Contributors to this thread:
I hate point restrictions...
Here is the big dud turned. I have many legal bucks found but this dude is a great deer with crappy antlers... I am certain day 1 he will walk past me at 20 yards and I might cry a little...
Here is the big dud turned. I have many legal bucks found but this dude is a great deer with crappy antlers... I am certain day 1 he will walk past me at 20 yards and I might cry a little...
I fully understand why people might like them, but as a hunter who is not interested in score but just finding a mature animal, they are stupid and a pain in the butt... I have several deer scouted this summer for one of my tags that are either clean 3x3s of a funky spikex3 that are big bodied mature bucks. I would shoot all of them in a heart beat with my bow. However since they are not 4 points or better on one side they are given a free pass and I will likely end up shooting a smaller buck with enough point.
Here is a photo from last weekend. Notice how big the larger buck is... Huge body, had a scared up face, and a great frame. First time I saw him I was pretty excited. Especially since he was so much bigger than the other buck he was with...
Then all the sudden he turned his head. This buck is only a 2x2 with 1 eye guard no stickers, no trash. He is huge however. Sadly the little buck is legal in the pic and he is not. I am willing to bet someone put the hammer on him and when they see what he is, they let him lay and waste. Or if he does live he will not have much competition and will make a whole new generation of giant 2 points... At any rate I am just frustrated at the silly rules that will only ensure we have lots of little bucks.
Yup. Antler restrictions should be x points or x spread or x mass or x pounds on the hoof or something else to allow for any mature deer to be taken.
That is truly a downside to antler restrictions. AR has definitely helped the quality and age structure here in my neck of the woods though. I would rather have them than not. The buck below is obviously mature, but off limits where I hunt.
You talking Colorado tags? Deer antler restrictions have been gone for years. Fire at will.
Any buck with 5" antlers is legal.
Three on top where I hunt. There is a bunch of ugly mature bucks that get to do all the breeding. I've seen more mature four and six points the last couple of years than I ever saw before AR. Junior hunters get to shoot any buck with three inch horns in Pa. I wish they would let you shoot off some of them second Archery season and flintlock season making any buck legal.
If you need deer meat perhaps you can get an antlerless tag or two.
Over a period of time, I believe it will be proved that AR's are actually detrimental. Over time, it leads to killing the very best deer genetically, when they are young and have not bred enough does. To me, that is just common sense. If your goal is to advance the best deer by another yr, combine points and spread, (6 & 16"). Just points is foolish. Two WMA's in MS are now finding that the overall measurements of their buck's antlers is declining and they attribute it solely to AR's.
In Colorado, they basically came to the conclusion that the 3 points or better antler restriction on deer wasn't accomplishing anything positive.
On elk, our 4pt restriction has improved age class. Restricting bowhunters probably isn't worth it since we take so few bulls, but it won't be changing. Spike elk are great for bowhunters but they get a pass.
I read the comments thus far with surprise, as so many (especially on AT) are pro-APR because they have been brainwashed that it is THE answer. Here in Michigan, many are seething because mandatory APR's was shot down at the last minute in the southern part of the state by the DNR/NRC. QDM folks are completely convinced that the only way to get an older age spread (IE bigger antlers) is to pass a certain class of deer. However as aptly pointed out in this thread, some young deer with excellent potential are killed while still young as they meet the minimum APR and some deer with far less potential are protected to pass along their genetics again and again. If Alaska can mandate and enforce a 50" width or minimum brow points on moose, the lower 48 should be able to figure out a workable combo system of spread plus points or whatever to achieve their management goals. The Bowsite is a breath of fresh air......in a very stuffy overall environment.
I agree with Bowriter. It only makes sense.
Three years ago a 5x5 elk walk past me at 40 yards and both of his brows were snapped off, in MT I believe the regs still state you can't shoot him if he doesn't have 4 inch brow tines.
Undoubtedly they are catering to lowest common denominator. To be quite frank hunters aren't the brightest demographic. Managers are assuming hunters can count, however they are likely not very confident in hunters ability to make a more complex decision.
Yup, shoot off all the young, good genetic four points and let the big old two and three points rule the gene pool.
This is in WY. Residents in this area have bought into the idea that this will really help overall deer quality. Sadly I argued with some on the issue and brought up several examples as to how the point restriction will not achieve the end result.
On antler point restrictions, I have one simple question. How are you going to have more big bucks if all you do is force people to only shoot big bucks? As an example I would drop that big fork horn in a heartbeat.
I have seen units in WY where they had a 4 point or better restriction. It is a better unit with lower tag numbers. The point restriction were dropped over a decade before I first hunted it. When I had the tag I looked at a ton of bucks. It was obvious that the 3 point gene was strong. I would have to check my notes. I think I shot the 87th buck on that hunt it was one of only 3 that had a true 4 points each side. Ultimately every other buck was crabbed clawed etc.
In this particular unit, youth can shoot any buck. Sadly my daughter is not able to hunt until next year. Maybe the freaks will be even bigger next year?
In my sample picture those are 2 entirely different deer. Not even in the same game.
Where I hunt in eastern CO there is an "outfitter" antler point effect. Everything is leased and outfitted except the ranch where I hunt. Guys paying $7K (mostly NRs) want to shoot a "decent" 4x4. So do resident hunters on the few ranches that arent leased.
I've had this discussion in person with the area CPW warden and he agrees with what I've seen over the past 12 years - that we are selecting for large 2X, 2x3, 3X4 bucks in the gene pool by rifle hunters shooting the 4x4 bucks.
The early December rifle hunt is like stealing since the mature bucks are out in the open with the does. He wants to cut back rifle buck tags, but the lead biologist told me last week The CPW doesn't care about antler size, only buck-doe ratio. The ratio is good, but mature 4x4 bucks are becoming scarcer every year.
I shot a mature 2X3 last year. I believe that's all he'll ever be. There were a ton of those type bucks breeding the does during the rut. We need a reverse restriction for a few years, but that will never happen.
APRs have been tried on muleys all over the west with about the same results. A temporary increase in bucks, a long term failure to improve quality or ratios and eventually negative effects of targeting mature genetically superior bucks while allowing genetically inferior bucks grow old.
Limited harvest and pressure is the only real solution to improve muley hunting.
On the other side of the coin, there were no big bucks in Pennsylvania for decades until they implemented AR. It was amazing how quickly people were taking nice bucks and still are years later. It worked in Pennsylvania.
In the early '80's I hunted the Steens unit in OR. Had a 4 point or better for rifle muley hunters. Archery could kill any buck. The place had numerous monster 2 and 3 point bucks. Many were near or over 30". It finally got to the point where they were adversely affecting the gene pool and it was dropped.
Archery hunters couldn't take enough deer to control the big 2/3's.
And some of the best mule deer units in the west (Henry's and Pauns in UT) have management deer hunts specifically targeted to take out mature deer that aren't 4x4's.
Little 3 pointer
Little 3 pointer
Is it really anyone's business the number of point son the animal I chose to harvest, given the opportunity?
Mandatory 3 or 4 on a side is pretty short sighted stuff. How about jawbone extraction to tell how old they really are?? Would tell you a lot about those sub-standard bucks that seem to passed on just because their antlers don't meet some head hogs idea of a mature, healthy deer. Oh yes those 3-4 point per side 1 1/2 yr olds with the best "antler" genetics will get dropped first.
Another sub-standard 6 point, too little to harvest
This is only a partially serious idea, but what about a "rebate" or lower price on next year's tag if you harvest a buck over a certain age? This likely wouldn't be feasible on a state-wide scale, but certain units could benefit. It would allow people to shoot whatever makes them happy, but also encourage taking older deer. I believe some states/tags already require you to submit a tooth sample anyway.
SteveB.... you are absolutely correct. What it has also done, is get damn near every acre of private land posted! At least in the part of the state, I'm from.
I like the post by Jaquomo, that is somewhat a rarity for me.
I live in Pa. And they are shooting big bucks in the mountains but I think it has a lot to do with killing off 50% of the does by increasing the number of doe tags leaving more food. Also the number of hunters going to the mountains to hunt have dropped letting some of the bucks to get older. Where I hunt there are way too many hunters and a lot of your 1/12 year old bucks are 8 points. Those are the ones getting killed. Every year I see a bunch of little bucks and you'd think the next year they'd be legal but it's the same every year. . I've been hunting over 50 years and I haven't seen a increase in mature bucks since AR, if anything I've seen less mature bucks.
I'm with SteveB. I grew up hunting in Pennsylvania. You RARELY saw a buck older than a year and a half get harvested. ARs have tremendously improved the age class and now you legitimately have the opportunity to kill something bigger than a spike or a forkhorn.
I get that they aren't for everyone and not everyone cares about killing big bucks. I also get that some young bucks with great potential will get killed early, but that was happening anyway. I do wish there were other criteria that would let hunters harvest deer with poor genetics who never would get bigger than a six point, but that relies on your hunting public knowing an awful lot about age structure and judging deer on the hoof and that's just not gonna happen.
Point restrictions are the devil!
I'm not sure I buy into the high grading argument. Especially for mulies, as there isn't generally a lot of the does killed.
If you kill the bucks with 4x genetics, but NEVER kill a doe, many of which could carry 4x genetics. Then how are you high grading?
By and large it has really helped in PA. Every place is unique, though and we have otherwordly hunter densities compared to Western states. In the last few decades of the 20th century upwards of 90% of bucks were being killed before their second birthday. And I am not a trophy hunter by any means. Sure a small percentage of mature bucks slip through the cracks without ever being legal, but I choose to see the net benefits which is a better age structure and healthier herd. The places it isn't working quite to the intended degree are the farm and woodlots with small properties like my hometown area of Western PA. Many yearlings there are 8 points and pretty much all bucks are legal by 2 there. Still a lot of the mentality there to shoot the first legal buck and they get whacked. Only real solution there is to own a lot of land or cooperate with the neighbors.
I don't buy the genetics argument one bit. It would take hundreds of years and very minimal intermixing of populations to effect antler configurations to any scientifically discernible degree. Remember does carry 1/2 the genes for antler configuration too.
IMO...APR's do not work where you have large mixes of private/public land for several reasons. Plus there is the issue of increased disease transmission under APR's. I'm of the opinion controlling hunter numbers and buck/doe harvest is more conducive to a healthier deer heard than APR's. States that sell unlimited OTC licenses tend to have alot of hunters going after the deer herd whereas states that control hunters/harvest without APR's seem to do better. Iowa and Kansas quickly come to mind. I guess I'm traditional too.....I don't like someone else telling others what a "trophy" deer is. That should be in the eye of the hunter.
Yes....Mississippi got rid of their long running APR rule due in part to high grading. Miss State U Deer Lab did a comprehensive study on the subject and identified some pros and cons of APR's. The cons I guess were too much for the state.
I have the latest Pennsylvania Hunter statewide surveys. The majority of the hunters surveyed like APR's even though the same PA hunters surveyed are dissatisfied with what they see in buck quality and numbers. The numbers from the PGC reports show something like 11.25% of the total buck harvest is 3.5 or older. The other 87-88% is 2.5 and below. They have a mature APR program too. The hunter success rate averages something like 18%. I think the PGC has mismanaged their deer herd under the guise of QDM but that is another topic. These reports and surveys are at the PGC website so anyone can read them and see what the PA hunters are saying across the state.
Bake, they do kill a lot of does in our area. Since outfitters sell bucks, mostly to NRs now that they significantly increased the outfitter vouchers from the general pool, the only deer the ranchers, families and locals get to shoot are does (after the paying hunters leave). Its big money. My 218 buck from 2002 would be a $15,000 deer today.
That's how the buck-doe ratio stays within objective. There are two rifle seasons, one in October and one in December. They basically give out unlimited doe tags since the buck success rate is very high. The warden agrees that this has been a gradual progression over a 15 year period as the outfitting exploded.
Last year in my spot there were two bucks over 170", a couple mid-size, and a ton of big 2x, 2x3 and 3x4. A dozen years ago 150-170 were the "mid-size" that we passed up.
^ Funny how selling game meat is strictly against the ethos in North America but somehow over the years it became ok to sell a shot at a set of trophy antlers for $15k. Can you say illogical? Said it before, I'll say it again....trophy hunters pose a bigger threat to hunting than PETA.
Elk Yinzer makes somewhat of a valid point. A survey taken a few years ago of non-hunters, let me emphasize, non-hunters, not anti-hunters showed that something like 80% of the ones surveyed were opposed to trophy hunting. However, almost that same percentage, had no problem at all with hunting for the meat. So, yes, trophy hunters do pose a significant threat. This is compounded by the glorification of trophy hunting on television. Add to that, the selective breeding of "trophy" animals just so they can be killed.
On another note but perhaps related: On another site, I have become somewhat embroiled in a discussion about the use of the word "harvest" to replace "killing". I do not use "harvest" when referring to killing a game animal. Non-hunters are not stupid. They know what you did. I also do not field dress, I gut. I will not insult a non-hunter by making a p.c. statement about what I am and what I do. Just my opinion.
I can't fathom paying $15,000 to shoot a deer. My wife would have me institutionalized before she divorced me.....and then take the $15K mount with her.
Bowriter and elk yinzer, spot on!
I have no problems with the guy that holds out for what they perceive as a "trophy" animal, just don't make me do the same. I much more enjoy the meat as opposed to the antlers and spike bucks/bulls provide more, and often better meat than mature does, along with less effect to overall herd numbers, should that be a concern in a given area.
See Jaq, that's why I don't try to tell other states how to do it. :). I didn't tlknow that many does were taken
Elk Yinzer makes somewhat of a valid point. A survey taken a few years ago of non-hunters, let me emphasize, non-hunters, not anti-hunters showed that something like 80% of the ones surveyed were opposed to trophy hunting. However, almost that same percentage, had no problem at all with hunting for the meat. Bowriter and Elk Yinger you are very correct and on point.
911- 90% of the population doesn't hunt, really do care either way, 10 % hunt, 10 %of those who don't hunt are totally anti. So we need to work on the non-hunters and portray hunting in the best possible manner. Ethical, morally straight and not in it just for antlers , big bear skulls, etc. I have converted countless people on the fence in favor of hunting just by sharing meat. It also can peer pressure the antis to shut up in the right circumstances (e.g. everyone loves the chili, jerky, filets, leather gifts, stories, etc. why are you such a jerk Mr. kale eater...)
I'm in western Pa and I disagree with SteveB.
"On the other side of the coin, there were no big bucks in Pennsylvania for decades until they implemented AR. It was amazing how quickly people were taking nice bucks and still are years later. It worked in Pennsylvania."
No big bucks? Ewwww. That statement is unequivocally untrue and reeks of a good brainwashin'. I'd be careful with that.
Overall, statewide, are there more mature bucks present, evenly dispersed, and killed each year? Yeah, I suppose, but that is a HUGE consideration to try to be objective about.
I saw a LOT of mature bucks before the change in antler restrictions. In fact, I saw more than I do now... but I won't make a statewide assessment based on what I've witnessed in my little world. Not all areas had the same problem requiring the same 'fix'.
I have also seen huge adult 4 and 6 point bucks killed following the change. Never saw that before here. Results of high grading? Maybe. Maybe coincidence. We'll see.
RE PA. It was not the AR that made the difference. In fact,it was a faulty move in some aspects. All an AR did was reduce the number of bucks killed. As a result, more bucks advanced an age class. Therefore more and more older bucks seen. That could have been done just as easily without removing better genetics by simply reducing bag limit or closing alternating zones on alternating dates. The sad bi-product of an AR is the number of deer left in the woods unreported. I can find no viable data that would support an antler point form of restriction on public land or statewide.
Bowriter. What happens under APR's is the hunting pressure shifts from all age classes and concentrates on the bucks with 3pt/4pt or better, or whatever APR used. That means of the total buck harvest, hunters are filling tags on are some 1.5's and many 2.5's with a few 3.5+ mixed in. Whereas before the total buck harvest (ie, tags filled) was spread out over all age classes. The total buck harvest will drop because of the restriction. As PA shows, the 2.5's became the old 1.5's. Within the reduced total buck harvest in PA, the 2.5's get pounded pretty hard. I have one of their 2011 reports and it indicates approx 75% of the reduced total buck harvest is comprised of 2.5's.
The MSU study showed when the total buck harvest in Mississippi's APR program focused on the older, genetically superior bucks and removed them from the herd, the study found the antler size went down because many of the younger or inferior older bucks left did the breeding. That is the high-grading effect. If anyone hasn't read it, below is the study discussing the pro/cons of APR's.
As I mentioned above, when looking at the states that seem to do pretty good with their whitetail deer herd (many non-APR states), I'm of the opinion their method of controlling the number of deer hunters and/or deer harvest thru a draw is the most successful pathway for deer management. In general, IMO unlimited OTC tags (hunters) is great for the DNR or F&G Dept's revenue intake of the states that do unlimited OTC tags, but it's not so good for the herd. I believe loss of revenue is why those state DNR/F&G Dept's avoid or refuse going to a draw and continue with unlimited OTC tags. It's going to be up to the hunters to decide what they want their deer herd to be....not the DNR or F&G Dept. Otherwise, addiction to revenue drives some wildlife management decisions and it is difficult to break that cycle.
Biologically it has been found to not work.....there are several peer reviewed journals on the subject.
JL-dead on. Some time ago, U wrote a column pointing out that an AR was discriminatory. It discriminated on the meat hunter, penalizing him for the benefit of the horn hunter. I said it was illegal because the deer belong to all citizens and this was not a biologically sound measure. It was meant as joke. But a friend of mine, a retired judge with many years on a state Supreme Court bench, said I was probably right and if hunters brought suit, they could win. Made me think, I better start being careful with my jokes.
This is an excerpt from an article I did on AR's. It pretty much points out my objections.
A Simplistic Look At Antler Restrictions: This is just my opinion, some biologists agree, some don’t. But this is what I see as a problem with an AR. The most common is a points on one side AR. Usually, either three or four points on one side to be legal.
Okay. First, understand this. All bucks begin as button bucks but not all button bucks become spikes. A buck fawn may be a spike his first year depending on when he was fawned-quite common. Now, stay with me. In a good nutritional year, it is also not at all uncommon for the genetically superior male deer to have six or even eight points with their first set of hard antlers. I have many pictures of just such deer. So we have a 1.5-yr. old buck that is legal to shoot. If we shoot him, we are removing the superior genetics from the population. This is called high-grading. Obviously, it would take a few years to determine the impact.
Now let’s go to problem number two, possibly the greater problem. What does the hunter do, under a four points on one side law, when he reaches his buck and realizes he only has three or under a three point rule, realizes it is a spike. You can clearly see the door that opens.
I am in favor of antler restrictions but only one type and only on private land. I favor a points AND a spread restriction. That will protect over 90% of your bucks under 2.5-yrs. But I would strongly oppose it as a state mandate or anywhere other than a WMA or on private land where it can be monitored and enforced.
By far, the most effective method of balancing both the sex and age strata in a deer herd is in hunter education and cooperation. Statewide, I am not sure that is even possible. But we have come a long way from, “A real hunter will only kill a buck
A friend a number of years ago shot a 3x3 in SE KS that weighed 320 before field dressing.
I think non hunters are clueless to what is trophy hunting.
The more that I read some of these post the less I know.
I am in favor of point restrictions and seen it in the East with great success. Game management has the responsibility to determine seasons and tag limits to make it work.
Anti hunters need no propaganda since their concept is based on flawed logic. We will rue the day when they use words posted on these forums against us. Today is ruled by opinions not fact. Anything can happen in the court of law.
People want bigger, mature bucks. People don't want others to tell them what they can and cannot shoot. The two viewpoints are not compatible.
I know the reasons APR were put in place in some areas of Wyoming were to boost the population in lower age class bucks. As a result we have better population numbers in those areas and buck/doe ratios increased along with fawn /doe ratios. So they work when used correctly for only a few years. The data is there from G&F, counts this past winter were the most accurate they have done in years due to winter conditions, animals were very visible and easy to count.
They tell me that you can't affect genetics in a wild herd. If true, you can't high grade in a wild herd.
Here's why I think APRs are better than what we have now in MN. 1. All the nice 8 point and better yearlings are getting shot now anyways. They are not doing any breeding or very little breeding now. 2. APR will actually give them a chance to survive. Hunters will actually have to get a good look at their rack and count points before they kill them which will give them a chance to live another year. 3. Does also are a contributor to a bucks future quality. 4. Yearling antler size does not determine their future potential. 5. What we have now (killing most of the yearling bucks) is not working. There are few quality animals to hunt.
APR can be bad when the states bow to something that allows young bucks to still be harvested.I think the reasoning is probably once they get to a certain age structure most of the older bucks just don't get killed.Do you kill every 5.5 yr old buck on the land you hunt?I doubt it,most are lucky to see one.But eventually you will start seeing more because there are more
One thing with APR's....the pool of legal bucks hunters can fill their tag with gets smaller. All of the harvest pressure shifts to those legal APR bucks. Many hunters only have a short time to hunt or have to drive somewhere to hunt. The tendency for many is to shoot the the first legal APR buck at the beginning of their hunt or at the end of their hunt if they don't see a bigger buck just so they don't eat tag soup. They can always shoot a doe but even that has consequences to the pipeline's future if hunters take too many. Anyway, that means those legal 1.5 and 2.5 and even 3.5 bucks are removed from the pipeline because that is all the hunters are allowed to put their tags on. It's even worse with unlimited harvest pressure.
The other thought is how the state's bio's collect harvest data. That can be a topic in itself. The states are not standardized on how the wildlife bio's collect harvest data. Some do mandatory check-in, some do voluntary check-in, some do voluntary check stations, some do online check-in, some do surveys only and so on. The caveat even to that is what the wildlife bio's want to glean from the data they get.
Then there is the APR disease transmission issue....
Most of the area I know with APR will not allow doe hunting. Numbers from our areas show APR increased the younger buck population not hurt it . That is why it was lifted after only a couple of years. During it we saw an increase in true mature bucks, nicer racked bucks too, being harvested. Now we have an increased population and more bucks to harvest.