WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Hunting is a popular activity in the north country and now more children may be able to do it.
A provision included in the upcoming New York state budget could drop the legal age to hunt deer from 14 to 12.
When the budget is passed, individual counties will need to sign off on it.
It’s something that’s expected to go over well in Lewis County.
“I think that lowering the age will work out well in Lewis County. That age group has been hunting now for many years,” said Larry Dolhof, District 8 county legislator.
But, county Sheriff Mike Carpinelli, a known advocate for gun freedoms, says allowing preteens that responsibility may be irresponsible.
“I don’t think they’re ready for it. I don’t think they’re ready emotionally, and I don’t think they’re ready physically. Some of them aren’t going to be strong enough to hold that firearm,” said Carpinelli.
If the provision is passed through state and local governments, 12 year olds will be able to legally hunt with crossbows and firearms, but they must have adult supervision, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
The legislation is subject to change. It will start as a two-year pilot program on June 1.
“It is a privilege. I wish the state would spend more time at a young age teaching an individual what the Constitution is and what the Second Amendment stands for,” said Carpinelli.
The Lewis County Board of Legislators is set to meet sometime in the next week to discuss the provision.