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HUNTING AND FISHING
Bowhunters applaud regulators' BAD ruling
Friday, August 19, 2005
BY FRED J. AUN
For the Star-Ledger

United Bowhunters of New Jersey president Jack Spoto figures it has been about five years since his organization first requested a bowhunter-friendly tweak to the state's Earn-a-Buck (EAB) deer hunting regulations.

Those who prefer bows to shotguns didn't want relief from their EAB obligation to kill two antlerless (female or young male) whitetails before taking an antlered buck, said Spoto. They just wanted to be able to "earn" their bucks earlier in the year, when finding does was a bit easier.

So Spoto's glad the powers that be -- the state Fish and Game Council and the state Division of Fish and Wildlife -- finally agreed. This year, for the first time, Garden State bowhunters will be able to satisfy their EAB quota during the fall bow season.

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The state dubbed the program Bank-a-Doe, which -- despite the endorsement of United Bowhunters -- carries the unflattering acronym BAD.

In the past, bowhunters plying the woods of the state's 14 Earn-a-Buck hunting zones were required to take an antlerless deer prior to shooting a buck in both the fall and the permit bow seasons. Under BAD, an archer can take two antlerless deer in the fall and "bank" one of them, meaning he or she can hunt for bucks right off the bat when the fall season arrives.

Spoto thinks the state was reluctant to make the change partly because it will involve some potentially confusing paperwork. "A lot of people had to come on board with this thing," he said. "The wildlife biologists, the deer check-in stations and law enforcement."

It does get somewhat complicated. Fifteen establishments have been named Bank-A-Doe check stations for the upcoming seasons. Hunters who want to participate must get a Bank-A-Doe harvest card from one of those stations.

The cards are filled in with information about the antlerless deer taken by the hunter. The cards are surrendered, along with the transportation tag and buck stub, when the hunter checks in his first buck of permit bow season.

There's more fine print, but Carol Kandolth, Fish and Wildlife's deer project manager, is confident bowhunters will embrace BAD.

"It was a request from our constituents to help them meet their Earn-A-Buck obligations," she said. "They proposed they could do it more easily in this fashion and we decided that if it helps the hunters to take their antlerless deer -- which meets our obligations -- and to get a buck easier, then why not do it?"

Kandolth said the division hopes BAD will result in a "slight" increase in the antlerless deer harvest. "The earlier in the season you go out, the dumber the deer are," she said.

The new program will also help Kandolth and other division biologists in their gathering of information about New Jersey's whitetails. "It's going to be an opportunity for me to get out into the field with my people and do some early age sampling," she said. "I'll get increased biological data."

Spoto said members of United Bowhunters helped the state by recommending deer-check stations they felt would be reliable BAD participants.



Fred Aun appears regularly

in The Star-Ledger. He may be reached by e-mail at [email protected]
 

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Were in zone 10 are you guys going to be hunting? I know Persons butcher shop on 31 is a BAD station, wow that din'd sound to good. BAD deer checking station. Sounds a little better.[up]
 
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