For those who have not kept up, the state is in the process of formulating a plan that biologists hope will help them better manage the white-tailed deer herd here, and new rules and season dates will most likely emerge as a result — some as early as next year.
What does that mean to you? Well, that depends on your preferred hunting method and where you like to pursue deer.
First and foremost, despite what you may have heard about the plan, I’m guessing there’s nothing in it that’s going to prompt you to sprint to the pickup and tear up your hunting license in protest.
There is a ton of misinformation and rumors circulating about the plan, and the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is asking all hunters to learn the facts before forming an opinion.
So, for those who have not curled up in an easy chair with the 57-page document, I am going to do my best to simplify its contents and explain how the changes might affect you.
Then, if you are upset about a particular part of the plan, at least you can make an informed response to the DEC.
Biologists would like to switch to an across-the-board doe permit system instead of allowing a deer of either sex or antlerless only to be taken during bow and muzzleloader seasons.
That means a hunter with the appropriate tags would still be allowed two bucks — one during regular season and one during primitive arms — but would need to obtain a deer management permit to take a doe during bow, muzzleloader or regular season, anywhere in the state.
I spoke at length to state Wildlife Biologist Jeremy Hurst, who was instrumental in compiling the new plan and the recommendations in it.