Some people believe they can no longer bowhunt because they cannot draw a bow weight of 60-70+ lbs. Without knowing the alternatives these individuals may believe the only recourse is to give up bowhunting or to use a crossbow. Frankly, nothing could be further from the truth.

In New York State (NYS), the minimum legal weight for bowhunting is 35 lbs. Compound bows with 80% or even more let off are available; therefore a 35 lb. bow has a holding weight of only 7lbs with a bow of 80% let off. Deer size game is legally and ethically harvested at this weight all over North America.

Many physically challenged and elderly individuals do not realize that legal adaptive equipment is available which allows all but the most severely disabled hunter to bowhunt legally within New York State.

A new law went into effect that replaces the previously issued Modified Archery Permit with the Modified Longbow Authorization Form. Retired NYB President Gary Socola and Legislative Committee Chairmen Dave Kosowski worked with legislators to craft wording within this bill that removed the previous requirements for the Modified Archery Permit and allowed much easier and quicker access for the disabled and elderly to use adaptive equipment within New York State’s archery seasons.

The Environmental Conservation Law was amended to authorize the NYSDEC to adopt regulations for the Modified Longbow Authorization which includes the following for qualified sportsmen:

  • Allowing the taking of big and small game by the use of a longbow, recurve, or compound bow(not a crossbow) equipped with a mechanical device for holding and releasing the bowstring.
  • Sportsmen must be temporarily or permanently incapable of drawing and/or holding a bow because of a physical disability.
  • Applicants must complete the Modified Longbow Authorization Form which is available on the DEC website at In addition to the applicants information, a licensed physician must sign the form, certifying the nature and duration of a patients’ disability.  This completed form does NOT need to be returned to, or reviewed by, the DEC and needs to be carried with the hunter afield.
  • Sportsmen must hold a valid NYS hunting license for big or small game, and possess a bowhunting stamp.
  • For those hunters in possession of a Modified Archery Permit, you have been previously authorized to use a modified longbow, recurve, or compound bow and do NOT need to complete the Modified Longbow Authorization Form. The DEC has opted to issue all previous Modified Archery Permits as lifetime licenses and, as such, do not need to renew after the 5 year expiration date.  The DEC will send you a letter informing you that your permit has been modified with no expiration date.
  • There is no longer a fee or photo required for this authorization.
  • This authorization does not allow the use of a crossbow.

Any questions or concerns about qualifying or applying for the Modified Longbow Authorization should be directed to the NYSDEC Special Licenses Unit at, or phone: 518.402.8985.

The Modified Longbow Authorization allows a locking device to be attached to the bow to hold the arrow at fulldraw. A Modified Crossbow Permit is also available from the DEC for the most severely handicapped individuals.

Many bowhunters who are paraplegics, quadriplegics and amputees use modified archery equipment to successfully take big game each fall. These hunters also include individuals who are blind, wheelchair bound, those with very little body mobility and many others.

NYB started one of the first, if not the first, Physically Challenged Committee in the country. The committee was established to help physically challenged hunters to enjoy the sport. We support these individuals with equipment, expertise and emotional support. The NYB Physically Challenged Committee has helped many individuals with physical disabilities, as well as the elderly in this regard and will continue to do so.

NYB’s Physically Challenged Committee has either developed or located many innovative accessories and/or techniques which allow Physically Challenged hunters to more comfortably bowhunt with modified archery equipment. NYB is proud of our accomplishments and to date, our Physically Challenged Committee has been able to outfit and/or get back into the woods every individual that has ever worked directly with our committee.

NYB, in conjunction with the North American Bowhunting Coalition, developed the most comprehensive presentation available on adaptive equipment for the physically challenged and aging bowhunter. The creation of the presentation took well over a year to produce and includes hundreds of hours of research time. The adaptive equipment depicted is currently in use throughout North America.

The Adaptive Equipment CD can be ordered directly from the NABC, free of charge at PO Box 493 • Chatfield, MN 55923. The educational program can also be viewed in its entirety by clicking on the link below.

For more information on available physical challenged equipment, please contact NYB. An informative video tape titled “ARCHERY: THE SPIRIT IS ALIVE” may also be obtained from: The US Archer, 7315 N San Anna Drive, Tucson, AZ 85704. The video highlights many of devices that are available to the physical challenged hunter.




George Bolender’s Big Buck

 “Shot at 22 yrds. Ohio buck……..Thought 8 but actually 12 point, chasing doe hard, went by me 3 times, 3rd time I yelled to stop em…….I seen a couple easy 150 12 points at 60 yrds….”