and harms animals.”
Many of these bills have also been introduced in previous years. The North Country’s assemblyman on the environmental conservation committee is Dan Stec, while Betty Little sits on the state Senate’s environmental conservation committee.