Wednesday, February 8th, 2023
Wednesday, February 8th, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Group pushes ARs unit-by-unit

Grahamsville, N.Y. – A newly-formed group of antler restrictions
advocates is renewing a proposal for an expansion of
three-points-on-one-side regulations in several areas of
southeastern New York.

The New York State Whitetail Management Coalition wants the
state DEC to consider antler restrictions on a unit-by-unit basis
and is targeting WMUs 3A, 4S, 4G, 4R, 40,4P, and 4W in Sullivan,
Ulster, Delaware, Greene and Schoharie counties.

“We have overwhelming support, which continues to grow, and we
have completed all steps required by the DEC to implement yearling
buck protection with antler restrictions in the new
areas,”_Coalition President David Hartman said. “Unit 3A that we
are proposing has the support of 70 percent of the hunters.”

Hartman said DEC officials last year were seemingly hesitant to
implement antler restrictions on the heels of a license fee
increase “in spite of how well they were supported.”

Coalition officials said in a prepared statement that nearly two
dozen states have enacted antler restrictions in some form “to
provide a better balance to the buck age structure of deer
populations. The over-harvest of immature bucks is deemed to be
biologically inappropriate by many prominent wildlife biologists
across the nation. New York state is in the top three worst states
for taking the highest percentage of immature bucks among states
that hunt white-tailed deer. Only New Jersey and Minnesota harvest
more immature bucks than New York.”

Jay Martin, big-game chairman for the Ulster County Federation
of Sportsmen, said DEC’s own survey of hunters showed 67 percent of
those in the proposed WMUs support antler restrictions.

“Supporters far outnumber opponents; it is time for the DEC to
respond to majority rule and modern science,” Martin said.

DEC officials have said previously there’s no biological need
for antler restrictions, and backed off enacting those regulations
in more units after a percentage of sportsmen voiced strong
opposition to the proposal.

DEC Chief Wildlife Biologist John Major indicated earlier this
month it’s unlikely the department will revisit the issue this

“As a followup to our deer meetings last year, we’re doing a
survey through Cornell, trying to get more insight from sportsmen,
and antler restrictions will be one of the things we’ll be asking
them,”_Major said. “So I think we’ll want to see those results
before we take any action.”

But support for antler restrictions continues to grow, notably
in southeastern New York, where a majority of hunters surveyed have
indicated they’re in favor of ARs.

“There is no reason for the DEC to not move forward with antler
restrictions in 2010,” said Les Armstrong of the Greene County
Federation of Sportsmen and a member of the New York State
Conservation Council’s Big Game Committee. “We believe that by
proposing the units individually, a problem in one unit will not
interfere with the sportsmen from other units desiring the
management improvement.”

Bill Willis, a spokesman for a five-county of sportsmen and
member of the Delaware County Department of Economic Development,
said a greater percentage of adult bucks available to hunter will
increase economic activity associated with deer hunting – estimated
at over $16 million annually in Delaware County.

Charlie Fiscella, president of the New York State Chapter of the
Quality Deer Management Association, said DEC “needs to rise to the
occasion and advocate for modern management techniques such as
yearling buck protection.”

David Wood, vice president of the Schoharie Conservation Council
and the Region 4 New York Fish and Wildlife Management Board,
called the proposal “a great opportunity for the DEC to rebuild the
broken trust with sportsmen by moving forward with antler
restrictions as it is strongly supported and continually requested
by the sportsmen. After trying to close the pheasant farm, raising
sporting license fees, and refusing to adopt yearling buck
protection last year, the DEC has a lot of work to do with
sportsmen to rebuild the relationship. Adopting our proposal is the
best first step for them to consider.”

The group pointed to what it called the overwhelming success of
antler restrictions in neighboring Pennsylvania, where the yearling
buck harvest has decreased from 80 percent to 32 percent of the
total take and hunters “now enjoy harvesting 2.5-year-old bucks
with larger bodies and more meat and express overall satisfaction
about seeing more bucks while afield hunting.”

A 2007 survey showed that 65 percent of Pennsylvania hunters
supported antler restrictions.

But hunters in the Keystone State aren’t entirely happy; the
2009 harvest of 308,920 was the lowest tally since 1986, and the
buck kill of 108,330 was a record low, down nearly 50 percent from
the record high take of 203,247 in 2001-02.

Hartman said the whitetail management coalition was formed by
hunters across the state who “have an interest in sound,
science-based deer management.”

The nonprofit group is focused solely on whitetail management,
he said. For further information on the New York State Whitetail
Management Coalition, go online to .

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