Deer survey stalls rule change talk

By Don LehmanContributing Writer

Syracuse, N.Y. – A survey of deer hunters in parts of Region 7
has prompted the state DEC to put off any talk of antler
restrictions or other potential rules changes in the region.

The survey found that more than two-thirds of the 405 hunters
surveyed from Wildlife Management Units 7F, 7H and 7J are satisfied
with the buck hunting opportunities in their area.

The surveyors also concluded that more hunters in 7H and 7J
opposed a possible one-buck limit than supported it, while more
than half in 7F would support such a rule change.

However, a majority of hunters – 53 percent in 7J, 58 percent in
7H and 69 percent in 7F – would support an experimental antler
restriction designed to protect yearling bucks. DEC officials,
however, concluded it was not an overwhelming majority necessary to
spark such a change.

The researchers concluded there is ‘little compelling evidence’
that rules changes are warranted for the three WMUs.

‘There were no big surprises,’ Dave Riehlman, the Region 7 DEC
senior wildlife biologist who coordinated the survey, said of the
results. ‘It showed a majority supported it, but not a huge
majority, and it varied from unit to unit. It was not so
overwhelming that we’d be inclined to make changes at this

The DEC had the research done last year after a debate erupted
among various factions of sportsmen over the desire for a one-buck
annual limit or antler restrictions to protect young bucks.

The DEC has enacted antler restrictions in some parts of the
Catskills, and hunters in other parts of the state have inquired
about similar rules changes as well.

Cornell University’s Depart-ment of Natural Resources undertook
the effort at the DEC’s request, contacting 135 hunters in each
WMU. Each agreed to be part of the survey and was sent an
informational packet before being phoned.

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