Wednesday, June 24, 2009

DEC pulls support from Antler Restrictions

Antler Restrictions ~bpb
Mr. Charles O. Hancock, Chairman Conservation Fund Advisory Board 625 Broadway Albany, New York 12233-4751

Dear Mr. Charles O. Hancock

This letter is to inform you of DEC's withdrawal of a recent regulatory proposal to extend antler point restrictions for deer hunting to eight additional Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) in southeastern New York. The proposal was made in response to a request from a coalition of antler restriction advocates, followed by our own survey that suggested a formal public comment period would be useful.

We received many comments in support of and in opposition to the proposal, and it is apparent that most people on either side of this issue have very strongly held opinions.Hunters opposing the change stated that they are mostly interested in "meat, not antlers," and are concerned about decreased harvest opportunity, particularly in light of relatively low Deer Management Permit (antlerless deer tags) availability.

They also expressed frustration with a loss of freedom to select the type of buck they wish to harvest, and contend that antler point restrictions will negatively affect hunter sentiment and participation and associated economic benefits. Hunters also expressed concern that the penalties for mistakenly shooting a deer with too few antler points include a potential misdemeanor criminal charge.

Hunters supporting the antler restriction proposal cited their interest in taking older, larger deer and contended that this program will enhance deer management in New York, including economic and social benefits associated with the "excitement" of seeing and taking older, larger deer. They believe that antler restrictions will help create a "healthier" deer herd.

At the present time, our biologists see no specific management benefit associated with the antler restriction program and do not consider antler restrictions as necessary to improve herd condition. Deer populations throughout New York currently have healthy breeding patterns and adult sex ratios that ensure virtually all does are bred, conditions that indicate our deer herd is in good condition.We believe interest in antler restrictions is primarily an issue of hunter preference, and it is clear that hunters are deeply divided.

There is no biological urgency to implement a mandatory antler restriction in the proposed deer management units, and hunters who wish to adopt an antler restriction policy or practice may already do so on a voluntary basis.
DEC will pursue further dialogue with hunters to promote greater awareness and realistic expectations of the potential outcomes of antler restriction programs.

We are already planning to hold public meetings on deer management this fall, and we intend to include this issue as a discussion point. Deer management and potential changes to hunting laws and regulations are serious matters for DEC. We will continue to monitor the status of deer populations and the interests of stakeholders to recommend or enact changes that are in the best interests of sound game management and the ability of people to use and enjoy this important wildlife resource.

I appreciate your support for big game hunting and our deer management program.

Sincerely, Alexander B. Grannis

BPB reply; I firmly believe that AR should NOT be forced on the citizens of NY ,especially public hunting lands. AR on private land , your land, hey go for it.

FYI: I recently sat on the DEC Region 8f committee that was comprised of sportsmen,landowners,farmers,homeowners ect...

I represented the non-affiliated groups even though I am heavily affiliated. The Affiliated rep. could not make the meetings so Art Kirsch DEC big game biologist asked if I would also wear the affiliated hat a swell.

In the second meeting many of the reps did not show up! Leaving the table very light. We decided after compiling our surveys the region 8f WMU needed to reduce the deer herd by 25%.

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