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Shoot Me Down: Antler Point Restrictions Make Sense

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April 16, 2010

Shoot Me Down: Antler Point Restrictions Make Sense

By Scott Bestul

In my April “Whitetails” column, I argued that antler point restrictions (APR’s) constitute sound deer management. For those who read to the end of the column, I promised a chance to respond in this space. So here it is. I’m inviting you to chime in with your thoughts on APR’s in the popular “Shoot Me Down” format invented by my colleague Dave Hurteau.

For those who didn’t read the column, here’s a brief summary of why I support APR’s.

• Better herd balance: Under many traditional deer management models, hunting pressure is focused on young bucks. This allowed game agencies to host a deer season while still growing the herd. Encouraging the whitetail population is no longer the goal in most states. APR’s typically take pressure off young bucks and place it on does. This has the double-bang effect of reducing populations and achieving a more balanced buck/doe ratio.

• More mature bucks. The old “you can’t eat the horns” is getting to be a tired motto. Given the choice, virtually anyone would rather hunt a place where there’s at least a chance to kill a big deer. There’s no need to apologize for thinking big bucks are important, and APR’s can help grow them. And just so you know I haven’t forgotten my past; I believe young hunters should be exempt from APR’s.

• We become better managers: For years we’ve been telling the public “we’re the ones taking care of the deer herd.” Well, are we? Sure it’s fun to see a bunch of deer from our stands, but if we strive for quantity instead of quality, I think we’ll fail in the long run. If APR’s result in a smaller deer herd more in tune with the habitat, and more mature bucks as a result—not the primary goal—of that program, I’m all for them.

So there are the basics of my argument. Do you want to stand with me or shoot me down? -- Scott Bestul

Comments (81)

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from mad_dog9999 wrote 4 years 3 days ago

Yes they make sense, I'm tired of seeing 20 does to 1 buck. And a 90% of times that buck is pretty small. 6 points or less.

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from copperhead wrote 4 years 3 days ago

even though mississippi just switched from point restriction to spread/main beam lenght restriction. I thought it was a good system.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from jscottevans wrote 4 years 3 days ago

I'll stand with you. Most Eastern counties in Texas had antler SIZE restrictions implemented a couple of years back. The rule is you can shoot spikes ( anything with at least 1 unforked antler) or a forked buck with a spread greater than 13". Now the whole judging the spread thing is a little tricky, but for our deer the TPWD states that if the antlers are outside the ear-tips looking at you in an alert position then it is over 13". I've since down some informal research on downed and mounted deer and it is impressively true a good majority of the time. Plus the punishment for such an offense is a judgment call by the warden, so if your honest and courteous they usually cut you some slack. Remember that Texas has small-bodied deer so this won't probably fly on Northern bucks. Anywho...back to the point, most guys around griped, complained and formulated conspiracy theories out the wahzoo. But after a couple of years now that the "change" has worn off most guys agree it has helped. Or lease keeps pretty good records and we've noticed more "big" bucks harvested off our lease. Mainly the mid-sized bucks are allowed to mature and hunters now wait instead of popping the first thing with antlers they see which is usually small to mid-sized bucks.

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from gman3186 wrote 4 years 3 days ago

i dont think i should be restricted to which deer i can and cant harvest. deer cost alot of farmers money due to the crop damage and that is the reason we are allowed to hunt the property the farmer does not want us to pass up on one single deer. i will go back to classic you cant eat them horns and that is nothing but the truth if i have doe at 20 yards and she is a easy kill but there is buck behind her at 150 yards and he may walk infront of me so i can get a shot im not going to wait im gonna take the doe that is an easy kill. a bird in the hand is worth more than one in the bush.

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from gman3186 wrote 4 years 3 days ago

but if states do apply the antler restrictions i dont think they should apply to the youth hunters

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from jscottevans wrote 4 years 3 days ago

Oh, I forgot to add the number of does and spikes taken has increased evening out the population as well. More goes who just sit and wait for a nice mid-sized buck are taking more does and spikes so as to not get skunked and get some meat in the freezer. This has, like you said leveled the herd out to allow buck to mature better.

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from Nebraskahunter18 wrote 4 years 3 days ago

i want it to get to a point where its like turkey hunting where you see 20 does and 5 bucks not 45 does and 1 spike buck let em' grow and live a little you shouldnt be shootin something with milk on its lips if you know what i mean

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from Nebraskahunter18 wrote 4 years 3 days ago

No restrictions are a great idea if you put them on youths thats just un-american

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from Nebraskahunter18 wrote 4 years 3 days ago

no restrictons on youth my bad

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from kolbster wrote 4 years 3 days ago

ill go both ways, i believe that APR is fine on public land i support it on public land, but when im hunting on my own land dont dare tell me what i cant and cant do.

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from Nebraskahunter18 wrote 4 years 3 days ago

good idea only public land

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from ENO wrote 4 years 3 days ago

I'm definitely for antler point restrictions in MN. I really don't care what any other state does. I am also for earn-a-buck. Regardless of what the naysayers think these regulations promote a balanced herd. And contrary to popular opinion these regulations do not promote trophy hunting they actually increase the value and appreciation for antlerless deer (does become trophies). As far as youth hunters are concerned, waiting to identify what your shooting at and passing up one animal in pursuit of another teaches them some valuable life lessons that can help them to mature into safe hunters. For those who say don't tell me what I can or cannot do on my own land...well...then don't hunt on public land and shut the hell up.

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from steve182 wrote 4 years 3 days ago

I just filled out a survey from NJ fish and game in support of Antler restrictions. I don't need to see 20 deer a day, i'd like to see decent bucks.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from TAM9492 wrote 4 years 3 days ago

We have antler restrictions here in PA. In most areas, buck must boast at least three points on one of his antlers. I have definately been seeing more mature bucks than in years past. Many people complain about the restrictions though.

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from MPN wrote 4 years 3 days ago

I don't like the idea at all. I hunt for the meat not the antlers. If I can only shoot certain deer then that cuts into my chance of getting meat in the freezer. I only hunt weekends also so my time in the woods is really limited, I don't need anymore set backs. Plus I hunt my own land and I don't think anyone has the right to tell me what I can and can't shoot on my own property, especially cause I'm paying for it!
MPN

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from Walt Smith wrote 4 years 3 days ago

Sorry but you should bail out soon! Antler restrictions are nothing more than the extended arm of the Quality Deer Management Society. Your misconceptions that "we" are the Managers and "we" are the ones responsible for the quality and health of the herd is juvenile thinking at best. "We" do not own the deer in our state, the state does. "We" are not responsible for creating deer herds with "your" ideal buck/doe ratios, Mother Nature has been doing that for milleniums."We" need to realize antler restrictions only serve the "Trophy Hunter" seeking bigger horns and not the hunter seeking to feed their families! What you propose is a gimic to create bigger bucks with bigger horns, sounds like your next step might be a 10 high fence around the state and $2000.00 dollar hunting licsense fees for residents. We don't need game ranch tactics, hunters need to stop being lazy hunters. Here's a hint for most hunters who don't see deer and complain the loudest; You cannot, CANNOT! drive to your hunting blind for three days before season when there has been no traffic there, at all, any other time of the year and expect to see great big bucks gallore opening day! Sounds unbelievable but I see it happen every year where I hunt. This behavior and all the QDM wannabee managers shooting off all their does then scratching their heads two years later wondering where all the deer went, makes me sick.

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from jenks wrote 4 years 3 days ago

While I do agree that we need to try and maintain a balance in out deer herds using a points minimum is, I beleive, not the way to go about it. Now I realize that laws need something concrete so they can be enforced but a more reasonable personal guideline should be used by hunters. If you strictly limit it to points then you aren't able to remove the cull bucks that bring down the genetics of the herd. There are lots of bucks running around that wouldn't meet minimums but need to be taken becuase they are mature but are only 2x2

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from bat4bab wrote 4 years 3 days ago

It makes sence to me. Here in Montana for elk has to have a brow tine in most areas to be legal. It only takes a couple years before and you start seeing larger more mature bull. I wish that the state of montana would do the same on deer. I would like to see it 3 point or better to be legal.

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from Fruguy101 wrote 4 years 3 days ago

Antler point restrictions and antler size restrictions are both good ways to manage the bucks. I live in Mississippi, and they switched from 4 point minimum to the spread/main beam size because there were way too many bucks two and under getting killed.

Saying that there should not be any regulations for private land is ridiculous. Yes, you may pay the taxes, maintain the property, grow food plots, and set up stands to hunt from, but the deer don't live on just your land. If you want to continue having the same type of success in killing deer that you have had for the past 10 years, then you should abide by the rules everyone else does. Shooting whatever you want on your property hurts not only you, but the future deer that you want to kill.

Management is an important aspect to keeping the deer population ever growing, and healthy too. Nobody is going to agree to every detail about how to manage deer herds across the country, but the practices that have been in use in recent years have been effective.

If you don't like what is set for your state, then do what is required to do to change it to something more agreeable. However, a good compromise will leave both sides angry.

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from Pacific Hunter wrote 4 years 3 days ago

So let's look at the comments here, it is my land I can shoot whatever I want, you can't eat the horns. Then my question is why shoot a buck at all. Your proerty taxes don't pay for wildlife management your Lacey Act fees do, which are imposed on every hunter out there, how do you have more rights to dictate your property since you pay property taxes. I am not saying a hunter who has formed a relationship with a farmer/rancher and is working to reduce populations is wrong but if you take a small buck you do nothing to the overall population and therefore are not helping the farmer. There is no excuse to harvest a young buck to show your prowess as a hunter by taking a buck. Your argument about a high fence scenario may hold true if the deer ddin't leave your property but look at the average home range of a buck. Every land owner around you has as much invested in that deer as you do. I am sure the negative responses will prevail the positive but thanks Scott for the forum

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from denver_long wrote 4 years 3 days ago

I'm not positive point restrictions work at producing mature bucks. Look at the states of Iowa and Kansas I haven't found anything about an antler restriction in these states but they boast record book bucks and excellent hunting every year. I live here in Missouri and we have been under antler restriction coming up on five years and I haven't seen a big difference yet. Why don't other states just follow the Iowa or Kansas model and move the rifle season away from the rut?

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from Bella wrote 4 years 3 days ago

But I don't want big deer, I want a little spike or pronghorn big enough to eat but not too big to drag up a hill, 'cause hills is what there is. I want meat to feed people with. An umpty point buck that weighs three times what I do will be awful hard to get out of the woods.

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from NYhunter wrote 4 years 3 days ago

It's just another way to make America less of a "free" country, I think people should be able to harvest any deer they want, there are too many pointless laws these days

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from rose0660 wrote 4 years 3 days ago

I am all for QDM, infact I practice it religiously...but thats on MY land I can do what I want. And all you private landowners must relize this. I hunt in Wisconsin arguable one of the best white-tail states in the nation. My party practices QDM and frequently harvest "trophy" white-tails, but our neigbors hunt to fill the freezes. Last year they harvested 39 deer in a nine day rifle season. Frustrating? HELL YA it is but I know this family is not well-off by no means, without these harvest numbers they would no doubt be unable to provide for their kids. We can't sit here and pretend that the only hunters that care about the white-tail herd are the trophy hunters. The white-tail nation is full of familys like this and with antler restrictions how do these family survive, how do their kids make it to college. There is more to hunting than harvesting trophy animals, everyone gets all jacked up on horn porn, you can't argue that but now these "white-tail freaks" get power hungry and think they own the deer herd and they know the perfect way to manage them. You can manage your land the way you want to, but you can't tell your neighbor how to.

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from Steve Marlin wrote 4 years 3 days ago

Yes, this makes sense.

If you agree, all you have to is stop shooting young bucks.

Next, teach everyone you know to stop shooting small bucks.

And no, I have not shot a buck in five seasons; I just don't see the point of hauling out a small buck when they don't taste as good as a doe and take the same amount of work to put in the freezer.

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from rdavidson26 wrote 4 years 2 days ago

Our hunting club voted in antler restrictions and it was in effect for 2 years. We started seeing and killing some good bucks,then it was voted out. Some of the hunters ( So called meat hunters) started shooting anything and everything. For a period of 3 or 4 years there were plenty of deer with some of them killing 2 or 3 times the limit and never tagging them. All of a sudden there were hardly any deer.
This is middle Georgia were we have one game warden covering 2 or 3 counties so these hunters know the chances of getting caught are slim to none. I have been in this club for about 12 years and have never seen a warden on our lease. Meanwhile the meat hunters are wondering what happened to the deer. I am for more restrictions, but these guys won't abide by them, regardless.

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from Del in KS wrote 4 years 2 days ago

There is a 350 acre farm in Macon Co Missouri that I have hunted on since 1979. In the old days we would see 30 does and 4 or 5 bucks on the opening weekend. Usually I would get a shot at one buck with 8 or 10 points. Now with the restrictions we see as many bucks as does. About half the bucks are legal (4-1 inch points on 1 antler) and we usually see several nice ones. You can click my name and check the photo files to see for yourself. Also you can shoot all the does you want for meat. I'm all for QDM and wish Kansas would do the same.

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from stickbow13 wrote 4 years 2 days ago

i'm for it and against it, for it because that's the rule we use in your mangment areas where i hunt 8 points or more, but it your choice to shoot a 8 point with a 9" spreed or let him go for hopes of one with a 15" or bigger it your choice. against because it's your land you pay taxs on it and owne it you should be able do and shoot what you want on it. but thats my owne thoughts on it and what do i know, since we stared it we or seeing more bucks and the quility of bucks have gone up

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from surfrat924 wrote 4 years 2 days ago

antler restrictions are put in place for only two reasons. First is the rack hunter ,second is the hunting clubs. A real hunter does not care how many points a deer has on its head , only that it will feed my family. I take the first one that walks by.If you feel you need to shoot a huge buck with a huge rack, go pay for it and leave the wild woods alone....

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from Bones812 wrote 4 years 2 days ago

The D.N.R is doing this in our county,with the mule deer 4x4 or better.There are alot more 4x4 then previous years.They dont get to reach thier potential But there are a few more then before . Now we are seeing some big 4x3.This year the D.N.R changed A.P.R to 3x3 brow tines dont count. so it must be working. Im all for it. I too think they should move the rifle hunt away from the rut. Give the muture bucks that little more time to breed. + Let us archers have a chance without the fear of taking someones stray bullet.

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from Bones812 wrote 4 years 2 days ago

The D.N.R is doing this in our county,with the mule deer 4x4 or better.There are alot more 4x4 then previous years.They dont get to reach thier potential But there are a few more then before . Now we are seeing some big 4x3.This year the D.N.R changed A.P.R to 3x3 brow tines dont count. so it must be working. Im all for it. I too think they should move the rifle hunt away from the rut. Give the muture bucks that little more time to breed. + Let us archers have a chance without the fear of taking someones stray bullet.

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from JSTEPHENC wrote 4 years 1 day ago

The only problem with APR is two fold, the attorney that I must take with me to decide if I can shot or not charges by the hour and you can not keep him quiet.

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from jward19 wrote 4 years 1 day ago

I have seen a lot more mature bucks since the antler restrictions a few years back in Pa. The program is now at the point where it is starting to see some more results. Yet, I think there is a lot more wrong with our management plan than antler restrictions.

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from logan.vandermay wrote 4 years 1 day ago

QDM can be acheived without antler restrictions. Antler restrictions are not a good idea. Shooting mature animals is. If you go by antler restrictions a 2 year old deer that has enough points may be shot but a five year old that isn't ever going to amount to anything may never be culled. It could make your deer smaller in the long run. I am lucky enough to live where deer do get good sized. But it is not someone elses business if I choose to shoot bambi or buckzilla. I choose to hunt for a trophy, but that is not what drives my will to hunt. I try to harvest mature bucks and mature does but will confess to a few that I thought were older. I also took a wounded buck on the last day of season one year that was a nice 5by5 muley. He was 26 inches wide, but would have gotten huge if he would have been allowed to live to his potential. He was 2 1/2 years old. How about everyone who wants bigger deer just practice hunting mature ones, and not worry about antler size. No need in trying to take someone else's rights away.

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from rock rat wrote 4 years 1 day ago

I'm for whatever the wildlife biologists down at Dept of Wildlife want. They fine tune the deer and elk, sex and size,in hundreds of different game units and the end result is a robust deer population and the most elk of any state. I'll shoot a buck or bull first but anything that fills the freezer is ok by me.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from KJ wrote 4 years 1 day ago

I love a good argument, but I can't argue with APR. I'd even go so far as to argue that it makes sense, from a QDM perspective, to require a person to shoot an antlerless deer before they shoot an antlered deer. Wisconsin did that a few years back (maybe they still do?) to get their herd under control.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ricefarm wrote 4 years 1 day ago

I'm all for the concept, but enforcing it can leave you tiptoeing in a minefield. If you are hunting deer in open areas with some distance between you where you have a chance to glass them you can pick out legal versus not legal deer, but where I hunt the cover is so thick you don't always get a lot of time to evaluate how many points something has. Earn a buck seems like a pretty good concept but if you are sitting in a stand and a monster buck pops out before you have had a chance to earn your buck tag you won't be too happy. In my area the bow hunters are the ones who only seem interested in trophy bucks. Once shotgun season starts most guys I know are just as happy with a decent doe.

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from Steward wrote 4 years 1 day ago

My only concern with the the point restrictions comes from the fact that the number of points on a rack is sometimes a matter of genetics, not age! If you can't shoot a Six- or Seven-pointer, then that buck will continue to live and spread his low-point genes, while higher-point genes get culled from the herd because those are the only bucks that can be harvested.

That is my only concern.

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from Mark J wrote 4 years 1 day ago

Here's my beef with the restrictions. It gives legal preference to "horn hunters" over "meat hunters." Now I personally don't like to shoot little bucks but I know that a lot of my neighbors hunt with the "if it's brown, it's down" mentality. They don't give two hoots about antlers, all they want is the meat. And as far as I'm concerned there is nothing wrong with that. Especially since a lot of them don't have much time to hunt and don't get to pick and choose what deer they take. Antler restrictions may be fine if you're in an area where you see 20 deer a day but up here you're lucky to see one or two in a day. I wouldn't feel right making a fellow hunter pass up what may be his only chance to put some meat in the freezer just because I want bigger bucks around.

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from Douglas wrote 4 years 1 day ago

I am four square with antler restrictions. Any attempt to hold off on young bucks where I live just lets the baiters get them all.
At least with restrictions, maybe a few bucks would get a chance to survive to maturity.

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from Koldkut wrote 4 years 1 day ago

I can see where I stand, with most of the folks with negatives on their posts.....I think APR are good, but they should be managed in a way that makes sense. Similar to the trophy bass waters where certain waters require a 15" size limit while others only require a 12" size limit.

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from WVOtter wrote 4 years 1 day ago

I support the idea. It'll take a season or two for the deer to mature to the legal size, but then they'll keep up year to year after that. A lot of land where I hunt w/o restrictions, you can only hope for a 4 point usually at best. Everyone is shooting 3" spikes just to have one to take home. But where I hunt w/ restrictions, most deer you see have the 4-tine minimum...the systems working there because each buck gets a year or two to grow into it's own. Plus, it's a nice bonus to know you're hunting an area where you can hope to do better than a spike because of the system.

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from WVOtter wrote 4 years 1 day ago

And if you truely hunt just for the meat...get 5 doe tags and don't worry about the antlered season at all if the restriction makes it too problematic.

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from Beekeeper wrote 4 years 1 day ago

If the restirctions are done correctly I feel thay will help build a better herd. In the case of my state where you can kill two buck a year and only one has restrictions, four on a side. In this case I feel it promote "high grading" the herd and I feel it shows no real effect except placating those that want state wide restrictions. The other deer in this case placates those who want to shoot the first buck they see with legal bone... go figure...

We do have counties that have legitimate antler restriction that promote not only minimal points but width as well. Those rules are building a better buck so to speak. They have also built lease prices considerably in those counties...

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from logger05 wrote 4 years 1 day ago

I have some mixed feelings about APRs, on one hand it does increase the age of deer harvested. On the other hand it slaps deer management in the face. You are unable to take "cull" bucks out of the herd when you have state mandated APRs. What I have seen is that you end up taking a good number of your really good up and comer bucks. I would rather see a 3 year old 6 point taken than a 2 year old 8 point. In my opinion, spread restrictions are better, although they are harder to judge in the field. I have seen numerous bucks that didn't meet APRs that are spreading their genes around and there is nothing anyone can do about it. These rules are simply taking out the young bucks before they have a chance to mature and spread their genes. We are managing for inferior deer when we mandate APRs. I have mandated that deer taken from my lease be at least 16 inches wide inside, or at least 4 1/2 years old before harvest. We don't go by number of points. If we did, we would have let several mature deer with 7 or less points continue to breed our does. I would much rather take out an inferior 5 point than a nice young 8 point. Education on aging deer will likely have a better impact on trophy hunting than antler point restrictions will.

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from Edstoresit wrote 4 years 1 day ago

APR's are a good starting point to educate the hunting populace about a healthy and quality herd. It only works to that end though. If quality deer and genetics are a goal of the property being managed, then by putting restrictions on antler size and not AGE, has the potential to upset the balance. Take for instance the buck fawn that is born at the right time, achieves his maximum body mass index and allows all his intake of nutrition to go to headgear development. He will more than likely develop a branched antler configuration for his first rack, which would typically be a 6 month old deer. He will produce even bigger antler his second year (1.5 by hunting seasons). More than likely this will be a 6 to 8 point main frame. This 1.5 year old is now a legal buck by most APR standards. Conversely, if we look at this deer's AGE, and body characteristics for his age we will know that he is not a mtaure animal and should not be harvested. After all he is sporting what could be a B/C class headpiece if he is allowed to LIVE. #1 immutable law of Deer Management is DEAD DEER DON'T GROW. (TYVM Dr. Grant Woods!)
In a QDM heard we are looking to produce a herd of equal age, sex and and distribution. APR's wil not get it done in the long run. If fact, by making that buck above legal through APR's you have potentially cut out some very good genetics for the herd.

@ WaltSMITH-
If you continually shoot yong deer, then your herd will be skewed w/ older age classed does being bred by immature bucks and the resultant product will be buck fawns that never have a chance at reaching mature adulthood. Maybe shooting an inexperienced, young buck, just to shoot it is fine by you, but then I would question YOUR hunting ethics. WE are the managers' main tool for our respected states. W/o US there is a overwhelming increase in population, resulting in widspread dieouts due to starvation. The QDM "wannabe" that I am, dictates that I maintain the herd that lives on MY property, below the carrying capacity for the land. Since our farm has historically had a ratio of 1:4 and nature strives to keep this ratio even, the logical procedure would be to remove does. Historically the states have had buck only harvests which have skewed the population and we need to balance that. Research has also shown that as pressure is put on the bucks, over time the does will begin to throw doe fawns with more frequency. Biologically this makes sense as the doe is the reproductive future and with more potential reproductive machines in the forrest, species survivability increases. Conversely, it has shown that when pressure is put on the does, they have a tendancy to throw more buck fawns. WHy? Well the result of the above is still true. Does home range seldom exceeds 1 square mile, while a bucks home range can be as high as ten but generally remains in the 4-6 square mile area. GIven the social structure among bucks, many buck fawns will be relocated by older bucks, thus spreading the range and territory of the bucks. With fewer does in the herd, the more wide ranging bucks produced again ensure species survivability, by being able to breed fewer does over a larger area.
Just my 2 cents worth, and they are a correct 2 cents!
You may be mad at the practice, but the biology behind the movement is sound science and the sooner we all study it the sooner we all have a beter herd, and better hunting!

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from 60256 wrote 4 years 1 day ago

"Maybe shooting an inexperienced, young buck, just to shoot it is fine by you, but then I would question YOUR hunting ethics"

Either you didn't read the above comments, or you are spending too much time on your 'farm' to be aware. Some people hunt for meat.
My dad is now and will be to this day a hardcore meat-hunter. If he gets a buck tag (which is rare, because he always goes for does), he will wait for a big one, but if one doesn't show he won't just hang up the shoes, he'll shoot a small one to feed the family that's how it is. It is very immature to question someone's ethics on the basis that they hunt for big antlers. All the biology aside, many people actually go to deer hunting to enojy themselves and the deer might take a back seat. I know for most of my hunting party, there is as much joy out of our late-night convos as their hearing on the radio "we got a deer down". As I read, you did call yourself a 'wannabe' and that may be why you are so blind to the other postition, maybe not. What is sure is that before you question someone's ethics, make sure that, not only should your own be perfect, but that the 'offender' is, in fact, not being ethical.

Nate

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from 60256 wrote 4 years 1 day ago

Walt Smith and MPN,
A +1 for both of you!

Nate

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from Andrew Ferraro wrote 4 years 1 day ago

It's a mixed bag. In PA we have different restrictions in various management zones- which can be problematic. Youth hunters can shot spike bucks during part of the season, which I think is fine.

I'd love to see a better balance of buck and doe and we all want more trophy bucks. But, I have a real problem trying to count points in real life hunting situations. We should go to a "best ball" kind of system. If either the rack span is so big, or it has so many points, or the buck is so large- they should be legal.

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from Steward wrote 4 years 23 hours ago

Of course, I would love to track and harvest a good 200" buck sometime. But I want the meat, and if I haven't come across a large buck, I will shoot a small animal before I lose the oportunity. If I don't want the meat, I may as well shoot tranquilizers!

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from Walt Smith wrote 4 years 22 hours ago

Thanks 60256-- Them horn hunters are pretty easy to spot once ya hear their management speechs for about ten seconds huh! We have that crowd around where we hunt, they stop by and preach how we should shoot nothing but 6pts. or better because everyone around us is doing it, but when you visit their camp a couple days into the season all they have hanging on the pole is 6pts. and way under! Boy you ought to hear the excuses start flying!! I love it!

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from DennyF wrote 4 years 16 hours ago

Antler restrictions are fine. But when they are only used as a distraction by environmental extremists with a rediculous biodiversity agenda managing the deer herd in your state,and have the extreme level of herd slaughter that Pennsylvania had put into place, you basically lose all benefits.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 4 years 1 hour ago

Sex imbalances with high doe ratios have nothing to do with APRs and instead are primarily a consequence of bucks-only laws. If you want more balanced buck-doe ratios and more competition among bucks, get your GFD to allow take of does. Ultimately, most hunters are foremost meat hunters, not point counters. Given the chance to take does, many would, and that would take pressure of young bucks, because if you're not looking for trophies, a doe is as good as a buck. Maybe better.

Second, it's a tautology to describe quantity as the antithesis of quality. There's no evidence that bucks with big racks are qualitatively better for the herd, vis a vis management, regardless of whether they're qualitatively better for your B&C score.

So I say No to APRs and Yes to allowing take of does. If you want a B&C trophy, do some work, scout them out, and hold your fire until you see the one you want. But don't imagine that the rest of us should embrace some dubious and unjustified standard of "quality" and sacrifice our opportunities just so that you can have a better chance at a record-book animal. Quantity has a quality all its own.

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from Hank111 wrote 3 years 52 weeks ago

I agree with the guys that say the APRs will protect bucks that need to be culled. Every 170+ inch deer I have hunted on my farm, was an above average 1 and 2 year old that would have been legal by APR standards.At 3 years I decide if they got what it takes to be a megabuck, or needs to be removed. You cant stockpile mature bucks without a high fence, so I identify the bucks I want to reach maturity and breed, and eventually harvest.I do take paid hunters, and they are an important management tool, to remove those big 8 pt. and under bully bucks that will run the feeding areas, and run off the younger genetically superior bucks I am trying to protect. All the hunters, are given photos of the bucks, that are off limits for now, and are more than happy to follow the rules, knowing thats how you get a chance at a 200 inch deer. My farm is large enough, and managed for deer, not cattle, like all the surrounding farms, with hunters like Walt that dont believe in food plots, but hunt on my fence, like vultures waiting for any legal buck to come thru. Edstoresit, I agree with most of what you said, except, 6 month old buck fawns, no matter how big, will not grow branched antlers. The most they may get will be larger buttons that may rub the velvet off, but only an inch or so long.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 3 years 52 weeks ago

Hank, your comment forces me to point out that "a genetically superior buck" is a term that has no meaning with respect to herd health. Those "bully bucks" are, by the standards of natural selection, the healthiest, most fit animals for breeding. Your definition of genetically superior selects for large antler size, but there is no compelling evidence in scientific literature that "bigger rack" equates with "more fit" or "better herd health."

I tried to raise that point when Scott mentioned "quality." You all may define "quality" or "superior genetics" on the basis of rack size, but there's no evidence that artificially promoting animals with large racks' breeding opportunities is best for a given population with respect to overall herd health or general biological fitness.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 3 years 52 weeks ago

P.S. If guys are picking off animals at the margins of your deer farm, good on 'em I say.

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from Steward wrote 3 years 52 weeks ago

rdavidson26 - Usually shooting deer and not tagging them is considered poaching. That example goes beyond the question of QDM or APR to the realm of just plain wrong and stupid!

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from Hank111 wrote 3 years 52 weeks ago

Mike, my point is that no matter how old they get, most bucks will never go over 150-160 inches, even here in Iowa. So yes, if natural selection is allowed you will have nothing but average bucks, with the occasional bigger than average rack. If you are happy with that where you hunt, fine. I am not. Over the last 15 years we have taken some huge non-typicals here, and 2 -4 years later we see the same drops and double beams passed down from the old bucks. Those bucks are then protected, untill at least 5 yrs old or more, and by then, some are so smart they are unkillable,unlike the 2 and 3 year old lovesick teenager bucks. It may not make the herd any healthier, thats what food plots and keeping doe numbers in check does, but it works for me. Nothing artificial, just selective harvest. Sounds to me like you are also a fence sitter, which is fine as long as you can drop your animal before he jumps back over the fence, otherwise you have a problem.

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from Walt Smith wrote 3 years 52 weeks ago

Hank111-- food plots are man made so go ahead let's hear your QDM smoke and mirrors lies and do your best to make sportsmen believe in your B.S. Sportsmen don't want a monster buck everytime afield, sportsmen look forward to the 1 time after 5 or 10 hunts that you see a mature buck for maybe 10 seconds. It's called sport,for a reason, if you seen them everytime afield it would lose its "sport" Bubba! Awww nuts, you still don't get it do ya!!!

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from Mike Diehl wrote 3 years 52 weeks ago

"Mike, my point is that no matter how old they get, most bucks will never go over 150-160 inches, even here in Iowa. So yes, if natural selection is allowed you will have nothing but average bucks, with the occasional bigger than average rack. If you are happy with that where you hunt, fine. I am not."

Meh. Trophy hunting. It's not much of a trophy if it's a domesticated animal, as seems to be the case with the livestock you're farming.

"It may not make the herd any healthier, thats what food plots and keeping doe numbers in check does, but it works for me."

Nope. Food plots and reducing doe herds does not necessarily make the herd healthier either. From a genetic fitness point of view, maximizing genetic diversity probably helps in the long run. For all you know, running off the superior *breeding* animals... the "bully bucks" as you say... and promoting the success of mutants with big racks, may in fact be reducing genetic diversity or even allowing inbreeding of serious genetic flaws.

"Nothing artificial, just selective harvest."

Selective harvest IS artificial by definition, since you're trying to control the gene pool of the population.

"Sounds to me like you are also a fence sitter, which is fine as long as you can drop your animal before he jumps back over the fence, otherwise you have a problem."

I hunt out west on vast public lands. No operations running domesticated deer herds in my area. When I lived back east, no one had your attitude. People like you would find little community support either where I lived then or where I live now.

As for "problems." Um, seems like if a wounded animal runs onto your property it's your problem. If you're preventing hunters from pursuing such onto your property, you've got some ethical failings in my opinion.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 3 years 52 weeks ago

"Mike, my point is that no matter how old they get, most bucks will never go over 150-160 inches, even here in Iowa. So yes, if natural selection is allowed you will have nothing but average bucks, with the occasional bigger than average rack. If you are happy with that where you hunt, fine. I am not."

Meh. Trophy hunting. It's not much of a trophy if it's a domesticated animal, as seems to be the case with the livestock you're farming.

"It may not make the herd any healthier, thats what food plots and keeping doe numbers in check does, but it works for me."

Nope. Food plots and reducing doe herds does not necessarily make the herd healthier either. From a genetic fitness point of view, maximizing genetic diversity probably helps in the long run. For all you know, running off the superior *breeding* animals... the "bully bucks" as you say... and promoting the success of mutants with big racks, may in fact be reducing genetic diversity or even allowing inbreeding of serious genetic flaws.

"Nothing artificial, just selective harvest."

Selective harvest IS artificial by definition, since you're trying to control the gene pool of the population.

"Sounds to me like you are also a fence sitter, which is fine as long as you can drop your animal before he jumps back over the fence, otherwise you have a problem."

I hunt out west on vast public lands. No operations running domesticated deer herds in my area. When I lived back east, no one had your attitude. People like you would find little community support either where I lived then or where I live now.

As for "problems." Um, seems like if a wounded animal runs onto your property it's your problem. If you're preventing hunters from pursuing such onto your property, you've got some ethical failings in my opinion.

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from Hank111 wrote 3 years 52 weeks ago

Walt-"food plots are manmade" SO WHAT, most of what deer eat around here is manmade. You must sit in the big woods, on a stump watching an oak tree, waiting for an acorn to fall, so you can throw a rock at a deer. I have been doing what I do, long before anyone ever heard of QDM. Any time you are hunting free range deer you are not going to see a mature buck everytime you go out. You may hunt all week and never see one. Just because the deer on my farm are provided what they need to survive, does not make them any easier to hunt or domesticated. Other than trailcam photos and sheds, you may not even know they are there.After a winter like we just had, with record snow and cold, if it was not for all my standing corn left for the deer, that came from miles away to find food, they would have been in trouble. But according to you, deer do just fine without help, so come what may. In my opinion thats just a lazy response from someone that does not have the opportunity to make a difference Mike [Mr. wannabe deer bioligist]The bully bucks I refer to, are just older class bucks that move in, since it is a free range herd, because they like it here, not necessarily superior, just older. Call them what you want, but most sportsman would love to have an encounter with a mutant. In a free ranging herd of this size, inbreeding is not an issue, since a single buck does not breed as many does as you think. I also hunt out west and know that most western states do not have a right of recovery, so someone sitting on the fenceline of private property, knows very well that when they shoot something, they are going to have to tresspass to recover it, or expect the landowner to let them tromp thru looking for it. Some "sportsmen" around here use the wounded animal as an excuse to come in and push as many deer out as they can, to the other "sportsmen", waiting on the fence. Dont trash me and others like me, because we put %100 of what we have into the deer herd, and dont expect someting for nothing. As far as community support, good fences make good neighbors, stay on yours and I will stay on mine.

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from MPN wrote 3 years 52 weeks ago

Walt Smith,
Amen to that!

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from Mike Diehl wrote 3 years 52 weeks ago

Looks like the little livestock hunter took offense.

"Any time you are hunting free range deer you are not going to see a mature buck everytime you go out. You may hunt all week and never see one."

Guess what, Hankie, that's why people call "hunting" not "herding" or "culling."

"The bully bucks I refer to, are just older class bucks that move in, since it is a free range herd, because they like it here, not necessarily superior, just older."

If they're beating up on your mutational food-plot fed rackosaurs, and therefore getting privileged access to females, they are, by definition genetically superior, from a fitness perspective. You don't know much about selection do you.

"Call them what you want, but most sportsman would love to have an encounter with a mutant."

Maybe. More's the pity. Deer shot on operations like yourse shouldn't even be recorded. But if someone wants to shoot livestock, I'm not one to say it should be illegal. Free country and all that.

"I also hunt out west and know that most western states do not have a right of recovery, so someone sitting on the fenceline of private property, knows very well that when they shoot something, they are going to have to tresspass to recover it, or expect the landowner to let them tromp thru looking for it."

Yep. Smart hunters get permission to pursue prior to hunting, if they're going near posted land. But ultimately, if a person denies permission, the moral and ethical burden is on the person who posted the land, if a wounded deer bleeds out on their land and is wasted.

"Some "sportsmen" around here use the wounded animal as an excuse to come in and push as many deer out as they can, to the other "sportsmen", waiting on the fence."

Your claim is that people are deliberately wounding deer and then driving the animals away off your land? I've never met anyone like that, but then like attracts like.

"Dont trash me and others like me, because we put %100 of what we have into the deer herd, and dont expect someting for nothing."

Ho hum. I have more respect for high fence operations than for yours because they don't pretend to be anything other than livestock producers. Nobody said to expect something for nothing. Natcherly some non-hunter with a gun will probably pay money to play at hunting your stock. It takes all kinds to make a world. But if I lived next to you, I'd put a big fence on my property next to your property just to keep guys like you, and your clients, away.

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from Hank111 wrote 3 years 52 weeks ago

Mike- The deer on my farm, are every bit as wild as any you hunt. Seventy percent of my place is rough, thick santuary, that I only go into for sheds. There, they have all the food and security they need, so they never have to leave during daylight, to come to the feilds, pinch points and transition areas we hunt. My clients are mostly bowhunters and a few late season muzzleloaders. If you want to call these deer livestock, I guess thats ok, since when I bought this farm, I made the decision, that instead of cash renting the rowcrop and running cattle to make the payments, I would manage the land for deer and other wildlife, and take enough good hunters to make it work. You say a buck killed on a well managed farm like mine, shoud not be allowed in the record book, you obviously have not hunted much in the midwest. Thats what we do here. How many weekend hunters have you seen pictured with a giant buck, that they say, they have never seen him before? Chances are they where hunting within a mile or two of a well managed farm. Your welcome. In Iowa most gun hunters only do large group drives. I dont believe in it, but it sure puts alot of deer in my place. Thats where the problem with guys chaseing a cripple onto me, and getting as many deer as possible to come back out, with the cripple, back into the drive, comes in. Dont get me wrong, I get along with most of my neighbors, and they know if a deer dies on my place, they can call, and I will help get it out. It is the few bad apples that fence sit, try to tresspass or shoot from the road, that I have been refering to.Mike if you lived next to me, I would gladly split the price of the 10 foot fence with you.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 3 years 52 weeks ago

Food plot fed deer where the ones with bigger racks are protected from reprodctive competition of smaller-racked, tougher bucks aren't "Wild" in any sense of the word. You've already altered their behavior to channel their movement, to eliminate natural sources of food stress and competition, and to eliminate biological competition from more fit (in the natural selection sense of the word) animals. And you monitor their movements with a sequence of cams.

I don't see how anything about the deer on your land meets the standard of wild, nor how anything about the pursuit of those deer is consistent with the word "hunting."

"It is the few bad apples that fence sit..."

I don't see how they'd qualify as "bad apples." (1) They are by your own admission not on your land, and (2) they're going to the places where YOUR activities have altered the natural behavior of the deer, making them more predictable than wild deer. You seem to think everyone around you owes you something because you've chosen to manage deer like stock. As far as I can tell, you seem to think that making your land into a feeder plot for deer means that people shouldn't hunt their own land adjacent to yours.

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from fisherman wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

Right on! I personally believe QDM is the future of a balanced deer herd, but APRs are a fine way to start and are WAY better than nothing. I know about the meat hunters out there, but this ain't just about antlers. This will give everyone a chance to shoot a mature buck as well as see a better deer herd. Everybody wins.

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from Hank111 wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

Mike - My whole farm is one big food plot, as is the whole state of Iowa. The only difference with my place, is crops are left standing, and the deer do not have to compete with cattle. They are free range, so they can come and go as they please. As you probably know a single buck can only breed a small number of does, in the short amount of time, the majority of the does are in heat, so natural selection is maintained. There is no one area they have to channel thru to feed. They can live out their lives in the sactuaries with plenty of feed and no hunting pressure if they want. They are as wary as any deer in the state. As a bowhunter I could argue that it is more of a fairchase hunt to try and fool the eyes and noses of 30 does and non-target bucks, at close range, while hopeing for a chance at one of the bucks you are after, than shooting an animal from 300+ yards with a high power rifle, but I wont, because if its legal where you hunt, its fair chase hunting. It seems for some reason, you have a problem with the fact that I live every day around these deer, and know alot of them for several years. I love to run cameras to watch their growth from month to month, and year to year. Then I decide who I would really like to keep around for a while, and who should go. It all sound good on paper, but most years we never get a shot at the ones I want gone, and the middle age bucks I would like to keep around, naturally disperse elsewhere, or get killed by vehicles or predators,[lions have been getting common around here for the last 10 years].Thats the differance between free rangeing and fenced in deer. All I ask of my neighbors is to give me the same respect I give them, and not shoot across the fence, and call me if they have a shot deer that comes on my place. I will gladly help them recover it. Believe it or not, it is common around here for groups of shotgun hunters to walk or drive the fencelines and send slugs thru the trees on private property, to get the deer up and moveing to the roads or propery they are lined up on. They call it "banging the hollows". Luckily we have a good gamewarden and he's pretty quick when I call him.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

It sounds like you have some aggressive and maybe trespasser types in your area. Different from what you sounded like you meant by "fence sitters."

But lets not kid ourselves. You've altered the behavior of these animals in a number of ways. Even for Iowa. If you're choosing to eliminate the aggressive but less-than-trophy bucks, you're affecting the gene pool artificially and messing with a number of behavioral factors. And you can't really claim what you're doing benefits the herd or improves the herd's fitness. The only genetic standard you have of "good" is whether the deer has a big rack. So maybe by that standard you are improving the herd. But that standard has nothing to do with overall population fitness.

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from Hank111 wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

Mike - Any effect I am haveing genetically on the overall herd, I know is only short term. I can only try to give the bucks I would like to see reach their full potential, a chance to do so. I would hate to think what my overall herd fitness would be like without the standing corn and soybeans for them to eat after 3 1/2 months of 3 foot deep snow. I know you are going to say thats nature, survival of the fittest, but I am not willing to watch deer starve, needlessly. I dont expect you to agree with how we hunt here. Hunting methods vary drastically from one part of the country to another. I do envy your hunting opportunities as an Arizona resident though.

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from muskiemaster wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

Where I hunt, seeing a deer is a good thing in itself even if it doesn't present itself with a shot. I don't believe in QDMA and I especially don't like earn-a-buck. QDMA creates poor habitat for deer just because you take out one big buck that leaves littler and weaker genetic bucks to breed and in the long run you may only see one nice on a year due to the lack of good genetics. Don't believe me look at science it's a proven fact that there will always be a gene in a buck that may say "hey you should grow 30 antlers" but by leaving only the little guys to breed we make that gene more and more recessive. Earn-A-Buck should only be used in extreme situations where the herd is way to inbalanced and in doing so when it is not you only make it harder for the population to increase to it's full rate and will not see as many deer in the following season. Making youths follow these restrictions is also something that doesn't make sense to me all that you are doing is making it less enjoyable for them to enjoy the hunt by not harvesting a deer. Trust me I know this for a fact because I am one. My point is made.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

That's probably why I don't "get it." In AZ, we have bucks only laws, with doe to buck ratios of something like 8:1. Every year I hunt I see LOTS of deer. Last year I saw 27 deer in the five days I hunted (we get one week to fill our tag). Saw exactly ZERO bucks. All were does or antlerless.

If I had to count tines, or try to establish age, I'd be screwed. I'd never take a deer, ever. Because you'd have to see the buck, then establish it's the correct species, then count the damb tines. By the time you'd finished your checklist the thing would be down some arroyo and out of sight. I loved hunting in Maine because you could get your freezer full. Here it is much more challenging. Screw trophy racks, I'd just like to get some venison.

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from Hank111 wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

Mike- Hope you have better luck next season. I have just been trying to give you some insight to why I do what I do. I have enjoyed our debate.

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from Edstoresit wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

Mike I will question anyones ethics as a hunter if THEY CHOOSE to shoot a subordinate member of the species. In todays climate very few, if any, individuals hunt for subsistence. "Meat Hunters" included. I have had the luxury of hunting from the midwest to the south to south texas. All free range. The "meat hunters" of Mn. anf Wis. would be unable to do this for an avg. family of four as in most areas it is impossible to get more than 2 tags. Even if you shot 2 300# animals, it wouldn't last a family 6 months.

After realizing where you hunt I feel for you. There is no question that bucks reside in your area as is evident by the ovewhelming presence of does. Maybe if you read about QDM, tried some of the principles involved, YOU could, in fact AFFECT a change. After all what you and that state have been doing isn't working.
Insanity- N- The act of repeated behavior with expectations of differing results.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

Well, QDM would be illegal where I hunt, because baiting is against the law, and it's public land. Yes of course there are bucks, given all those does. Whether or not the solution is to feed plot half the state of Arizona (I don't know how you'd do that, the water's not there) is anyone's guess. I have no idea what you mean by "subordinate member of the species." I presume that to be some kind of snarky meaningless one-off. And I know that counting tines is a nonstarter, IMO. You may scoff at "meat hunters." Landed pinheads with feeders and food plots always get pretty smug knowing that their food plot will attract anything they want all the time.

Maybe if you live in lalaland where the success each year is counted in the number of "inadequate rack" "bully bucks" and does you "cull" you can afford to be a snot about "managing" game to promote a trophy rack. That ain't the real world for most of us.

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from Pa deer hunter wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

After reading your article and the comments from other hunters I thought i'd chime in. I totally agree with your comments. If you want to test your hunting skills and your nerves against a mature smart big body big racked buck. Then APR's are the way to go. If you just want to fill your freezer then shoot doe's. However here in Pa (and probably in most states) the problem isn't APR's or QMD it's lack of time to hunt. most deer hunters in this state are gun only hunters who due to work and family responsibilties only hunt a average of three or four days. Take into consideration that as soon as the guns start going off most mature bucks (and does for that matter) head for the deepest and thickest cover they can find and we can start to understand where the sayings "you can't eat the horns" and "every deer is a trophy" comes from.

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from 60256 wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

Hank111,
In case you weren't aware, Iowa is not "one big food plot". Just thought I'd point that out.

Nate

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from bdbearstump wrote 3 years 18 weeks ago

I hunt for the experience, being in the woods,nature at its best. I have seen things that make my day even when I do not harvest a deer. When I do harvest a deer, the memory of the hunt is with me forever and the meat is in the freezer. A high scoring buck would be great however evryone I take is a trophy.

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from rand4c wrote 3 years 15 weeks ago

It depends on where you hunt. I'm in MA. and would love to see 20 does but what's more likely is 1 or 2 deer a season.I shot a 4 1/2 year old 6 pointer this year , 165#.I would have hated passing him up because he didn't have 4 points on one side.

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from mehunter wrote 3 years 6 weeks ago

I haven't completely decided whether I'm for or against APR'S but after reading many articles and many responses and years of my own personal hunting experiences on both public and private land I am leaning towards APR's. For those of you that oppose APR's because you feel that nobody should be able to restrict what you do your own land..i understand where you're coming from. You probably worked very hard to acquire that land and I respect that but this situation is not about you and only you. This is an environmental situation that extends far past your property lines and affects a greater number of people and animals than many of you probably realize. If you think about it they aren't asking a lot..and maybe if you gave it a chance you wouldn't have to go home empty handed after having to pass-up a young 2-4 pointer because maybe you'd have a better chance at seeing a legal buck once you gave the system time to make a difference. And as far as the people saying that they're meat hunters and could care less about antlers, here's this.. First off..many of you,(not all), "meat hunters" have an icon picture of a nice buck that I'm assuming you harvested. If antlers really didn't matter at all to you than that buck would be no more of a prize than a doe to you, correct? So why not put a picture of a doe you harvested or some venison cooking on a grill? Also if you are strictly out there to get food, then how much is enough? And shouldn't the fact that the deer herds are not balanced matter to you? Consider that an unbalanced deer herd is potentially an unhealthy deer herd. If there is 1 buck to every 10 does,lets say, then that 1 buck, providing he is dominant, is probably breeding a large portion of those does. After time they're probably in the same genetic gene pool,(ex. buck breeding with his last years offspring), which often leads to genetic mutation and disease. The other side of the spectrum with uneven ratio is that the mature healthy buck can't breed all the does and some young or unhealthy bucks that typically wouldn't get many chances to breed in a balanced herd are breeding. Thus, continue the poor genetics and potentially passing on disease. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against "meat hunters". I too will shoot a doe if given the opportunity because I am not wealthy and I, just like all of you, need to eat. That said, I do not like to just shoot any deer that walks past me.. Generally I pass on younger deer, giving them a chance to mature but occasionally I will see a unhealthy deer that probably will not make it through the winter, so I'll opt to take that deer. There is no point in letting that animal suffer through the winter in my eyes and this is one downside that I do see with APR's. I believe that is rare to see a mature buck have limited number of points that won't qualify him for an APR but it does happen. And in these particular cases normally it is a better idea to have that animal taken out of the population to benefit the rest of the herd. The tricky part about it is that it is a huge judgment call and the knowledge of the particular hunter put into that situation can vary significantly. This is one way an APR isn't a total fix to have a quality deer herd. As I said before I'm not completely for APR's but I'm more with them than against them. I also believe there needs to be an "accident forgiveness" strategy because accidents do happen making fast decision on animals in the field. Obviously repetitive "accidents" will not be forgiven so graciously if they continue and should not be considered punishable. Youth hunters being exempt from the APR is a good idea in my opinion, but it too, has its flaws if they are to be exempt. Youth's should be able to go out and harvest any deer and be proud of their first or second deer regardless of age or sex. But I believe there is a limit to that statement. Legal hunting age in Maine is 10 yrs and the hunter is consider a youth until he or she is 16 yrs of age. I'm well aware that the legal hunting age is younger in some states and the youngest I've seen is 8 yrs old. The number of youth hunters to the total number of hunters in the state probably differs greatly from state to state but in general its probably a small portion of the population. Therefore the youth deer harvest is most likely also going to be a small portion of the total harvest. But, if a hunter starts at age 8 and is considered a youth until 16 years old that's at the bare minimum the potential for harvesting 8 deer in those yrs depending on the state's regulations and weapons used. That's also a potentially for 8 young deer to be harvested,(clearly not likely..but should be taken into account). Multiply that number by the number of youth hunters and you have a very significant number of deer harvests that can heavily skew the harvest reports and any management numbers. I believe there needs to be a cut-off point established that a hunter must meet the requirements of an APR regardless of age. For example lets say a 14 yr old has shot 9 deer. That 14 yr old has clearly had many opportunities and probably has a strong passion for hunting. He or she should start to be held accountable for their actions soon. The same goes for an older hunter...lets say a person is 35 and hunting for the first time. They could be allotted a chance to harvest any deer but would only get a certain number of "any-deer cards" before they would also have to be held accountable. The problem with these regulations is that they sound great in theory but would probably be difficult to enforce because many people do not follow regulations regardless. And as far as the people that say let "mother nature" do it on her own..think about the world that you live in today. There are many people out there that could care less about the environment that surrounds them or the animals that inhabit it. There's a lot of people that would take money any day of the week over an opportunity to help preserve our world. Some people ignore protecting the environment because they just don't care and some people do it because they don't have too many options and it's how they make their living. Either way look at how much humans have done to change the world that we live in today. Do you think "mother nature" made skyscrapers and 747's or boats bigger than small towns? I don't believe so, and while nature is powerful and can change and alter many things through the "circle of life" if you will, people are changing more and more everyday. So if that's your solution, to just let mother nature take care of it on its own and everybody fend for themselves and shoot whatever they want when they want...goodluck with that concept. Why not try and do something about it and help nature preserve what it has to offer? Ya..people may not always be right when it comes to that. I know for a fact that Maine has some serious issues with the deer herd and its been neglected for years and its time they do something. But to just continue doing what we are doing even though we see what its doing to the deer herd, why not come up with a few ideas to help it. Think about it like this..if your mother had a tough time carrying the laundry downstairs but had been doing it for years despite the fact that it was causing her back pain, would you just sit there and say let "mother nature" do its work or would you get up and help your mother? I think that's a pretty obvious answer unless you are considerable heartless or have legitimate reason's which are probably in that case few and far between. So to sum it up, I personally think that the APR's are not a total fix to the deer management issues around the country but I do believe that 9 times out of 10 they would be beneficial in helping the deer herd. And a healthy deer herd benefits many other species inhabiting the same areas. I think its safe to say that generally quality outweighs quantity a majority of the time. Would you rather eat 10 CWD venison burgers or 1 healthy venison burger with some honey barbecue sauce on it? :)

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from mehunter wrote 3 years 6 weeks ago

I apologize for the length of my post...

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from MPN wrote 4 years 3 days ago

I don't like the idea at all. I hunt for the meat not the antlers. If I can only shoot certain deer then that cuts into my chance of getting meat in the freezer. I only hunt weekends also so my time in the woods is really limited, I don't need anymore set backs. Plus I hunt my own land and I don't think anyone has the right to tell me what I can and can't shoot on my own property, especially cause I'm paying for it!
MPN

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from rose0660 wrote 4 years 3 days ago

I am all for QDM, infact I practice it religiously...but thats on MY land I can do what I want. And all you private landowners must relize this. I hunt in Wisconsin arguable one of the best white-tail states in the nation. My party practices QDM and frequently harvest "trophy" white-tails, but our neigbors hunt to fill the freezes. Last year they harvested 39 deer in a nine day rifle season. Frustrating? HELL YA it is but I know this family is not well-off by no means, without these harvest numbers they would no doubt be unable to provide for their kids. We can't sit here and pretend that the only hunters that care about the white-tail herd are the trophy hunters. The white-tail nation is full of familys like this and with antler restrictions how do these family survive, how do their kids make it to college. There is more to hunting than harvesting trophy animals, everyone gets all jacked up on horn porn, you can't argue that but now these "white-tail freaks" get power hungry and think they own the deer herd and they know the perfect way to manage them. You can manage your land the way you want to, but you can't tell your neighbor how to.

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from jscottevans wrote 4 years 3 days ago

Oh, I forgot to add the number of does and spikes taken has increased evening out the population as well. More goes who just sit and wait for a nice mid-sized buck are taking more does and spikes so as to not get skunked and get some meat in the freezer. This has, like you said leveled the herd out to allow buck to mature better.

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from rdavidson26 wrote 4 years 2 days ago

Our hunting club voted in antler restrictions and it was in effect for 2 years. We started seeing and killing some good bucks,then it was voted out. Some of the hunters ( So called meat hunters) started shooting anything and everything. For a period of 3 or 4 years there were plenty of deer with some of them killing 2 or 3 times the limit and never tagging them. All of a sudden there were hardly any deer.
This is middle Georgia were we have one game warden covering 2 or 3 counties so these hunters know the chances of getting caught are slim to none. I have been in this club for about 12 years and have never seen a warden on our lease. Meanwhile the meat hunters are wondering what happened to the deer. I am for more restrictions, but these guys won't abide by them, regardless.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 3 years 52 weeks ago

Hank, your comment forces me to point out that "a genetically superior buck" is a term that has no meaning with respect to herd health. Those "bully bucks" are, by the standards of natural selection, the healthiest, most fit animals for breeding. Your definition of genetically superior selects for large antler size, but there is no compelling evidence in scientific literature that "bigger rack" equates with "more fit" or "better herd health."

I tried to raise that point when Scott mentioned "quality." You all may define "quality" or "superior genetics" on the basis of rack size, but there's no evidence that artificially promoting animals with large racks' breeding opportunities is best for a given population with respect to overall herd health or general biological fitness.

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from copperhead wrote 4 years 3 days ago

even though mississippi just switched from point restriction to spread/main beam lenght restriction. I thought it was a good system.

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from Nebraskahunter18 wrote 4 years 3 days ago

i want it to get to a point where its like turkey hunting where you see 20 does and 5 bucks not 45 does and 1 spike buck let em' grow and live a little you shouldnt be shootin something with milk on its lips if you know what i mean

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from kolbster wrote 4 years 3 days ago

ill go both ways, i believe that APR is fine on public land i support it on public land, but when im hunting on my own land dont dare tell me what i cant and cant do.

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from TAM9492 wrote 4 years 3 days ago

We have antler restrictions here in PA. In most areas, buck must boast at least three points on one of his antlers. I have definately been seeing more mature bucks than in years past. Many people complain about the restrictions though.

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from Fruguy101 wrote 4 years 3 days ago

Antler point restrictions and antler size restrictions are both good ways to manage the bucks. I live in Mississippi, and they switched from 4 point minimum to the spread/main beam size because there were way too many bucks two and under getting killed.

Saying that there should not be any regulations for private land is ridiculous. Yes, you may pay the taxes, maintain the property, grow food plots, and set up stands to hunt from, but the deer don't live on just your land. If you want to continue having the same type of success in killing deer that you have had for the past 10 years, then you should abide by the rules everyone else does. Shooting whatever you want on your property hurts not only you, but the future deer that you want to kill.

Management is an important aspect to keeping the deer population ever growing, and healthy too. Nobody is going to agree to every detail about how to manage deer herds across the country, but the practices that have been in use in recent years have been effective.

If you don't like what is set for your state, then do what is required to do to change it to something more agreeable. However, a good compromise will leave both sides angry.

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from Pacific Hunter wrote 4 years 3 days ago

So let's look at the comments here, it is my land I can shoot whatever I want, you can't eat the horns. Then my question is why shoot a buck at all. Your proerty taxes don't pay for wildlife management your Lacey Act fees do, which are imposed on every hunter out there, how do you have more rights to dictate your property since you pay property taxes. I am not saying a hunter who has formed a relationship with a farmer/rancher and is working to reduce populations is wrong but if you take a small buck you do nothing to the overall population and therefore are not helping the farmer. There is no excuse to harvest a young buck to show your prowess as a hunter by taking a buck. Your argument about a high fence scenario may hold true if the deer ddin't leave your property but look at the average home range of a buck. Every land owner around you has as much invested in that deer as you do. I am sure the negative responses will prevail the positive but thanks Scott for the forum

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from Steve Marlin wrote 4 years 3 days ago

Yes, this makes sense.

If you agree, all you have to is stop shooting young bucks.

Next, teach everyone you know to stop shooting small bucks.

And no, I have not shot a buck in five seasons; I just don't see the point of hauling out a small buck when they don't taste as good as a doe and take the same amount of work to put in the freezer.

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from jward19 wrote 4 years 1 day ago

I have seen a lot more mature bucks since the antler restrictions a few years back in Pa. The program is now at the point where it is starting to see some more results. Yet, I think there is a lot more wrong with our management plan than antler restrictions.

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from 60256 wrote 4 years 1 day ago

"Maybe shooting an inexperienced, young buck, just to shoot it is fine by you, but then I would question YOUR hunting ethics"

Either you didn't read the above comments, or you are spending too much time on your 'farm' to be aware. Some people hunt for meat.
My dad is now and will be to this day a hardcore meat-hunter. If he gets a buck tag (which is rare, because he always goes for does), he will wait for a big one, but if one doesn't show he won't just hang up the shoes, he'll shoot a small one to feed the family that's how it is. It is very immature to question someone's ethics on the basis that they hunt for big antlers. All the biology aside, many people actually go to deer hunting to enojy themselves and the deer might take a back seat. I know for most of my hunting party, there is as much joy out of our late-night convos as their hearing on the radio "we got a deer down". As I read, you did call yourself a 'wannabe' and that may be why you are so blind to the other postition, maybe not. What is sure is that before you question someone's ethics, make sure that, not only should your own be perfect, but that the 'offender' is, in fact, not being ethical.

Nate

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from Walt Smith wrote 3 years 52 weeks ago

Hank111-- food plots are man made so go ahead let's hear your QDM smoke and mirrors lies and do your best to make sportsmen believe in your B.S. Sportsmen don't want a monster buck everytime afield, sportsmen look forward to the 1 time after 5 or 10 hunts that you see a mature buck for maybe 10 seconds. It's called sport,for a reason, if you seen them everytime afield it would lose its "sport" Bubba! Awww nuts, you still don't get it do ya!!!

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from jscottevans wrote 4 years 3 days ago

I'll stand with you. Most Eastern counties in Texas had antler SIZE restrictions implemented a couple of years back. The rule is you can shoot spikes ( anything with at least 1 unforked antler) or a forked buck with a spread greater than 13". Now the whole judging the spread thing is a little tricky, but for our deer the TPWD states that if the antlers are outside the ear-tips looking at you in an alert position then it is over 13". I've since down some informal research on downed and mounted deer and it is impressively true a good majority of the time. Plus the punishment for such an offense is a judgment call by the warden, so if your honest and courteous they usually cut you some slack. Remember that Texas has small-bodied deer so this won't probably fly on Northern bucks. Anywho...back to the point, most guys around griped, complained and formulated conspiracy theories out the wahzoo. But after a couple of years now that the "change" has worn off most guys agree it has helped. Or lease keeps pretty good records and we've noticed more "big" bucks harvested off our lease. Mainly the mid-sized bucks are allowed to mature and hunters now wait instead of popping the first thing with antlers they see which is usually small to mid-sized bucks.

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from gman3186 wrote 4 years 3 days ago

i dont think i should be restricted to which deer i can and cant harvest. deer cost alot of farmers money due to the crop damage and that is the reason we are allowed to hunt the property the farmer does not want us to pass up on one single deer. i will go back to classic you cant eat them horns and that is nothing but the truth if i have doe at 20 yards and she is a easy kill but there is buck behind her at 150 yards and he may walk infront of me so i can get a shot im not going to wait im gonna take the doe that is an easy kill. a bird in the hand is worth more than one in the bush.

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from Del in KS wrote 4 years 2 days ago

There is a 350 acre farm in Macon Co Missouri that I have hunted on since 1979. In the old days we would see 30 does and 4 or 5 bucks on the opening weekend. Usually I would get a shot at one buck with 8 or 10 points. Now with the restrictions we see as many bucks as does. About half the bucks are legal (4-1 inch points on 1 antler) and we usually see several nice ones. You can click my name and check the photo files to see for yourself. Also you can shoot all the does you want for meat. I'm all for QDM and wish Kansas would do the same.

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from logan.vandermay wrote 4 years 1 day ago

QDM can be acheived without antler restrictions. Antler restrictions are not a good idea. Shooting mature animals is. If you go by antler restrictions a 2 year old deer that has enough points may be shot but a five year old that isn't ever going to amount to anything may never be culled. It could make your deer smaller in the long run. I am lucky enough to live where deer do get good sized. But it is not someone elses business if I choose to shoot bambi or buckzilla. I choose to hunt for a trophy, but that is not what drives my will to hunt. I try to harvest mature bucks and mature does but will confess to a few that I thought were older. I also took a wounded buck on the last day of season one year that was a nice 5by5 muley. He was 26 inches wide, but would have gotten huge if he would have been allowed to live to his potential. He was 2 1/2 years old. How about everyone who wants bigger deer just practice hunting mature ones, and not worry about antler size. No need in trying to take someone else's rights away.

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from Mark J wrote 4 years 1 day ago

Here's my beef with the restrictions. It gives legal preference to "horn hunters" over "meat hunters." Now I personally don't like to shoot little bucks but I know that a lot of my neighbors hunt with the "if it's brown, it's down" mentality. They don't give two hoots about antlers, all they want is the meat. And as far as I'm concerned there is nothing wrong with that. Especially since a lot of them don't have much time to hunt and don't get to pick and choose what deer they take. Antler restrictions may be fine if you're in an area where you see 20 deer a day but up here you're lucky to see one or two in a day. I wouldn't feel right making a fellow hunter pass up what may be his only chance to put some meat in the freezer just because I want bigger bucks around.

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from Koldkut wrote 4 years 1 day ago

I can see where I stand, with most of the folks with negatives on their posts.....I think APR are good, but they should be managed in a way that makes sense. Similar to the trophy bass waters where certain waters require a 15" size limit while others only require a 12" size limit.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 4 years 1 hour ago

Sex imbalances with high doe ratios have nothing to do with APRs and instead are primarily a consequence of bucks-only laws. If you want more balanced buck-doe ratios and more competition among bucks, get your GFD to allow take of does. Ultimately, most hunters are foremost meat hunters, not point counters. Given the chance to take does, many would, and that would take pressure of young bucks, because if you're not looking for trophies, a doe is as good as a buck. Maybe better.

Second, it's a tautology to describe quantity as the antithesis of quality. There's no evidence that bucks with big racks are qualitatively better for the herd, vis a vis management, regardless of whether they're qualitatively better for your B&C score.

So I say No to APRs and Yes to allowing take of does. If you want a B&C trophy, do some work, scout them out, and hold your fire until you see the one you want. But don't imagine that the rest of us should embrace some dubious and unjustified standard of "quality" and sacrifice our opportunities just so that you can have a better chance at a record-book animal. Quantity has a quality all its own.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 3 years 52 weeks ago

P.S. If guys are picking off animals at the margins of your deer farm, good on 'em I say.

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from MPN wrote 3 years 52 weeks ago

Walt Smith,
Amen to that!

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from Mike Diehl wrote 3 years 52 weeks ago

Food plot fed deer where the ones with bigger racks are protected from reprodctive competition of smaller-racked, tougher bucks aren't "Wild" in any sense of the word. You've already altered their behavior to channel their movement, to eliminate natural sources of food stress and competition, and to eliminate biological competition from more fit (in the natural selection sense of the word) animals. And you monitor their movements with a sequence of cams.

I don't see how anything about the deer on your land meets the standard of wild, nor how anything about the pursuit of those deer is consistent with the word "hunting."

"It is the few bad apples that fence sit..."

I don't see how they'd qualify as "bad apples." (1) They are by your own admission not on your land, and (2) they're going to the places where YOUR activities have altered the natural behavior of the deer, making them more predictable than wild deer. You seem to think everyone around you owes you something because you've chosen to manage deer like stock. As far as I can tell, you seem to think that making your land into a feeder plot for deer means that people shouldn't hunt their own land adjacent to yours.

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from Hank111 wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

Mike - My whole farm is one big food plot, as is the whole state of Iowa. The only difference with my place, is crops are left standing, and the deer do not have to compete with cattle. They are free range, so they can come and go as they please. As you probably know a single buck can only breed a small number of does, in the short amount of time, the majority of the does are in heat, so natural selection is maintained. There is no one area they have to channel thru to feed. They can live out their lives in the sactuaries with plenty of feed and no hunting pressure if they want. They are as wary as any deer in the state. As a bowhunter I could argue that it is more of a fairchase hunt to try and fool the eyes and noses of 30 does and non-target bucks, at close range, while hopeing for a chance at one of the bucks you are after, than shooting an animal from 300+ yards with a high power rifle, but I wont, because if its legal where you hunt, its fair chase hunting. It seems for some reason, you have a problem with the fact that I live every day around these deer, and know alot of them for several years. I love to run cameras to watch their growth from month to month, and year to year. Then I decide who I would really like to keep around for a while, and who should go. It all sound good on paper, but most years we never get a shot at the ones I want gone, and the middle age bucks I would like to keep around, naturally disperse elsewhere, or get killed by vehicles or predators,[lions have been getting common around here for the last 10 years].Thats the differance between free rangeing and fenced in deer. All I ask of my neighbors is to give me the same respect I give them, and not shoot across the fence, and call me if they have a shot deer that comes on my place. I will gladly help them recover it. Believe it or not, it is common around here for groups of shotgun hunters to walk or drive the fencelines and send slugs thru the trees on private property, to get the deer up and moveing to the roads or propery they are lined up on. They call it "banging the hollows". Luckily we have a good gamewarden and he's pretty quick when I call him.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

That's probably why I don't "get it." In AZ, we have bucks only laws, with doe to buck ratios of something like 8:1. Every year I hunt I see LOTS of deer. Last year I saw 27 deer in the five days I hunted (we get one week to fill our tag). Saw exactly ZERO bucks. All were does or antlerless.

If I had to count tines, or try to establish age, I'd be screwed. I'd never take a deer, ever. Because you'd have to see the buck, then establish it's the correct species, then count the damb tines. By the time you'd finished your checklist the thing would be down some arroyo and out of sight. I loved hunting in Maine because you could get your freezer full. Here it is much more challenging. Screw trophy racks, I'd just like to get some venison.

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from Hank111 wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

Mike- Hope you have better luck next season. I have just been trying to give you some insight to why I do what I do. I have enjoyed our debate.

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from mad_dog9999 wrote 4 years 3 days ago

Yes they make sense, I'm tired of seeing 20 does to 1 buck. And a 90% of times that buck is pretty small. 6 points or less.

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from steve182 wrote 4 years 3 days ago

I just filled out a survey from NJ fish and game in support of Antler restrictions. I don't need to see 20 deer a day, i'd like to see decent bucks.

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from Walt Smith wrote 4 years 3 days ago

Sorry but you should bail out soon! Antler restrictions are nothing more than the extended arm of the Quality Deer Management Society. Your misconceptions that "we" are the Managers and "we" are the ones responsible for the quality and health of the herd is juvenile thinking at best. "We" do not own the deer in our state, the state does. "We" are not responsible for creating deer herds with "your" ideal buck/doe ratios, Mother Nature has been doing that for milleniums."We" need to realize antler restrictions only serve the "Trophy Hunter" seeking bigger horns and not the hunter seeking to feed their families! What you propose is a gimic to create bigger bucks with bigger horns, sounds like your next step might be a 10 high fence around the state and $2000.00 dollar hunting licsense fees for residents. We don't need game ranch tactics, hunters need to stop being lazy hunters. Here's a hint for most hunters who don't see deer and complain the loudest; You cannot, CANNOT! drive to your hunting blind for three days before season when there has been no traffic there, at all, any other time of the year and expect to see great big bucks gallore opening day! Sounds unbelievable but I see it happen every year where I hunt. This behavior and all the QDM wannabee managers shooting off all their does then scratching their heads two years later wondering where all the deer went, makes me sick.

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from jenks wrote 4 years 3 days ago

While I do agree that we need to try and maintain a balance in out deer herds using a points minimum is, I beleive, not the way to go about it. Now I realize that laws need something concrete so they can be enforced but a more reasonable personal guideline should be used by hunters. If you strictly limit it to points then you aren't able to remove the cull bucks that bring down the genetics of the herd. There are lots of bucks running around that wouldn't meet minimums but need to be taken becuase they are mature but are only 2x2

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from bat4bab wrote 4 years 3 days ago

It makes sence to me. Here in Montana for elk has to have a brow tine in most areas to be legal. It only takes a couple years before and you start seeing larger more mature bull. I wish that the state of montana would do the same on deer. I would like to see it 3 point or better to be legal.

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from denver_long wrote 4 years 3 days ago

I'm not positive point restrictions work at producing mature bucks. Look at the states of Iowa and Kansas I haven't found anything about an antler restriction in these states but they boast record book bucks and excellent hunting every year. I live here in Missouri and we have been under antler restriction coming up on five years and I haven't seen a big difference yet. Why don't other states just follow the Iowa or Kansas model and move the rifle season away from the rut?

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from Bella wrote 4 years 3 days ago

But I don't want big deer, I want a little spike or pronghorn big enough to eat but not too big to drag up a hill, 'cause hills is what there is. I want meat to feed people with. An umpty point buck that weighs three times what I do will be awful hard to get out of the woods.

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from NYhunter wrote 4 years 3 days ago

It's just another way to make America less of a "free" country, I think people should be able to harvest any deer they want, there are too many pointless laws these days

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from stickbow13 wrote 4 years 2 days ago

i'm for it and against it, for it because that's the rule we use in your mangment areas where i hunt 8 points or more, but it your choice to shoot a 8 point with a 9" spreed or let him go for hopes of one with a 15" or bigger it your choice. against because it's your land you pay taxs on it and owne it you should be able do and shoot what you want on it. but thats my owne thoughts on it and what do i know, since we stared it we or seeing more bucks and the quility of bucks have gone up

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from surfrat924 wrote 4 years 2 days ago

antler restrictions are put in place for only two reasons. First is the rack hunter ,second is the hunting clubs. A real hunter does not care how many points a deer has on its head , only that it will feed my family. I take the first one that walks by.If you feel you need to shoot a huge buck with a huge rack, go pay for it and leave the wild woods alone....

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from Bones812 wrote 4 years 2 days ago

The D.N.R is doing this in our county,with the mule deer 4x4 or better.There are alot more 4x4 then previous years.They dont get to reach thier potential But there are a few more then before . Now we are seeing some big 4x3.This year the D.N.R changed A.P.R to 3x3 brow tines dont count. so it must be working. Im all for it. I too think they should move the rifle hunt away from the rut. Give the muture bucks that little more time to breed. + Let us archers have a chance without the fear of taking someones stray bullet.

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from JSTEPHENC wrote 4 years 1 day ago

The only problem with APR is two fold, the attorney that I must take with me to decide if I can shot or not charges by the hour and you can not keep him quiet.

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from ricefarm wrote 4 years 1 day ago

I'm all for the concept, but enforcing it can leave you tiptoeing in a minefield. If you are hunting deer in open areas with some distance between you where you have a chance to glass them you can pick out legal versus not legal deer, but where I hunt the cover is so thick you don't always get a lot of time to evaluate how many points something has. Earn a buck seems like a pretty good concept but if you are sitting in a stand and a monster buck pops out before you have had a chance to earn your buck tag you won't be too happy. In my area the bow hunters are the ones who only seem interested in trophy bucks. Once shotgun season starts most guys I know are just as happy with a decent doe.

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from Steward wrote 4 years 1 day ago

My only concern with the the point restrictions comes from the fact that the number of points on a rack is sometimes a matter of genetics, not age! If you can't shoot a Six- or Seven-pointer, then that buck will continue to live and spread his low-point genes, while higher-point genes get culled from the herd because those are the only bucks that can be harvested.

That is my only concern.

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from Douglas wrote 4 years 1 day ago

I am four square with antler restrictions. Any attempt to hold off on young bucks where I live just lets the baiters get them all.
At least with restrictions, maybe a few bucks would get a chance to survive to maturity.

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from logger05 wrote 4 years 1 day ago

I have some mixed feelings about APRs, on one hand it does increase the age of deer harvested. On the other hand it slaps deer management in the face. You are unable to take "cull" bucks out of the herd when you have state mandated APRs. What I have seen is that you end up taking a good number of your really good up and comer bucks. I would rather see a 3 year old 6 point taken than a 2 year old 8 point. In my opinion, spread restrictions are better, although they are harder to judge in the field. I have seen numerous bucks that didn't meet APRs that are spreading their genes around and there is nothing anyone can do about it. These rules are simply taking out the young bucks before they have a chance to mature and spread their genes. We are managing for inferior deer when we mandate APRs. I have mandated that deer taken from my lease be at least 16 inches wide inside, or at least 4 1/2 years old before harvest. We don't go by number of points. If we did, we would have let several mature deer with 7 or less points continue to breed our does. I would much rather take out an inferior 5 point than a nice young 8 point. Education on aging deer will likely have a better impact on trophy hunting than antler point restrictions will.

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from 60256 wrote 4 years 1 day ago

Walt Smith and MPN,
A +1 for both of you!

Nate

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from Steward wrote 4 years 23 hours ago

Of course, I would love to track and harvest a good 200" buck sometime. But I want the meat, and if I haven't come across a large buck, I will shoot a small animal before I lose the oportunity. If I don't want the meat, I may as well shoot tranquilizers!

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from DennyF wrote 4 years 16 hours ago

Antler restrictions are fine. But when they are only used as a distraction by environmental extremists with a rediculous biodiversity agenda managing the deer herd in your state,and have the extreme level of herd slaughter that Pennsylvania had put into place, you basically lose all benefits.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 3 years 52 weeks ago

"Mike, my point is that no matter how old they get, most bucks will never go over 150-160 inches, even here in Iowa. So yes, if natural selection is allowed you will have nothing but average bucks, with the occasional bigger than average rack. If you are happy with that where you hunt, fine. I am not."

Meh. Trophy hunting. It's not much of a trophy if it's a domesticated animal, as seems to be the case with the livestock you're farming.

"It may not make the herd any healthier, thats what food plots and keeping doe numbers in check does, but it works for me."

Nope. Food plots and reducing doe herds does not necessarily make the herd healthier either. From a genetic fitness point of view, maximizing genetic diversity probably helps in the long run. For all you know, running off the superior *breeding* animals... the "bully bucks" as you say... and promoting the success of mutants with big racks, may in fact be reducing genetic diversity or even allowing inbreeding of serious genetic flaws.

"Nothing artificial, just selective harvest."

Selective harvest IS artificial by definition, since you're trying to control the gene pool of the population.

"Sounds to me like you are also a fence sitter, which is fine as long as you can drop your animal before he jumps back over the fence, otherwise you have a problem."

I hunt out west on vast public lands. No operations running domesticated deer herds in my area. When I lived back east, no one had your attitude. People like you would find little community support either where I lived then or where I live now.

As for "problems." Um, seems like if a wounded animal runs onto your property it's your problem. If you're preventing hunters from pursuing such onto your property, you've got some ethical failings in my opinion.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 3 years 52 weeks ago

"Mike, my point is that no matter how old they get, most bucks will never go over 150-160 inches, even here in Iowa. So yes, if natural selection is allowed you will have nothing but average bucks, with the occasional bigger than average rack. If you are happy with that where you hunt, fine. I am not."

Meh. Trophy hunting. It's not much of a trophy if it's a domesticated animal, as seems to be the case with the livestock you're farming.

"It may not make the herd any healthier, thats what food plots and keeping doe numbers in check does, but it works for me."

Nope. Food plots and reducing doe herds does not necessarily make the herd healthier either. From a genetic fitness point of view, maximizing genetic diversity probably helps in the long run. For all you know, running off the superior *breeding* animals... the "bully bucks" as you say... and promoting the success of mutants with big racks, may in fact be reducing genetic diversity or even allowing inbreeding of serious genetic flaws.

"Nothing artificial, just selective harvest."

Selective harvest IS artificial by definition, since you're trying to control the gene pool of the population.

"Sounds to me like you are also a fence sitter, which is fine as long as you can drop your animal before he jumps back over the fence, otherwise you have a problem."

I hunt out west on vast public lands. No operations running domesticated deer herds in my area. When I lived back east, no one had your attitude. People like you would find little community support either where I lived then or where I live now.

As for "problems." Um, seems like if a wounded animal runs onto your property it's your problem. If you're preventing hunters from pursuing such onto your property, you've got some ethical failings in my opinion.

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from Hank111 wrote 3 years 52 weeks ago

Mike- The deer on my farm, are every bit as wild as any you hunt. Seventy percent of my place is rough, thick santuary, that I only go into for sheds. There, they have all the food and security they need, so they never have to leave during daylight, to come to the feilds, pinch points and transition areas we hunt. My clients are mostly bowhunters and a few late season muzzleloaders. If you want to call these deer livestock, I guess thats ok, since when I bought this farm, I made the decision, that instead of cash renting the rowcrop and running cattle to make the payments, I would manage the land for deer and other wildlife, and take enough good hunters to make it work. You say a buck killed on a well managed farm like mine, shoud not be allowed in the record book, you obviously have not hunted much in the midwest. Thats what we do here. How many weekend hunters have you seen pictured with a giant buck, that they say, they have never seen him before? Chances are they where hunting within a mile or two of a well managed farm. Your welcome. In Iowa most gun hunters only do large group drives. I dont believe in it, but it sure puts alot of deer in my place. Thats where the problem with guys chaseing a cripple onto me, and getting as many deer as possible to come back out, with the cripple, back into the drive, comes in. Dont get me wrong, I get along with most of my neighbors, and they know if a deer dies on my place, they can call, and I will help get it out. It is the few bad apples that fence sit, try to tresspass or shoot from the road, that I have been refering to.Mike if you lived next to me, I would gladly split the price of the 10 foot fence with you.

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from fisherman wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

Right on! I personally believe QDM is the future of a balanced deer herd, but APRs are a fine way to start and are WAY better than nothing. I know about the meat hunters out there, but this ain't just about antlers. This will give everyone a chance to shoot a mature buck as well as see a better deer herd. Everybody wins.

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from Hank111 wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

Mike - Any effect I am haveing genetically on the overall herd, I know is only short term. I can only try to give the bucks I would like to see reach their full potential, a chance to do so. I would hate to think what my overall herd fitness would be like without the standing corn and soybeans for them to eat after 3 1/2 months of 3 foot deep snow. I know you are going to say thats nature, survival of the fittest, but I am not willing to watch deer starve, needlessly. I dont expect you to agree with how we hunt here. Hunting methods vary drastically from one part of the country to another. I do envy your hunting opportunities as an Arizona resident though.

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from muskiemaster wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

Where I hunt, seeing a deer is a good thing in itself even if it doesn't present itself with a shot. I don't believe in QDMA and I especially don't like earn-a-buck. QDMA creates poor habitat for deer just because you take out one big buck that leaves littler and weaker genetic bucks to breed and in the long run you may only see one nice on a year due to the lack of good genetics. Don't believe me look at science it's a proven fact that there will always be a gene in a buck that may say "hey you should grow 30 antlers" but by leaving only the little guys to breed we make that gene more and more recessive. Earn-A-Buck should only be used in extreme situations where the herd is way to inbalanced and in doing so when it is not you only make it harder for the population to increase to it's full rate and will not see as many deer in the following season. Making youths follow these restrictions is also something that doesn't make sense to me all that you are doing is making it less enjoyable for them to enjoy the hunt by not harvesting a deer. Trust me I know this for a fact because I am one. My point is made.

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from Nebraskahunter18 wrote 4 years 3 days ago

no restrictons on youth my bad

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from Nebraskahunter18 wrote 4 years 3 days ago

good idea only public land

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from ENO wrote 4 years 3 days ago

I'm definitely for antler point restrictions in MN. I really don't care what any other state does. I am also for earn-a-buck. Regardless of what the naysayers think these regulations promote a balanced herd. And contrary to popular opinion these regulations do not promote trophy hunting they actually increase the value and appreciation for antlerless deer (does become trophies). As far as youth hunters are concerned, waiting to identify what your shooting at and passing up one animal in pursuit of another teaches them some valuable life lessons that can help them to mature into safe hunters. For those who say don't tell me what I can or cannot do on my own land...well...then don't hunt on public land and shut the hell up.

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from Bones812 wrote 4 years 2 days ago

The D.N.R is doing this in our county,with the mule deer 4x4 or better.There are alot more 4x4 then previous years.They dont get to reach thier potential But there are a few more then before . Now we are seeing some big 4x3.This year the D.N.R changed A.P.R to 3x3 brow tines dont count. so it must be working. Im all for it. I too think they should move the rifle hunt away from the rut. Give the muture bucks that little more time to breed. + Let us archers have a chance without the fear of taking someones stray bullet.

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from rock rat wrote 4 years 1 day ago

I'm for whatever the wildlife biologists down at Dept of Wildlife want. They fine tune the deer and elk, sex and size,in hundreds of different game units and the end result is a robust deer population and the most elk of any state. I'll shoot a buck or bull first but anything that fills the freezer is ok by me.

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from WVOtter wrote 4 years 1 day ago

I support the idea. It'll take a season or two for the deer to mature to the legal size, but then they'll keep up year to year after that. A lot of land where I hunt w/o restrictions, you can only hope for a 4 point usually at best. Everyone is shooting 3" spikes just to have one to take home. But where I hunt w/ restrictions, most deer you see have the 4-tine minimum...the systems working there because each buck gets a year or two to grow into it's own. Plus, it's a nice bonus to know you're hunting an area where you can hope to do better than a spike because of the system.

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from Beekeeper wrote 4 years 1 day ago

If the restirctions are done correctly I feel thay will help build a better herd. In the case of my state where you can kill two buck a year and only one has restrictions, four on a side. In this case I feel it promote "high grading" the herd and I feel it shows no real effect except placating those that want state wide restrictions. The other deer in this case placates those who want to shoot the first buck they see with legal bone... go figure...

We do have counties that have legitimate antler restriction that promote not only minimal points but width as well. Those rules are building a better buck so to speak. They have also built lease prices considerably in those counties...

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from Edstoresit wrote 4 years 1 day ago

APR's are a good starting point to educate the hunting populace about a healthy and quality herd. It only works to that end though. If quality deer and genetics are a goal of the property being managed, then by putting restrictions on antler size and not AGE, has the potential to upset the balance. Take for instance the buck fawn that is born at the right time, achieves his maximum body mass index and allows all his intake of nutrition to go to headgear development. He will more than likely develop a branched antler configuration for his first rack, which would typically be a 6 month old deer. He will produce even bigger antler his second year (1.5 by hunting seasons). More than likely this will be a 6 to 8 point main frame. This 1.5 year old is now a legal buck by most APR standards. Conversely, if we look at this deer's AGE, and body characteristics for his age we will know that he is not a mtaure animal and should not be harvested. After all he is sporting what could be a B/C class headpiece if he is allowed to LIVE. #1 immutable law of Deer Management is DEAD DEER DON'T GROW. (TYVM Dr. Grant Woods!)
In a QDM heard we are looking to produce a herd of equal age, sex and and distribution. APR's wil not get it done in the long run. If fact, by making that buck above legal through APR's you have potentially cut out some very good genetics for the herd.

@ WaltSMITH-
If you continually shoot yong deer, then your herd will be skewed w/ older age classed does being bred by immature bucks and the resultant product will be buck fawns that never have a chance at reaching mature adulthood. Maybe shooting an inexperienced, young buck, just to shoot it is fine by you, but then I would question YOUR hunting ethics. WE are the managers' main tool for our respected states. W/o US there is a overwhelming increase in population, resulting in widspread dieouts due to starvation. The QDM "wannabe" that I am, dictates that I maintain the herd that lives on MY property, below the carrying capacity for the land. Since our farm has historically had a ratio of 1:4 and nature strives to keep this ratio even, the logical procedure would be to remove does. Historically the states have had buck only harvests which have skewed the population and we need to balance that. Research has also shown that as pressure is put on the bucks, over time the does will begin to throw doe fawns with more frequency. Biologically this makes sense as the doe is the reproductive future and with more potential reproductive machines in the forrest, species survivability increases. Conversely, it has shown that when pressure is put on the does, they have a tendancy to throw more buck fawns. WHy? Well the result of the above is still true. Does home range seldom exceeds 1 square mile, while a bucks home range can be as high as ten but generally remains in the 4-6 square mile area. GIven the social structure among bucks, many buck fawns will be relocated by older bucks, thus spreading the range and territory of the bucks. With fewer does in the herd, the more wide ranging bucks produced again ensure species survivability, by being able to breed fewer does over a larger area.
Just my 2 cents worth, and they are a correct 2 cents!
You may be mad at the practice, but the biology behind the movement is sound science and the sooner we all study it the sooner we all have a beter herd, and better hunting!

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from Andrew Ferraro wrote 4 years 1 day ago

It's a mixed bag. In PA we have different restrictions in various management zones- which can be problematic. Youth hunters can shot spike bucks during part of the season, which I think is fine.

I'd love to see a better balance of buck and doe and we all want more trophy bucks. But, I have a real problem trying to count points in real life hunting situations. We should go to a "best ball" kind of system. If either the rack span is so big, or it has so many points, or the buck is so large- they should be legal.

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from Walt Smith wrote 4 years 22 hours ago

Thanks 60256-- Them horn hunters are pretty easy to spot once ya hear their management speechs for about ten seconds huh! We have that crowd around where we hunt, they stop by and preach how we should shoot nothing but 6pts. or better because everyone around us is doing it, but when you visit their camp a couple days into the season all they have hanging on the pole is 6pts. and way under! Boy you ought to hear the excuses start flying!! I love it!

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from Hank111 wrote 3 years 52 weeks ago

I agree with the guys that say the APRs will protect bucks that need to be culled. Every 170+ inch deer I have hunted on my farm, was an above average 1 and 2 year old that would have been legal by APR standards.At 3 years I decide if they got what it takes to be a megabuck, or needs to be removed. You cant stockpile mature bucks without a high fence, so I identify the bucks I want to reach maturity and breed, and eventually harvest.I do take paid hunters, and they are an important management tool, to remove those big 8 pt. and under bully bucks that will run the feeding areas, and run off the younger genetically superior bucks I am trying to protect. All the hunters, are given photos of the bucks, that are off limits for now, and are more than happy to follow the rules, knowing thats how you get a chance at a 200 inch deer. My farm is large enough, and managed for deer, not cattle, like all the surrounding farms, with hunters like Walt that dont believe in food plots, but hunt on my fence, like vultures waiting for any legal buck to come thru. Edstoresit, I agree with most of what you said, except, 6 month old buck fawns, no matter how big, will not grow branched antlers. The most they may get will be larger buttons that may rub the velvet off, but only an inch or so long.

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from Steward wrote 3 years 52 weeks ago

rdavidson26 - Usually shooting deer and not tagging them is considered poaching. That example goes beyond the question of QDM or APR to the realm of just plain wrong and stupid!

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from Hank111 wrote 3 years 52 weeks ago

Mike, my point is that no matter how old they get, most bucks will never go over 150-160 inches, even here in Iowa. So yes, if natural selection is allowed you will have nothing but average bucks, with the occasional bigger than average rack. If you are happy with that where you hunt, fine. I am not. Over the last 15 years we have taken some huge non-typicals here, and 2 -4 years later we see the same drops and double beams passed down from the old bucks. Those bucks are then protected, untill at least 5 yrs old or more, and by then, some are so smart they are unkillable,unlike the 2 and 3 year old lovesick teenager bucks. It may not make the herd any healthier, thats what food plots and keeping doe numbers in check does, but it works for me. Nothing artificial, just selective harvest. Sounds to me like you are also a fence sitter, which is fine as long as you can drop your animal before he jumps back over the fence, otherwise you have a problem.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 3 years 52 weeks ago

Looks like the little livestock hunter took offense.

"Any time you are hunting free range deer you are not going to see a mature buck everytime you go out. You may hunt all week and never see one."

Guess what, Hankie, that's why people call "hunting" not "herding" or "culling."

"The bully bucks I refer to, are just older class bucks that move in, since it is a free range herd, because they like it here, not necessarily superior, just older."

If they're beating up on your mutational food-plot fed rackosaurs, and therefore getting privileged access to females, they are, by definition genetically superior, from a fitness perspective. You don't know much about selection do you.

"Call them what you want, but most sportsman would love to have an encounter with a mutant."

Maybe. More's the pity. Deer shot on operations like yourse shouldn't even be recorded. But if someone wants to shoot livestock, I'm not one to say it should be illegal. Free country and all that.

"I also hunt out west and know that most western states do not have a right of recovery, so someone sitting on the fenceline of private property, knows very well that when they shoot something, they are going to have to tresspass to recover it, or expect the landowner to let them tromp thru looking for it."

Yep. Smart hunters get permission to pursue prior to hunting, if they're going near posted land. But ultimately, if a person denies permission, the moral and ethical burden is on the person who posted the land, if a wounded deer bleeds out on their land and is wasted.

"Some "sportsmen" around here use the wounded animal as an excuse to come in and push as many deer out as they can, to the other "sportsmen", waiting on the fence."

Your claim is that people are deliberately wounding deer and then driving the animals away off your land? I've never met anyone like that, but then like attracts like.

"Dont trash me and others like me, because we put %100 of what we have into the deer herd, and dont expect someting for nothing."

Ho hum. I have more respect for high fence operations than for yours because they don't pretend to be anything other than livestock producers. Nobody said to expect something for nothing. Natcherly some non-hunter with a gun will probably pay money to play at hunting your stock. It takes all kinds to make a world. But if I lived next to you, I'd put a big fence on my property next to your property just to keep guys like you, and your clients, away.

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from Edstoresit wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

Mike I will question anyones ethics as a hunter if THEY CHOOSE to shoot a subordinate member of the species. In todays climate very few, if any, individuals hunt for subsistence. "Meat Hunters" included. I have had the luxury of hunting from the midwest to the south to south texas. All free range. The "meat hunters" of Mn. anf Wis. would be unable to do this for an avg. family of four as in most areas it is impossible to get more than 2 tags. Even if you shot 2 300# animals, it wouldn't last a family 6 months.

After realizing where you hunt I feel for you. There is no question that bucks reside in your area as is evident by the ovewhelming presence of does. Maybe if you read about QDM, tried some of the principles involved, YOU could, in fact AFFECT a change. After all what you and that state have been doing isn't working.
Insanity- N- The act of repeated behavior with expectations of differing results.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

Well, QDM would be illegal where I hunt, because baiting is against the law, and it's public land. Yes of course there are bucks, given all those does. Whether or not the solution is to feed plot half the state of Arizona (I don't know how you'd do that, the water's not there) is anyone's guess. I have no idea what you mean by "subordinate member of the species." I presume that to be some kind of snarky meaningless one-off. And I know that counting tines is a nonstarter, IMO. You may scoff at "meat hunters." Landed pinheads with feeders and food plots always get pretty smug knowing that their food plot will attract anything they want all the time.

Maybe if you live in lalaland where the success each year is counted in the number of "inadequate rack" "bully bucks" and does you "cull" you can afford to be a snot about "managing" game to promote a trophy rack. That ain't the real world for most of us.

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from Pa deer hunter wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

After reading your article and the comments from other hunters I thought i'd chime in. I totally agree with your comments. If you want to test your hunting skills and your nerves against a mature smart big body big racked buck. Then APR's are the way to go. If you just want to fill your freezer then shoot doe's. However here in Pa (and probably in most states) the problem isn't APR's or QMD it's lack of time to hunt. most deer hunters in this state are gun only hunters who due to work and family responsibilties only hunt a average of three or four days. Take into consideration that as soon as the guns start going off most mature bucks (and does for that matter) head for the deepest and thickest cover they can find and we can start to understand where the sayings "you can't eat the horns" and "every deer is a trophy" comes from.

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from 60256 wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

Hank111,
In case you weren't aware, Iowa is not "one big food plot". Just thought I'd point that out.

Nate

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from bdbearstump wrote 3 years 18 weeks ago

I hunt for the experience, being in the woods,nature at its best. I have seen things that make my day even when I do not harvest a deer. When I do harvest a deer, the memory of the hunt is with me forever and the meat is in the freezer. A high scoring buck would be great however evryone I take is a trophy.

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from rand4c wrote 3 years 15 weeks ago

It depends on where you hunt. I'm in MA. and would love to see 20 does but what's more likely is 1 or 2 deer a season.I shot a 4 1/2 year old 6 pointer this year , 165#.I would have hated passing him up because he didn't have 4 points on one side.

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from mehunter wrote 3 years 6 weeks ago

I haven't completely decided whether I'm for or against APR'S but after reading many articles and many responses and years of my own personal hunting experiences on both public and private land I am leaning towards APR's. For those of you that oppose APR's because you feel that nobody should be able to restrict what you do your own land..i understand where you're coming from. You probably worked very hard to acquire that land and I respect that but this situation is not about you and only you. This is an environmental situation that extends far past your property lines and affects a greater number of people and animals than many of you probably realize. If you think about it they aren't asking a lot..and maybe if you gave it a chance you wouldn't have to go home empty handed after having to pass-up a young 2-4 pointer because maybe you'd have a better chance at seeing a legal buck once you gave the system time to make a difference. And as far as the people saying that they're meat hunters and could care less about antlers, here's this.. First off..many of you,(not all), "meat hunters" have an icon picture of a nice buck that I'm assuming you harvested. If antlers really didn't matter at all to you than that buck would be no more of a prize than a doe to you, correct? So why not put a picture of a doe you harvested or some venison cooking on a grill? Also if you are strictly out there to get food, then how much is enough? And shouldn't the fact that the deer herds are not balanced matter to you? Consider that an unbalanced deer herd is potentially an unhealthy deer herd. If there is 1 buck to every 10 does,lets say, then that 1 buck, providing he is dominant, is probably breeding a large portion of those does. After time they're probably in the same genetic gene pool,(ex. buck breeding with his last years offspring), which often leads to genetic mutation and disease. The other side of the spectrum with uneven ratio is that the mature healthy buck can't breed all the does and some young or unhealthy bucks that typically wouldn't get many chances to breed in a balanced herd are breeding. Thus, continue the poor genetics and potentially passing on disease. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against "meat hunters". I too will shoot a doe if given the opportunity because I am not wealthy and I, just like all of you, need to eat. That said, I do not like to just shoot any deer that walks past me.. Generally I pass on younger deer, giving them a chance to mature but occasionally I will see a unhealthy deer that probably will not make it through the winter, so I'll opt to take that deer. There is no point in letting that animal suffer through the winter in my eyes and this is one downside that I do see with APR's. I believe that is rare to see a mature buck have limited number of points that won't qualify him for an APR but it does happen. And in these particular cases normally it is a better idea to have that animal taken out of the population to benefit the rest of the herd. The tricky part about it is that it is a huge judgment call and the knowledge of the particular hunter put into that situation can vary significantly. This is one way an APR isn't a total fix to have a quality deer herd. As I said before I'm not completely for APR's but I'm more with them than against them. I also believe there needs to be an "accident forgiveness" strategy because accidents do happen making fast decision on animals in the field. Obviously repetitive "accidents" will not be forgiven so graciously if they continue and should not be considered punishable. Youth hunters being exempt from the APR is a good idea in my opinion, but it too, has its flaws if they are to be exempt. Youth's should be able to go out and harvest any deer and be proud of their first or second deer regardless of age or sex. But I believe there is a limit to that statement. Legal hunting age in Maine is 10 yrs and the hunter is consider a youth until he or she is 16 yrs of age. I'm well aware that the legal hunting age is younger in some states and the youngest I've seen is 8 yrs old. The number of youth hunters to the total number of hunters in the state probably differs greatly from state to state but in general its probably a small portion of the population. Therefore the youth deer harvest is most likely also going to be a small portion of the total harvest. But, if a hunter starts at age 8 and is considered a youth until 16 years old that's at the bare minimum the potential for harvesting 8 deer in those yrs depending on the state's regulations and weapons used. That's also a potentially for 8 young deer to be harvested,(clearly not likely..but should be taken into account). Multiply that number by the number of youth hunters and you have a very significant number of deer harvests that can heavily skew the harvest reports and any management numbers. I believe there needs to be a cut-off point established that a hunter must meet the requirements of an APR regardless of age. For example lets say a 14 yr old has shot 9 deer. That 14 yr old has clearly had many opportunities and probably has a strong passion for hunting. He or she should start to be held accountable for their actions soon. The same goes for an older hunter...lets say a person is 35 and hunting for the first time. They could be allotted a chance to harvest any deer but would only get a certain number of "any-deer cards" before they would also have to be held accountable. The problem with these regulations is that they sound great in theory but would probably be difficult to enforce because many people do not follow regulations regardless. And as far as the people that say let "mother nature" do it on her own..think about the world that you live in today. There are many people out there that could care less about the environment that surrounds them or the animals that inhabit it. There's a lot of people that would take money any day of the week over an opportunity to help preserve our world. Some people ignore protecting the environment because they just don't care and some people do it because they don't have too many options and it's how they make their living. Either way look at how much humans have done to change the world that we live in today. Do you think "mother nature" made skyscrapers and 747's or boats bigger than small towns? I don't believe so, and while nature is powerful and can change and alter many things through the "circle of life" if you will, people are changing more and more everyday. So if that's your solution, to just let mother nature take care of it on its own and everybody fend for themselves and shoot whatever they want when they want...goodluck with that concept. Why not try and do something about it and help nature preserve what it has to offer? Ya..people may not always be right when it comes to that. I know for a fact that Maine has some serious issues with the deer herd and its been neglected for years and its time they do something. But to just continue doing what we are doing even though we see what its doing to the deer herd, why not come up with a few ideas to help it. Think about it like this..if your mother had a tough time carrying the laundry downstairs but had been doing it for years despite the fact that it was causing her back pain, would you just sit there and say let "mother nature" do its work or would you get up and help your mother? I think that's a pretty obvious answer unless you are considerable heartless or have legitimate reason's which are probably in that case few and far between. So to sum it up, I personally think that the APR's are not a total fix to the deer management issues around the country but I do believe that 9 times out of 10 they would be beneficial in helping the deer herd. And a healthy deer herd benefits many other species inhabiting the same areas. I think its safe to say that generally quality outweighs quantity a majority of the time. Would you rather eat 10 CWD venison burgers or 1 healthy venison burger with some honey barbecue sauce on it? :)

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from mehunter wrote 3 years 6 weeks ago

I apologize for the length of my post...

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from KJ wrote 4 years 1 day ago

I love a good argument, but I can't argue with APR. I'd even go so far as to argue that it makes sense, from a QDM perspective, to require a person to shoot an antlerless deer before they shoot an antlered deer. Wisconsin did that a few years back (maybe they still do?) to get their herd under control.

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from WVOtter wrote 4 years 1 day ago

And if you truely hunt just for the meat...get 5 doe tags and don't worry about the antlered season at all if the restriction makes it too problematic.

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from Hank111 wrote 3 years 52 weeks ago

Walt-"food plots are manmade" SO WHAT, most of what deer eat around here is manmade. You must sit in the big woods, on a stump watching an oak tree, waiting for an acorn to fall, so you can throw a rock at a deer. I have been doing what I do, long before anyone ever heard of QDM. Any time you are hunting free range deer you are not going to see a mature buck everytime you go out. You may hunt all week and never see one. Just because the deer on my farm are provided what they need to survive, does not make them any easier to hunt or domesticated. Other than trailcam photos and sheds, you may not even know they are there.After a winter like we just had, with record snow and cold, if it was not for all my standing corn left for the deer, that came from miles away to find food, they would have been in trouble. But according to you, deer do just fine without help, so come what may. In my opinion thats just a lazy response from someone that does not have the opportunity to make a difference Mike [Mr. wannabe deer bioligist]The bully bucks I refer to, are just older class bucks that move in, since it is a free range herd, because they like it here, not necessarily superior, just older. Call them what you want, but most sportsman would love to have an encounter with a mutant. In a free ranging herd of this size, inbreeding is not an issue, since a single buck does not breed as many does as you think. I also hunt out west and know that most western states do not have a right of recovery, so someone sitting on the fenceline of private property, knows very well that when they shoot something, they are going to have to tresspass to recover it, or expect the landowner to let them tromp thru looking for it. Some "sportsmen" around here use the wounded animal as an excuse to come in and push as many deer out as they can, to the other "sportsmen", waiting on the fence. Dont trash me and others like me, because we put %100 of what we have into the deer herd, and dont expect someting for nothing. As far as community support, good fences make good neighbors, stay on yours and I will stay on mine.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

It sounds like you have some aggressive and maybe trespasser types in your area. Different from what you sounded like you meant by "fence sitters."

But lets not kid ourselves. You've altered the behavior of these animals in a number of ways. Even for Iowa. If you're choosing to eliminate the aggressive but less-than-trophy bucks, you're affecting the gene pool artificially and messing with a number of behavioral factors. And you can't really claim what you're doing benefits the herd or improves the herd's fitness. The only genetic standard you have of "good" is whether the deer has a big rack. So maybe by that standard you are improving the herd. But that standard has nothing to do with overall population fitness.

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from Nebraskahunter18 wrote 4 years 3 days ago

No restrictions are a great idea if you put them on youths thats just un-american

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from gman3186 wrote 4 years 3 days ago

but if states do apply the antler restrictions i dont think they should apply to the youth hunters

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