Knowing The Regulations Versus New Products
Published: January 29th, 2020
By: Eric Davis

Knowing the Regulations Versus New Products Submitted Photo

While working in sporting goods retail, I was constantly asked by customers about the latest and greatest products that were released. The inquiries would usually come in the days following the big trade shows such as the SHOT show, the ATA (Archery Trade Association), and the NRA’s Great Northeast Outdoors Show (which is this upcoming weekend in Harrisburg, PA).

I often would research the product either while the customer was there or after they left so I could get more familiar with it. Unfortunately, most of the time the product ended up not being legal for use in New York either by law or regulation. After explaining this to curious customers usually stopped their interest in the product. However, there are plenty of consumers out there who see something on the television and order it online without thinking about the legality of the product. Then when they bring that item in for servicing or repair, they find out that they shouldn’t have bought it in the first place. While some of these things could be changed somewhat soon, others may never change.

One of the largest areas of sales in the past 10 years for outdoor sporting goods is easily crossbows. The innovation of making crossbows with similar components to compound bows allowed for faster speeds while making the overall size much more compact compared to recurve style crossbows. With the increase in crossbow popularity, states had to decide how they would regulate hunting with these implements that typically were only allowed to be used by handicapped hunters. Some states chose full archery inclusion, meaning that crossbows are legal whenever archery season is open. Some states still don’t allow crossbow use. Other states, including New York, have limits on crossbow use.

In New York, crossbows must fit a certain set of criteria to be legal for hunting use and the dates you can hunt with a crossbow are not the entire archery season. The width of the bow portion of the crossbow cannot exceed 17 inches from limb tip to limb tip when the bow is uncocked. This is important to know as many companies have continued to make their crossbows narrower and narrower to make their maneuverability in ground blinds and in treestands. While the crossbows that are narrower are not legal to hunt with, they are legal to buy and sell so a customer could purchase one of these crossbows that could wind up getting them into legal trouble if they are caught hunting with them. Every year bills are written that would allow full inclusion of crossbows with not restrictions on the crossbows themselves but they end up failing. However, each year they seem to gain a little more steam and it seems that maybe it will pass at some point but its hard to try to guess when that might be.

In the turkey hunting world, the buzzword the past few seasons has been TSS, or tungsten super shot. Lead shot is the most popular shot material due to its cheap cost compared to non-lead shot options. TSS shot is super dense, 18 grams per cubic centimeter, which causes it to retain energy farther downrange compared to lead shot (density of 11.3 g/cc).

Due to its higher density, the size of the shot inside of the shotshell can be decreased (a larger shot size number) without losing penetration power downrange. It also allows for shells in “less powerful” gauges such as the .410 or 28 gauges. This allows for youth hunters to use a firearm that has less recoil without sacrificing performance. However, to maximize the number of shot pellets in these smaller shotshells, the companies are using the smallest shot size available which is size 9. In New York, hunters can only hunt turkeys with shot from size 2 to size 7. This means any shells loaded with number 9 TSS shot is illegal for turkey hunting in New York. Some companies are making size 7 TSS so read the box of ammunition carefully before purchasing it. At the January Meeting of the NY Chapter of the NWTF, a DEC biologist was asked about the potential of changing the regulations to allow smaller sized shot of high density metals to be used for turkeys. The response was that they are considering changing it and are trying to figure out the exact wording they would want to use before they can submit it as a potential regulation change. So if you have bought size 9 TSS, you might end up being able to use it in the future.

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These two products are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to products that are out there that aren’t legal for use is New York. Do yourself a favor and put in the time to research the legality of the product before you rush to buy it, it could save you a lot of headache and money.