Deer hunting regulations can unite or divide hunters in New York State. For several years, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation has been considering regulation changes. After a multi-year study of hunter attitudes, the DEC elected to retain the existing regulations. This decision means that new mandatory antler restrictions and reduced season lengths are off the table for the foreseeable future. No matter which side you’re on, it’s heartening to see the DEC considering the interests of hunters and using sound science to make decisions.
The DEC intends to work with outdoor groups across the state to educate hunters on their important role in deer management, the impacts of their harvest choices and the likely changes in the deer population as additional hunters choose not to take young bucks. The NY chapter plans to be involved in these discussions to make sure future decisions continue to be rooted in good science and to ensure those decisions support ecosystem health and maximize hunting opportunities. Consequently, NY BHA leaders are talking with DEC decision makers in Albany.
The chapter is planning an event for summer 2016 to bring together existing BHA members and recruit new members. We expect the event to be held in a convenient, central location and to feature voices from around the state, including Gordon Batcheller, who recently retired from his position as the DEC’s chief wildlife biologist.
–Ron Rohrbaugh Jr.