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Big Bucks Wanted in New York Which Means Hunters have to stop Killing Young Bucks

Survey Will Assess Hunters' Opinions on Deer Harvest Opportunities

During the development of the 2012-2016 deer management plan for New York, hunters expressed an interest in modifying hunting regulations to allow more bucks to grow up, live to older ages and develop heavier bodies with larger antlers.

Big, robust, bucks with long snouts and grey coats, with thick racks two foot wide, 30 points racks. Graceful, elegant, old bucks.

A white tail deer can live around 20 years.

But the way deer are managed now, with primary considerations related to population management, bucks rarely live more than a couple of year.

The stag that can excite the hunter's imagination, the elusive, powerful, muscular, exists more in our imagination in New York. One fourth of the one million strong herd is killed every year by hunters.

Fifty seven percent of deer harvested (killed by hunters) are yearlings.

However, interest among hunters is the reason new buck management strategies are being studied. The results of a new NY DEC hunter survey will be a principal factor used to identify the best strategy for future yearling buck harvest management in various regions of the state.

Management costs must be considered but are a lesser concern relative to population impact and hunter satisfaction.

With an exceptionally mild winter in 2011- 12 and below average winter conditions in most of the state again in 2012-13, deer populations have grown despite generally increasing antlerless harvests the past few years. In fact, deer populations throughout many portions of the state are currently in need of substantial reduction.

New Yorkers appreciate white-tailed deer.

People enjoy them in many ways. However, deer often cause problems for farmers, homeowners and foresters and can cause road hazards. If not properly managed, deer numbers can increase dramatically. This increases problems for people and impairs the condition of the deer. It also damages the habitat of deer and other wildlife. The Department of Environmental Conservation tries to manage deer numbers. The goal is to balance deer with their habitat, human land uses and recreational interests. Ecological concerns and the needs of landowners, hunters, and other interest groups must be considered.

As a result of that input, one of the objectives in DEC’s current deer management plan is to “Encourage various strategies to reduce harvest of young (1.5 year old) bucks in accordance with hunter desires.”

In addition to hunters voluntarily deciding not to shoot young bucks, - something that the editors of the Niagara Falls Reporter do not have much faith in as an effective strategy, managers could conceivably enact a variety of rules/regulations to reduce harvest of young bucks, all of which involve tradeoffs for hunters.

To reduce harvest of young bucks, hunters may have to give up some freedom to shoot a buck of any age or size, or give up some opportunity to hunt bucks.

This fall, DEC is sponsoring a statewide survey of hunters to provide that information.



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

OCT 29, 2013