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Poll: Does Trophy Deer Management Help or Harm Hunter Recruitment and Retention?

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January 28, 2014

Poll: Does Trophy Deer Management Help or Harm Hunter Recruitment and Retention?

By Dave Hurteau

For our Heroes of Conservation Roundtable discussion at this year’s SHOT Show, F&S asked this very question to a panel of experts, including deer biologists, writers, and conservation leaders. And now, I’d like to ask you.

But first, let’s clearly define the parameters.

We are speaking here of trophy deer management (lower case), as in management (by both state agencies and private land owners) generally with an eye toward big deer, which may include some core principals of Quality Deer Management, such as a herd size that’s in balance with the habitat—as opposed to Trophy Deer Management (upper case), which follows a specific set of guidelines mostly at odds with QDM, including a herd size that is below carrying capacity.

Okay, so we are talking about the trend toward, the push for, and the obsession with big racks as it pertains to land and herd management. In the past, we have discussed how trophy madness affects everything from access and land prices to tactics and etiquette. But until now we haven’t said much about how it affects hunter recruitment and retention, both of which are key issues going forward.

The easy, knee-jerk reaction, I think, is to bash the big-deer movement and all its effects. But it’s more complicated than that. A mature whitetail buck is a magnificent animal that rightly holds a special appeal for virtually all hunters, and I suspect many would-be hunters, too. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that. On the other hand, an obsessive quest for big deer can absolutely have some negative effects.

So, taken on the whole, all things considered, knee-jerk reactions aside: Does trophy deer management do more to help or harm hunter recruitment and retention? Please expound in the comments section.

Comments (20)

Top Rated
All Comments
from jjas wrote 12 weeks 1 day ago

First of all I think QDMA has a problem with people getting their message. Ask many hunters and they think QDMA is nothing more than a trophy buck organization.

Secondly...I think access to hunting ground is the number one issue facing hunter recruitment and retention.

+8 Good Comment? | | Report
from Live4Bowhunting wrote 12 weeks 1 day ago

I am all for letting the little bucks live a few years and see no reason to kill a spike or a forkhorn, but if you need the meat and it is a trophy to you, then by all means fill your freezer.
Now on the I think this in some ways hurts getting new people into the field, had met a first time hunter on a friends farm that I had hunted for years and this gentleman was told that he could only kill a 150 class or better deer. Now being a first time hunter does he really know a 150+ deer when a real nice wide and tall 8 stepped out in his shooting lane! No he did not and when he dropped the deer, was told by the land owner never to step foot on his property again for violating his rules and why would any "Grownass man whould shoot a small buck like that" By the way, when he got it mounted, it scored 135. Needless to say, I have never returned to that farm either and was very happy for the man to get such a nice buck for his first ever deer.

QDMA like every other program has it's pros and cons. If your area is hurting for bucks, then yes I can see the point restrictions as the case when I last hunted in western PA, but on the same note, if all your seeing is doe's, then why not let us shoot them during the antlered season. Yes horns are nice but they make lousy stew and chili. Never heard of anyone drooling over a fried G-2 or G-3 like they would over a nice grilled back strap.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 12 weeks 23 hours ago

I think it is sad that a hunter kills a deer and measures his success by the rack size. This is all wrong. Give me a good, clean one shot kill any day and I'll be happy for the hunter. Deer management for rack size is not the direction we need to go for success in the field. Success is sharing the experience with family and friend, being ethical and appreciating what Nature has given you.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from SeanGroves wrote 12 weeks 23 hours ago

I agree with the first poster, jjas.

Overall I think trophy deer management net/net is a positive, as from my experiences the numbers of those that are opposed are a small fraction from those who advocate it and champion it, which leads to them bringing others into it.

The absolute biggest issue that is causing a decline in hunter recruitment and retention is access to land, especially in some of the "better" deer states (Ohio, KY, IL, Iowa, TX, etc.). I live in Ohio, and public land during the shotgun season is nothing short of a crazed mess. During bow it isn't too bad, but the shotgun week it's a mess. Land prices to lease are easily $20+/acre, and forget about buying land that is tagged for hunting as prices will be $3-$5K/acre. Lots of "outfitters" are leasing up land and controlling those portions, and many farms are being bought up by private individuals that don't allow hunting, so it is very hard to find good land to hunt if you don't have friends/family with land.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from TayHawk wrote 12 weeks 22 hours ago

I think in different circumstances it does a little of both, however, if it was widely practiced and in cases where it is done right it definitely helps.
First there are cases where people are trying their best to manage land the way they see fit and do not allow new hunters on their place or hurt the quality of experience for new hunters because they are so scared that them killing the wrong deer will ruin hunting on their property forever. They definitely hurt it, and to them I say, there are plenty of deer in the woods it will be replaced. I do see where they are coming from but impeding a new hunter or not allowing them to enjoy their hunt isn't what we need to do.
Secondly, most people when practicing proper deer management need to SHOOT MORE FREAKING DOES than they usually do. This allows a lot of camps who recognize this hold youth hunts just to get some early doe kills to bring down their numbers before everyone gets out to hunt, especially those who can't be bothered to kill a doe. If people will do it properly and recognize the number of does they need to shoot they often appreciate getting some help, which usually comes in the form of novice hunters.
In my opinion its not proper trophy management that hurts hunter recruitment and retention its people who continue to do what they think is right when research has proved them wrong (and by this I mean people who still plant winter rye in greenfields).

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from SteveJonesMO wrote 12 weeks 22 hours ago

Management tuned to maintain a natural balance of gender and age class in the herd, which normally involves some level of protection for young bucks (e.g. antler point restrictons) naturally produces more opportunity to hunt mature deer. Over time most hunters find that to be a positive, especially in areas where it is practical to lean on does to fill the freezer.

That should increase retention.

But maybe there is a small impact on recruitment. A kid being forced to pass on a small buck on his first hunt is a tough pill to swallow. If there were a way to give juveniles the option of a one-time waiver on the antler point restriction, for their first buck only, it might help. Probably too complicated though.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from hardineric wrote 12 weeks 20 hours ago

The quality of the hunt should never be measured just in antler size. I killed a beautiful deer while camping in a wilderness setting this year. It wasn't the biggest deer I've arrowed, but when I boated out with him it felt like it. I echo the sentiment that the biggest obstacle to hunter recruitment is a quality place to hunt. A guy really has to hump it to find quality deer habitat on public land. Some just aren't willing. TV gives an impression of deer hunting that is a non-reality for most of us, with its endless parade of bucks.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Douglas wrote 12 weeks 7 hours ago

I think the buck to doe ratio is more important to manage than trophy quality. I also think that little bucks should be able to grow at least their second set of antlers.
I whole heartedly agree that access to good hunting territory hinders recruitment and retention. Where I live, we are seeing "outfitters" paying sky high lease rates to sew up good hunting ground for their client base. Its all about big money.
This tends to prompt local hunters to kill any buck they encounter.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dougfir wrote 12 weeks 7 hours ago

I'm with jjas. Let's worry less about this and more about access. It's hard to get excited about hunting when the only land you can legally access is devoid of deer and full of hunters. Kids need to experience some excitement and see some animals to get hooked.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave Hurteau wrote 12 weeks 6 hours ago

Dougfir,
Respectfully, I think the two issues are closely related: restricted access is a common if not bedrock principal of trophy and in many cases even quality deer management. I will expound in another post. But I don't think you can worry about one and not the other.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ENO wrote 12 weeks 5 hours ago

Less state involvement and more hunter education. Muskie fishing here in MN is a great example. Most fishermen, by choice, release the big Muskies. It's turned into a code of honor. The state doesn't have to make anymore laws. Deer hunting would benefit from the same thing. This leaves the door open to kids and meat hunters who want to shoot an immature buck. Experienced hunters can promote a culture of letting the younger deer walk. Success isn't always putting a deer on the ground. But we should have a choice.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from CL3 wrote 12 weeks 3 hours ago

jjas hit it; access is #1 issue. I would add Time is second, especially in archaic states that prohibit hunting on Sunday (skip the you can hunt 'yotes & crows on Sunday BS by the way). Less emphasis needs to be placed on Big Racks. Small game, turkey hunting, etc needs to be promoted more than just deer, deer, deer, Big Racks, Big Racks, Big Racks.

High fence farms should die.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jhjimbo wrote 12 weeks 2 hours ago

I agree with CL3, recruitment involves a mentor, access and time to hunt. Second is density. A new hunter needs to see deer if they are going to be retained as a active hunter. Every set he/she should be able to see a deer or two or three.
Hunting for antlers should be exposed to new hunters for what it is, more shooting, jumping up and down and chest thumping and less about real 'hunting' and the real purpose for hunting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Wiege wrote 12 weeks 59 min ago

These 'programs' confuse and impede hunters.
WI in the last 15 years: Earn-a-Buck, T-Zone, Youth hunt seasons, Herd Control Units, Metro Herd Control Units, Regular Units, CWD Units, ect... Every year we read regs and compare notes just to not violate year to year. Can be frustrating.
As for hunter imposed management, most don't understand the intent or that program won't fit the situation and the rules get 'modified' their liking. Like QDM, few places are able to do it right, the rest only practice QDM when they are talking smart at the bar and go fill tags with fork horns.

To recruit hunters or even keep existing hunters, you need to give them the means to succeed when opportunity arrives. Some of these programs don't facilitate success - the rack is too small or you didn't shoot a doe to earn a buck. Take away that opportunity and frustration and confusion enter. Go to the registration station and take a look at 'first buck photos', the smile on the hunter's face is big as can be even though the horns will range from spike to 140 class deer. Also, make sure you get the story when you see them too.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from nehunter92 wrote 12 weeks 43 min ago

As has been stated already, access to usable hunting areas is a top issue. It has been pretty well documented that lack of opportunity is (or at least, was) the number one factor in the decline of hunters in previous years (which appears to have been reversed, at least temporarily). There are of course both benefits and drawbacks to virtually any effective management scheme, but the question must be asked “who is it that benefits?” As Dave stated in the comments, one of the biggest facets to trophy management is limiting access to a given area, as well as keeping the deer herd below its maximum potential carrying capacity. Sure someone benefits, but that someone is the few hunters left who have access to the property. The majority of the hunting public meanwhile, sees yet another posted area. One might also ask “what has the smaller party gained, and what has the larger party sacrificed,” the answer is depressingly uneven. The lucky few who still have access have boosted their chances at seeing larger deer, while the unlucky many have had their opportunity to hunt for ANYTHING it that area completely erased. New hunters can still be recruited in tougher hunting situations, the fact that anyone is taught to hunt in large woods areas bears that out. Nobody however, can be recruited by a piece of land they can’t even hunt in the first place.

Not only does such a scenario dampen recruitment efforts, but it also flies in the face of our modern conservation ethic. The North American model is supposed to provide for a scenario in which anyone can pursue game, game which belongs not to an individual, but to a society at large. While landowners are certainly within their rights to limit or grant access to their own property, the move of barring the entry of all other hunters so that one may see such an objectively smaller benefit, represents a selfish move that has little ethical standing in our cultural tradition of open access. It’s certainly legal, as well it should be, but that does not make it right.

It’s also important to note that Trophy management is poised to become an even larger obstacle than it has been in the past, namely because many of the newcomers I know and see don’t really care much for antlers in the first place. For just about every person I have introduced to the sport so far, their primary concern is meat (and I believe that one is primarily interested in the camaraderie of the hunt). Robbing these newcomers of the chance to achieve their goals (which are justifiable as long as they are sustainable, which is why we have game agencies), is the exact wrong thing to do at this point.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Longrifle wrote 11 weeks 6 days ago

I feel a youth or beginning hunter should be able to kill any buck as they see fit. Here in PA antler restrictions do not apply to youth hunters, I think that is very good. If game departments set science based minimum size restrictions on whitetail bucks like they set on Elk out west I also see no problem with that. Same rules for everyone. This should not have a negative effect on retention.

My problem is with all of the "sports" who shoot any little buck year after year just to brag they got a buck. Shooting a little buck every year while letting legal does walk is bs, especially where the buck to doe ratios are badly out of whack. It deprives real skilled hunters the opportunity to match wits with a mature animal. No skill required to kill a skipper. As the season progresses I watch all of the little bucks disappear(shot), doubtful they are all killed by kids and first timers. Meanwhile there are does everywhere.

I am really starting to like the idea of earn a buck by shooting a doe first, or drawing for a buck tag to perhaps get one every 3rd year.

These comments are aimed at suburban/rural/farm country areas that have overpopulation issues with deer.

Where deer populations are sparse I favor no doe hunting, any buck is legal.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dougfir wrote 11 weeks 6 days ago

Good point Dave, but I think it's more true in certain areas. I'm guessing it's a huge part of the equation in midwestern agricultural states, but here in the Champlain valley of NY, it's not getting any easier to access good land and that has nothing to do with qdm, or antler restrictions (neither is a part of our landscape). It has more to do with population growth, subdivisions/building/land being bought up by folks who don't care for hunting and a shrinking sense of community. I'm guessing this is true in other areas as well, probably more so, and I'd like to see our state agencies put some more thought and money into finding solutions. I hear stories about states who give substantial incentives to land owners who open up to hunting and I'd love to see more of that! I'd also like to see the hunting community play a bigger part in conserving open space.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wittsec wrote 11 weeks 5 days ago

Filling the freezer is by far the number one reason to hunt. Besides, how can you take pride in a trophy deer that has been tracked by others the entire year so that when you show up with your thousands they can take you to the deer and you shoot. That isn't hunting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jake58 wrote 11 weeks 3 days ago

Poaching has and always will be with us, but the big buck craze has been fed by the hunting video industry and QDMA. Over value of the deer rack to the point that people will do ridiculous things to get them. Like cutting off a deer head of a road kill and leaving the rest lay

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from SpringTex wrote 11 weeks 2 days ago

i find that it limits allot of hunting to the upper class. We see allot of that here in Texas.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from jjas wrote 12 weeks 1 day ago

First of all I think QDMA has a problem with people getting their message. Ask many hunters and they think QDMA is nothing more than a trophy buck organization.

Secondly...I think access to hunting ground is the number one issue facing hunter recruitment and retention.

+8 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 12 weeks 23 hours ago

I think it is sad that a hunter kills a deer and measures his success by the rack size. This is all wrong. Give me a good, clean one shot kill any day and I'll be happy for the hunter. Deer management for rack size is not the direction we need to go for success in the field. Success is sharing the experience with family and friend, being ethical and appreciating what Nature has given you.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Live4Bowhunting wrote 12 weeks 1 day ago

I am all for letting the little bucks live a few years and see no reason to kill a spike or a forkhorn, but if you need the meat and it is a trophy to you, then by all means fill your freezer.
Now on the I think this in some ways hurts getting new people into the field, had met a first time hunter on a friends farm that I had hunted for years and this gentleman was told that he could only kill a 150 class or better deer. Now being a first time hunter does he really know a 150+ deer when a real nice wide and tall 8 stepped out in his shooting lane! No he did not and when he dropped the deer, was told by the land owner never to step foot on his property again for violating his rules and why would any "Grownass man whould shoot a small buck like that" By the way, when he got it mounted, it scored 135. Needless to say, I have never returned to that farm either and was very happy for the man to get such a nice buck for his first ever deer.

QDMA like every other program has it's pros and cons. If your area is hurting for bucks, then yes I can see the point restrictions as the case when I last hunted in western PA, but on the same note, if all your seeing is doe's, then why not let us shoot them during the antlered season. Yes horns are nice but they make lousy stew and chili. Never heard of anyone drooling over a fried G-2 or G-3 like they would over a nice grilled back strap.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from SteveJonesMO wrote 12 weeks 22 hours ago

Management tuned to maintain a natural balance of gender and age class in the herd, which normally involves some level of protection for young bucks (e.g. antler point restrictons) naturally produces more opportunity to hunt mature deer. Over time most hunters find that to be a positive, especially in areas where it is practical to lean on does to fill the freezer.

That should increase retention.

But maybe there is a small impact on recruitment. A kid being forced to pass on a small buck on his first hunt is a tough pill to swallow. If there were a way to give juveniles the option of a one-time waiver on the antler point restriction, for their first buck only, it might help. Probably too complicated though.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from hardineric wrote 12 weeks 20 hours ago

The quality of the hunt should never be measured just in antler size. I killed a beautiful deer while camping in a wilderness setting this year. It wasn't the biggest deer I've arrowed, but when I boated out with him it felt like it. I echo the sentiment that the biggest obstacle to hunter recruitment is a quality place to hunt. A guy really has to hump it to find quality deer habitat on public land. Some just aren't willing. TV gives an impression of deer hunting that is a non-reality for most of us, with its endless parade of bucks.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ENO wrote 12 weeks 5 hours ago

Less state involvement and more hunter education. Muskie fishing here in MN is a great example. Most fishermen, by choice, release the big Muskies. It's turned into a code of honor. The state doesn't have to make anymore laws. Deer hunting would benefit from the same thing. This leaves the door open to kids and meat hunters who want to shoot an immature buck. Experienced hunters can promote a culture of letting the younger deer walk. Success isn't always putting a deer on the ground. But we should have a choice.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from CL3 wrote 12 weeks 3 hours ago

jjas hit it; access is #1 issue. I would add Time is second, especially in archaic states that prohibit hunting on Sunday (skip the you can hunt 'yotes & crows on Sunday BS by the way). Less emphasis needs to be placed on Big Racks. Small game, turkey hunting, etc needs to be promoted more than just deer, deer, deer, Big Racks, Big Racks, Big Racks.

High fence farms should die.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from TayHawk wrote 12 weeks 22 hours ago

I think in different circumstances it does a little of both, however, if it was widely practiced and in cases where it is done right it definitely helps.
First there are cases where people are trying their best to manage land the way they see fit and do not allow new hunters on their place or hurt the quality of experience for new hunters because they are so scared that them killing the wrong deer will ruin hunting on their property forever. They definitely hurt it, and to them I say, there are plenty of deer in the woods it will be replaced. I do see where they are coming from but impeding a new hunter or not allowing them to enjoy their hunt isn't what we need to do.
Secondly, most people when practicing proper deer management need to SHOOT MORE FREAKING DOES than they usually do. This allows a lot of camps who recognize this hold youth hunts just to get some early doe kills to bring down their numbers before everyone gets out to hunt, especially those who can't be bothered to kill a doe. If people will do it properly and recognize the number of does they need to shoot they often appreciate getting some help, which usually comes in the form of novice hunters.
In my opinion its not proper trophy management that hurts hunter recruitment and retention its people who continue to do what they think is right when research has proved them wrong (and by this I mean people who still plant winter rye in greenfields).

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Douglas wrote 12 weeks 7 hours ago

I think the buck to doe ratio is more important to manage than trophy quality. I also think that little bucks should be able to grow at least their second set of antlers.
I whole heartedly agree that access to good hunting territory hinders recruitment and retention. Where I live, we are seeing "outfitters" paying sky high lease rates to sew up good hunting ground for their client base. Its all about big money.
This tends to prompt local hunters to kill any buck they encounter.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dougfir wrote 12 weeks 7 hours ago

I'm with jjas. Let's worry less about this and more about access. It's hard to get excited about hunting when the only land you can legally access is devoid of deer and full of hunters. Kids need to experience some excitement and see some animals to get hooked.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave Hurteau wrote 12 weeks 6 hours ago

Dougfir,
Respectfully, I think the two issues are closely related: restricted access is a common if not bedrock principal of trophy and in many cases even quality deer management. I will expound in another post. But I don't think you can worry about one and not the other.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jhjimbo wrote 12 weeks 2 hours ago

I agree with CL3, recruitment involves a mentor, access and time to hunt. Second is density. A new hunter needs to see deer if they are going to be retained as a active hunter. Every set he/she should be able to see a deer or two or three.
Hunting for antlers should be exposed to new hunters for what it is, more shooting, jumping up and down and chest thumping and less about real 'hunting' and the real purpose for hunting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Wiege wrote 12 weeks 59 min ago

These 'programs' confuse and impede hunters.
WI in the last 15 years: Earn-a-Buck, T-Zone, Youth hunt seasons, Herd Control Units, Metro Herd Control Units, Regular Units, CWD Units, ect... Every year we read regs and compare notes just to not violate year to year. Can be frustrating.
As for hunter imposed management, most don't understand the intent or that program won't fit the situation and the rules get 'modified' their liking. Like QDM, few places are able to do it right, the rest only practice QDM when they are talking smart at the bar and go fill tags with fork horns.

To recruit hunters or even keep existing hunters, you need to give them the means to succeed when opportunity arrives. Some of these programs don't facilitate success - the rack is too small or you didn't shoot a doe to earn a buck. Take away that opportunity and frustration and confusion enter. Go to the registration station and take a look at 'first buck photos', the smile on the hunter's face is big as can be even though the horns will range from spike to 140 class deer. Also, make sure you get the story when you see them too.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from nehunter92 wrote 12 weeks 43 min ago

As has been stated already, access to usable hunting areas is a top issue. It has been pretty well documented that lack of opportunity is (or at least, was) the number one factor in the decline of hunters in previous years (which appears to have been reversed, at least temporarily). There are of course both benefits and drawbacks to virtually any effective management scheme, but the question must be asked “who is it that benefits?” As Dave stated in the comments, one of the biggest facets to trophy management is limiting access to a given area, as well as keeping the deer herd below its maximum potential carrying capacity. Sure someone benefits, but that someone is the few hunters left who have access to the property. The majority of the hunting public meanwhile, sees yet another posted area. One might also ask “what has the smaller party gained, and what has the larger party sacrificed,” the answer is depressingly uneven. The lucky few who still have access have boosted their chances at seeing larger deer, while the unlucky many have had their opportunity to hunt for ANYTHING it that area completely erased. New hunters can still be recruited in tougher hunting situations, the fact that anyone is taught to hunt in large woods areas bears that out. Nobody however, can be recruited by a piece of land they can’t even hunt in the first place.

Not only does such a scenario dampen recruitment efforts, but it also flies in the face of our modern conservation ethic. The North American model is supposed to provide for a scenario in which anyone can pursue game, game which belongs not to an individual, but to a society at large. While landowners are certainly within their rights to limit or grant access to their own property, the move of barring the entry of all other hunters so that one may see such an objectively smaller benefit, represents a selfish move that has little ethical standing in our cultural tradition of open access. It’s certainly legal, as well it should be, but that does not make it right.

It’s also important to note that Trophy management is poised to become an even larger obstacle than it has been in the past, namely because many of the newcomers I know and see don’t really care much for antlers in the first place. For just about every person I have introduced to the sport so far, their primary concern is meat (and I believe that one is primarily interested in the camaraderie of the hunt). Robbing these newcomers of the chance to achieve their goals (which are justifiable as long as they are sustainable, which is why we have game agencies), is the exact wrong thing to do at this point.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dougfir wrote 11 weeks 6 days ago

Good point Dave, but I think it's more true in certain areas. I'm guessing it's a huge part of the equation in midwestern agricultural states, but here in the Champlain valley of NY, it's not getting any easier to access good land and that has nothing to do with qdm, or antler restrictions (neither is a part of our landscape). It has more to do with population growth, subdivisions/building/land being bought up by folks who don't care for hunting and a shrinking sense of community. I'm guessing this is true in other areas as well, probably more so, and I'd like to see our state agencies put some more thought and money into finding solutions. I hear stories about states who give substantial incentives to land owners who open up to hunting and I'd love to see more of that! I'd also like to see the hunting community play a bigger part in conserving open space.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wittsec wrote 11 weeks 5 days ago

Filling the freezer is by far the number one reason to hunt. Besides, how can you take pride in a trophy deer that has been tracked by others the entire year so that when you show up with your thousands they can take you to the deer and you shoot. That isn't hunting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jake58 wrote 11 weeks 3 days ago

Poaching has and always will be with us, but the big buck craze has been fed by the hunting video industry and QDMA. Over value of the deer rack to the point that people will do ridiculous things to get them. Like cutting off a deer head of a road kill and leaving the rest lay

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from SpringTex wrote 11 weeks 2 days ago

i find that it limits allot of hunting to the upper class. We see allot of that here in Texas.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from SeanGroves wrote 12 weeks 23 hours ago

I agree with the first poster, jjas.

Overall I think trophy deer management net/net is a positive, as from my experiences the numbers of those that are opposed are a small fraction from those who advocate it and champion it, which leads to them bringing others into it.

The absolute biggest issue that is causing a decline in hunter recruitment and retention is access to land, especially in some of the "better" deer states (Ohio, KY, IL, Iowa, TX, etc.). I live in Ohio, and public land during the shotgun season is nothing short of a crazed mess. During bow it isn't too bad, but the shotgun week it's a mess. Land prices to lease are easily $20+/acre, and forget about buying land that is tagged for hunting as prices will be $3-$5K/acre. Lots of "outfitters" are leasing up land and controlling those portions, and many farms are being bought up by private individuals that don't allow hunting, so it is very hard to find good land to hunt if you don't have friends/family with land.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Longrifle wrote 11 weeks 6 days ago

I feel a youth or beginning hunter should be able to kill any buck as they see fit. Here in PA antler restrictions do not apply to youth hunters, I think that is very good. If game departments set science based minimum size restrictions on whitetail bucks like they set on Elk out west I also see no problem with that. Same rules for everyone. This should not have a negative effect on retention.

My problem is with all of the "sports" who shoot any little buck year after year just to brag they got a buck. Shooting a little buck every year while letting legal does walk is bs, especially where the buck to doe ratios are badly out of whack. It deprives real skilled hunters the opportunity to match wits with a mature animal. No skill required to kill a skipper. As the season progresses I watch all of the little bucks disappear(shot), doubtful they are all killed by kids and first timers. Meanwhile there are does everywhere.

I am really starting to like the idea of earn a buck by shooting a doe first, or drawing for a buck tag to perhaps get one every 3rd year.

These comments are aimed at suburban/rural/farm country areas that have overpopulation issues with deer.

Where deer populations are sparse I favor no doe hunting, any buck is legal.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

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