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No Big Bore Air Rifles for Sport Hunting in New York

This petition had 23,739 supporters

New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is considering regulation changes to allow the use of big bore air rifles for sport hunting bears and deer in New York State.

According to DEC Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos, "The popularity of air-powered firearms is growing, largely because of technological advancements ... 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."

We oppose this proposal, in part because:

  • The big bore air rifle is so powerful that the bullets go right through their victims, causing wildlife to slowly bleed to death rather than being killed instantly. 
  • According to the DEC, "One of the advantages of using air-powered rifles is that they’re not as loud as conventional rifles or shotguns, making them more acceptable in locations with higher human densities and overpopulations of deer." Last year New York State reduced setback distances from 500 feet to 150 feet for vertical bows and 250 feet for crossbows. USDA Wildlife Services is currently considering rules which would allow for and encourage lethal deer management, including hunting, across New York State.  Do you want big bore rifles being used to hunt deer near your home?  This is the direction the DEC seems to be taking us.
  • Gun sales fund the DEC Bureau of Wildlife's budget, and so the agency promotes sport hunting and other policies that enable and encourage the destruction rather than the protection of wildlife (like the recent proposal to eliminate mute swans in New York). Across the country, government agencies in charge of protecting wildlife are profiting off their slaughter.

If you care about wildlife in New York State and oppose sport hunting, please speak out. Public comments will be accepted through February 8, 2016 by email to (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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