Deer hunters faced with new, more stringent laws this season
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

Sept. 29, 2006 - Hunters beware, deer regulations have changed this year, and those caught unaware could, at worst, end up in jail.

To ensure everyone is versed in the new laws Game Warden Sean Reneau and Justices of the Peace Yvonne King and Ronny Glossup held a press conference Friday morning to get the word out beforethe start of bow season for white tailed deer.

"Our main concern is safety, then we want people to have knowledge of the law. We don't want them to get in trouble for not obeying the law because they didn't know it. The game warden is responsible for enforcing the law, and none of us wants anyone to get in trouble if they don't have to," King said.

The biggest change is in regard to the hunting limit. In Hopkins County, the bag limit is two does and two bucks, which can be either one legal buck and a spike or two spikes. In order to qualify as a legal buck, the deer must have a hardened antler protruding through the skin and at least one unbranched antler, or an inside spread measurement between main beams of 13 inches or greater.

When hunting a buck, the best way to determine whether it meets the spread requirement is from “alert ear position.” That means if the deer is looking toward you, it's ears will likely be perked up in alert position. The distance from the buck's ear-tipto ear-tip in alert position must be 13 inches. The ear-tip to ear-tip length is generally equal to or smaller than the the largest width from the inside spirals, according to Reneau. If the alert ear-tip to ear-tip measure is less than 13 inches, then the deer is going to be too small.

A spike has to have one unbranched antler, but it can have two or in some cases game wardens have seen as many as eight points on one side.

Anyone caught violating the bag limit will be issued a Class C misdemeanor ticket and will have the deer taken away from them. The fine for offense is a minimum of $280, according to Glossup and King.

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