There are 11 units with three-point restrictions, and the DEC has no plans to expand this program to other units at this time.
Personally, I think that’s a mistake.
I think the entire state should be under the AR Program. Let’s face it, hunters want to take large-antlered deer. Look at the guys who go out of state to hunt every year. Ohio, Illinois, Kansas and Iowa produce slammer bucks in significant numbers annually. It’s not just the feed and genetics, it’s deer management as well.
New York is too concerned with the number of deer harvested rather that the quality of its deer. It boasts every year of the large number of deer taken by hunters.
Instead of adding more management units to the AR Program, they are suggesting voluntary antler restriction. That’s fine with me. In fact, I’m enforcing it on my property this year.
But guys tell me they shoot those little bucks because as soon as that deer crosses their property line, someone else shoots it. My philosophy is when you shoot a little buck, you’ve missed the opportunity of taking that bigger buck that’s coming along right behind the smaller one.
I think, in the future, we’ll see a state-wide antler restriction. The facts prove that it works.
If the DEC is so concerned about attracting the downstate and out-of-state hunters, it has to help increase the quality of our deer, not the number.
On a related note, the youth deer hunt for the 2013 season is Columbus Day weekend. Get kids involved because they’re the future of hunting.
Rick Brockway writes a weekly outdoors column for The Daily Star. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.