Mandatory ARs designed to protect 1.5-year-old bucks ultimately change the age structure of bucks in the herd, allowing for increased opportunity to encounter bigger, older bucks. Fishermen adopted this concept years ago--catch a small fish and release it to grow bigger for another day. The concept has only just started to catch on in the deer hunting community, and I can't understand why anybody would be opposed to it. Meat hunter or trophy hunter, bigger, older bucks satisfy both parties in the form of antlers on the wall and more meat in the freezer. However, bucks don't get big if you don't let them grow! I do support a hunter's right to choose which buck he harvests, but I have a hard time believing that if a 100-pound yearling spike buck and a 150-pound 2.5-year-old 8 point buck were standing side-by-side that a majority of hunters would shoot the spike buck. Mandatory ARs facilitate that same choice without a side-by-side comparison.
That said, deer densities must be high enough to allow hunters multiple opportunities to harvest a buck for ARs to work in this manner. Therefore, ARs do not belong in areas that have low deer densities with little or no opportunity to harvest does. Where hunters are limited to buck-only regs, ARs would dramatically limit the harvest opportunities because they render an entire age class of bucks off-limits. As a meat hunter, I'm dead-set against that. For ARs to work, deer densities must be high enough to allow hunters plenty of opportunities to fill their freezers._