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For Release: Wednesday, December 23, 2015

DEC Announces Proposed Rule Changes to Allow Big Bore Air Rifles for Big Game Hunting

Public Comments Accepted Through February 8

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is now accepting public comment on proposed regulation changes that would allow the use of big bore air rifles as a legal implement for taking big game at certain times and places in New York, beginning in the fall 2016 hunting seasons, Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today. DEC will accept written public comment on the proposed rule changes through February 8, 2016.

DEC is proposing to amend the regulations found within Title 6 of the New York Codes, Rules and Regulations (6 NYCRR section 180.3) to allow the use of certain air-powered firearms for hunting big game. Air-powered rifles that meet certain specifications, termed "big bore air rifles," have adequate downrange energy to effectively harvest New York big game species. In 2010, DEC amended these regulations to allow the use of air-powered firearms for hunting small game.

"The popularity of air-powered firearms is growing, largely because of technological advancements," said Acting Commissioner Seggos. "These modern firearms produce the force necessary to efficiently harvest big game animals. In addition, because big bore air rifles are not as loud as conventional rifles or shotguns, allowing their use may make hunting more acceptable in locations with higher human densities, including areas where deer are overabundant."

Big bore air rifles are available commercially, and they fire bullets of sufficient size at sufficient velocities to safely and efficiently harvest big game. These big bore air rifles would only be allowed for taking big game where other types of rifles are allowed to be used for taking big game. Use of rifles for big game hunting is allowed in most New York counties. Please visit the Rifle, Shotgun, and Bow Areas webpage on DEC's website for more information.

Details of the proposed rule can be viewed in the December 23 publication of the New York State Register and on DEC's website under Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources Proposed, Emergency and recently adopted regulations.

Citizens who wish to make formal public comments through February 8 may do so by sending an email to: WildlifeRegs@dec.ny.gov (include "air rifle regulations" in the subject line) or by writing to: Bryan L. Swift, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Bureau of Wildlife, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754.

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