New York Senator Introduces Antler Restriction Bill
New York Senator Thomas F. Omara has introduced Senate Bill S4739, which aims to establish a yearling buck protection program for the state that has the highest yearling buck harvest rate in the country. The bills co-sponsors include Senators George A. Amedore, Jr., John A. DeFrancisco, Rich Funke, and William J. Larkin, Jr.
The New York Department of Conservation (NYDEC) has mandatory antler restrictions in place in 11 Wildlife Management Units in the southeastern part of the state, but has stopped short of expanding the regulations. The agency instead advocates for hunters making the personal decision to pass younger bucks if the goal is to have more, older bucks in the population. The NYDEC website states, “In recent years, some hunters have expressed strong interest in increasing the number of older, larger-antlered bucks in our deer population. This could be accomplished through a variety of regulatory and non-regulatory approaches. New York hunters have divided opinions about buck hunting and many greatly value having the freedom to choose what type of buck to harvest.”
Sportsmen who have contacted NDA in support of the bill cite recent NYDEC surveys that show most hunters would welcome state-wide antler restrictions, as well as a desire for an older buck age structure. Those opposed are concerned that their ability to make a personal decision about what type of deer to take would be compromised, and some argue that “big buck” states are experiencing loss of hunting access due to leasing and outfitting, and they fear the same would happen in New York.
Take action now! You can make your voice heard on Senate Bill S4739 by contacting your legislators using our Grassroots Advocacy Center.