Well, it finally happened…the NYS DEC adopted regulation changes making crossbows a legal implement for the fall 2014 hunting seasons.
So what does that mean for us? Well, if you’re hunting big game in Suffolk, Nassau, or Westchester counties you don’t have to worry about seeing crossbows in the woods because they’re not allowed in these counties – for now.
As far as licensing, crossbows will be treated as ‘muzzleloaders’ so hunters must have a muzzleloader hunting privilege to hunt with a crossbow.
Crossbows can be used to take deer during the early and late muzzleloader season in the Northern Zone and late muzzleloader season in the Southern Zone using Bow/Muzzleloader tags, deer management permits (DMPs), deer management assistance permit tags (DMAPs), or an unfilled Regular Big Game tag (late season only). Crossbows can also be used during regular firearms seasons using a Regular Big Game tag, DMPs, or DMAP tags.
What’s different this time around is now crossbows can also be used to take deer or bear during limited portions of bowhunting seasons with a muzzleloading license. This includes the last 14 days of the early bowhunting season in the Southern Zone (i.e., November 1 – November 14, 2014), the last 10 days of the early bowhunting season in the Northern Zone (i.e., October 15 – October 24, 2014, and the 7-day early muzzleloader season in the Northern Zone).
Visit the NYS DEC website for the full details on crossbow hunting in New York.