ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – It is now illegal to kill game through online hunting sites, or to create a click-and-shoot site in New York.

The new law includes a fine of up $2,500 for “hunting” online or for creating an online hunting Web site, said Peter Constantakes, a spokesman for Gov. George Pataki. It also outlaws remote target shooting, where a computer user aims and shoots a weapon.

New York joins a growing number of states to outlaw the activity that critics call barbaric and hunting advocates say gives the sport a bad name.

More than a dozen other states are considering similar bills.

“Hunters play an important role in environmental conservation, but these remote hunting games serve no useful purpose,” Pataki said. “Online hunting is an inappropriate and potentially dangerous activity that does not reflect the true sport of hunting.”

The Web sites, the most famous one has been in Texas, allow computer users for a fee to direct a hunter in the field to shoot at a variety of game around the world. The kill shot is administered by rifle, gun, bow, mechanically propelled blades, pikes and harpoons.

Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, a New York City Democrat, said “to reduce hunting to a computer game with live ammunition is totally irresponsible.”

“This law will stop New Yorkers from creating these barbaric Web sites and perpetuating this so-called “sport,”‘ said state Sen. Carl Marcellino, a Long Island Republican and chairman of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee. “The practice of making road kill out of living animals via the information superhighway should be stopped now.”

Several sites are on the Internet that provide remote target shooting, often appealing to disabled computer users who might have difficulty shooting weapons or getting to a shooting range. These sites are included in the law because of the potential danger at the shooting site where weapons are controlled by computer users miles away, Constantakes said.

Last week, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed a bill to ban computer-assisted hunting. First-time offenders face a misdemeanor and jail time of up to 93 days, with a $500 fine. Repeat offenders face a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

“Using computer technology to shoot at caged animals from a distance is a corruption of our proud hunting traditions,” Granholm said in a written statement.

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