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Antler Point Restrictions in NY

Map of a section of NY showing special antler point restriction areas

Antler Point Restrictions in Selected Wildlife Management Units

A mandatory antler point restriction (AR) is in place in WMUs 3A, 3C, 3H, 3J, 3K, 4G, 4O, 4P, 4R, 4S and 4W in Southeastern New York to reduce harvest of yearling (1.5 years old) bucks.

You may only use your antlerless tags (Bow/Muzzleloading or DMPs) for female deer or bucks with antlers less than 3 inches. You may not use an antlerless tag on a buck with antlers greater than 3 inches but less than the 3-point on one side restriction.

Reports from the AR Program

Key Findings from the AR Program:

(excerpts from the summary report, June 2011)

  • The pilot AR program substantially reduced the proportion of yearling (1.5 year old) bucks in the harvest, and harvest composition shifted to older bucks.
  • The number of 2.5+ year old bucks in the harvest increased since implementation of ARs. The increase did not fully compensate for the reduction in yearling harvest, and total buck take generally remained >20% below pre-AR levels. WMU 3H was the only unit where buck take returned to the level immediately prior to AR.
  • illustration of antler point restriction
  • ARs did not noticeably impact harvest of antlerless deer. Hunters also indicated that ARs had little influence on their willingness to harvest antlerless deer.
  • A shift in sex ratios of deer observed in the pilot AR units was apparent. A similar shift was observed in neighboring units without ARs.
  • ARs had no effect on hunter participation for the majority of hunters. Overall participation by non-local hunters appeared to decline because of ARs.
  • The impact of ARs on hunter satisfaction was mixed. Satisfaction with buck-hunting was generally higher in the pilot AR units than the surrounding region. Similar increases in buck-hunting satisfaction were observed in the surrounding region as occurred within the pilot area. More hunters reported being satisfied than dissatisfied with the level of protection afforded to young bucks and with the level of safety they felt in the pilot area. A majority of hunters reported being dissatisfied with (1) the number of antlered bucks compared to antlerless deer seen, (2) the number of older, larger-antlered bucks seen, (3) their opportunity to shoot larger-antlered bucks, and (4) the number of older bucks compared to the number of young bucks seen.
  • Hunter expectations for the pilot AR program were largely unmet.
  • A majority of hunters in the pilot AR units prefer that the program continue.
  • Deer management population indices were compromised by ARs. DEC must develop additional methods for monitoring deer populations to manage effectively with ARs.

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