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Sportsman Outdoors

NY Congress passes antler restriction bill

Jack Danchak
Posted 7/16/21

A deer antler restrictions bill was supported by the NY Senate and Assembly, and it may become a law in some wildlife management units in the state if the governor signs it. Sponsors of the bill …

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Sportsman Outdoors

NY Congress passes antler restriction bill

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A deer antler restrictions bill was supported by the NY Senate and Assembly, and it may become a law in some wildlife management units in the state if the governor signs it. Sponsors of the bill consider it a win for hunters that are hoping to take bigger bucks, but critics of the bill say that lawmakers are unwisely taking wildlife decisions and authority away from the DEC who are experts in this field.

DEC antler restrictions are in place in many management units including 3H and 3K that are mostly in Sullivan County, as well as sections of Orange & Ulster counties.

Senator Mike Martucci who sponsored the bill in the Senate said, “The NYS DEC’s yearling buck protection program is overwhelmingly popular and viewed by sportsmen in my district as beneficial to both hunters and the local deer population.”

Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther who sponsored the bill in the Assembly said, “Our sportsmen overwhelmingly support the yearling buck protection program, and its continued success is vital for our area.”

Sullivan County Sportsmen’s Federation President John VanEtten said, “This bill benefits all of the sportsmen and sportswomen of Sullivan County and benefits our deer herd.”

Other organizations in the state are not supportive of this bill. President of the New York State Conservation Council Chuck Parker had this to say, “In fact, this bill sets a dangerous precedent. This legislation seriously runs counter to what the overwhelming majority of sportsmen wanted in New York State. This is not a win for the sportsmen. It is not a sound conservation move. It ignores many that hunt for something other than shooting a trophy. It seriously affects those that have limited opportunity to hunt deer.”

The NY Conservation Council supports wildlife and land management through DEC regulation rather than by legislators and in addition, President Parker stated, the mandatory antler restriction isn’t as popular with hunters as supporters seem to think.

The New York Sportsmen’s Advisory Council Chairman William Wilbur said, “The Advisory Council opposes this bill because it deteriorates the regulatory authority of the DEC and is a solution in search of a problem. This bill seeks to impose a legislative mandate on DEC for a rule that has already existed for the past 15 years, which is ultimately problematic for their ability to adaptively manage wildlife populations. Wildlife management must remain vested with the trained wildlife biologists and other experts at the DEC who, by utilizing the best biological and sociological data available, are presently charged with making science-based decisions for both the wildlife and the people of New York.”

If Governor Cuomo signs this bill it will permanently become a law.

Jack Danchak is a longtime sportsmen and spent 30 years as the President of the Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs of Sullivan County, Inc.

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