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Sportsmen Protecting Our Future [SPOF]
An organization created by Dave Elliott, local Taxidermist and concerned sportsman

Sportsmen Protecting Our Future is a group of dedicated conservationists that are extremely concerned over the direction New York State is taking in managing our deer herd. When we say "our" we mean every sportsman in this state - be it archer, shot gunner, muzzleloader or other group interested in big game hunting. It's time we unite with a common purpose, goal or objective in mind.

The following is a copy of the letter Sportsmen Protecting Our Future [SPOF] sent to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation [NYSDEC] in an effort to convince them of doing the right thing on the pending deer management proposals. SPOF is headed by Dave Elliott, a local Charter Captain and Taxidermist interested in sportsmen's efforts for the future of hunting in New York State.


Dear DEC:                                            

Sportsmen Protecting Our Future is a group of dedicated conservationists that are extremely concerned over the direction New York State is taking in managing our deer herd. When we say "our" we mean every sportsman in this state - be it archer, shot gunner, muzzleloader or other group interested in big game hunting. It's time we unite with a common purpose, goal or objective in mind.

Your most recent proposals that have been tossed out for public input and comment are not the types of changes we want to see enacted. Too many deer management permits are being issued; too many antlerless bucks are being killed. We want to be able to see deer when we stand on post or sit in our tree stands. More importantly, we want to be able to have our children and grandchildren see deer when afield as we attempt to recruit more sportsmen into our dwindling ranks. That didn't happen in 2004 and, unless some changes are made, it's not going to happen any time soon.

For example, the current opening day of the Southern Zone special archery season is October 15th ~ We feel it shouldn't be any earlier than that. Traditionally, the first two weeks of October offer up mild weather and deer can spoil very easily - especially if a deer is arrowed late in the day and the tracking must be resumed the following morning. That's been our experience in other states. Oftentimes, it's a waste of our resources. Thick foliage also makes for a much more difficult hunt. Let's keep away from an earlier opener, as is being proposed (October 1).

Slow Doe Harvest. We need to stop shooting so many antlerless deer. The 2004 hunting season was an exclamation point on how far we've actually gone in reducing the deer herd. We need to stop issuing so many DMU permits. There's been some talk about even going back to the multiple-person party permit system that was in place years ago. State's like Ohio allow for a hunter to harvest one buck. Depending in what part of the state they are in, they may be allowed to harvest one or two antlerless deer as well - tags that must be paid for separately. They also have a statewide mandatory deer check program in place for a more accurate accounting of harvest. We have to make some changes with the way we're managing our deer herd. There shouldn't be transferable DMU permits either.

Education. Education is a key component to the big picture. We will do our best to educate sportsmen on real issues, while at the same time work to dispel rumors and myths as they relate to big game hunting. You did not stock coyotes or mountain lions to help control the deer herd! Insurance companies are not forcing you to decimate the deer herd to limit claims (there are more fender benders in Wal-Mart parking lots than deer/car collisions in a year!). Turn in a claim to an insurance company and your rates are going to increase. So who's really paying for it?

While these aren't all the issues, it's a good start as we start to plan for tomorrow. We can't afford to lose license sales to the state's Conservation Fund. We can't afford to lose more sportsmen to the sport of Big Game hunting. Let's attack the problem now and look to see what other states are doing to manage their deer herds. We don't need special interest groups to be fighting one another. We need to develop a compromise that most everyone can live with and we're willing to sit at the table to work it out.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you. 

Sincerely,

Dave Elliott
Sportsmen Protecting Our Future


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