On Tuesday, leaders in New York State made the announcement that a $212 billion dollar budget deal has been reached.  Approved by both the New York Senate and the New York Assembly, the budget deal still needs to pass the Legislature and be approved by Governor Cuomo but is expected to do so without any hiccups.

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As part of the final version of the New York State budget is a provision that would lower the minimum age for hunting deer with a firearm or crossbow 12-years-old.

As part of the legislation, the minimum age change would take effect on June 1, 2021, and would expire on December 31, 2023. The hunting age for junior hunters using a shotgun, rifle, muzzleloader, or crossbow would be lowered from 15-years-old to 12-years-old. However, the lowered hunting age will come with a very particular set of rules.

New York Hunter Safety Mandate for Minors

The young person will have to take and pass a hunter safety course and have a hunting license. They are not allowed to hunt on their own and when they do, they music be accompanied by their parent, guardian, or a person over the age of 21 (but only with written permission by the youngster’s parent or legal guardian).

New York Hunting Mandate for Adults Accompanying Minors

The adult hunting with the youngster must also have their own hunting license and at least three years of deer hunting experience. The adult hunting with the youngster must stay close to them and be able to “issue verbal directions and instructions, maintain constant visual contact and other otherwise provide guidance and supervision to the minor.”

New York Ground Hunting Mandate for Minors

The adult and the youngster must keep on the ground, hunting from tree stands or other structures not on the ground is not allowed.

New York Mandate on Hunting Apparel To Be Worn by Minors

The youngster and accompanying adult will be mandated to wear a minimum of 250 square inches of solid or patterned fluorescent orange or pink “consisting of no less than 50 percent fluorescent orange or pink material worn above the waist and visible from all directions or a hat or cap with no less than 50 percent of the exterior consisting (of the same colors) and visible from all directions.”

Local New York Law Has Final Say in Hunting Age For Minors

Local law has complete authority to authorize the change in hunting age and should local authorities decide not to pass the law on the local level, they do not have to.

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