I must say that I do not agree with your opinion stated in this article specific to the antler restrictions. You do make some good points (no pun intended), however an antler restriction is needed in Garrett.
I am a Garrett County landowner, homeowner and hunter (all weapons). This year I appreciated the archery season opening up earlier and I had numerous opportunities to kill immature bucks throughout the entire hunting season.
I ended up killing two mature does this year one with a bow and one with a muzzleloader for meat as my entire family cherishes the meat throughout the year.
Each time I brought my does into the processor I was appalled at the number of very young bucks being harvested. Quite literally I rarely saw any sizable rack that would make a “hunter” proud.
It sickened me that anyone that considers themselves a “hunter” would kill such immature animals. Why kill small spikes, buttons, four pointers when you can satisfy your need for meat killing mature does?
Simply make a reasonable change to the number of does that can be taken by each hunter in the county throughout the season (all weapons) and place a six point restriction on the antlered deer.
I agree with you that the language has to be very clear when it comes to what the legal-to-take antlered deer should be (is it a six point or an eight as in my book the eye guards count as a point on each side). This type of restriction would still be fair for the younger hunter (first time buck) or elderly hunter.
At the same time it would allow Garrett County to develop itself as a place where people can go to harvest TROPHY bucks eventually, which is good for the outfitters, businesses and such in the county that can certainly use the revenue from hunters coming into the county to hunt during the season. Garrett is the type of county that if managed correctly could become (if allowed to) a true hunting destination county like you see on the Outdoor Channel.
The problem is that too many people who hunt out there seem to be justifying taking immature bucks as hunting meat.
Antlers, however large are NOT edible so don’t kill immature bucks!
In three or four years of antler restriction Garrett County would once again have a buck population that would make “hunters” as well as the landowners, very proud.
This antler restriction policy is good for the county, the state, the landowners as well as eventually, the hunters themselves as it only stands to reason that we all will eventually see more and more bucks in the Garrett County woods that meet the antler restriction and it will force a “hunter” to think twice before pulling the trigger on immature animals.