Mostly Trapping

5,300 Acres of trapping land NOW HUNTING TOO
Oct 31, 2019 14:51 ET

(Reprinted from above link)

Cuomo signs bill opening 5,300 acres of Adirondack land to hunting with firearms

Back in 2013 after the SAFE Act was passed, hunting with firearms was banned on 5,300 acres maintained by SUNY ESF in the Adirondacks.

No longer.

An amendment signed recently by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to legislation that accompanied the SAFE ACT back then enables the college to restore firearm hunting on the properties. The governor signed the bill containing the amendment on Oct. 4 and it took effect Oct. 17, in time for the gun deer hunting season in the Northern Zone, which opened Oct. 26.

The amendment covers the 2.500-acre Pack Forest Demonstration Area in Warrensburg in Warren County and the 2,800-acre Dubuar Memorial Forest adjacent to SUNY ESF’s Ranger School in Wanakena near Cranberry Lake in St. Lawrence County.

"I have heard from a number of sportsmen and woman who wish to see hunting restored in that area and I am pleased that this amendment was signed by the Governor,” said Assemblyman Will Barclay, R-Pulaski, who co-sponsored the bill.

For decades, SUNY ESF had allowed hunting with firearms on the lands by its students, faculty, research staff and general public. The SAFE Act lresulted in accompanying state Penal Code changes that among other things, addressed criminal possession of a firearm on school and college/university properties. The Penal Code changes brought attention to a “flawed interpretation” by SUNY ESF had about the law affecting its properties. The school was under the impression that the Adirondack properties were exempt.

Prior to the SAFE Act, the law changed violators who criminally possessed a firearm on school and college/university properties with a misdemeanor. The change following the SAFE Act increased the penalty to a Class E felony. The fact that the penalty got increased to a felony resulted in Syracuse University and SUNY ESF officials taking a hard look at the original legislation affecting the Adirondack properties.

“The law that was originally used to try and craft the exemption for SUNY was flawed. It covered land ‘owned and maintained’ by SUNY ESF. That’s the key phrase, ‘owned and maintained.’ Our Adirondack property is owned by Syracuse University and held in trust for us. We don’t own it,” said Robert Davis, director of forest properties for SUNY ESF, at the time.

Davis said SUNY ESF was not doing a service to its students, faculty, staff or its neighbors by exposing them to the possibility of being charged with a Class E felony while hunting on the lands. The ban on firearm hunting was the result.

Since the Penal Code only addressed firearms, the school continued to allow bowhunting and trapping on the properties.

The recent amendment to the Penal Code includes the phrase “held in trust” to address SUNY ESF’s situation, making the technical changes to once again open these areas for hunting with firearms.

“The amendment will work to respect the time-honored tradition of hunting on the land, attract more people to the area and help keep wildlife populations in check,” Barclay said.