TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Rensselaer County Legislature Majority has introduced a Local Law that will allow 12- and 13-year-olds to hunt under the supervision of a licensed adult hunter.

The recently adopted New York State Budget includes legislation that allows 12- and 13-year-olds to hunt deer with a firearm or crossbow under the supervision of an experienced adult hunter. This special provision is available to upstate counties that must “opt-in” by local law in order to participate.

This Local Law will authorize Rensselaer County to permit these youths to participate in the new hunting opportunities in accordance with the new state law through 2023.

“Rensselaer County is passing this local law because hunting is a valued tradition for many families, and this new opportunity allows experienced, adult hunters to introduce the value of hunting to the next generation,” said Majority Leader Ken Herrington (Brunswick).

Until this year, New York State was the only state in the country to not allow 12- and 13-year-olds to hunt with a firearm.

“Teaching young people safe, responsible, and ethical hunting practices will ensure a rewarding experience for the youth, while providing quality food to families and contributing to important deer management population control practices,” said Legislator Bruce Patire (Hoosick Falls).

There is no deadline for counties to opt in, but the law must be adopted by June 1 to be included in the NYS DEC Hunting and Trapping Guide this fall, or by September 1 to be included on the DEC website for the fall hunting season.

The Local Law will be considered at the May 11 Legislature meeting.