(CN) - The Empire State's natural resources department says it is considering a rule change that would allow big-bore air rifles to be used for big-game hunting.
Air rifles are available commercially and "they fire bullets of sufficient size at sufficient velocities to safely and efficiently harvest big game," according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, or DEC. The term "big bore" refers to certain specifications of air-powered rifles.
The agency already amended state regulations in 2010 to allow air rifles for small-game hunting.
DEC said Wednesday that it is accepting public comment on the proposed change through Feb. 8, 2016. Big-bore air rifles would only be allowed to hunt big game where other types of rifles are allowed for big game, which is the case in most New York counties, the department said.
If the change is made, regulations found in section 180.3 of Title 6 of the New York Codes, Rules and Regulations would be amended.
Acting DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a statement that the popularity of air-powered rifles is growing "largely because of technological advancements."
"These modern firearms produce the force necessary to efficiently harvest big game animals. In addition, because big bore air rifles are not as loud as conventional rifles or shotguns, allowing their use may make hunting more acceptable in locations with higher human densities, including areas where deer are overabundant," Seggos said.
Those who want to submit their comment on the proposal rule change can email [email protected] with the subject line "air rifle regulations" before the Feb. 8 deadline.