New York State Whitetail Management Coalition

Working to improve deer management and buck hunting in NY



Press Release on DEC Deer Plan June 23, 2011

By davidhartman



June 23 2011

Sportsmen announced today that they strongly support the NYSDEC Deer Management Plan’s continuation in existing areas and expansion of yearling buck protection for the 2012 season.  The proposed hunting changes will expand the existing yearling buck protection with antler restrictions to include seven additional Wildlife Management Units (WMUs).

How Yearling Buck Protection with Antler Restrictions is addressed in the Draft Deer Management Plan:

David Hartman, President of New York State Whitetail Management Coalition (NYSWMC), stated, “We are pleased that the Department recognizes that the plan can offer multiple models for Yearling Buck management. Hunters’ attitudes can vary widely from one end of the state to the other.  The Department seems to understand that there has to be some latitude when dealing with regional and local issues.”

Hartman added, “We commend Commissioner Martens and the DEC staff for incorporating the retention and expansion of Yearling Buck Protection with Antler Restrictions beginning with the 2012 season in the Draft Deer Management Plan.  We look forward to working with the Department as they adopt and implement this program.”

Bill Willis spokesman for the Five County Coalition of Sportsmen and member of the Delaware County Department of Economic Development stated “Five counties in South Eastern NY, Sullivan, Ulster, Delaware, Greene and Schoharie have proposed yearling buck protection with antler restrictions for the last three years.  We are glad to see that the DEC has incorporated this request in the Deer Management Plan.  He added based on DEC’s survey of hunters who went afield in the proposed units, 67% of the hunters in the affected area supported antler restrictions.  “Antler Restrictions have overwhelming support from the communities and are a local home rule issue.”

How Yearling Buck Protection with Antler Restrictions is working in New York:

“The current Antler Restriction Program is fully achieving the sportsmen’s goal of protecting yearling bucks. Yearling Bucks comprise only 15% of the total harvest and the balance 85%, is adults 2.5 years and older. The harvest of 3.5 year old bucks is up to 36% of the total harvest, a 258% increase. Sullivan and Ulster Federations in the area support continuing and expanding the Antler Restriction Program and DEC surveys found that a majority of sportsmen want to continue the AR program” said David Hartman, President of NYSWMC. (See our report Yearling Buck Conservation with Antler Restrictions)

Jay Martin, Big Game Chairman for Ulster County Federation, pointed out, “According to DEC data, deer numbers were at very low levels when the pilot AR programs were first implemented. We have experienced a resurgence of both deer numbers and as the harvest data clearly shows, we now have a much better balanced age structure in our buck population.”

Tom Yager of the Sullivan County Federation explained that “Sullivan County has shown the best results with the antler restriction program. The best results have been observed in WMU 3H, where buck harvest numbers are back to pre AR levels and hunters are harvesting significantly more mature bucks.  This is a direct result of the regulation to protect yearling bucks and very low doe tags issued at the start of the program.”

Forest Darder of the Sullivan County Federation stated, “Most importantly buck hunter satisfaction has increased for 56% of the hunters in Sullivan County as a result of the Antler Restrictions according to Cornell 2011 Survey.”  He added that “the survey found that 70.5% of Sullivan County Hunters wish to continue the Antler Restriction program as is.”

“I have never seen a single white-tailed deer management program that has invigorated and excited hunters more. Hunters in the current AR areas are hunting a deer herd that many generations of NY hunters have never experienced” stated Dick Henry a recently retired New York DEC biologist.

David Hartman, President of New York State Whitetail Management Coalition added “Both Ulster and Sullivan Counties have harvested the biggest bucks since the late 1920’s in the Antler Restrictions areas.”

David Hartman added “Positive comments are needed on antler restrictions in the Deer Plan to assure this hunting improvement is adopted.  Public comment is open thought July 28th and may be sent to”:

DEC Deer Management Plan
NYSDEC, Bureau of Wildlife
625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754

or e-mail comments to

Those interested in additional information can visit our website and join or send email to

The DEC Deer Management Plan calls for the inclusion in the yearling buck protection program of  WMUs, 3A, 4S, 4G, 4R, 40, 4P, and 4W, located in Sullivan, Ulster, Delaware, Greene and Schoharie Counties requested by sportsmen in 2009, 2010 and 2011.  The plan also calls for the continuation of the program in WMUs 3H, 3K, 3C and 3J in Sullivan and Ulster Counties.  This program will require deer hunters in those areas to take bucks that have three or more antler points on one side, instead of the antiquated three inch spike antler law which has been in existence since 1911. Similar changes have been successfully enacted in 21 other states and are intended to provide a better balance to the buck age structure of deer populations by protecting yearling buck from harvest. The over harvest of immature bucks is deemed to be biologically inappropriate by many wildlife biologists across the nation.

See our report Yearling Buck Conservation with Antler Restrictions: Is it working in New York? An Assessment and Evaluation of Yearling Buck Protection with Antler Restrictions in New York. The report can be found and cited at:

For additional comments or information please call 646-216-9312

For further information see

Leave a comment