Yearling buck protection plan set for area

Albany — Bow hunters hunting deer should be aware of a 2012 regulatory change for Yearling Buck Protection with Antler Restrictions has expanded to additional Wildlife Management Units. The area now includes WMUs 3A, 4S, 4G, 4R, 40, 4P, 4W, 3H, 3K, 3J and 3C located in Sullivan, Ulster, Delaware, Greene and Schoharie counties.

This program will require deer hunters in those areas to take bucks that have three or more antler points on one side, instead of the long outdated three-inch spike antler law which has been in existence since 1911.

Similar changes have been successfully enacted in 21 other states and are intended to provide a better balance within the buck age structure of deer populations by protecting yearling bucks from harvest. The overharvest of immature bucks is deemed to be biologically inappropriate by many wildlife biologists across the nation. In the original AR areas 49 percent of the harvest is now 2.5-year-olds and 36 percent is 3.5 year olds. The 3.5-year-old harvest has increased 258 percent with the antler restrictions.

Both Sullivan and Ulster counties have harvested the largest bucks since the 1920s as a result of the antler restrictions.