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Rod, Gun and Game: New York state crossbow hunting is already popular

Senior New York state Hunting and Safety Instructor, Frank Miskey, shares his time to provide free crossbow familiarity and training for students.
After almost 20 years of frustration for many proponents of crossbow use for hunting, New York state has finally approved rules and regulations for legal crossbow use for big game and small game hunting. There is excitement in the air!

At S&S Taxidermy and Outdoor Shop in Springville, archery technician Mike Ventre says, “You simply would not believe how many folks are coming in and asking questions about the new crossbow seasons. They want to know about accuracy of the products, safety, cost and why it took so long to get this legal. No need to quibble anymore though, crossbows are legal here now, just not for the entire early archery season, everyone should read the official season rules.”

Ventre added, “We share information with everyone, allow them to test shoot a crossbow in our indoor range and answer all their questions, all free. The most excited group? The elderly hunters who can’t pull a regular bow back due to arthritis or other aging issues, they seem young again, and very happy!”

Sportsmen planning to use a crossbow this year should know that the NYS crossbow law will consider crossbows as a muzzleloader firearm. Hunters must possess a muzzleloader hunting license to legally hunt with a crossbow during any muzzleloader season or during open portions of the early bow-hunting seasons. To confuse things, the muzzleloader privilege is not required when hunting with a crossbow during the early bear season or the regular firearms seasons. While the bow-hunting license is not required for use of a crossbow at any time, users must realize that they still must complete the required crossbow qualification and safety training rules.

All crossbow hunters need a NYS hunting license and in some cases, as explained earlier, a muzzle-loading license. Then either go online to review the Department of Environmental Conservation crossbow training at and complete the “Crossbow Certificate of Qualification,” or complete the qualification training and obtain the crossbow certificate of qualification found in the NYSDEC 2014-15 Hunting & Trapping Regulations Guide or complete a recent NYS hunter education to receive a hunter education certificate of qualification dated on or after April 1, 2014 to meet crossbow qualification and safety training. Note that the previous crossbow certificate of qualification from 2012-2013 is no longer valid.

New crossbow users might also be interested to visit the Wilson Conservation Club at 2934 Wilson-Cambria Road, in Wilson, they will hold a crossbow demo day this Saturday, Aug. 9, from 9 a.m. through 3 p.m., with a host of various manufacturer crossbows and related products for the public to learn about and test shoot for free. For information, call 946-6882.

3D Archery Fun for August

With greater numbers of ladies and young hunters preparing for big game archery season this year, it might good to know that only practice can assure proper skill development for shooting an arrow to the intended target for satisfactory results. Muscle development is essential, hand eye coordination is not so much required, but necessary physical strength and good concentration are a big part of archery. Above all, there is ample time starting now, to properly adjust your bow and sight, find a place to shoot arrows on a recurring basis and to develop that necessary strength to assure accurate arrow shooting.

Weekly 3D archery “shoots” allows arrow shooting practice at life size targets of deer and bear at 10 to 35 yards distance, as well as unlimited practice range time. Such ranges allow each archer to properly realize that skill is also required for target distance estimating skills. The target range is also perfect to check aiming and sight pins for proper adjustment.

Archers can visit several local conservation clubs that open their facilities to the public for early season archery practice. Evans Rod and Gun on Cain Road, off Route 20, in Evans is open every Wednesday through Oct. 8, call 549-0333 to find out more. West Falls Conservation at 55 Bridge Street, off Route 240, in West Falls is open for shooting on their hilly course—so you get physical conditioning too!—every Thursday starting at 4 p.m., call 655-5030. East Aurora Fish and Game on Luther Road in East Aurora has not yet announced their late summer archery schedule, but look for them to also offer 3D archery in late summer, likely on Tuesdays.

Cabela’s Opening Weekend Festivities

The new Cabela’s store in Cheektowaga celebrated their grand opening on Thursday, Aug. 7, with a special ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by Cabela’s executives. Festivities kicked off with crowd entertainment, including a DJ, giveaways and trivia games. The opening ceremony began at 10:45 a.m., and the grand-opening ribbon was cut by an arrow shot from a bow by a local Cabela’s employee, marking the official opening of Cabela’s first New York location at 11 a.m.

Cabela’s grand-opening festivities will continue through the weekend with special guests, free giveaways, family events and special celebrity appearances. Look for Tim Andrus, host of Rush Outdoors TV from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday Aug. 9. On Saturday and Sunday, Joe Teti, co-star of Dual Survival television series will be on hand from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., look for Jim “Ike” Eichinger, Mossy Oak Pro Staffer, on those same days.

Big name hunters, Mark and Taylor Drury, co-hosts of “Drury’s Thirteen,” will be there to visit with customers from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 9.

On Saturday the first 50 customers will receive a Cabela’s commemorative grand opening cap valued at $14.99 and on Sunday, the first 50 customers will receive a Cabela’s gift card valued between $5 and $100. Customers 18 years and older also can enter to win a $5,000 Cabela’s shopping spree. Additionally, Cabela’s will host a variety of outdoor activities for the entire family from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, weather permitting.

Outdoors Calendar

Aug. 7: Opening Day for Cabela’s Outdoor Store on Walden Avenue in Cheektowaga - 11 a.m.

Aug. 9: Crossbow demo day, Wilson Conservation, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., info: 946-6882

Aug. 14: NYS Waterfowl ID Certification Course, Hamburg Rod & Gun, Hickox Rd., 6-11 p.m., info: 646-9206

Send outdoors info to Forrest Fisher Column 10 days in advance, email:

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