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It all just age...
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
Bowriter 31-Dec-17
elk yinzer 31-Dec-17
1boonr 31-Dec-17
Genesis 31-Dec-17
Bowriter 31-Dec-17
WV Mountaineer 31-Dec-17
Shawn 31-Dec-17
LKH 31-Dec-17
Genesis 31-Dec-17
LINK 31-Dec-17
Bow Crazy 04-Jan-18
Bowriter 04-Jan-18
LKH 04-Jan-18
Bow Crazy 04-Jan-18
From: Bowriter
31-Dec-17
Think about this: According to the survey done by the QDMA, here are the top five states, percentage-wise of bucks 3.5-years or older that were killed. Now remember, this is the percentage of bucks, not percentage of the total kill.

MS-77%...TX 75%...AR 74%...LA 67%...OK 60%.

Notice, not a single Midwest state in the top five. But who books a trophy deer hunt in MS or LA or AR? I guess nutrition and genetics are as important as age. It is also important to know, these figures were taken according to bucks killed on land that allowed for the aging and record keeping to be done by folks who actually knew a little about what they were doing. In other words, managed land that I suppose, had some supplemental feeding on it. What I would have liked to have seen is the approximate antler measurement on average, relating to ages.

From: elk yinzer
31-Dec-17
The problem with surveys is that they are hardly ever accurate. Pretty sure you've said that yourself. I don't think you'll find many guys argue your premise though. Soil and age grow big bucks. Genetics...that's where you'll find your arguments, but does it really matter anyway? I've studied some maps and there is a significant correlation between soil quality and book entries. You'll see MS, LA, AR all have clusters of entries in the counties with the fertile Loess soils near the Mississippi River. My guess is there are guys that indeed do book "trophy deer hunts" in these areas, but just due to marketing hype and generally being down in the deep South, those areas will never approach the popularity of the classic Midwest bowhunting destinations. Heck with what I know about Southern hunting culture those "trophy deer hunts" down there seem to be over feeders or chased by hounds. To each their own but that's not going to appeal to a guy looking to sit a rut funnel in the Midwest in November.

One related statistic I really want to know is percentage of bucks entered into record books broken down geographically. You look at book entries, and they are so highly concentrated in the Midwest, you have to ask yourself, is a guy in Wisconsin just more likely to enter his eligible bucks? I would roughly guesstimate maybe 10% tops of the P&Y eligible bucks in PA are entered. Whatever that rate is, I doubt it is uniform nationwide, and that would skew any attempt to conduct a realistic analysis of these statistics correlating book entries to soil fertility.

From: 1boonr
31-Dec-17
Age is very subjective when calculated by the average hunter. I got a guy around here that shoots two bucks every year that score between 120 and 140 but he always tells people they were 8 or 9 years old. That is the new thing for guys who want to shoot a high scoring buck but can’t, they just shoot a low scoring buck and say it was old

From: Genesis
31-Dec-17
With no tagging system statewide,their Data must've come from DMAP programs or private club stats.NO WAY 77% of bucks killed in MS are 3 1/2 years or older.

I will go on record to say the same stands for LA and AR.

QDMA data collection and sampling methods??? Guessing?Coffee shops and pro shops?

From: Bowriter
31-Dec-17
Exactly, Genesis. Most were DMAP, the rest private clubs. I thought I made that clear. But the point I was making is that all this hype about letting them grow on more year is entirely subjective. A 5.5-year old buck in my state if TN is not going to be the same as one in the Midwest. Age, is just one factor.

31-Dec-17
Yep. In some areas it is a huge factor. In other areas it isn't. That goes for areas within states. Much less different areas throughout this country. However, there are people that just don't care. They think there are huge bucks in the midwest because a lot of it is a one buck limit. Well, most of the huge buck areas are not a one buck limit state for residents. Yet, they believe the hardwoods will grow them like the midwest. To ignorant of soil's role in it. To set in their wants to realize that harvested agriculture fields supplement the deer when they need it best. Not aware that winter feed is very, very, very important in horn growth, etc..... To them, they want a food plot and the ability to approve what their neighbor kills. It's pure greed really.

From: Shawn
31-Dec-17
Even if they were private clubs I would still doubt that but I have heard stranger things. Age and good quality soil with good crops make for big deer. Shawn

From: LKH
31-Dec-17
I've got a 90" 8 point buck from MN that was 6.5 years old. The teeth were sent in and aged. Put that in the stat's.

From: Genesis
31-Dec-17
We ran a 6,000 acre DMAP club in our county in MS (still not one PY entry) and we probably educated and trained our hunters to shoot 50% over 2 1/2. We shot our does like a good soldier and after 12 years had ONE gun killed buck that went over 140 (gross with cheap small NT POINTS) Health and dressed weights improved though.

The rest of the county was probably 10% larger than a Coues ha.

Now in other areas along the Big Black or along the Mississippi River clubs with extreme management (think $250,000 -500,000 membership ) they are mustering 160 gross and every five years over 170 gross.

These soils are heavy and acid neutral but still the subspecies just will not allow genetic expression as seen in the Midwest.

I have a good friend who owns 2 500k memberships and just bought land in Illinois.

From: LINK
31-Dec-17
I’m from Oklahoma and guide in Kansas and Texas too. I would say the age structure in Kansas is that of deer older than Oklahoma. I would also say Texas has multiple buck tags and a 3 month rifle season. I really doubt the info in that survey can pass a straight face test.

From: Bow Crazy
04-Jan-18
QDMA gets the age estimates from the state's DNRs. The information is as accurate as each state agency can get. Certainly not a made up number or guess from the coffee shop, come on!

Here in Wisconsin our property is part of DMAP. We do a bunch of measurements for the WI DNR including saving the jawbone and submitting a tooth for aging. My guess is DMAP in WI is only one way where our state's information comes from.

FYI, Wisconsin's percentage of bucks harvested by age class: 1/5 yr olds - 55%, 2.5 yr olds - 28%, 3.5+ yr olds - 17%. Much better than it use to be, seems to be somewhat flat over the last years, there is a lot of room for improvement.

QDMA's 2018 Whitetail Report is coming out soon! BC

From: Bowriter
04-Jan-18
I was involved with 21,000-acre plantation in AL for over 25-years. They had 26-years of data on every deer killed including age, live weight, dressed weight, antler measurements and even some parasite info. The bucks were strictly managed. To be a "shooter", buck had to have eight points and at least 16" inside spread. Probably 85% of the bucks killed were 2.5 or older. Probably less than 30, in 26-years, measured over 135". Top bow kill was 142 and change, top gun kill was 165 and change. Oh, we also had 200+ food plots. We worked with Auburn University and provided all data to DNR. Our data was 5X better than theirs. Auburn used us for many of their studies. Probably the most comprehensive harvest data in the Southeast, maybe the country. Over 4,000 deer killed in the 26-years of management. All treated exactly as described above.

From: LKH
04-Jan-18
Bowriter Great info. Probably the best lesson for all of us is that "trophy" is relevant. You simply can't kill what's not there.

From: Bow Crazy
04-Jan-18
My point wasn't that the states DNRs info is perfect, my point was that QDMA gets the best information that they can from the best sources they can. The state DNRs are one of them. We don't head to the closest bar, coffee shop, pro shop, etc. and get the information for all the "Bar Stool Biologist" sitting around. BC

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