The Chautauqua County Legislature approved a local law by a vote of 18 to 1 to lower the age required to hunt deer to 12. Jamestown Legislator Bob Whitney was the only “no” vote, saying he supported the law but not the inclusion of rifles. Legislators Bill Ward and Kevin Muldowney also did not like that rifles were included in the law, but voiced their support.
Under the local law, a child aged 12 or 13 must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or mentor in hunting deer with a bow, rifle, shotgun, or muzzle-loading firearm. The child also must have participated in a hunter education-safety course and have a hunter’s license.
Legislator John Davis said as an educator he sees firsthand the importance of training and teaching proper policy, techniques, and practices, “I think it’s very important for us to begin teaching individuals at a young age how to properly handle fire arms, how to properly hunt. And with the mentoring of seasoned hunters, as Legislator Pavlock indicated, I think that’s very important to have seasoned individuals teaching our youngsters how to properly hunt.”
As part of the local law, Chautauqua County will be entered into a Pilot Youth Deer Hunter Program with New York State.
The County Legislature also unanimously endorsed the 2021 Chautauqua Lake Memorandum of Understanding. This MOU replaces a two-year Memorandum of Agreement about the Lake that expired at the end of April.
Legislator Bill Ward spoke in favor of the MOU, saying it’s a document of hope and aspirations, and it’s being presented in an atmosphere where it could allow everyone to step back, “Because of the fact, perhaps, that there’s more science at work than ever before. We are in a situation where it is important to honor each other even if it’s just in a non-binding agreement.”
Ward added that sometimes the “hand shake across the fence” means more than the long drawn-out documents in the past.
County Legislature Chairman Pierre Chagnon announced at the end of last night’s meeting that starting in June, Legislature Committees and the full Legislature will resume meeting in person.