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Adirondack Explorer

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

NY Legislature lowers limit for hunting while intoxicated

New York lawmakers have agreed to lower the threshold for hunting drunk, a misdemeanor, to the same blood alcohol limit for driving or boating while intoxicated.

The Senate on Wednesday voted 56-5 to amend the law effective Sept. 1. That followed the Assembly’s 147-1 vote, also without floor debate, a day earlier.

Under the measure, the blood-alcohol level for drunken hunting will be 0.08 percent, down from 0.10 percent.

Hunting while intoxicated is a misdemeanor under New York’s conservation law, which cites the risk of injury and death to those hunters and others. Penalties range up to a $500 fine and a year in jail and have hunting licenses revoked for two years.

Licensed hunters who refuse to submit to a breath or other test for intoxication by conservation officers or police face having their licenses revoked. 

New York’s navigation law in 2002 was amended to similarly lower the threshold for boating drunk.

“These changes were based in part on studies which determined that this level of alcohol in an individual’s bloodstream can result in substantially impaired motor skills, perception and judgment,” Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski wrote in his sponsor’s memo. “These are also critical skills used in hunting.”

He noted that several other states have recently amended their laws to set the 0.08 percent threshold, and that Connecticut and Pennsylvania have legislation pending to do the same for hunters.

“An individual who is too intoxicated to drive a car or pilot a boat is also unfit to engage in hunting and the increased risk is not only to the hunter, but to everyone else in the field,” Zebrowski, a Rockland County Democrat, wrote. “This bill would ensure a consistent standard for intoxication in state law.”

Michael Virtanen

Michael Virtanen joined the Adirondack Explorer staff in March, asked to take an in-depth look at certain places, issues and unanswered questions in the Adirondack Park. He worked previously as a correspondent for the Associated Press in Morgantown, West Virginia, and at the Capitol in Albany for the wire service and for daily newspapers in Albany, Utica and Amsterdam, N.Y. He had been an occasional free-lance contributor to the Explorer and went on some outings with then-Editor Phil Brown, who once led him up the popular rock climb Pete’s Farewell on Pitchoff Chimney Cliff overlooking the Cascade lakes and Route 73 outside Lake Placid.

4 Responses

  1. Kevin Trombley says:

    Great job by our DEC, with that said we should have zero tolerance for intoxication.

  2. Kyle says:

    Yet even more nanny state over-reach, trying to micromanage every last aspect of our lives and more so, to create even more things to use for revenue extortion by all the badge’d municipal & state terrorists.

    “licensed hunters who refuse to submit…” Fine, I won’t be a [licensed] hunter anymore. If that’s the contract you’re going to try to trap me in, then I opt out. Don’t need the government’s permission to hunt and take game from [public] or private lands anyway.

  3. Dave Lacks says:

    Just out of curiosity, should this even be a question?!

  4. Jm says:

    I agree, Dave.
    A hunter who is under the influence of drugs is as dangerous as the driver of a motor vehicle.
    Maybe more so.

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