Cumberland Times-News

Outdoors

March 13, 2013

Letters about deer antler restrictions

Get all the info first

Mike,

This letter is directed toward A.J. Fleming who is the president of the Mountain Maryland Chapter of the Quality Deer Management Association. Based on a March 10 article on the Outdoors page it appears as though your organization wants the antler restriction bill (HB 990), which was introduced by Delegate Wendell Beitzel, to be withdrawn. I would like to remind everyone of the letter written by Mr. Fleming that appeared on the Outdoors page of March 3. Here it is.

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Mike,

Your article last week discussed House Bill 990 inaccurately, focusing on the “supposed” negative implications of the bill. Clearly this bill has biological benefits, can be objectively monitored by the Md. DNR to gauge success or failure through jawbone studies, and is the desired method of deer management by the majority of hunters in Garrett County.

The QDMA knows all of these areas to be true, simply because before our national organization supports a hunting license concept by our branch, by the DNR, or a bill by a delegate it must meet the three aforementioned areas of criteria. Indeed HB 990 has met those three areas!

In your article, you talked about forcing this concept on hunters, when ironically, it is exactly what most want. Within your article Mr. Peditto, referred to the need for a survey, when in fact, a survey has already been contracted and completed for the DNR. Type “Responsive Management” into your computer’s search engine, go to telephone surveys, and click on “list of reports.” This 2007 survey asks about mandatory QDM and only 26 percent of 1,200 respondents were opposed to it, while 69 percent either moderately or strongly support, and 5 percent neither support nor oppose. (Question 111)

To set the record straight, HB 990 will absolutely exclude youth hunters. The QDMA wouldn’t support Delegate Beitzel’s bill if this were not the case. Youth hunters will always have the green light on any buck they so choose.

In fact, thanks to the bill, youth hunters will experience a competitive advantage with extra bucks available. By the way, seniors, 65 and over, will be exempt too.

Quality Deer Management is where quality bucks, (those 2 and 3 years of age), are most likely the byproduct of such techniques as the restraint in harvesting young bucks, habitat management, managing doe on a case by case scenario, and killing coyotes! This isn’t Texas and none of our 1,200 licensed hunters on board yields the requirement for acreage and age structure that Trophy Deer Management requires.

We’re sportsmen and sportswomen who are stewards of the land.

Is there a biological need for this bill? Absolutely! Is there a social desire? Absolutely! Even more so it is socially acceptable to implement and reap the benefits of a successful QDM program!

This bill is also supported by the Maryland Legislative Sportsmen Foundation, wildlife professionals and biologists, Garrett County commissioners, and a multitude of other hunters, landowners and farmers who desire better deer and better deer hunting!

A.J. Fleming, President

Mountain Maryland Chapter

Quality Deer Management Assoc.

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 In the article that appeared on this past Sunday’s Outdoors page (March 10) it was stated that the DNR has released more information (harvest and fawn recruitment) since the bill was introduced. Did anyone ask the DNR for this information BEFORE the bill was introduced? If not, why was the bill proposed by Delegate Beitzel and backed by the QDMA before this important data was reviewed?  Did the DNR state that they had more data that would be released later when it was available? If so, why was the bill proposed before this information was available? I agree that something needs to be done to help our deer herd in western Maryland, whether it be antler restrictions, reduced bag limits, etc. but I think we need to get ALL the data before we make any decisions.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Rodney Lipscomb                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Frostburg

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