(BROOME COUNTY, NY) – Broome County Executive Jason Garnar has signed legislation into law permitting 12- and 13-year-olds to hunt deer with firearms and crossbows. 12- and 13-year-old hunters will now be able to hunt deer with a rifle, shotgun, or muzzleloading firearm in areas where and during the hunting seasons in which such firearms may be used. Additionally, they will be able to hunt deer with a crossbow during the times when other hunters may use crossbows.
“Hunting is a tradition for many in Broome County and one that families often share from generation to generation,” Garnar said. “We know that many hunting families have been waiting for this change; 12- and 13-year-olds were already able to hunt smaller game with firearms, so it made sense to permit them to take deer as well. We appreciate our state lawmakers who helped make this change in the law a reality.”
“Allowing 12- and 13-year-olds to hunt deer responsibly and safely with supervision is a great opportunity for young people in our community,” said Chairman and 5th District Broome County Legislator Dan J. Reynolds. “My colleagues and I on the Legislature are proud to support this program that will allow teens to learn more about hunting and expand their interest in the sport.”
Like adults, junior hunters will need to be licensed and take a hunting safety course before getting a license. Supervision by an experienced and licensed adult hunter is also required. Both the youth and adult hunters will be required to wear fluorescent orange or pink clothing and both must remain at ground level while hunting deer with a crossbow, rifle, shotgun, or muzzleloader.
The change in law at the local level comes after New York State included language as part of the 2021-22 State Budget allowing these junior hunters to use firearms for deer hunting in counties that pass a local law.
“With deer being the most popular game among local sportsmen and women, it made sense to allow younger hunters to participate in deer season as well,” said Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, who advocated for the change in state law. “This will help encourage safe and responsible hunting by teaching these skills at a younger age. With more hunters being able to participate, this will also be a boost to New York’s outdoor tourism industry.”
“Hunting is a huge part of our upstate community’s way of life and a tradition that spans generations,” said Senator Fred Akshar. “It only makes sense that responsible young men and women who are already allowed to hunt smaller game be allowed to hunt deer as well. We applaud the County Executive for taking the next step in signing this legislation into law.”
“Hunting is an important heritage sport which is deeply traditional for many families in my district. I am pleased to see deer hunting be expanded in Broome County, something I have proudly supported in Albany,” said Assemblyman Joseph Angelino. “Teaching our young people the traditions of hunting afield, conservation, and patience and respect for our environment are invaluable lessons to learn. The result of this program will ensure a vibrant outdoor sport culture in our region and the controlled conservation to keep the deer population healthy in our state.”
The state law expires after two years and will be required to be renewed after that in order for junior hunters to continue taking deer with firearms.