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SEPTEMBER  18, 2003

GAME COMMISSION ADVISES HUNTERS TO LOOK AT BUCKS CLOSELY

With one year of antler restrictions under their belts, Pennsylvania hunters are expected to have little trouble with antler restrictions this fall and winter. Less than a quarter of one percent of all Pennsylvania hunters had problems making adjustments last year.

But there are some significant changes in antler restriction regulations that hunters should become familiar with before they head afield. The first pertains to the way antler points shall be counted by hunters during the upcoming seasons, and deals with a change regarding brow tines. A legal antler point must be at least one inch in length from the base to tip in all cases. The main beam tip shall be counted a point regardless of length. The brow tine, which is found near the antler base, also must be a full inch in length to be counted. Last year, the brow tine counted as a point regardless of length.

The second change is that antler restriction areas now are defined by Wildlife Management Units, not counties. In both cases, the size and boundaries of the four-point and three-point areas have changed. These changes are illustrated on page 55 of the 2003-2004 Pennsylvania Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations. The four-point area now is comprised of WMU 1A, WMU 1B, WMU 2A, WMU 2B, and WMU 2D, and the rest of the state is part of the three-point area. Special regulation area counties are no longer exempt from antler restrictions.

In addition, statewide, junior license holders, disabled hunters with a permit to use a vehicle, and Pennsylvania residents on active-duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, may continue to harvest bucks that have at least one three-inch spike or an antler with two or more points. Senior hunting license holders still are required to follow the new antler restriction criteria.

"The change requiring brow tines to be at least one inch was made to standardize antler restrictions, but it also will save more bucks," noted Dr. Gary Alt, who heads the Pennsylvania Game Commission's Deer Management Section. "I have no doubt that hunters will have little, if any, trouble making adjustments for this minor, but important, change in antler restrictions."

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