Antler restriction pilot project (ARPP) concerning white-tailed deer

Map of zone 6 where the antler restriction pilot project is being conducted

The MFFP is launching a new antler restriction pilot project (ARPP) concerning white-tailed deer in zones 6 North and 6 South, mainly located in the Estrie region. In the context of the project, new hunting methods will be in force starting in the fall of 2017.

  1. An adult male deer must have a minimum of three points of 2.5 cm or more on one side of the antlers to be eligible to harvest. This restriction on antlers will apply to all hunting periods in zones 6 North and 6 South regardless of the hunting gear (crossbow, bow, firearm or muzzle-loading firearm).
  2. The muzzle-loading firearm hunting period will now precede the firearm hunting period. During the muzzle-loading firearm hunting period, harvest of antlerless deer (does and fawns of both sexes) will now be allowed only to holders of licences to hunt antlerless deer (random draw).
  3. An antler restriction hunting licence in addition to a regular hunting licence for white-tailed deer will be compulsory in order to hunt in zones 6 North and 6 South starting in the fall of 2017. Antler restriction hunting licences can be purchased from the same sales agents as other hunting, fishing and trapping licences.

* It should be noted that the hunting rules for antlerless deer harvest during the bow-crossbow hunting period and the firearm hunting period (rifle) remain unchanged (see table).

Examples of deer that may or may not be hunted in zones 6 North and 6 South subject to the antler restriction.

Measurement and counting of deer antler points.

Summary of procedures respecting white-tailed deer harvesting in zones 6 North and 6 South in 2017

White-tailed deer sport hunting periods in 2017
Zones 6 North and 6 South

Hunting gear

Crossbow and bow

Muzzle-loading firearm, crossbow and bow

Firearms, crossbow and bow

Hunting period

September 30 to October 20

October 28 to November 1

November 4 to 19

Sex/age

Antlered deer that complies with the AR standard*

Antlered deer that complies with the AR standard*

Antlered deer that complies with the AR standard*

Antlerless deer

Antlerless deer for licence holder (random draw)

Antlerless deer for licence holder (random draw)

* White-tailed deer whose antlers measure 7 cm or more and that bear a minimum of three points of 2.5 cm or more on at least one side.

The description of the white-tailed deer hunting periods for all of the zones is available at: https://www.mffp.gouv.qc.ca/publications/enligne/faune/reglementation-chasse/impression/index.asp

The following section explains in detail the antler restriction pilot project and answers the main questions in this respect. Other questions can be submitted by email to RTLB@mffp.gouv.qc.ca, to which we would be pleased to reply.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is an antler restriction (AR) concerning white-tailed deer?

An antler restriction (AR) is a management tool that seeks to modify the age structure of a deer population by protecting during hunting young bucks one and a half years old that are highly represented in the harvest to give them time to develop their body mass and their antlers. To achieve this objective, an antler restriction procedure limits buck deer hunting to animals that possess a certain number of points on one side of their antlers.

2. Why is the MFFP testing an antler restriction concerning the white-tailed deer?

An antler restriction (AR) pilot project proposed by wildlife partners was subject to a recommendation by the provincial wildlife steering committee, subsequently included in the Plan de gestion du cerf de Virginie 2010-2017. In the spring of 2015, the Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks approved the pilot project. The wildlife and parks sector elaborated a pilot project to rigorously evaluate this new procedure for harvesting white-tailed deer in the Québec context.

3. What is the difference between an antler restriction and Quality Deer Management (QDM)?

There are several definitions of Quality Deer Management (QDM) but overall it is a management approach that seeks to maintain a deer population in balance with its habitat and enhance the quality of the hunting experience by different means. The protection of young bucks through an antler restriction (AR) is one of the means advocated to achieve this objective.

4. What are the objectives of the antler restriction pilot project?

The key objective of the antler restriction project is to assess the biological and socioeconomic impacts of an antler restriction on white-tailed deer in the Québec context. The specific objectives are to:

  • ascertain whether the new management strategy respecting white-tailed deer populations abides by the targeted deer densities indicated in the management plan;
  • evaluate the impact of an antler restriction on the quality of hunting (success of the harvest, characteristics of the animals harvested, number of deer seen, and so on);
  • assess the impact of an antler restriction on deer populations (density, male/female ratio, recruitment, and so on);
  • evaluate the impact of an antler restriction on hunters (up-and-coming generation, diversification, and so on);
  • optimize, in the case of positive impact, the harvest potential and maximize economic spinoff from the activity;
  • obtain, in all cases, scientific data on which to base enlightened decisions in the management of deer populations in Québec.
5. In which hunting areas is the antler restriction pilot project being conducted?

The restriction is applied in zones 6 North and 6 South only, located mainly in the Estrie region. Zone 7 South, located mainly in the Centre-du-Québec region, is a control zone and hunting methods remain unchanged.

6. What restriction is applied in the context of the antler restriction pilot project?

The restriction applied limits hunting of adult male deer to those with a minimum of three points of 2.5 cm (1 inch) or more on one side of the antlers.

7. How must the number of points be counted?

All of the points that measure more than 2.5 cm (1 inch) from the base to the tip are counted.

8. Does the antler restriction pilot project apply to all hunting periods and all hunting gear?

The antler restriction covers all hunting periods and hunting gear (bow, crossbow, firearm, muzzle-loading firearm) in zones 6 North and 6 South.

 

9. How long will the antler restriction pilot project last?

It is anticipated that the project will extend over five years, the time deemed necessary to properly measure the biological and socioeconomic impacts of an antler restriction.

10. Will greater numbers of licences for antlerless deer be issued in conjunction with the antler restriction pilot project?

The number of antlerless deer licences (random draw) in each hunting zone is determined annually bearing in mind several criteria, mainly the rigour of the previous winter. The number of licences issued by random draw for hunting zones 6 North and 6 South has been increased in 2017, bearing in mind the antler restriction pilot project, which is part of the criteria considered in the calculation.

11. What is the purpose of the compulsory additional antler restriction hunting licence to hunt in zones 6 North and 6 South?

The regular white-tailed deer hunting licence is not associated with a specific zone and did not facilitate the collection of accurate information on hunters hunting in zones subject to the antler restriction, especially those whose hunting was unsuccessful and who did not register any deer. The antler restriction hunting licence that must be purchased in addition to the regular hunting licence in order to hunt in zones 6 North and 6 South was created in order to measure the effort and success of hunting in the zones. It also makes it possible to determine the recruitment or loss of interest of hunters over time (number of licences sold per year).

 

12. Why do I have to pay a fee to obtain an antler restriction hunting licence?

Various initiatives such as an aerial population count, surveys among hunters, and so on, will be carried out to document the biological and socioeconomic impacts of the new antler restriction. The $10 fee for the antler restriction hunting licence, following the coming into force of the attendant regulation, will fund most of the experimentation under the user pay principle. Furthermore, the additional purchase of the licence confirms the hunter’s genuine desire to hunt in the zones under study (6 North and 6 South).

13. If I possess an antlerless deer licence and do not wish to hunt a buck, must I obtain an antler restriction hunting licence to hunt in zones 6 North and 6 South?

Yes, all hunters who wish to hunt in zones 6 North and 6 South must obtain an antler restriction hunting licence. The holder of an antlerless deer hunting licence can decide at any time to kill a buck that conforms to the antler restriction method under his regular hunting licence, regardless of his objective at the outset.

14. I purchased my regular white-tailed deer hunting licence and subsequently decided to hunt in zones 6 North and 6 South. Can I obtain only an antler restriction hunting licence?

Yes. The antler restriction hunting licence is sold separately from the regular white-tailed deer hunting licence. There is no deadline for purchasing the antler restriction hunting licence, but the hunter must possess it as soon as he starts hunting white-tailed deer in zones 6 North and 6 South.

15. Do I have to attach the transportation coupon of my regular white-tailed deer hunting licence to the animal that I have killed in zones 6 North and 6 South?

Yes. There is no transportation coupon on the antler restriction hunting licence and it is the coupon on the regular white-tailed deer hunting licence that must be attached to the deer killed.

16. What must I do if I inadvertently kill a deer that does not have at least three points of 2.5 cm on one side of its antlers in zones 6 North and 6 South?

While it is the hunter’s responsibility to properly identify the animal targeted, misidentification can occur. In such a case, the hunter must promptly contact the wildlife protection office closest to the kill-site to register the animal with an officer, who will take charge of the situation. To obtain additional information on what must be done in the event of a mistaken killing, please consult the MFFP website.

17. I hunt in the zones targeted by the pilot project. Why did I not receive the survey concerning the antler restriction project?

The annual survey concerning the antler restriction project is sent to randomly selected hunters among those likely to hunt in the zones under study. If you did not receive the survey it is either because you were not randomly selected or because the postal address associated with your hunter’s certificate is out of date. If you changed postal address since you obtained your last certificate, be sure to submit to the MFFP your new address by filling out the electronic change of address form. A new random selection of survey recipients occurs annually and it is possible that you will receive the survey in the future.

18. Does the antler restriction pilot project affect the sharing of the white-tailed deer hunting licence?

The notion of sharing a white-tailed deer hunting licence with the holder’s children is not affected by the antler restriction pilot project. However, each child who hunts in zones 6 North and 6 South under a parent’s regular hunting licence must possess his own antler restriction hunting licence. To obtain additional information on the sharing of hunting licences, please visit the MFFP website.

 

19. Why has the muzzle-loading firearm (MLF) hunting period been modified?

The transfer of the muzzle-loading firearm hunting period before the firearm hunting period seeks to test under the project the impact of an earlier harvest of antlerless deer (does and fawns) on population dynamics. What is more, only the holders of antlerless deer licences (random draw) are allowed to harvest antlerless deer during this period, which allows for better control of harvesting of this segment of the population in an experimental context.

20. I have other questions or comments that I would like to share with you concerning the antler restriction pilot project. How can I submit them?

If you did not find the answer to your question on this page or wish to comment on the antler restriction pilot project being conducted in zones 6 North and 6 South, please write to us at: RTLB@mffp.gouv.qc.ca.