Mandatory ARs in the state will do nothing to mature the herd. This has already been confirmed by the DEC.
"Second, mandatory ARs are not necessary to maintain a healthy deer herd in New York. Statewide pre-season adult sex ratios average about 1.6 adult doe per adult buck; yearling antler beam diameters indicate deer are in good physical condition; and more than 94% of adult female deer are being bred with more than 86% of conceptions occurring within a 28-day period centered in mid-November. Also, the yearling portion of the statewide buck take has been dropping, without mandatory ARs, from greater than 70% in the early 1990s to less than 55% in 2011."
Still... people want bigger bucks.
""...bucks have all but disappeared in my area”, but data do not support these perceptions. In fact, hunters are taking more older-age bucks in NY now than ever before in our recorded history."
There is no winning. Population control is only managed by killing does. If you kill a buck great but that does nothing to the population except -1 deer. All the doe that buck would have bred will just be bred a different buck.
"ARs will produce more mature bucks." Sure it will! But guess what? Most mature bucks are nocturnal anyways. So now we just have more nocturnal bucks, more problems with the understory in the woods (the foliage under the canopy), more car accidents at night, higher deer populations, and less hunter choice. We must remember that not everyone hunts for bone, many hunt to put meat on the table.
Do you think the DEC really cares if you take a 4 point or a 12 point? I'm willing to bet they would rather manage the population of the deer over the characteristics of the population. The herd is healthy, maybe not as mature as some of us would like, but it is still healthy.
On to the one buck a year rule. I think this is very problematic in terms of the actual tagging process. It sounds great on paper, and it might even work, but it comes with some serious problems to work around. The only way this could be implemented would be a grandfather clause exempting lifetime license holders from the one buck a year rule. Lifetime holders paid a substantial amount of money for lifetime tags. They did not pay that money for the privilege to hunt. That's what the required NYS hunter safety courses are for. If you start only giving one buck a year tag out, how does this fit into the sportsman/super-sportsman payment structure? You can't buy a lifetime super-sportsman license. You can only buy a lifetime sportsman, lifetime bow, and lifetime muzzle loader to equal a super-sportsman license. One buck a year just does not add up in these "already paid for tags." If the option was lifetime sportsman or lifetime super-sportsman, sure it would make sense, but that's not how it is/was.
To be honest, there is no way to please everybody. It will be interesting to see what the DEC chooses. I'm putting my money on a statewide AR, at least 3 on 1 side. I personally am for a statewide AR, but that's only because I don't have issues getting meat when I want it.