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Governor signs bill making big game rifle hunting permanent in Orleans

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 September 2019 at 12:24 pm

File photo by Tom Rivers: These deer are pictured in March 2015 on Route 98 in Gaines, south of 104.

Hunters in Orleans County have been given permanent permission to use rifles for big game hunting.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday signed the legislation that was backed by the Orleans County Legislature and local sportsmen’s clubs.

Legislation was first approved to allow rifles for big game hunting in 2017. That legislation was due to expire on Oct. 1.

Cuomo and the State Legislature agreed to permanently authorize pistols, rifles, crossbows, longbows, muzzle-loaded firearms and shotguns to be used when hunting big game, including rifle hunting between Nov. 16 and Dec. 8 this year.

State Sen. Rob Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, issued this statement:

“I am glad that this legislation was passed and signed in a timely manner to allow for big game rifle hunting this upcoming season, and I want to thank my colleague, Assemblyman Steve Hawley, for his work in helping to get this legislation passed. For many, hunting is a way of life and provides generations of families a chance to bond, learn about nature, and educate the younger generations about what it means to hunt. This legislation will ensure the practice of hunting and outdoor education continues in Orleans County for decades to come.”

Assemblyman Steve Hawley, R-Batavia, issued this statement:

“I am proud to announce that big game rifle hunting has been permanently authorized in Orleans County – paving the way for this year’s season to open on November 16. Hunting is such an important staple of our culture here in Western New York and a fall tradition that many families look forward to each year. Permanently protecting this tradition is very important to me and the thousands of hunters I represent across the 139th Assembly District. I will always stand by our right to hunt, fish and exercise the Second Amendment and I wish all hunters a safe and productive season this year!”

Local sportsmen leaders said hunters have discovered fewer wounded animals since rifles were allowed. Terry Williams of Carlton told county legislators at a recent meeting that shotguns often require multiple shots, and sometimes don’t take down an animal, leaving them hurt.

“It has been a very clean and prosperous year for those of us with rifle hunting,” Wiliams told legislators last December. “It’s one shot and it’s over with. It’s very clean and neat.”

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