New York State Whitetail Management Coalition

Working to improve deer management and buck hunting in NY

CONSERVATION OF YEARLING BUCKS IN NEW YORK: IS IT WORKING?

NYSWMC

Improving the Future of Deer Hunting in NY

DID YOU KNOW…?

  • New York’s statewide buck harvest standard is a single three-inch spike that originated with a 1912 game law intended to protect female deer. This was the era of deer restoration in NYS when most people hunted with iron sights firearms. A three-inch spike could be seen with the naked eye.
  • New York has the highest yearling buck harvest rate of all the states in the country. Currently 63% of the total statewide buck harvest is comprised of 1.5-year-old bucks. In many areas yearling buck harvest is much higher, such as Delaware County where 75% of the bucks are killed as yearlings.
  • When buck fawns are factored into the annual harvest 7 out of 10 male deer are killed at an age of 1 ½ years or less! A VERY SMALL PERCENTAGE OF BUCKS SURVIVE TO REACH OLDER AGE CLASSES.
  • NYSDEC’s hunter attitude surveys revealed that 75% of NY hunters said there were “too few older bucks” for them to be satisfied when hunting.
  • Currently 22 other states offer their sportsmen the benefits of antler restrictions. Most of these jurisdictions strive to increase yearling buck survival. Contrary to popular myths, no states with white-tailed deer that offer their hunters the benefits of antler restrictions have rescinded them.

ANTLER RESTRICTIONS WORK!


THERE IS STRONG SUPPORT AMONG NY DEER HUNTERS TO PROTECT YEARLING BUCKS:

  • 59% of all NY deer hunters support a program that would protect yearling bucks, while only 18% were strongly opposed. (Cornell HDRU Survey 08-5)
  • Among hunters from the proposed 2009 AR program expansion areas, there was a level of support of 67%, yet NYSDEC opted to not implement the expansion. (NYSDEC survey March 2009)
  • Overall, 56% of the deer hunters in southeastern New York are dissatisfied with their buck hunting opportunities. (Cornell HDRU Survey 08-5)

NEW YORK HUNTERS ARE NOT ALONE:

  • Currently New York deer hunters are surrounded by other states that have implemented antler restrictions. Pennsylvania and Vermont have statewide antler restrictions in place and New Jersey has implemented antler restrictions in many areas adjoining New York State.
  • What do their deer biologists know that New York deer biologists don’t?

WHAT ELSE CAN BE DONE…?

In 2005 and 2006 the sportsmen from the Federations of Ulster and Sullivan Counties proposed and the DEC implemented a solution to the over harvest of yearling bucks, protection of yearling bucks by modifying the then existing 3″ spike rule. In those counties a legal buck is now defined as one with three points on one side. This protects the majority of yearling bucks from harvest so they reach the older age classes.

Sportsmen from additional counties propose an expansion of the Antler Restriction (AR) area for the 2010 season comprised of 8 additional WMUs in the counties of Sullivan, Ulster, Greene, Delaware and Schoharie.

WANT BETTER BUCKS? SHOW YOUR SUPPORT. JOIN TODAY!

A CASE STUDY:

SULLIVAN COUNTY’S WMU 3H: WMU 3H is the largest unit in the current Antler Restriction program with 554 square miles. It also shares the majority of its borders with other antler restrictions units and states. This increases AR effectiveness.

Current buck harvest is within 10% of the buck take prior to implementation of antler restrictions three years ago.

Antler Restrictions are accomplishing the objective-Yearling buck harvest is down 70%, 2.5 year old buck harvest up 86% and 3.5 year old buck is up 167%.

After Antler Restrictions the harvest is comprised of only 18.6% yearlings. The majority of the harvest (54%) is 2.5 year old bucks, and 3.5 year old bucks comprise a full 25% of the harvest.

Within WMU 3H hunter support is 77% for continuing the antler restriction program. Hunter support for antler restrictions has increased more than 22% since the start of the program. After three years, opposition to continuation of the program has decreased from 26% to 14%.

Hunters like it! For More Information Contact Us.