From the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department
-- Proposed rules regarding antler point restrictions (APRs) in New Hampshire Wildlife Management Unit-A for deer hunters will be discussed at two public hearings in April.
These will be held April 7 at 6:30 p.m. at the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, N.H. 03301, and on April 8 at 6:30 p.m. at the Pittsburg School, 12 School Street, Pittsburg.
The Department is proposing to re-adopt amendment Fis 301.03 to restrict the taking of deer in WMU A during the bow and arrow season, and the muzzleloader and the regular firearm seasons to a 3-point minimum antlered deer or antlerless deer.
The proposal to readopt with amendment Fis 301.01 would define "three point minimum antlered deer" as a deer that has at least one antler 3 inches long measured from the tip of the main beam along the distal edge of the antler to the base of the antler burr at the skull, plus at least two antler points that branch from the main beam that are at least 1 inch from the tip to the confluence with the closest edge of the main beam.
"As part of the process of developing these proposals, Fish and Game received input from an unprecedented 7,870 hunters-that's almost 12 percent of the nearly 66,000 hunters surveyed last fall," said Steve Weber, wildlife division director. "It was determined that most hunters supported implementing buck age structure management techniques if called for, based on our current deer management plan."
Based on the results of that survey, Fish and Game also determined that the best form of buck age structure management in this situation was to implement a 3-point APR in WMU-A only.
For more information on the complex issue of buck age structure management, the regulation of antlered buck harvest in an effort to reduce the harvest mortality rate of one or more buck age classes, visit http://www.huntnh.com/buckagestructure.
The management objective is to try to provide a better opportunity for bucks to reach older ages.
"We understand this is a big change, and that there are a lot of hunters on both sides of the antler point restriction issue in New Hampshire," Weber said. "At this point, we have not made a final decision on whether or not to implement the recommendation and will be seeking public input to help us make our final decision. We need folks to voice their opinions or to submit written comments if we are going to make the best decision on this important issue."
The rulemaking notice, with original and proposed rule language, can be viewed here.
Written comments must be received by April 18 online at firstname.lastname@example.org . Put the words "Comments on Deer Season Rules - APR" in subject line. Residents may also write to Executive Director, N.H. Fish and Game Department, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301, or send comments by FAX to (603) 271-1438.