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Group pushes ARs unit-by-unit


Staff Report

Thursday, April 29, 2010 10:14 AM CDT
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 year.

"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 www.nyswmc.com .
 

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SCIENCE AND THE 4-POINT

"We are drawing a tine-line that places most bucks harvested at the upper end of 1 1/2 (years of age)," pointed out Stephen Demarais, professor of Wildlife Management at Mississippi State University, in discussing the harvest on Sunflower WMA.

His statistics show a decrease of 19 inches of antlers in the Boone and Crockett (B&C) scores of 3 1/2-year-old bucks taken on the WMA since the 4-point rule was adopted. This is exactly the effect that some biologists forewarned, because the restrictive rule protects smaller antlered yearlings and allows the harvest of larger antlered yearlings
http://www.mississippigameandfish.com/hunting/whitetail-deer-hunting/ms_aa122902a/



We've seen a decrease in the quantity and quality of our bucks over the past 12 years," admitted Yazoo biologist David Linden. "We still have a lot of great bucks that do come through each year, but as a whole, the quality is down."

Linden had absolutely no doubt as to why quality's fallen off. "It's the state's 4-point rule," he said, "which is the worst management tool you can have for quality bucks. We are by law forced to adhere to state regulations, but I will say this: We push it to the very limits in what we allow hunters to take.

"What the 4-point rule does is take hunting pressure off the young inferior bucks you'd want to remove from the herd and puts more pressure and greater harvest on your superior young bucks. That takes a toll, and will impact the quality of bucks when they mature, because you have eliminated the bucks with the best potential before they reach maturity and reach their full potential."

In short, hunters are harvesting 1 1/2-year-old bucks that have developed 4 points quickly, while passing over older bucks that have slow-growing racks.
http://www.mississippigameandfish.com/hunting/whitetail-deer-hunting/MS_0907_01/
 

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Not sure if anybody will get mad but I would like to see an antler restriction here in Dutchess County, NY Unit 3G
 

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Not sure if anybody will get mad but I would like to see an antler restriction here in Dutchess County, NY Unit 3G

I would like to see SOME kind of AR's in Dutchess for sure!

Thjat 4 point theory/trend listed above is very interesting!
 

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It makes sense to me that AR's will cause the genetic quality in the area to decrease over time. Just because the 4 point yearlings will still be eligible for harvest and anything inferior will be allowed to grow older and pass on its genetics.
 

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i room with a buddy that lives in sullivan county,since AR's he says they are seeing more and bigger bucks. just sayin
 

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The other option is a buck tag quota and lottery system that would allow bucks to age but avoid excessive high grading by controlling the total number of bucks shot. Take your pick.

This isn't a deer management issue, its a hunter management issue. Too many people shooting too many bucks. Our bucks will not start shrinking due to hunters targeting trophy racks. If this was a bad thing for the deer herd then all hunting in the country should be stopped right now, because that is how most people hunt with or without AR's. Haven't seen the anti's make this argument yet, but if they did I suppose them might quote those same studies.

AR's may not be the perfect solution, but they are a step in the right direction here in EASTERN New York.
 

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I'm in 3H, and I will admit, it's been a tough coupla years since they implemented the antler restrictions, especially since there were almost no doe permits. I'm mostly interested in filling the freezer, but a nice buck would be a great thing now and then. I'm here to say, since the AR's went into place, there are definitely more mature, bigger bucks being seen in my neck of the woods. We had a really nice 8pt in the area that was seen during the season but my wife saw it after the season, so its still out there. I'm a proponent. I understand people who only hunt for meat, so perhaps you need to balance the units so someone could still get a doe tags, but if it were put to a vote, I would vote YES.
 

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BINGO!!

Educate, educate, educate..
Education is the precise reason that AR's have so much momentum here in ENY. There is better information out there now than ever before, and the 70% of the hunters who want something better are tired of the "paralysis by analysis" taken by our DNR.

Also, we are dealing with unique problems in eastern NY, such as many small tracts of land of mixed use, largely residential, largely owned by non-hunters which makes it all but impossible to have self imposed management rules on a scale large enough to make any difference. Its been tried time and time again and always fails in this area, although in other parts of the country it works extremely well.
 

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I am all in favor of letting bucks grow. Want meat shoot does. Would be nice if it started to produce more mature bucks.
 

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AR's

They do not come without a price.
Biologically.....South of 90 and East of 81 would all quallify for some type of buck mgmt.. Almost all of those DMU's are over target buck harvest (those without AR's anyway). THEY NEED reduced buck harvest.
HUNTERS need to step up and not wait for the DEC.....the most successful areas for QDM are not mandatory AR areas. See Buffalo County WI, and most of the Midwest.
To the previous poster who quoted a source as saying 70% of the hunters support AR's........if 70 % actually PRACTICED it instead of SUPPORTING it.....you would not need a mandate that will forever affect the deer mgmt in an area.
AR's are a great way to protect an age class of bucks.....this is the main reason PA did it.....they were a classic example of how habitual over harvest caused a herd decline.
Mandatory AR's almost HAVE to accompany INCREASED antlerless harvest , as the breeding efficiency increases also....but that will not be supported in most areas either, as the antlerless harvest is also not up to target goals in much of ENY.
I PRACTICE AR's.......but honestly believe that the pressure in NY is what will ultimately keep the avg age down.....and that pressure on yearling bucks is there because most hunters do not want AR's.
Unless a BIOLOGICAL reason exists for AR's....the state should not get involved......think about it....you want the folks who implement the current management (that you disagree with) to implement a new type......they are bound by a political process.....not simple biology.

Change your hunting buddies minds.....allow one buck per hunter, REASONABLE antlerless harvest, and talk to your neighbors, too. It starts with us.....not DEC......if it is truly supported by hunters , then it will succeed all on it's own.
Be very careful what you wish for. You may change your mind.
 

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Quack factor

Just for a frame of reference......I lived in VT and provided a LOT of input as to their system.....which by the way only requires ONE BRANCHED ANTLER.

VT was very unique in that 69 % of the bucks taken came from 25 % of the states land mass......and were made up of 55-90% spike antlered bucks (depending on WMU)......this was the first time I can honestly say that hunters influenced the herd to a negative degree......but it is a small herd in relatively poor habitat.

Their system was NEEDED to protect the herd.....and they have since restored a system that allows a hunter to kill WAY more deer than the herd can support.........watch VT very carefully.

IMO they created a scenario where in the first year , they allowed the breeding efficiency to skyrocket (more bucks to do the breeding) , but have since increased the percentage of bucks harvested (total population) due to buck fawns being born at a more opportune time (earlier)....those fawns are now 3 points instead of spikes.....the AR is not restrictive enough to do long term good.....and they are now allowing up to 3 deer per year , per hunter.....which is not biologically supported.

NY is WAY different, so it is not a good comparison......and much of NY is not in NEED of an AR. If those who support AR's would PRACTICE them (especially at the percentages claimed by many from the NYSWMC)....then the picture would be a bit different.

Believe me when I say I AM pro-AR........but we need to SHOW the state how much we believe in it.....not ask for it in order to practice it.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
If 70% of the hunters let the young deer go ,why do you need a law ;)
I don't think that 70% of hunters are passing up young bucks ………..IMO the majority would pass up younger bucks if an AR were in place!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
This was e-mailed to me.........

Help us get Antler Restrictions for 2010

We are contacting you today to support yearling buck protection with antler restrictions in NY by joining our group. We expect a press release soon with exciting news.
Sportsmen are in the process of proposing yearling buck protection with Antler Restrictions in several areas of NY for the 2010 season.
We hope that the growing grass roots support will get New York’s deer management on track.
Please join our group now! Together we will make a change for the better! Click here to Join, its free http://www.nyswmc.com/join-the-nyswmc/
Thank you for your support and interest in improving deer management and hunting in New York. Please let us know if you have any questions.
Best regards,



Check out our website http://www.nyswmc.com/
 
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