10 replies [Last post]
Joined: 12/16/2004
Posts: 6
For all NYS hunters

This year was by far the worst hunting season I could remember. I believe the state has to do something to change the hunting regulations. This is a copy of the letter I sent to the DEC. I would like all feedback both good & bad about the letter. I want to get an idea what most hunters are willing to change in the regulations so I can go to these supposed public meetings & speak out. I am going to be posting this on many other websites to get as many feedbacks as I can. Please give me some input. Here it is:

To Whom It May Concern:

My name is Ken Otten & I own 220 acres of land in Otsego County. I also have control over another 215 acres that border me. In total there are 5 people that hunt on 435 acres. I am an avid hunter & would like to see a healthy deer herd with opportunities for everyone to enjoy. I am a big fan of the way Pennsylvania has restructured their hunting opportunities. I believe NYS can be a leader in this way also, but now is the time to start. But before I begin, I would like to commend you on your re-thinking of the hunting opportunities for the state of New York. I like some of the new ideas & would like to input some of my own. I know the DEC is getting a lot of input from all over the state between hunters, biologists, task forces, farmers & from anyone else that has an opinion. This writing is of my story & my suggestions. Some of my ideas may be good & some bad, but you can take from it what you will. I’ve been trying to implement a management system on my land to grow bigger bucks & have a healthier herd. I've shot some nice bucks over the years, but since doing some spare time taxidermy work, I have seen what the potential could be for the deer in my area. Three years ago I stopped shooting young bucks in favor of Does. Last year I initiated food plots on my property along with those shooting practices & this is what the result was. Three years ago, we had about 35 to 40 deer on the land. This was a combination of bucks & Does that we saw in the fields during the summer & winter months. After the food plots were in, we had the same number of deer but only 2 bucks. They were a year and a half 5-pointer and a year and a half 6-pionter. They were there in the summer & stayed during the hunting season. Unfortunately, they were both shot by neighboring farms during the gun season. A two and a half 8-pointer came in and bred the does. We passed on shooting him to let him get bigger & he was there and alive until well after the season was over. Last year, we took 7 Does off the property. When the summer came, we still counted about the same number of deer (between 30 to 35) in the food plots. Of these there were 5 yearling bucks. One 6-pointer, three 4-pointers, & a spike. Throughout bow season we saw these bucks on a regular basis. Then what we believe was the 8-pointer we left last year returned & was breeding the Does. We saw him on a daily basis for about 2 weeks just prior to the gun season, then he left. As the gun season came in, the yearlings were still there but the 6-pointer had broken off both antlers and was barely legal as a buck & one of the 4-pointers had broken off one side. The broken horn 6-pointer stayed for the 1st week and then within a 24 hr timeframe left our property & was shot about 2 miles away. The other yearlings were also shot by neighboring farms. This past week we saw the spike breeding the Does. So far as of this writing, we shot 3 Does. One was a year and half Doe with 2 fawns. My problem with this scenario is that the state has procedures in place to control the Does but nothing to control the buck population. Each year, the new crop of bucks are being harvested & there is no carry over to let them get to an older age. It’s not a healthy herd when the year and a half spikes are doing the breeding. Unfortunately, I cannot control this. But the State can. I don’t have data to go on, but here’s what I think:

1. I think there should be antler restrictions of 3 or preferably 4 points to a side during the gun & muzzleloader seasons and possibly the archery season. This will let the little ones get a little older & force meat hunters to shoot Does to put meat in the freezer. This will increase the antler size & quantity of bucks while decreasing the herd for damage control. With an influx of larger bucks, the State can get more revenue out of the out of state license sales. Out of state residents would be more likely to come here if they thought they could get a trophy buck like in Illinois.
2. I’m not in favor of an Earn a buck program for NYS residents because I believe it would reduce the herd too much. I think it would work if you used the Earn a buck program for out of state residents. They would benefit by being able to take 2 deer with the one license while letting NYS residents get first chance at the bucks. This would bring in more out of state hunters while reducing the herd. The way the state has it now with the DMP permits can better control the Doe population.
3. Lower the big game hunting age to 13. At this age they are more inclined to take up the sport without being sidetracked by other social behaviors. I don’t believe there should be a special season for them, but they should be allowed to shoot any 1 deer of their choice without any restrictions. This should be done every year, as long as they have a junior license. This will get them hooked at an earlier age & keep them interested as long as they shoot something.
4. I don’t believe there should be an early muzzleloader season, even if it’s antler less only. I believe the early season shooting will spook the deer prior to the regular gun season. Also, from what I’ve been hearing around, a lot of people are talking that if there is an early muzzleloader season & they see a nice buck, they will shoot it & never report it. I think having people going into the woods with a firearm in the early season, is asking for trouble. What I would suggest is to reduce the regular gun season to 2 weeks with 3 weekends. Then implement a muzzleloader only season on the following week with all the regular season regulations & benefits carried over. You don’t have to have the regular season that long. Most of the deer are shot within the first week anyway. This would give the muzzleloaders their own week plus they could still use their unused DMP permits from the regular season. Also on this week the secondary rut would be on and their chances would be good to tag out on a good buck. By decreasing the cost of a muzzleloader license to $10, I believe you would get more state income by the increased number of sales. Hunters wouldn’t mind spending the extra money to extend their season.
5. I like the idea of opening the gun season on a Saturday & the bow season 2 weeks earlier. The only thing is that the period of the bow season between Oct. 1 & the 15th should be for antler less deer only. In this way the herd can be reduced & the bucks wouldn’t have bred them already. This period, as well as the rest of the early bow season, could be used to qualify for the Earn a buck program. This would give out of state residents a chance to fulfill their requirements early on. It would also increase the number of bow hunting sales.

This is how the season would work out in 2005:

Oct 1 – Oct 14 Early Archery (Antler less Deer only)
All Archery license holders can take 1 Deer (Antler less only)
Non-Resident hunters can use for the Earn a buck program

Oct 15 – Nov 18 Early Archery (Either Sex) – with or without Antler restrictions?
All Archery license holders can take 1 Deer (Either Sex) – with or without restrictions?
Non Resident hunters can use for the Earn a buck program on Antler less Deer
Youth & Disabled Archery license holders can take 1 Deer (Either Sex) without restrictions

Nov 19 – Dec 4 Regular Season (Antler Restrictions)
All resident Big Game license holders can take 1 buck with 3 or 4 points to a side
All resident Big Game license holders can take 1 Antler less deer with a DMP license
Non-Resident Big Game license holders can take 1 Antler less & 1 Buck with 3 or 4 points to a side (after the Earn a buck rules are fulfilled) – If the Antler less rule is fulfilled during Early Archery season, then only 1 Buck can be taken & no Doe
Youth & Disabled Big Game license holders can take 1 Deer (Either Sex) without restrictions

Dec 5 – Dec 11 Muzzleloader Season (Antler Restrictions)
All resident Muzzleloader license holders can take 1 buck with 3 or 4 points to a side
All resident Muzzleloader license holders can take 1 Antler less deer with a DMP license if it is not used during the Regular Season
All Non-Resident Muzzleloader license holders can take 1 buck with 3 or 4 points to a side
Youth & Disabled Muzzleloader license holders can take 1 Deer (Either Sex) without restrictions

Dec 12 – Dec 18 Muzzleloader Season (continued) and Late Archery Season
All leftover tags are valid (Same rules apply from earlier seasons)

I hope some of this can be used to have a healthier Deer herd & to give the hunter’s of this state the opportunities and satisfaction they deserve. From what I have always been told is that the Deer belong to the State of New York & it falls upon you only to make these decisions. The buck herd needs to increase and there needs to be an age structure within it. Future generations along with my 2 sons are counting on you. Please do the right thing.

Thanking You,
Ken Otten

All opinions are welcome & no holding back.

Joined: 12/07/2003
Posts: 69
For all NYS hunters

Interesting way of thinking about how you feel the seasons should be played out.

I agree with you on about 50% of what you have said.

I do believe that NY should look into the AR programs.
I also believe that the Regular season should be cut back to 2 weeks.

I don't believe that from Oct 1st to the 14th should be antler less only, (if you believe that the muzzleloader hunters would shoot a buck than what makes you think the archery hunters wouldn't do the same thing).
I do believe that youths could have their own time (One weekend out of my hunting season is not going to kill me).

I also have been practicing QDM on several parcels of land just to watch the deer leave and be shot by neighbors it can be very aggravating but until the state changes our regulations the neighbors have full right to take any deer that is legal.

NY needs to change and I may not agree with you 100%, but I thank you for taking the time and effort to try to change NY.

Joined: 12/16/2004
Posts: 6
For all NYS hunters

Thanks to all who offered their opinions on this matter. For those of you who read this thread & didn’t offer any opinion, you should be ashamed. Those who don’t say anything before things change are the first ones to complain when they do. After getting feedback from this & many other sites, this is what has come up. There has been a positive feed back on antler restrictions & for lowering the youth age to hunt. Not many have liked the idea of an early muzzleloader season or for shortening the regular gun season. What I would suggest then is to incorporate both seasons into one where you can use your muzzleloader tag during the regular season. NYS does not have that in effect now. Some other interesting opinions & feed back have come up. The first one has to do with poaching. It seems that the state is rampart with it. A lot of hunters from all over the state are complaining about it, but none are doing any thing about it. They said that the DEC should do something about this. There is an easy solution for this: REPORT IT! If that doesn’t work, then call the state police & report that there is a trespasser with a firearm on your property. I find that this works better than calling the DEC & if the people get caught and word gets around, I don’t think you will have any more problems. At some point, people have to start taking action to protect what they want. The second thing is that some people say that if they buy a license it is their right to shoot whatever they want. The thing that they have to remember is that hunting, like driving, is a privilege and not a right. The idea of hunting is a management tool to control the deer population. The state owns the herd & it is up to the hunters to keep it a healthy one. Third, most are saying that the herd is too small & that too many does have been shot. I spoke to a biologist & he said that to maintain a healthy deer population there should be about 11 deer per square mile. On agricultural areas, he said about 16 deer per square mile would be sufficient. NYS has a land area of 47,379 square miles. Of this there are many city & urban areas where deer would not exist. If you do the math for 11 deer / sq. mile, the herd count for the state would be 521,169. For 16 / sq. mile it would be 758,064. Even if the state is correct with a deer population over 900,000, it is overpopulated. I think a lot of people are missing the point. The idea is to have a healthy herd for now & for future generations and not for everyone to shoot anything just to say that they got something. Let’s get rid of that “If it’s brown, it’s down” attitude. If it’s meat your after, do everyone a favor & shoot a doe. Thanks.

bitmasher's picture
Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2002
Posts: 2974
For all NYS hunters

I'm not an NY hunter, but I follow the whitetail population/management in eastern states when I can, because I find it interesting. Here are just some thoughts.

The mind set of hunters needs to change. Historically because of depressed game populations, management was geared toward managing the males and leaving the females, which maximizes population growth. With herds well on their way to recovery (or recovered in the case of whitetail), hunters need to shift their goals to ensuring a stable in-check game herd rather than just trophy seekers.

I'm glad to see that you have brought this up Kotten and that more hunters are starting to take this perspective. If hunters become widely viewed as just trophy seekers rather than critical game managers, hunting itself may be lost.

"Earn a Buck" is a great management tool in my opinion and should be more widely used in areas that have hot spot growths of whitetail.

I agree with the antler restrictions and reducing the age limit, possibly even to 12, like in other states.

One criticism I have is that you are equating creation of longer male life span (bigger buck production) with over all healthiness of the herd. I don't think that is a fair assumption or metric, rather this is a matter of the quality of the herd. In other words your proposed changes would produce more trophy potential for all, but trophy densities have little to do with herd "healthiness".

Rather than judging the healthiness of the herd, I think one needs to judge the health of the surrounding environment. Out of control whitetail populations (whether of high or low quality) are devistating eastern forests. The high whitetail densities must be brought down, and fast, to insure that the rest of the ecosystem is healthy in these areas. Again hunters need to lead the drive in this management effort, otherwise we become viewed as out-of-touch trophy seekers that don't really care about the ecology at large.

It is my understanding that deer densities above 10 per sq mile become damaging to the ecosystem. If this is true, then hunters should take the lead in helping game departments get to or below this threshold.

Joined: 12/16/2004
Posts: 6
For all NYS hunters

The meetings are starting for anyone who is interested. I believe all hunters should go to these meetings to let their voice be heard.

DEC public meeting to discuss changes to 2005 deer seasons

The nearest Department of Environmental Conservation Region 7 public meeting on the subject of the proposed new Southern Zone deer hunting regulations will be held 7-9 p.m. Feb. 8 at Chenango Valley High School.

The only other Region 7 meeting scheduled so far will be 7-9 p.m. Feb. 10 at the state fairgrounds in Baldwinsville.

The state will accept public comment on the proposals through March.

Joined: 12/16/2004
Posts: 6
For all NYS hunters

The NYS DEC is going to start the public hearings on the deer hunting proposals statewide on Feb. 8. The DEC region 4 meetings are as follows:

Feb. 8 - Kinderhook North Pt cultural arts building
Feb. 12 - Oneonta Holiday Inn
Feb. 16 - Clarion Hotel in Albany

For all other regions, please contact your regional office on the DEC website. They will give you a list of times & places. Try to get to these meetings so our voices in this matter can be heard. The website is: http://www.dec.state.ny.us/website/about/abtrull3.html

Joined: 03/22/2005
Posts: 11
For all NYS hunters

I agree with much of what you say. I like the antler size requirement. I have seen areas where voluntary QDM has been excercised and with in 2-3 years there was definatley a noticeable increase of nice 6pt. 8pt.. and bigger bucks. It was nice to be able to pass up a 6 point knowing that you had a good chance at seeing a 8, 10, or bigger. I can't express how much for fun it is to see so many more bucks...

I would like bow season to stay the same as it is now except for the rack size restriction.

As far as hunting age 12, 13, 14,and 15 is too young for the powerful weapons used. I know my nephew at 15 is safe and would be confident to have him hunt with me but he is not the norm. Young boys don't understand the balistics, and get too easily excited and I think that there would be too many kids shooting kids. They will be old enough soon enough and can hunt small game until the time comes. I do however, think that at age 14 a child may accompany an adult but may not carry or shoot a weapon during season.

I too have expressed my concerns with the changes of he law. Over all we are very lucky that the heard has been so well managed but it can be done even better. Big bucks is a goal easily achieved. I just wish more people realized that todays spike horns, and 2 and 4 points are next years, 6, 8, 10 points..

Location: Western New York
Joined: 10/18/2004
Posts: 13
For all NYS hunters

Hi Guy`s,

When I started hunting in New Jersey when I was of legal age (10) I was taken out in the field and my dad told me to meet him back at the truck around noon.This was only 23 years ago.New york has the highest age for young hunters to start hunting.over 30 states have no limit on age for a hunting licence.By the time I was 16 I was interested in hunting girls and my days in the field chasing rabbits and deer were put on the back burner.There is no reason a 10 year old can`t go afield with a adult supervising him at all times.By the time there 16 they should be allowed to hunt on there own.We need to train our young hunters right By example.There will always be a exeption to the rule and when I see some of the kids at my sons school I want to smack there mom and dad.If 49 other states let 10 and 12 year olds hunt big game why can`t our kids do the same.

I also noticed that we lost the early ML season that DEC was looking into.I guess the bow hunters had a cow messing with there season.I weas realy looking foward to geting a doe with the muzzle loader early so I could spend more time hunting for my buck with my Bow.I don`t like frezzing my arse off late season after three weeks of gun.Im also amazed at the resistance to the bill that will allow rifles for big game hunting in the southern tier.My god guy`s the state is trying to give us somthing we all can benifit from like extra seasons and rifles that are a real tool for taking game.not some POS shotgun that is more like a club.

We need to let change happen.change is good.i hope we get all the changes for this up coming season.I also don`t want to see anyone that opposed rifles hunting with anything but a shotgun becouse If you don`t think im a responsable enough hunter to hunt with one I don`t think you are.

Don`t mind me im just venting.Im so tired of so much fighting Hunter on Hunter and nothing geting done becouse someone might have to change somthing in there life.BS get over it.


Joined: 03/22/2005
Posts: 11
shotgun in southern tier

Where I hunt I think that a rifle would pose some problems. There is less and less areas to hunt without driving long ways. With a shotgun you can be safe around houses that are much closer than if you hunt with a rifle. I think that the areas need to be checked one by one. I hunt around summer camps and can see them from my tree stand. They are about 700-1000 yards through the woods at closest parts. I would not feel safe shooting a 30 06 in that direction despite the woods and brush inbetween but have confidence that a slug will not travel that far with any velocity if at all. Again it is hard to say. I certainly would have more racks and meat if I could use a rifle but....

Location: Raleigh, NC
Joined: 01/23/2005
Posts: 36
For all NYS hunters

Hey guys, I'm originally from Livonia (just south or Rochester by app. 20miles), but I recently moved to Raleigh, NC. Even though the deer are some what smaller here, I love being able to hunt with a rifle. Since moving here I picked up a Savage 270 and a Winchester 30-06. Got my first deer with a rifle with a 200 yard shot with no problem. Any way, the regulations here require you to be a min. of 8 feet off of the ground to use a rifle, and in order to ground hunt you have to use a shot gun. There doesn't seem to be any problems that I'm aware of with stray shots, and the area of NC I live in is actually more populated than where I grew up. Adding a rifle to the mix is great, and it can really test your patience with respect to distance estimation, shot placement, and knowing the ballistics of the gun. I would like to see rifle hunting allowed in more areas of NY other than in the mountains. Good luck!
John -

Joined: 04/20/2005
Posts: 1
For all NYS hunters

Why mess with the northern muzzleloading season?
I have been considering getting one because of the early either sex in the northern zone...I have no problem with a doe...I don't get off killing a buck with a big rack....I hunt for meat-- honestly I would shoot the one with the most tender meat every time...!!

I agree that there is a population boom of does, and I think that the current big man, big rack mentality has to go.

I would however like to point out that If I were a buck, I would love to be the one to be mating all those does LOL Wink

happy hunting

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