Letters to the Editor and Others

Concerning Twelve Year Old Hunters

This is being sent out to every NY Assembly person. 

Wildlife Watch Inc.

Helping People, Environment, and Wildlife

PO BOX 562, NEW PALTZ, NY 12561

Voice:(845) 256-1400; Fax:(845) 622-7999

e-mail: [email protected]

Contact: Joe Miele, Vice President 201-368-8271

The Honorable Michael Benjamin

LOB 548
Albany, NY 12248


June 6, 2003


Dear Assembly Member Benjamin:

Wildlife Watch, Inc. is a New Paltz, New York based animal protection group that seeks to educate the public about the mismanagement of wildlife by state and federal wildlife agencies, and the destruction of wildlife and ecosystems in the name of sport hunting and game management.

We are concerned about the progress of a bill recently passed by the Senate that would allow twelve-year old children to receive a junior archery license which would allow them to hunt animals such as bears and deer.  This bill allows children to hunt with adults who have as little as one year experience in hunting deer or bears with bows and arrows.  In an effort to protect both our wildlife and our children, we urge you to vote against A01099, the assembly companion to this dangerous piece of legislation, when it comes to the assembly floor for a vote

According to the New York Department of Environmental conservation, eighteen New York State big game hunters have been mistaken for deer or bear and killed between 1992 and 2001.  One third of hunting injuries are self inflicted, and in most other cases, a friend or relative of the shooter is injured.   Many hunting injuries are caused by accidental firing, when people are not shooting.  The likelihood of each of these scenarios is greatest when inexperienced hunters are involved.


Bow hunting is a violent sport that can injure and kill its participants.  The Associated Press reports that an Illinois man accidentally shot an arrow through the chest of a teenager. (Bowhunter shoots teen who scared deer: Associated Press - Oct. 29, 2002)  This is one of hundreds of documented cases of where experienced hunters have shown how dangerous hunting is to its participants.  Putting a powerful weapon in the hands of a child young enough to be in the sixth grade is something that will certainly have tragic consequences for some unlucky children.

Bow hunting is one of the least accurate and most barbaric forms of modern recreational hunting.  In their report An Assessment of Deer Hunting in New Jersey, the NJ Division of Fish and Game documented the percentage of deer that bow hunters are unable to track down:  "Langenau (1986) found that archery deer hunters were estimated to have retrieved 43% of the deer hit by arrows..."  This article proves that 57% of deer hit with arrows are not collected by experienced hunters.  Reality is that these animals will either bleed to death or slowly die after the arrow wound becomes infected.  Adding twelve year-old children to the mix will result only in a higher percentage of deer being shot and wounded with arrows.  "For a bow hunter to easily recover a wounded deer, the blood loss must be extensive. A deer will have to lose at least 35 percent of its total blood volume for the hunter to recover it rapidly." (Rob Wegner - Deer and Deer Hunting August, 1991)  Is this something that we need to expose young children to?

Assembly Bill A01099 is a danger to the public in other ways.  It encourages children to be violent killers of harmless and defenseless animals.  Cruelty to animals is not something that should ever be taken lightly; not only is animal cruelty wrong on its face, it is also wrong because an increasing amount of evidence indicates that children who are cruel to animals often grow into adults who are cruel toward humans.  A recent incident supporting this viewpoint this took place on April 24, 2003 in Red Lion, Pennsylvania.  Before school started, student Jimmy Sheets, a young teen, pulled a gun out
of his book bag and shot his principal to death before turning the gun on himself.  Jimmy was described as "a passionate hunter."  (Philadelphia Daily News)

Because a plethora of evidence proves that the violence of hunting is dangerous to society on many different levels, we urge you to do all you can to see that A01099 is not passed into law.  It is a dangerous bill that has no place in modern society.  We eagerly await your response to this most important concern.


Joe Miele

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