Antler restrictions

Discussion in 'Bowhunting Talk' started by okcaveman, Oct 7, 2013.

  1. okcaveman

    okcaveman Weekend Warrior

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    I want every bodies opinions on these.

    Personally I think that state imposed antler restrictions tend to cater to the more vocal minority of hunters who want a "trophy". In my opinion a states wildlife department should focus on heard health ( maintaining a healthy population as far as carrying capacity and ratios are concerned) and leave the " trophy" managing to private landowners.

    Also, I feel that short term, antler restrictions could be good, but I harvested a buck last year that with a 3 pt restriction, nobody would have chanced. It was a 6pt that scored 108 and change. It scored 105 even as a 4pt. According to jaw wear it was 4.5 yr old.
    Given enough time, bucks like this would become the "fittest" to survive and I feel that there will be more and more of these type animals out there.

    And for me, a 4.5 yr old buck is a "trophy" irregardless of how much it scores.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. wolvenkinde

    wolvenkinde Die Hard Bowhunter

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    I completely agree with your first statement. Michigans antler restrictions have done nothing positive towards improving the health of the herd here in the western U.P. - they have only put the crosshairs squarely on the highest potential, nice, young bucks that meet those restrictions. We now have more spikes, 3pts, and forks running around our property where as when 'QDM' first started we had many more small 'rack' bucks for our 1.5 year olds. Now after what must be around 8 years, sure we have more mature bucks with nice racks but they are older bucks with nice racks that don't have the potential to be much more than they are already. Those racks that have to potential to be huge are taken out when they are 2.5 years old(and still dumb) or maybe 3.5 yrs but barely making it to fully mature and full potential be cause they meet the requirements to be legal. The bucks that remain are the 1.5 and 2.5 or even 3.5 year olds that don't meet the standards...you can't tell me that leaving all the lesser potential racks in the gene pool and taking out the majority of the actual 'trophy' potential is not going to affect the future potential of the racks in the herd. A 2.5 year old fork or even 6pt without browtines and 9inch spread is never going to have the same potential as a 2.5 year old 6pr(w/brows) or 8pt with a 12-14inch spread and twice as much mass. These nice, easy to see, 5 to 8 pt racks are what are being harvested for 'meat' during the rifle season(when the majority of Michigans bucks are harvested) - not the borderline 5-6pt that the 3rd pts might not be the legal 1 inch to be counted but the ones that have he most potential....and obviously not the spikes or forks
    *few points I'll put out there:
    --I'll give you that at 1.5 years you never really know what a spike will turn out to be but I would rather put my money on the 6point of the same age.
    --QDM as is popular now with the restrictions should be named for what it is...an attempt at TDM(T=trophy)
    --antler restrictions do not contribute to 'health' of the herd - they only narrow down the number of younger bucks taken....health of a herd comes from keeping the population in balance with what the environment can provide/withstand.
    --perhaps this doesn't pertain to you guys with no snow(winterkill) but; taking out younger deer(yearling/1.5 year old) in the fall will help guarantee the survival of more older deer through the winter. The fact that those younger deer are usually the first ones to die of starvation or predation means that they will have taken food/browse out of the mouth of other deer that may or may not make it. If the deer is harvested before it gets to the winter yards it will not have eaten the food that may make the difference for another's survival...so instead of losing 2 deer you only lost one.
    --the states implementing the QDM/antler restrictions aren't doing it for healthy deer herds - they are doing it for more potential money from 'trophy' hunters.
    --the only way to get more trophy deer is to have the hunters letting the good 2.5,3.5 and 4.5 year olds get a pass so they can reach full potential...not by state mandating the number of points on a side...this only puts the those better bucks at the head of the line to getting shot by the average hunter. Let them fill their tags with spikes and forks and those better bucks have one less guy gunning for them. It should be a personal choice anyway.

    Think that is enough for now except to say; I like(maybe love) big bucks...I love hunting period...but I am going to fill my tags by the end of the season because the meat comes first(though I hate when it becomes something like job in late December - and mostly I do this with does), and I hate wasting the money spent on a tag. My top 3 bucks in my mind are far from the biggest I've shot...one of them I didn't even shoot(by choice - I spot and stalked him in his bed and crept to within 30yrds in open hardwoods). I can't stand the fact that nearly all the bucks that we(my brother and I) let go during the early bow season end up in someone elses freezer during the gun season and we end up watching the plethora of spikes and forks replace the 6s and 8s we used to have.

    btw - they used to call me the fork-horn king...I shot lots and lots of those little guys back in the day and if I could I would do it again.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2013
  3. Rutin

    Rutin Die Hard Bowhunter

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    I think they have a place and time.... maybe even restricted areas of the state. It's hard to manage for capacity when you have NO clue how many deer are in an area or in the state overall. Mother nature dictates the health and capacity enough as it is, we are merely helping or hurting the areas we hunt. IMO some regs are great while others hinder.

    Congrats on a trophy, I honestly think that's a GREAT deer to kill.
     
  4. CoveyMaster

    CoveyMaster Grizzled Veteran

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    We have a point (pointless) restriction in MO too. Bucks have to have at least four scorable on at least one side. How the H E double hockey sticks is this supposed to help? Supposed to allow younger deer to survive but it only makes folks target the deer with the best potential...a younf 1.5-2.5 old 7 or 8 point has way more potential than a 4 or 5 year old 6 point...not to mention the young 12+'s.

    So yeah I totally agree the point restrictions are completely retarded. The states with the biggest bucks and best numbers have restrictions that work far better for trophy management, like draw system and limited tags or shotgun only firearms seasons. You cannot grant the "if it's brown it's down" gang to buy so many tags and kill two bucks a year each and make huge gains with an arbitrary and poorly structured point restriction.....it's really laughable.
     
  5. muzzyman88

    muzzyman88 Die Hard Bowhunter

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    I disagree. I believe antler restrictions have a significant impact on herd health and management. Think about it for a moment. If you allow any buck to be harvested each season, you're removing more of them, increasing the buck:doe ratio. However, if you allow the younger bucks to walk, and still harvest the same amount of antlerless deer, you're decreasing the buck:doe ratio because more bucks are still in the herd.

    I do believe that at some point, it will plateau and you will have a certain amount of bucks and never increase their numbers compared to the does. Of course you're always going to have the old bucks that never really get a "legal" rack. Outside of allowing kids and seniors to kill them, they'd die of old age. However, I think they are few and far between in general.

    But a balanced herd, with a healthy buck to doe ratio is the primary goal, or at least should be, of antler restrictions. The side effect of this is of course bigger rack bucks in general. I know in PA, we've seen an uptick of nicer bucks. Not booners by midwest standards, but solid bucks since they implemented the system years ago. It's honestly getting to the point in PA where we no longer find ourselves wanting to go to the midwest to hunt "trophy bucks" because we're finding them more and more right here.

    I understand the guys who are simply meat hunting. Why not harvest an extra doe instead if its allowed?
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2013
  6. wolvenkinde

    wolvenkinde Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Hey - I'd be all about a single buck tag and readily available doe tags, or a hunters choice tag allowing the harvest of either...however they don't allow rifle hunters to harvest does here. Another thing is whether we shoot them or not the bucks are the first 'mature' deer that succumb to winterkill due to the fact that they expend so much of their energy/reserves during the rut. Sure antler point restrictions can help in areas, but there are more sound management options to keep a herd healthy...and to say what works in PA or IA is going to work the same in the UP, Northern MN and WI or out west is absurd. The other thing is - wouldn't you end up with the same amount of bucks left in the herd if you simply restrict guys to one tag or one buck only?....whether you kill a 3 or 8 point you are still taking that one buck out of the buck-to-doe ratio. After 3 years when all the bucks that were not legal to kill the first 2 years are now legal...they make up a significant part of the herds ratio. I am betting success rates are staying pretty even with the norm by then and therefor you are not benefitting the ratio anymore with the point restrictions. Another thing is - who says that more bucks to does is better? People who want to harvest bigger bucks do. One buck can breed many does and when there is more competition among bucks there is more fighting and therefor more injury and energy expended by those bucks...leading to higher mortality(whether from wounds suffered, predations due to weaker/less energy, or winterkill). It is all about policies that bring more money to the states and also the outdoors businesses/industry...big trophy bucks = big bucks period. I am not saying that money into the economy and for the states wildlife divisions is bad...but call it what it really is => Business - not wildlife ecology.
     
  7. uncljohn

    uncljohn Weekend Warrior

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    A button or spike is the dumbest deer in the woods. And they carry the genes from the "trophy" deer.
     
  8. wolvenkinde

    wolvenkinde Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Not if I have been essentially hand-feeding that 8 point since it was a fawn(just giving him the pass till he's big enough to hang on the wall). Also a button is not considered an antlered deer - at least not legally for harvest in MI(nor most other states as far as I know)...and there are not hardly any 1.5 year old spikes that will reach the same 'trophy' potential as a 1.5 year old 6pt could.
     
  9. tynimiller

    tynimiller Grizzled Veteran

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    I am a huge advocate of them. It's impossible to teach people to age deer on hoof to protect yearling deer *easily and to the mass hunting communities in any given state (bucks specifically since that's the discussion). So APR's are the best and easiest way to ensure their protection and an older healthy deer herd occurs. I 100% disagree with a 8 score able point restrictions some face. 3 on one side is the most I'd go....I'd even be willing to have a 2 point one side rather than not have one, at least then the spike yearlings would be protected.

    Now in my state which used to be a two buck state before switching to one I know antler restrictions were probably discussed, however I never paid attention as I was younger than and just loved hunting didn't care for how many I could shoot or caliber as I had a self imposed 8-points or wide as ear rule. That said, I'd love it if instead of a OBR Indiana would adopt a antler restriction to protect more yearlings...it's not all about trophy hunting at all either...shoot most 2 1/2 year olds aren't "trophies" yet like some are envisioning APR backers are trying to create. We simply want to encourage bucks to live their the first fawn season (usually buttons or small spikes) and that first yearling (1 1/2) season where they sport spikes, forks or basket 6's and 8's (so really some of them would die). It capitalizes on both sides of the argument if you place a 2 or 3 points on a side restriction in that honestly small racks will still be harvested and increase the "chances" of producing more mature bucks which may or may not result in the so called "trophy" bucks APR backers are after.

    Just my brief thoughts.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2013
  10. tynimiller

    tynimiller Grizzled Veteran

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    You do realize every state that has enlisted APRs has not experienced this loss of antlered harvests longer than one year? After that one year you have now just shifted the normal high yearling/fawn buck kills one year older...and now everyone in the woods sees more 2.5 year olds like they used to see 1.5 year olds.

    *The use of the word every is based on the states I've researched or heard from reputable sites/people on this matter...I in no way guarantee that 100% and please correct me if wrong with a link.
     
  11. gri22ly

    gri22ly Weekend Warrior

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    I'm a strong supporter of AR's but only if there done right. AR's are a very good tool to help even out buck/doe ratios and helps a greater number of bucks reach maturity. Point restorations are flawed to an extent. In some cases, it allows young bucks with great potential to be harvested prematurely. Spread limit AR's are the only way to go IMO, they allow for a lager number of bucks to reach maturity and reduces the effects of high grading tremendously.
     
  12. frenchbritt123

    frenchbritt123 Grizzled Veteran

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    "It's impossible to teach people to age deer on hoof to protect yearling deer." - Really? I am smarter than I thought.
     
  13. tynimiller

    tynimiller Grizzled Veteran

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    If you could guarantee everyone, and I mean everyone would do it, take the time to learn how to properly age and only shoot say 3 1/2 year old deer I'm all for it! But that isn't something everyone could do easily nor would some even bother or pay attention in classes, online tutorials or whatever else the state has to do to educate hunters....way to much of a challenge to have a full state of hunters hitting the woods knowing this approach. Shoot even I may accidently shoot a 2 1/2 sometime if this was the case as I don't bat a thousand when it comes to aging deer on hoof. I should have said it is impossible to educate the masses or the entire hunting community of a state easily enough to make it a practical way of managing what gets shot and what doesn't.

    Someone mentioned spread restrictions...again not nearly as cut and dry as point restrictions.
     
  14. wolvenkinde

    wolvenkinde Die Hard Bowhunter

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    It would be sort of nice to set something like a 'slot limit' as say no shooting 6pts but honestly where and how I hunt you don't often have the time or open view to make that determination when the deer present themselves. Also I would much rather shoot a 1.5-2.5 year old spike or fork to eat than a 2.5-3.5 year old 6-10 pt with a 14-17 inch spread...and definitely prefer to shoot for meat those deer that are younger than 3.5 years. I like tender steaks and backstraps much more than I enjoy sausage or hamburger or for that matter horns on the wall. The thing is a hunter should be able to make his own decision as to what he is going to shoot...if he wants to try for a trophy or good tender venison. I believe also that it is unfair for some/many guys who really don't have the time to hunt more than a couple days out of the year(no matter how much they would like to), don't have the numbers of deer, and don't have the luxury of saying that they can shoot a different buck on a different day.
    --Anyway, as I've said before - antler point restrictions have done nothing to help our hunting situation here on our property, nor on the public property I hunt out by the deer camp. I personally have no trouble filling my tags with does by bow, but our numbers of better bucks has definitely declined contrary to what the restrictions were supposed to facilitate.
     
  15. tynimiller

    tynimiller Grizzled Veteran

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    I can only speak for IN, but if a meat hunter than states need to encourage more doe harvests. Too many "meat" hunters I know don't shoot a single doe...ever. The worst part is no matter how you handle it some sect will always be unhappy, I few mild APR mixed with encouraged doe harvests (cheaper tags or what not) the best avenue for both worlds.
     
  16. ChuckC

    ChuckC Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Antler point restrictions are GREAT...if they're self imposed. No way should the state be dictating this IMO. I understand the idea that it helps let younger bucks walk but the fact is some young bucks with great potential will be shot and the lesser young bucks are the one's left to survive. The only thing point restrictions do is count points, it's up to the hunter to make the decision if the buck is old enough or worthy of a tag. Heck, what do you do when you have a 5 year old 4 or 5 pointer running around doing all your breeding....you take the management out of the hands of the people that can make that decision.
     
  17. Skywalker

    Skywalker Grizzled Veteran

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  18. uncljohn

    uncljohn Weekend Warrior

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    Where I live there is no such thing as a 1.5 y.o. 6pt.
     
  19. gri22ly

    gri22ly Weekend Warrior

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    I'm very lucky to hunt an area that had no restrictions and then implemented them. I got to see first hand and document the results.

    When there where no AR's the buck harvest was sad to say the list...30+ yearling bucks would fall each year and the doe harvest was very low also....rarely would you see a decent buck. This is what 300 gun hunters killed on a 2 day hunt during the rut.

    This is year 1 harvest pic's after implementing a 15" out side spread AR.

    [​IMG]

    This is year 3 harvest pic's after implementing a 15" out side spread AR. Not only has the quality of the buck harvest went way up, the doe harvest tripled also. This is what 300 gun hunters killed on a 2 day hunt during the rut.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Tell me one more time how bad AR's are....and how they don't work.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2013
  20. muzzyman88

    muzzyman88 Die Hard Bowhunter

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    I'm not sure I follow you. I never stated there would be a decline in buck numbers harvested. I said that at some point, you will plateau with the number of bucks to does in your herd. Which in my mind is a good thing and is the sustainability of herd balancing.

    I have a very good friend who's family owns a small piece of property north of me. Historically, if anyone at camp killed a buck at all, it was a big deal. Over the past couple of years, they've been getting better and better deer every season and now they're taking nice 8's every year. The surrounding properties also.

    AR's are a very good thing if done reasonably. 8 points is ridiculous however. 3 points to side seems to work well in PA.
     

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