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Antler Restriction Program

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An antler point restriction is in place in WMUs 3C, 3H, 3J and 3K in Southeastern New York, and a new law signed by the Governor in August 2011 extends mandatory antler restrictions into the part of WMU 3A that is south and west of Rt. 28, and is designed to protect a majority of yearling (1.5 years old) bucks from harvest. See the deer hunting season maps on page 25 for the WMUs with antler restrictions in 2011. Key elements of the antler point restriction include:

  • Bucks taken in these WMUs must have at least one antler with 3 or more points (brow tines and main beam included) that are at least 1 inch long.
  • The restriction applies on all public and private land within the WMUs.
  • The restriction applies during all hunting seasons (bowhunting, regular and muzzleloading).
  • Hunters under 17 years of age are exempt from the three point requirement.
  • Antlerless deer are still classified as any deer having no antlers or antlers less than 3 inches long.

Voluntary Protection of Young Bucks – An Idea to Consider

In areas without antler restrictions, consider voluntary protection of young bucks. Hunters interested in protecting young bucks and seeing older, larger bucks are encouraged to work with local hunting clubs and neighboring landowners to develop cooperative voluntary antler restriction programs.

  • Many hunters are already participating in successful cooperative programs to voluntarily protect young bucks through an antler restriction of some form.
  • Cooperative programs build community among hunters and landowners and actively engage participants in the deer management decisions for their hunting lands.
  • Voluntary efforts provide the greatest program flexibility for landowners and hunting cooperatives.
  • Protecting young bucks allows for more bucks to survive into older age classes.
  • Having more bucks, including older bucks, in the population may increase marking behavior (rubs and scrapes) during the breeding season.
  • By choosing not to harvest young bucks, your annual buck harvest rate will be reduced, but you may see these deer the following year as larger, older bucks.
  • Having realistic expectations of what an antler restriction can accomplish is important to developing a successful program. To learn more, please see or contact your regional DEC wildlife office.
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