Dr. Alt's point restriction road show draws big crowds

spectr17

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Countians In Favor Of Antler Restrictions

Deer Management Section Supervisor Dr. Gary Alt addresses over 600 at McConnellsburg High School.

02/05/02

Chanin Rotz, Fulton Co. News

A concurrent rifle season was established last year allowing sportsmen to be more selective regarding the harvest of antlerless deer. With the number of button bucks thought to be on the rise, Pennsylvania Game Commission officials have now focused their deer management skills upon strengthening the Commonwealth’s buck population.

Last Wednesday evening at the McConnellsburg High School auditorium, Deer Management Section Supervisor Dr. Gary Alt pitched the PGC’s proposed antlered deer restrictions to one of the largest crowds to have ever convened for the series of public meetings. Last month Alt began his third consecutive year of touring the state to meet with hunters regarding the past, present and future of deer management.

In spite of some grumbling from local sportsmen on an array of deer hunting topics, the majority ruled as Alt’s proposals were not only met with approval but applause as well. During his three-hour presentation and question-answer period, Alt stated by  
increasing the number of points required for a buck to be legally harvested, spikes and other young antlered deer will be able to live longer. In following that theory, the PGC is slated to vote in April upon changing traditional antler restrictions from two or more points on one antler or a spike three inches or longer. If approved, regulations would require harvesting bucks with three points or more on one antler. In 11 western counties, the rule would require four points on one antler.

“Antler restrictions are designed to protect at least 50 percent of the yearlings, so you’re not degrading the population in terms of genetics,” said Alt. “...If you don’t have adult bucks in the population, yearlings will run around chasing all of the does. They’ll lose weight making it harder to survive the winter months. You won’t have the selectivity you need.”

Currently 80 percent of antlered deer harvested in Pennsylvania are yearlings. The figure escalates to over 90 percent in some select areas. In addition, reports given by the PGC depict that the buck kill dropped by 5,000 to 15,000 during the 2001 concurrent season.

“We believe this fall, the buck kill will be half of what it has been the last two years. We’ll start having larger breeding deer like you’ve never seen before. It will triple the number of bucks with eight or more points within one year,” he added.

In backing up this proposal, 34 separate teams performed an antler measurement study during which 4,000 sets of antlers were examined. In the majority of the Commonwealth, the PGC found the most common type of bucks are Y’s or spikes. However, if those deer are given the opportunity to live one additional year, over 50 percent of those bucks will have at least eight points. If permitted to live for an overall three-year period, the average spread of a rack expands to 17 inches.

In addition, the PGC has initiated studies to track both deer and hunter movement. During the next three years, the organization will place radio-collars on 600 male deer. The tracking devices will allow officials to determine when they leave their mother, where they travel to, behavioral patterns and what periods of the day they are most active. “We don’t know how we will catch them yet,” Alt stated. “We could use clover traps, drop nets, rocket nets, baiting and darting or helicopters. We need to see which is the most cost-effective method to determine how these deer live their lives.”

In cooperation with Penn State University, the PGC began placing Global Positioning System (GPS) units on sportsmen last fall in order to track “where they go, how long they hunt, how far from roadways they go and, in general, their movement patterns and success.”

“We have surveys going on with hunters and landowners. We desperately want to put these two groups together....The deer wars must end. We’re only fighting each other,” said the deer management section supervisor.

“We know hunters measure the success of a hunt not on the kill, but on how many deer they see. Yet the greatest mistake that threatens the future of hunting is when there are too many deer for the land to sustain. When we change from self-gratification, the result will be better deer and forests.”

Following Alt’s presentation, one sportsman suggested “shutting down buck season completely for one year” to alleviate the deer herd problems. However, the PGC official pointed out the organization did follow that recommendation during the years 1928 and 1938.

“If you did that, instead of saving 100,000 bucks, you would save 200,000. The problem is that the next year, we would shoot all of those bucks,” said Alt. “That is how you super jump-start things, but we would have to come up with a way not to over-harvest the deer. I don’t know politically if that suggestion would survive,” Alt indicated.

Another hunter noted deer feed on private land in the vicinity of McConnellsburg at night and return to state game land for protection. It is a several mile hike to get to that portion of state game land.

South Central Region Office Director Willis Sneath stated there is not an area within the 11 counties falling under his jurisdiction which is “totally landlocked.” “Some areas may have limited access. If we’re aware of those situations, we work to improve access by developing roads and parking lots for the hunters,” Sneath stated.

To the dismay of the majority of the hunters present for the January 30 meeting, one young man noted more does would be harvested during flintlock season if alterations were made.

“A flintlock hammer doesn’t always go off. You’ve admitted yourself it happens quite frequently,” the man said to Alt. “In-line is more accurate. Flintlock is a big tradition in Pennsylvania, but I think a lot more does would be killed if more kids would get involved.”

“More people are talking about in-line, but what I’m hearing is that hunters want to keep it (flintlock season) more traditional,” Alt responded.

Quickly taking up a microphone, the south central region director commented on the history of the season, which was reinforced with great applause.

“Historically, since flintlock season was established in the early 1970s, sportsmen have asked it not be changed,” said Sneath. “As far as using in-line, you can use it during the regular rifle season. The senior hunters could use in-line during the October season.”

In spite of the reaction from his fellow hunters, the man countered the PGC should be “petitioned to strongly rethink” the matter.

Perhaps the largest support of the evening, though, was given to a local man who addressed the topics of spotlighting and poaching. Big Cove Tannery resident Lynn Douglas stated even though he enjoys spotlighting, he is tired of poaching that occurs at night under a spotlight.

“The game wardens in my area have been doing an excellent job. Their hands are really tied with some of the ways these poachers have learned to beat the law with one car doing the spotlighting, and the car behind doing the shooting,” said Douglas, who has been hunting since the age of 17.

President of the PGC Board of Commissioners Sam Dunkle replied, “We’re aware of the concerns about spotlighting. One of our major obstacles in making any changes is that we cannot change it. It has to be done through the legislature. You as sportsmen and we as the agency need to voice our concerns to our legislators to get changes made.”

“We all need to work with our officers on this. Poaching is stealing from other hunters. We need to network with one another to get good information to catch them,” Alt concluded.
 



spectr17

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Countians In Favor Of Antler Restrictions

Deer Management Section Supervisor Dr. Gary Alt addresses over 600 at McConnellsburg High School.

02/05/02

Chanin Rotz, Fulton Co. News

A concurrent rifle season was established last year allowing sportsmen to be more selective regarding the harvest of antlerless deer. With the number of button bucks thought to be on the rise, Pennsylvania Game Commission officials have now focused their deer management skills upon strengthening the Commonwealth’s buck population.

Last Wednesday evening at the McConnellsburg High School auditorium, Deer Management Section Supervisor Dr. Gary Alt pitched the PGC’s proposed antlered deer restrictions to one of the largest crowds to have ever convened for the series of public meetings. Last month Alt began his third consecutive year of touring the state to meet with hunters regarding the past, present and future of deer management.

In spite of some grumbling from local sportsmen on an array of deer hunting topics, the majority ruled as Alt’s proposals were not only met with approval but applause as well. During his three-hour presentation and question-answer period, Alt stated by  
increasing the number of points required for a buck to be legally harvested, spikes and other young antlered deer will be able to live longer. In following that theory, the PGC is slated to vote in April upon changing traditional antler restrictions from two or more points on one antler or a spike three inches or longer. If approved, regulations would require harvesting bucks with three points or more on one antler. In 11 western counties, the rule would require four points on one antler.

“Antler restrictions are designed to protect at least 50 percent of the yearlings, so you’re not degrading the population in terms of genetics,” said Alt. “...If you don’t have adult bucks in the population, yearlings will run around chasing all of the does. They’ll lose weight making it harder to survive the winter months. You won’t have the selectivity you need.”

Currently 80 percent of antlered deer harvested in Pennsylvania are yearlings. The figure escalates to over 90 percent in some select areas. In addition, reports given by the PGC depict that the buck kill dropped by 5,000 to 15,000 during the 2001 concurrent season.

“We believe this fall, the buck kill will be half of what it has been the last two years. We’ll start having larger breeding deer like you’ve never seen before. It will triple the number of bucks with eight or more points within one year,” he added.

In backing up this proposal, 34 separate teams performed an antler measurement study during which 4,000 sets of antlers were examined. In the majority of the Commonwealth, the PGC found the most common type of bucks are Y’s or spikes. However, if those deer are given the opportunity to live one additional year, over 50 percent of those bucks will have at least eight points. If permitted to live for an overall three-year period, the average spread of a rack expands to 17 inches.

In addition, the PGC has initiated studies to track both deer and hunter movement. During the next three years, the organization will place radio-collars on 600 male deer. The tracking devices will allow officials to determine when they leave their mother, where they travel to, behavioral patterns and what periods of the day they are most active. “We don’t know how we will catch them yet,” Alt stated. “We could use clover traps, drop nets, rocket nets, baiting and darting or helicopters. We need to see which is the most cost-effective method to determine how these deer live their lives.”

In cooperation with Penn State University, the PGC began placing Global Positioning System (GPS) units on sportsmen last fall in order to track “where they go, how long they hunt, how far from roadways they go and, in general, their movement patterns and success.”

“We have surveys going on with hunters and landowners. We desperately want to put these two groups together....The deer wars must end. We’re only fighting each other,” said the deer management section supervisor.

“We know hunters measure the success of a hunt not on the kill, but on how many deer they see. Yet the greatest mistake that threatens the future of hunting is when there are too many deer for the land to sustain. When we change from self-gratification, the result will be better deer and forests.”

Following Alt’s presentation, one sportsman suggested “shutting down buck season completely for one year” to alleviate the deer herd problems. However, the PGC official pointed out the organization did follow that recommendation during the years 1928 and 1938.

“If you did that, instead of saving 100,000 bucks, you would save 200,000. The problem is that the next year, we would shoot all of those bucks,” said Alt. “That is how you super jump-start things, but we would have to come up with a way not to over-harvest the deer. I don’t know politically if that suggestion would survive,” Alt indicated.

Another hunter noted deer feed on private land in the vicinity of McConnellsburg at night and return to state game land for protection. It is a several mile hike to get to that portion of state game land.

South Central Region Office Director Willis Sneath stated there is not an area within the 11 counties falling under his jurisdiction which is “totally landlocked.” “Some areas may have limited access. If we’re aware of those situations, we work to improve access by developing roads and parking lots for the hunters,” Sneath stated.

To the dismay of the majority of the hunters present for the January 30 meeting, one young man noted more does would be harvested during flintlock season if alterations were made.

“A flintlock hammer doesn’t always go off. You’ve admitted yourself it happens quite frequently,” the man said to Alt. “In-line is more accurate. Flintlock is a big tradition in Pennsylvania, but I think a lot more does would be killed if more kids would get involved.”

“More people are talking about in-line, but what I’m hearing is that hunters want to keep it (flintlock season) more traditional,” Alt responded.

Quickly taking up a microphone, the south central region director commented on the history of the season, which was reinforced with great applause.

“Historically, since flintlock season was established in the early 1970s, sportsmen have asked it not be changed,” said Sneath. “As far as using in-line, you can use it during the regular rifle season. The senior hunters could use in-line during the October season.”

In spite of the reaction from his fellow hunters, the man countered the PGC should be “petitioned to strongly rethink” the matter.

Perhaps the largest support of the evening, though, was given to a local man who addressed the topics of spotlighting and poaching. Big Cove Tannery resident Lynn Douglas stated even though he enjoys spotlighting, he is tired of poaching that occurs at night under a spotlight.

“The game wardens in my area have been doing an excellent job. Their hands are really tied with some of the ways these poachers have learned to beat the law with one car doing the spotlighting, and the car behind doing the shooting,” said Douglas, who has been hunting since the age of 17.

President of the PGC Board of Commissioners Sam Dunkle replied, “We’re aware of the concerns about spotlighting. One of our major obstacles in making any changes is that we cannot change it. It has to be done through the legislature. You as sportsmen and we as the agency need to voice our concerns to our legislators to get changes made.”

“We all need to work with our officers on this. Poaching is stealing from other hunters. We need to network with one another to get good information to catch them,” Alt concluded.
 

Jon Bain

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Jesse, I read this under the Whitetail forum and thought this is some real good information.  Alabama is going through the same thing right now with its hunting population, but it seems the people who make the rules are reluctant to make any changes.

QDMA is change through education.  Not force rules on people so if the rules are to be changed in AL it will have to come from the hunting population as a request because they are becoming educated.
 

ShearMadness

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Just wanted to let you guys know that PA passed the antler restrictions. It was close, a 4-3 vote, but they passed. I hunt PA and I'm really looking forward to the results. Now he needs to get a october doe season. I'm sure he will get it. This was just his first major step.
 

Freedom

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Being from PA, I can tell you this is one HOT topic!  Man, you want to get someone fired up, ask them about AR.  The PA message boards I visit are on fire!  There are a lot of people real PO'd about this but alot who support it too.  Its kinda of a "love it or hate it" situation.  Myself, I'm for it.  Guess we'll just have to see where it leads us!
 

bradj

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I will agree that here in PA people are head over heels about AR, but I am all for it and have been practicing it myself for a few years already, I talk to a lot of people who say I am lucky and they are somewhat jealous of my bucks, but in talking with them they feel as though they must shoot the first buck they see or somone else will shoot it, but I pass up over 25 different buck on our 250 acres and only one or two of them end up getting shot, our land is not posted either.
 


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