This notice by the DEC on deer management (see below) raises an interesting question that I suspect no one questions. Why do hunters have such a disproportional say in how our wildlife is managed in our state? Wildlife have a function in our environment other than something to shoot.
Our environment has been shaped and is shaped by the creatures that have and do inhabit our environment. Although, recently not so much. Mankind has so overtaken the role of top predator that it is assumed throughout the public that we don’t need a thriving balance of animals in our environment—except to harvest.
However much monies hunters and fisherman contribute to the dollars needed to preserve and protect our wildlife, should they who shoot our wildlife be the soul arbitrators of the rules pertaining to the conservation of wildlife? I don’t have an answer to this question, but we have set up the funding for our conservation of wildlife that it is so heavily paid for by stamps and licenses to hunters that they and the New York State of Environmental Conservation have come to believe that it must be only the hunter’s interests by which we judge how wildlife is controlled in our state.
As I say, it’s just something I’ve been thinking about and I don’t know the answer, but the question is intriguing to me.
"Update on Deer management in our area: Deer Management Plan Update. DEC continues to refine strategies and recommendations in development of a five-year deer management plan for New York State. We anticipate that the plan will be available for public review and comment by late May or early June. This time-frame will allow us to conclude a summary assessment of the pilot antler restriction program in the southern Catskills and address the future of mandatory antler restrictions in the pilot area and elsewhere in the deer management plan. Recently, several erroneous claims have circulated in some New York hunting blogs, online forums and news articles, implying that DEC intends to shut down the pilot antler restriction program regardless of hunter interests. These claims have no base. DEC does not have pre-determined intentions for the pilot antler restriction program but will use results of the summary assessment to help determine the future of the program. Review preliminary information about the deer management plan and a description of the antler restriction issue in New York. " New York State Department of Environmental Conservation