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Broken or missing antlers
I have been hunting whitetails a long time and in a lot of places. I have never seen as many deer with one antler or a broken antler as I did this year. I went back over my journal notes. Here in TN and in AL, I saw a total of 22-different bucks with broken or missing antlers. I know, it cannot all be due to competition. I saw some before the bachelor groups broke up and some the end of Dec., so , it was spread out.
I also saw a very strange buck-antler wise-killed in the next county. More than a non-typical, more of a cross between a whitetail and mulie or blacktail. And I saw the second largest typical I have ever seen in TN.
Odd year and now, lots of possums out and about in daylight.
'possums are always out looking for food, esp. once the weather breaks..... some antlers are broken when rubbing, not fighting antlers.... are dropping, but we still have a lot of snow, so it is hard to find 'em...... we do have another thaw starting tomorrow (Sat).... Been seeing some deer "diggings" in fields as they have been looking for food ...... I'll be out 'yote hunting at sun up ....
Never saw so many broken racks like this year.Blameing it on a huge ten point we have on camera.It's odd but all the right side racks are the broken ones.
What percentage is that of the bucks you saw in TN and AL?
And are the possums just out in the daylight or do you see them in the dark sometimes?
I had a lease on a property that the landowner was using the QDM recommendations to the T. This was 20 years back when it was "kill the does" mantra. We had gotten the ratio of Buck to Doe to like 1 to 2 or 1 to 1. Then we had the exact same thing you experienced...every buck had busted racks. The competition was so tight they eventually left the property and no bucks came searching on our property for does. Needless to say that didn`t last long
You didn’t get a wild herd to a one to one ratio and I would bet not even two to one
Both the possums and the broken antlers are an interesting observation. Do you think the possums may in some way be spending their extra hours awake gnawing n the antlers for calcium more than in the past which would account for more antler issues?
Another option may be that the sound of all the antlers breaking is keeping the possums awake during the day so they are up and about. nature is a funny thing........I am sure there are lots of things we don't understand and can only speculate on
I was kinda thinking, the possums may have been just extra horny. (1) I know it is not increased competition. Too many does. (2) All were in TN and AL but across two counties in TN in four different places including my backyard where the buck:doe ratio is probably 1:4. (3) Very unusual to see a possum in daylight around here. However, the unicorn sightings have increased since my G-daughter started breeding white ones. (4) I believe Bou hit it. All this cold weather, due to global warming has caused the antlers to freeze and break with a loud crack. And we all know how possums and men hat a loud crack.
Actually, I had a biologist explain it to me. he said I was seeing more single antlered deer because more bucks had only one horn.
I saw four nice bucks out back this am and one had the left side broke off and 2 others had several tines broken off. The biggest was chasing a small doe around the field with his nose up her rear end ! Could be they are still fighting and the antlers are getting older and more brittle at this time in the year .
In a hunt just above the Mexican border in NM in a drought year, almost every buck we saw had some kind of break. It had been a bad year, never saw a fawn, and one young guy killed a buck that would have been over 190, but it had 4-5 breaks.
Could something have happened with nutrition to cause this?????
You must stay at a lot of Holiday Inn Expresses.
I know you are not ready to admit it , but what you are seeing is a direct result of TN lowering there buck limit and indeed more competition. It is just going to get better if they stick to there guns and keep lower bag limit .
The health of the deer herd is going to get better and better and you and I are going to start seeing more of those largest bucks we have ever seen in Tn .