New York State Whitetail Management Coalition

Working to improve deer management and buck hunting in NY

History of Yearling Buck Protection in NY

In 1998 Greene County was interested in creating an area for yearling buck protection and the Unit 4X (55X) was created for this purpose. This plan was never adopted and Unit 4X was disbanded by the DEC in 2009.

In 2003 the sportsmen of Ulster County began a dialog with the DEC on implementing yearling buck protection. At this point the DEC stated they were open to protecting yearling bucks and worked closely with the local sportsmen to design and implement a plan. The sportsmen made a grass roots effort to gather and demonstrate support for yearling buck protection. This support was demonstrated by having 2 public informational meetings sponsored by sportsmen. The DEC made a presentation on the plan to protect yearling bucks by implementing an antler restriction that redefined a legal buck as one with at least three points on one side. Additional support was demonstrated by getting letters from the Federation of Sportsmen, County Legislature, Assemblymen and Senators. No other information was required and no survey required. The plan was implemented in 2005 and continues today in units 3J and 3C.

In 2006 Sullivan County followed the same procedures and two additional units were added and continue today in units 3H and 3K. (see case study- Put link to Sullivan county case study below).

These efforts have been in the Southern Catskills which have lower quality habitat than many areas in NY.

In 2009, The Five County Coalition proposed an expansion of the antler restriction to 8 additional units. The counties included had been working to get Yearling Buck Protection for years- even a decade in the case of Greene County. These counties have over whelming support from the communities and the DEC’s own Survey showed that 67% of the Sportsmen in the proposed area support the plan. During the Public Comment period there were 100 more positive comments than negatives. Despite this the DEC failed to adopt this change and the sportsmen in the area are working to determine why and who was responsible. The sportsmen feel the DEC action was unfair to theses counties and breached the agreement they had with the DEC. See the news link for more information.

Currently the majority of NY hunters support yearling buck protection and many areas are asking why we don’t have the benefit of yearling buck protection. Most wonder why other states do a better job at deer management.


  • 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)
  • New York State Conservation Council Survey found 61% statewide for Antler Restrictions and 81% for Antler Restrictions in the 8 proposed units.
  • Tiger Survey found 75% favor a new buck management plan and that 65% are not happy with current NYS deer management.
  • Public Meetings Surveys all found over 90% support for Antler Restrictions from Delaware, Sullivan Ulster and Schoharie Counties.
  • Delaware Department of Economic Development Survey found 90.7% for and only 9.3% against Antler Restrictions


  • 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?