Change Arkansas Regulations on Deer Hunting to Protect Young Bucks
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The current regulations that govern what a legal buck is in most areas of the state require a buck to have 3 points on one side. This requirement does nothing to protect 2-1/2 year old bucks because many of them meet this requirement and each hunter is allowed to harvest 2 such bucks each season. The 3 point rule punishes bucks that have the very best genetics by making them legal to harvest as early as 1.5 years old in some cases while rewarding 2.5 year old bucks with the worst genetics by making them illegal to harvest if they're only 4 points. This ensures that those bucks will live another year and probably pass on those poor genetics next season. Combine this with the fact that too many hunters would rather wait on a young buck than harvest a doe and you can begin to see why the deer herd in much of the state has far more does to each buck than what would be considered ideal. By removing more does to reduce the total number of deer in the state, which is what the AGFC is desperately trying to accomplish as it is, and allowing the young bucks to at least reach 3-1/2 years of age the improvenent to our overall herd would be noticable in only a few short years. More competition between bucks to breed with the reduced number of does will increase rut activity and ensure that the best genetics are passed on to next year's fawns. Bucks will be on their feet more as they will actually have to search for does instead of them being everywhere they look. All of this combined will lead to better bucks, a more balanced herd, and a higher quality hunting experience overall for Arkansas sportsmen and women.
Here's what I feel needs to be changed in our harvest regulations to see this vision come to fruition:
1. Hunters are allowed to harvest 1 buck of their choice with no antler restriction. Any buck with hard antler would be a legal buck.
2. All hunters must harvest a doe (some areas may be required to harvest 2 does) before they receive their second buck tag.
3. All bucks harvested as a hunter's second buck must have 4 or more points on one side and meet either a minimum outside spread or a minumum main beam length to be determined by state biologists to ensure as much as possible that the buck is at least 3-1/2 years old. This secondary requirement might be different for different areas in the state.
I believe that by doing this we will increase the doe hervest while decreasing the total buck harvest thereby balancing our herd while protecting far more young bucks than we currently protect with the 3 point rule. We have plenty of deer in Arkansas to keep everyone's freezers full with fresh venison but we can also be smart about which deer we remove from the herd to help ensure even better hunting in seasons to come. I ask that you sign this petition so that the AGFC knows that they have our support in taking the necessary steps to better manage our deer herd.
Thank you for your support:
Lifelong Arkansas Resident Sportsman
Update: Its important to note that even if the AGFC were to adopt these regulations they most likely would not apply inside the CWD Zone. CWD makes it very difficult to manage a deer herd with any goal other than reducing the total number of deer in the area to prevent the disease from spreading. Please abide by all the regulations that are currently in place for the CWD Zone.
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