TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y. — Tompkins County legislators will debate a resolution Tuesday that, if passed, will allow people to hunt bear and deer with rifles in Tompkins County.
Tompkins County is one of the few counties in Upstate New York that allows dear and bear hunting with bows, crossbows, shotguns, muzzleloaders and handguns but not rifles. People who favor the local resolution say rifles are more accurate than other weapons allowed and would help reduce the large local population of deer. On the other hand, some oppose any expansion of gun use in the county.
The resolution being considered Tuesday notes that rifle hunting can be a safer alternative for hunting because it has a scope, and therefore hunters are more likely to kill the deer or bear rather than injure it. The resolution states there is no public safety reason to limit the use of rifles for bear and deer hunting and states that Tompkins County has long dealt with large deer populations due to the lack of natural predators. More deer leads to more traffic accidents, less healthy herds, more interaction with people and the transmission of diseases like Lyme disease, the proposed resolution states.
The resolution passed the Public Safety Committee unanimously, though two legislators from the committee – Anne Koreman and Shawna Black – said they oppose the resolution but wanted it to move on to Tompkins County Legislature for expanded discussion, according to a meeting summary by Marcia Lynch, public information officer for Tompkins County.
The resolution will be discussed at Tompkins County Legislature, which has a meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1. Read the proposed resolution below.
For information on hunting regulations and seasons, visit the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.