The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has just enacted a "youth season" in which youth, ages 14-15, could go out during the opening weekend of bow season with firearms, which was from Oct. 6 to 8.
What this fails to incorporate is the large amount of bow hunters who will also be out in the area regardless of this season. My main concern is safety. For bow, the hunter does not need to wear orange, can be dressed entirely in camouflage, and also needs to be considerably closer to the deer for a shot. This can cause a concern if the youth and mentor are not aware of others in the area. And since there is a decreasing area for people to hunt in, this can become especially dangerous on state lands.
The DEC commissioner appealed to bow hunters to "set your bow aside for the weekend and be a mentor for a youth's first firearms deer hunt." Does the commissioner think every bow hunter is the parent/mentor of a child between the ages of 14 and 15? Unlikely. The goal of the DEC is to maintain hunter numbers, hunting is their major form of deer population control, but I do not see what three days of firearm season for youth would establish. I believe it would be better to establish more youth in the 'art' of bow hunting. There is debatably more skill and knowledge required to kill a deer from bow, and it could be considered more advantageous to establish youth in bow hunting so in the future they could hunt both seasons, considering the earliest for small game bow is 12 years old as well.
I just hope this will be a reminder to the hunters looking at going out next weekend to be extra careful and cautious, because one accident is too many.
Cassandra Pinkoski is a Portland resident.