By Forest Darder
SULLIVAN COUNTY As many of you may now know, the expansion of antler restriction in our area (especially WMU’s 4W and 3A) has recently been adopted in the DEC’s 5-year whitetail management plan.
But what you probably don’t know is that despite the adoption of the plan to expand into 7 more units, it is still uncertain that all 7 of those proposed units (3A, 4G, 4O, 4P, 4R, 4S, and 4W) will actually become Antler Restriction units after the political dust settles.
During the public comment in mid-2011 the sportsmen hunting within those units voiced their support for the expansion of antler restriction by writing letters to the DEC with strong support to include antler restriction expansion in the 5-year deer plan.
But it is only a plan.
For it to actually take effect there is yet another open comment period to decide if it should become regulation for the 2012 hunting season. This is the most critical public comment, when most of the opposition for antler restriction will be heard.
This is the final but most critical step in the process of expanding the single most beneficial tool for creating a more balanced, healthier, and overall better quality deer herd. It has scientifically been proven by nationally renowned deer biologists (such as Dr. James Kroll) as the best way for state DNR’s and DEC’s to manage the whitetail deer and at the same time please the sportsmen by creating a more exciting hunting experience.
It is unfortunate that despite the evidence and most importantly the testimony of thousands of sportsmen throughout the state, that there are still hunters who believe that harvesting yearling bucks is their right as hunters and no government agency should be able to tell hem what they can and cannot kill.
We need to finish what we started and let the state know that the antler restriction pilot program in WMU 3H has been a huge success and we therefore want to see it expanded in our surround units 3A, 4G, 4O, 4P, 4R, 4S, and 4W.
Let the state know that the true sportsmen understand that the whitetail herd is not a resource that can be taken advantage of and it requires a more modernized management system for its buck population.
Please send your support letters to: Bryan Swift, DEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Without the support letters from the sportsmen, this program would have never been initiated by the state and would not have made it as far as it has.
If you are a hunter please send your support letters now, as the final open comment period is only for a short time. Comments must be received by the DEC prior to Monday, May 21; do not delay.