New York Lowers Legal Limit for Hunting While Intoxicated

New York's governor has signed a new bill lowering the threshold for hunting while intoxicated.

The Empire State has set .08 as the new, lower blood alcohol-content limit for hunting drunk, thanks to a recent piece of legislation that's been signed into law.

The measure was sponsored by Sen. Anna Kaplan and Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski, and officially signed into law by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the New York State Capitol in Albany on October 23, 2019. It will go into effect starting next year, on September 1, 2020.

Prior to the new state law, New York's definition of "intoxicated" as it applies to hunting was a blood alcohol level of .10. The new law and lowered threshold will set the same consistent standard New York uses for determining if someone is too intoxicated to drive a vehicle or boat.

The bill passed by a 147-1 vote in the state Assembly, and by a 55-6 margin in the state Senate.

The legalities in New York still allow for authorities to reprimand people if their ability to hunt "without unreasonable risk of injury or death to himself or other human life is impaired by his consumption of alcohol or use of a drug." In other words, you don't have to fail a breathalyzer (or other inebriation test) to be deemed unfit to hunt due to an intoxicated condition.

Punishments include being charged with a "misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in a penitentiary or county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars, or by both such fine and imprisonment." Those in violation also risk having their hunting rights revoked for up to two years.

Other states, including Minnesota, Maine, New Hampshire, and West Virginia, have passed similar laws in recent years.