Antler restriction question

gar man

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In Missouri we have two problems the department of conservation is trying to tackle. One is there are 1,000,000 plus deer here and we as hunters are not killing enough to thin the herd.(but thats another topic.)
The one big thing is we are lacking in the big buck catagorie. So the MDC is holding town meetings looking for suggestions. The MDC wants to put in place antler restrictions for our bucks. The restrictions would be spike bucks and buckd with four points on one side. I think our problem is our rifle season is during the rut, wich allows us to kill alot of bucks that would normally be in hiding any other time of the year.
My question to you guys out west that have had antler restrictions in place is, do they work? I have had guys tell me that it leads to problems with gentics. What have you seen with your herds?
I think what we need to do is move hunting season back which would do two things there would not be as many bucks shot(better buck to doe ratio) and would allow more of those bucks to reach an older age.
Whats your thoughts?
 

Washington Hunter

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The way I understand it is anter restrictions work in the short term, to increase the buck to doe ratios, but not in the long term. All you're doing is putting more pressure on the older bucks, so after a few years of that there is nothing but young bucks left. The best way to increase the number of mature bucks, is to simply reduce the number of bucks killed overall, and kill more does. I think that is the main problem in many states...most hunters are not willing to kill a doe, instead of a buck.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 01-14-2004 10:59: Message edited by: Washington Hunter ]</font>
 

NY Bowhunter

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NY here, we have same problem as far as to many does and the bucks seem to be less and less there still is quite a few bruisers but not like there use to be, I agree that one solution is to take more does to help close the ratio.Antler restrictions I believe is not the way to go. I think alot of hunters need to change there attitude about shooting does this one included.
 

Bambistew

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What about shooting one or two does before a buck tag can be filled??? Make people check in the does before they can get a buck licence... I shoot just about every doe I see as there is no limit on them in the area that I hunt...

Limiting the number of buck tags given would also help.

PA went to the antler restrictions a few years ago and went state wide last year... The result... They killed just about as many bucks as they did then with out restrictions... I think it will be a few years before we see whats really going to happen there.

Hasn't Arkansas have antler restrictions for like the last four years or so??? I know they have been spitting out a lot more nice bucks since it was intiated...
 

BrianID

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I think that antler restrictions are good when they encourage spikes or 2 points to be harvested. For the most part the spike elk only hunts and similar ones for deer like the 2 point rules have worked well.

http://www2.state.id.us/fishgame/common/regulations/bg/bg03/bg03_19-24deer.pdf

Here's a link to info about 2 point only hunts in Idaho. I hunt some of these units and I think that the 2 point only rule should apply state wide at least for part of the general season.
The 4 point or 3 point only restrictions increase the buck to doe ratio but if put in place for long periods they will hurt the genetics in the heard. Bucks that have genetics that allow them only to grow 2 X 2 rack will get old and do more of the breading.
 

Iron Buck

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We have had Antler Restrictions and Herd Reduction (lots of doe tags) going on for a few years now here in PA. I am already seeing bigger bucks on public land. Before, they were just getting wiped out as 1.5 year old deer. I am also for the liberal allotmant of doe tags we can get now. They allow me to hunt the entire season. FRom archery through late flintlock.

Lots of the the old school are having fits about all the does being shot. Just goes against what they stood for for 40+ years


Here in PA I think the AR will work wonders in teh short term. To kep it going, all they would have to do is start teh rifle doe season 1 week before buck season. This would wise up the bucks and protect more of them. But teh hunters would scream to high heavan if the buck harvest dropped off as much as this would make it do.
 

Tom

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It works. Something to get people to shoot older buck, points are easy to count, but not the best thing. Plus, the buck to doe, you have to work on that being at 2 or below also.

1.Dead deer don't grow.
2.It takes 5.5 years to grow a 5.5 year old big buck.

If you harvest 20% of the bucks, and keep the younger age structure growing to mature bucks, you'll be shooting 5 year olds, on average.

see www.qdma.com for lots of research references.
 

OSOK

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IMO,

Antler resrictions do not work. We have them here in Colorado on our elk heard in many areas. And used to have them on our deer. People are far too likely, to shoot first and count later. I find spike and forked bulls that have been killed and left, almost every year. Was the same, when deer were on an AR. You hit the nail on the head. The timing of the season plays the biggest factor in the growth of a buck. Again, only my opinion. Nebraska has the same problem. Unless you get on a good sized piece of private property, that isn't over pressured. Good luck on finding any descent bucks. Because they all get smoked during the easiest time to hunt them out of the year...

When the Poo'ie, is nice and ripe...

Also forgot to mention. Depending on genetics, a 2 y/o will often be a legal deer w/ a 3 or 4 point antler restriction. How many people do you know that will pass up a 2 or 3 y/o "legal" buck, unless it's someone whom is a dedicated trophy hunter, and can actually know just exactly what he's looking at. I would say 90% of the hunters or more, that are out there, won't & can't...

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 01-14-2004 15:20: Message edited by: OSOK ]</font>
 

Whiskers

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I am from Penna, one of the reasons I quit going back to hunt is because of the antler restriction. Buck season is Buck season. Its hard enough to see a antlered deer in the gun season, let alone pass one up because its not a 3 or better. What I have heard from alot of guys, and some wardens in Penna. They find a lot of illegal buck that were killed, and didn't meet the AR, the hunters just let em lay. I agree kill the doe. Just make sure they are mature doe. Any young deer you kill is a possible buck.
 

Washington Hunter

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It's actually better to kill younger deer, because these are the deer that will die anyway due to the winter or predators, and if there is an excess of deer it will be the young deer, not the mature ones. This is why some states like Idaho has a 2 point MAXIMUM season, and many states have spike only general elk seasons.
 

elkfarmer

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so what we have here is a catch 22. by shooting any buck we will never be able to see what that deer could have been. by putting antler restrictions on we might hurt our population as far as quality of bucks. bothe make sence. me personally, i like to let the little ones go by for the chance at a bigger one, but on the last days of the seasons those little ones are in trouble. and i am also one that wouldn't mind seeing some sort of antler restriction come into play.

a spike could be a 180 class deer in 4 more years, but if he is steaks in the freezer he will always be a spike.
 

Iron Buck

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Whiskers:

Not true about LOTS of illegal bucks being killed and left to rot here. This is something that opponenets to AR were saying would be a major deal............it never materialized. True, it does happen, but the game comminsion estimated that "only" 2000 bucks were killed stated wide that did not meet AR. And this was the first year. Reports are this figure will be lower thgis year. When you consider that the over all buck harvest last year was more than 165,000 animals, proportionally we are not talking about "lots" of illegal kills. MUCH more than that get whacked by cars every year.

JUst the fact that hunters now have to count points.....and not just blast away at the first sight of bone, allows bucks to live longer. Even technically legal bucks. Consider that fact that before AR 80% of all 1.5 year old bucks were killed every year. This made finding trophy bucks in PA a very hard thing to do. All these bucks need is some time to grow. We have the genetics for real monsters if they can just live a while.

All tht said, the best place to get trophy bucks here is still private land. Where all the guys hunting it elect only to shoot mature animals. There is just no way to get all public land hunters to do this. Hell, many of them are whining that they even have to count points as it is.

OSOK

We do not have rifle season during the rut in PA. ...........It would be a SLAUGHTER if we did. Only archery season runs into the rut.
 

OSOK

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Iron,

You're right. It's probably not a huge factor. The bigger factor would be the 2 and 3 y/o legal bucks getting shot. So you still don't solve the problem, of how to get a buck to maturity. Like you said, private land is where it's at. Unfortunately not all have the access.

The reason I believe it doesn't work. Like I said, I find quite a few kills that are left. Maybe not enough to say that it's a big factor in the larger scheme of things. But enough to piss a guy off non the less... I've grown up hunting the 3 Forks Ranch next door neighbor the last 15 years for elk. In that unit, there is a 4 point, or better restriction. What do you see!!! A ton of 2 y/o 4x4's and even more 2 y/o's that are 4x5 and 5x5. Heck, you see a bunch of 5x6 and 6x6's that are 2 as well. Problem??? 90+% of em' get smoked every year, because they are legal. Sure, you've got a stud or 2 hangin around in certain pockets. But anything over 300"s, is a rare sight in deed... And those boy's, you generally see from year to year, fore a reason. They know where they are safe. And by the time they are 4 or 5 years old. They are extremely tough to kill...

The only real way to help the trophy quality of a heard, is to either move around the season dates, to benefit the animals. Or just plain cut down the # or bucks/bulls takin, and have 1,000,000 other guys competing fore the same tag, w/ 10 preference points like it is here in Colorado...
 

Mini Moose

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I have to disagree with you brain, all the 2 pt. only rule does is kill all the smaller deer so they don't have a chance to grow older, in the long run, the old bucks die from old age instead of being hunted, and the smaller deer don't get the chance to grow old because they are killed to soon, some of the 2 pt areas need to be shut down to bucks, for a couple of years and have alot of the does thinned out, i hunted one of the 2 pt. areas this year, and i saw nearly 100 does, and 1 buck to me that isn't very good buck to doe ratio, i saw a few more bvucks after the season closed, adn alot more does, but antler restrictions aren't the way to go, no bucks, and shoot some does, it will let the bucks get a chance to get bigger and thin the does out so the smaller bucks arent ruining the genetics of the area
 

Washington Hunter

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How can small bucks ruin the genetics of an area?
Especially with the 2 point or smaller rule in southwest Idaho, it seems like if anything that would improve the genetics. But really, don't the does have the same genetics for antlers that they pass on to their offspring. If so, it isn't just the bucks passing on their genes, so that theory is bogus. I think antler restrictions do work, not saying they are good, but they do what the states want them to do, which is allow them to sell an unlimited number of tags, yet still protect a certain segment of the population. The very best way to manage our deer herds would be to severely limit the number of buck tags allowed per unit, and in some cases, allow more does to be killed. But hunters will bitch if everybody isn't allowed to hunt bucks every single year. So basically, greedy hunters are the problem. You can't blame it on the state wildlife departments, they are only doing what the general population of hunters want them to do.
 

OSOK

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From what I understand. Idaho implemented the 2 point only in certain areas, because there was a high density of mature 2 point bucks. Genetic? Probably. It makes absolutely no sense to shoot the young animals, if you want a strong, healthy, mature heard...

It basicly comes down to the fact that the wildlife agencies have used deer as their cash cow since their own inception. Now that deer and quality #'s are down to historic levels, in many areas. They wonder what happened to them all! Go figure.


<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 01-15-2004 14:46: Message edited by: OSOK ]</font>
 

Washington Hunter

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It actually does make sense to shoot young animals, because this is where the surplus is in the population, if there is a surplus. And these are the same animals that will be killed anyway due to predation or lack of food in the winter. I'm not a biologist so I can't explain it very well, but I've read plenty on the subject. We've had spike only general elk seasons in eastern Washington for about 8 years now, and it has really helped the bull to cow ratios, and there are some monster bulls to be had now, for those lucky enough to draw a permit.
 

OSOK

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I think what we see here in the west is different than what they are talking about out east. They shoot everything w/ nub's in a lot of places. If properly managed. Maybe the culling of "some", of the younger animals may benefit the heard. I don't see where it can be beneficial when you're killing 90+% of the younger animals. And, I think that's what the original beeotch was contemplating on this post...

Hunter #'s are far greater in the east. And from what I can gather. It's an all out free fore all. The wildlife agencies don't keep track of the # of tags given, in certain areas, therefore allowing fore halfway descent management and control of the heards. Like the poster above said. He ain't gonna pass on a 2 y/o legal buck, and neither is 90+% of the rest of the hunters.

Greedy hunter! I don't agree w/ that theory. More like greedy beauracracy running the Wildlife agencies, IMO...


On a final note. Then I'm outtie for 4 days. If you think your state DOW, is setting up their seasons based on what "you", as the hunter would like too see!!! At least hear in Colorado, and I'm sure in many other states. You are "DEAD", wrong... There is a big uproar going on right now, about the CDOW and how it is running the wildlife based on a political stance, rather than scientific and beneficial fore the wildlife.

It's all about the mighty dollar... I truely believe those with power are more corrupt than your Average Joe, in many cases...

Last edit, I swear!!!


You answered the question, for yourself!!! You said "for those who are lucky enough to draw a permit"... That fact there alone, is far greater the reason you're seeing the bigger bulls. I'm sure they are limiting the take on the younger class as well to some extent.

OK, I lied.


Also, there have been studies linking fawn mortality to the fact, of younger bucks that do the breeding. It has been proven in a study that I saw not to long ago. Fawns born of an immature buck lineage, have upwards of 70% higher mortality rate than those born to mature fathers... Like you. I'm no biologist. I would have to read it again, to be able to embelish on it any further.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 01-15-2004 16:47: Message edited by: OSOK ]</font>
 

Washington Hunter

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In Washington, the Fish and Wildlife Dept. listens to what hunters want, and pretty much will do anything if the majority of hunters ask for it, rather than going by what the wildlife biologist say and doing what is best for wildlife. Very little is based on science, only on what the majority wants, and obviously, 90% of hunters don't know shit about what is best for wildlife. Our hunting regulations can also be changed by initiatives, which several years ago voters passed an initiative banning hound hunting for bears and cats, and using bait for bears. So doing what is best for wildlife in this state is not of paramount importance, all they care about is making the most people happy and selling as many licenses and tags as possible. And no...they do not limit the number of spike elk killed, tags are unlimited and anybody can buy one over the counter, up until the end of the season, even a non-resident.
 
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