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Clarification of the Draft Deer Management Plan

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In reviewing comments already submitted for our draft deer management plan, it is apparent that a couple strategies of the plan need greater clarification. We have posted the following notes at www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7211.html to explain that the plan: (1) does not propose a 1-buck per hunter rule, and (2) does not propose an early muzzleloader season across the board for the Southern Zone.

1) 1-Buck Rule? – It’s not in the plan.
Strategy 1.3.2 proposes to initiate a process to discontinue either-sex and antlerless-only bow and muzzleloader tags for antlerless harvest and transition to a system based exclusively on Deer Management Permits (DMPs) in all areas of the state. Some hunters have apparently misinterpreted this strategy as though DEC intends to institute a 1-buck per hunter rule. However, this is not the case. The proposal is strictly based on the need for a more sensitive antlerless harvest system, and Appendix 5.6 in the deer plan describes this need and purpose. At this point, the draft plan presents a concept for improved antlerless management. The potential tag system is not fully described, but bow and muzzleloader hunters would still be able to harvest one antlered deer during the regular season and one during either of the special seasons.

2) Early Muzzleloader Season in the Southern Zone? – It’s proposed for very limited circumstances in specific areas only.
Strategy 2.2.6 proposes a possible early muzzleloader season under very limited circumstances. Some hunters have apparently misinterpreted this strategy as though an early muzzleloader season is being proposed for most or all of the Southern Zone. However, this is not the case. The strategy describes an approach to progressively increase harvest pressure on antlerless deer in areas where deer populations are above desired levels. This would be considered where DMPs are available to all hunters and additional steps are necessary to reduce the local deer population. A short, early muzzleloader season for antlerless deer is proposed as the third step of a three-step process. Based on current deer population trends, it is likely that step 1 (use of Bonus DMPs; see www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/10001.html for an explanation of Bonus DMPs) might be appropriate for 8-12 Wildlife Management Units, mostly located in northern Regions 8 and 9. If use of Bonus Permits is sufficient, then we would not need to progress on to step 2 (make part of the bow and late muzzleloading season antlerless-only) or step 3 (a short early-muzzleloader season for antlerless deer).

The draft deer plan is available at www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7211.html. I encourage you all to carefully read the plan, form your own opinions and give us feedback.

Please remember that July 28 is the deadline for submitting comments on the draft deer management plan. Comments may be submitted in writing to DEC Deer Management Plan, NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754 or by email to deerplan@gw.dec.state.ny.us using “Deer plan” in the subject line. Please do reply to NY Big Game to submit your comments.

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Bowhunting News

How to Shoot a Compound Bow Properly – Ultimate Guide

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Shooting a compound bow might seem as simple as picking up the bow, drawing the string with an arrow, and releasing it. If that’s how you think it works, then you’re dead wrong. It takes a world of knowledge and practice to learn how to properly shoot a compound bow. Luckily for you, we’re going to teach you how to do it with this compound bow shooting tutorial.

Preparing the Bow

Your compound bow should use high-quality strings that aren’t worn or heavily used. Your bow should be in good shape and properly maintained. You should be aware of how much draw pressure your bow can handle. If possible, use a compound bow that you’ve used before and that you’re familiar with, or use a compound bow that an expert archer has provided. Ideally, you should learn how to shoot a compound bow from someone who has a lot of experience shooting such a bow successfully.

Stance

You should face the target at about a 45-degree angle. Your feet should be parallel to one another and about 17-25 inches apart. Your toes should be directly facing the target. If you use such a stance you’ll have a much easier time drawing your bow and you’ll have a better chance of hitting your target dead-on.

Grip

Use a firm but relaxed grip with your bow-holding hand. If your grip is too tight on the bow then you won’t have as much accuracy on your shot. Try using a wrist sling if you are unable to master the art of a firm yet comfortable grip. Don’t be ashamed because the main point is accuracy and whatever you can do to attain the perfect shot is fine. Never, and I repeat NEVER, shoot with an open hand. You don’t ever want to grab the bow with your drawing hand during a shot – this is undoubtedly the worst mistake you can make when shooting a compound bow because it can lead to fatal errors.

Anchor

When you draw the string, you should be locking your string hand against the side of your face. This is what’s known as the “anchor” position. The string and your hand will be on the right side of your face, and vice versa if you are left-handed. You can achieve the highest level of archery accuracy by anchoring the string at the corner of your mouth – or under your chin.

Draw

You should extend your bow arm directly toward your target with the string gripped firmly between your fingers… or by using a mechanical release device, if you prefer. Point the bow at the target and pull the string smoothly and firmly. Extend the bow all the way, pull the string back to its maximum point of a full draw, and resist the urge to move the compound bow forward. Make sure that you use a bow that is suited for you because a bow with a draw that is too heavy will destroy your accuracy.

Aim

If you’re using a bow that is equipped with a sight then aiming will be easier, but it still won’t be perfect. Bow sights are good for average shooters, especially if a laser sight is involved. The key to natural aiming is practice. The best archers usually aim slightly above the target (depending on wind conditions) so they can aim while still looking directly at the target.

Release

Your release can determine whether or not your shot hits the mark. You need a smooth release, and you need to relax all of your fingers completely before you release the string for the shot. Even the slightest amount of finger tension can disrupt your aim. If you have a mechanical release aid the shot will be easier because all you have to do is draw, aim, and pull the release trigger for the compound bow. This type of mechanism can fail you, however… if you slap the trigger then the arrow will go astray.

Follow-Through

Just as in golf, the follow-through is extremely important in archery. Why? The arrow has already been released, right? You need to keep aiming until your arrow hits the target. The follow-through is largely a mental thing. You need to see your arrow hitting the target while you are steadily holding your bow. Never lower your bow after the arrow has been released. Stay in formation and hold your position until the arrow hits the target.

Practice

If you want to become an expert at shooting a compound bow then you need to practice. The saying “practice makes perfect” isn’t really true. You need to invoke the saying of “perfect practice makes perfect” because practicing something the wrong way will get you nowhere. When your target of choice is out of season then you shouldn’t lay back and watch TV until it’s time to hunt again. Set up targets and keep a compound bow in your hands as much as you can.

Conclusion

After reading this article there’s no excuse for becoming an expert compound bow shooter. From choosing the right equipment to shooting correctly there is an equation to correctly shooting a compound bow. Do you have any tips on shooting a compound bow? If so, we’d love to hear from you in the Comments section below.

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Bowhunting News

NYS DEC Misses the Mark with New Regulations

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New changes are heading our way for the 2015 deer season in New York. For those of us hunting in Westchester County and a few other WMUs that have historically had an overpopulation of deer we now have a newly created 2-week long antlerless-only season – the only problem is that it’s the first 2-weeks of bow season.

For some, that’s not an issue, but to others, it just crushed their chances of killing that buck they’ve been patterning since the season ended in 2014. Why? Because those first 2-weeks also happen to be the last few days you can catch a buck on its summer pattern.

The DEC says that management goals are not being met in these WMUs which is why we need the antlerless-only season. Well, I can tell you changing the first two weeks to antlerless-only is going to have a minimal impact, if any, on the antlerless harvest. The guys that want to shoot bucks will be spending their time in NJ or CT and the rest of us, well, we kill does all season long so it’s business as usual for us.

If the DEC really wanted to increase the antlerless harvest we could have looked to our neighbors over in CT and simply extended the hunting season for another month by starting in September, extending into January or both.

We also are still a 2-buck state (1 Regular Season buck tag, 1 Either Sex archery tag). If we dropped one of the tags, like most of the ‘big-buck’ states, and became a 1-buck state I think you’d also see the antlerless harvest go up…not to mention we’d probably have a few more decent bucks running around.

Time will tell how these new regulations end up working, but I think we already know, this isn’t going to work.

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Bowhunting News

NYS DEC Misses the Mark with New Regulations

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First meeting of 2014 for the WCBA

The Westchester County Bowhunters Association will hold its winter meeting on January 21,2014 at 7:00 p.m. at the Teatown Lake Reservation Ossining, NY.

One of the hot topics for discussion I’m sure will be the plans that Teatown has for using sharpshooters to cull 75 deer from the reservation property. Why Teatown isn’t using a free resource like Westchester County’s own bowhunters and is choosing to use taxpayer money to hire sharp shooters is beyond me. Hopefully, we get some answers on this Tuesday night.

About the WCBA: Since 1979, the Westchester County Bowhunters Association has worked at expanding the knowledge of local non-hunters in order that they understand the importance of sound wildlife conservation, and by that we mean effectively controlling Westchester County’s deer populations through Bow hunting.

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