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QDM works
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
JSW 15-Feb-21
Pat Lefemine 15-Feb-21
gobbler 15-Feb-21
JL 15-Feb-21
JSW 15-Feb-21
drycreek 15-Feb-21
Grey Ghost 15-Feb-21
Missouribreaks 15-Feb-21
JSW 15-Feb-21
Ollie 15-Feb-21
JL 15-Feb-21
t-roy 15-Feb-21
Missouribreaks 15-Feb-21
Missouribreaks 15-Feb-21
Pat Lefemine 15-Feb-21
JL 15-Feb-21
Missouribreaks 15-Feb-21
JL 15-Feb-21
drycreek 15-Feb-21
Bou'bound 15-Feb-21
Missouribreaks 15-Feb-21
LKH 15-Feb-21
WV Mountaineer 15-Feb-21
drycreek 15-Feb-21
DanaC 15-Feb-21
Shiloh 15-Feb-21
t-roy 15-Feb-21
JL 15-Feb-21
Rupe 16-Feb-21
One Arrow 16-Feb-21
Missouribreaks 16-Feb-21
Bow Crazy 16-Feb-21
MQQSE 16-Feb-21
goyt 16-Feb-21
12yards 16-Feb-21
JL 16-Feb-21
Rupe 17-Feb-21
Missouribreaks 17-Feb-21
joehunter 17-Feb-21
Dale06 17-Feb-21
Squash 17-Feb-21
Will 17-Feb-21
Pat Lefemine 17-Feb-21
Pat Lefemine 17-Feb-21
Molson 441 17-Feb-21
Pat Lefemine 17-Feb-21
JSW 17-Feb-21
Pat Lefemine 17-Feb-21
Bou'bound 17-Feb-21
gobbler 17-Feb-21
gobbler 17-Feb-21
gobbler 17-Feb-21
goyt 17-Feb-21
WV Mountaineer 17-Feb-21
Sivart 17-Feb-21
Squash 17-Feb-21
Missouribreaks 17-Feb-21
LKH 17-Feb-21
Rupe 17-Feb-21
Molson 441 17-Feb-21
Pat Lefemine 17-Feb-21
t-roy 17-Feb-21
JSW 17-Feb-21
APauls 17-Feb-21
gobbler 17-Feb-21
Missouribreaks 18-Feb-21
WV Mountaineer 18-Feb-21
Molson 441 18-Feb-21
gobbler 18-Feb-21
WV Mountaineer 18-Feb-21
gobbler 18-Feb-21
bigswivle 18-Feb-21
Bow Crazy 19-Feb-21
gobbler 20-Feb-21
Missouribreaks 20-Feb-21
Tonybear61 20-Feb-21
Missouribreaks 21-Feb-21
Realwarrior 28-Feb-21
Catscratch 28-Feb-21
From: JSW
15-Feb-21

JSW's Link
Pat recently submitted a post questioning whether or not Quality Deer Management is actually worth the trouble. Check out the 2019 annual deer report from QDMA and the National Deer Association. I've attached the link

Not that long ago over 50% of antlered bucks killed nationwide were 1 1/2 year old deer. in 2019 that number has dropped to 28% and a whopping 39% of all bucks killed were over 3 1/2 years old. More than a third of all bucks killed are mature, older deer. By any measure, the nationwide acceptance of Quality Deer Management has allowed us to kill older, which means bigger, bucks. Oh, and bigger bucks means more meat in the freezer too.

Is QDM worth the effort? Yes it is.

From: Pat Lefemine
15-Feb-21
Since you referenced me as making a gross generalization, let me restate that my question was qualified based on me practicing QDM in NY state where they have a 6 week rifle season with 2 buck tags. After 10 years of practicing QDM all of my neighbors say they are on board and they shoot 1.5 year olds every year. Every rack buck in my inventory that I passed was killed during the gun season.

Here in Ohio I would never question QDM. I practice it and all my neighbors have demonstrated they practice it too.

I am committed to QDM. My only point to my previous thread is: are there places where it really is pointless?

From: gobbler
15-Feb-21
No, because QDM is more than just about letting bucks mature . It’s about education, it’s about habitat improvement, it’s about herd management . It’s about trying to form QDM cooperatives.

From: JL
15-Feb-21
This is re-hashing time-honored debates on BS.

QDM is fine if you want to practice it on your own land. QDM can be a challenge where you have checker-boarded public/private sections of land. There was a BS discussion last year about who gets to shoot "their" deer.

QDM is not fine when special interest groups, like QDMA.... attempt to force it up on others via regulation. I'm speaking specifically about MAPR's. Unless there is a scientific reason to implement MAPR's....it is not needed for herd health. It's also contrary to CWD mitigation. There is current data in Michigan now that shows this.

""Not that long ago over 50% of antlered bucks killed nationwide were 1 1/2 year old deer. in 2019 that number has dropped to 28% and a whopping 39% of all bucks killed were over 3 1/2 years old. More than a third of all bucks killed are mature, older deer.""

^....The other problem I have seen is the TOTAL buck harvest drops under MAPR regs. That gets often overlooked...or glossed over when talking MAPR's.

We know from the Mississippi Study the long term use of MAPR's can result in high-grading problems in the buck herd.

Again...QDM is fine if someone wants to do on their own place. We voluntarily practice some elements of it on the private land I hunt on. Folks have been practicing some elements of it long before it became fashionable or en vogue. I suppose we can say TV hunting shows and vids created the desire for big horns we see today. That of course is another topic.

From: JSW
15-Feb-21
Pat, the title to your post was "Is QDM a complete waste of time and $.

There were several people who said, "yes it is a waste of time and money". That's why I used your post as a reference.

I suppose it could be a waste of time and money in some areas,but the statistics show that it has been a huge benefit to those of us who want to hunt bigger, older bucks.

As long as you own property in NY, you shouldn't give up on QDM. One of these years, things could turn around and a big buck could show up simply because you went the extra mile to make him welcome.

From: drycreek
15-Feb-21
It’s useless if your property is too small and your neighbors aren’t on board. Period.

From: Grey Ghost
15-Feb-21
I question how "nation wide" statistics can be quantified when many states don't require mandatory harvest reports. We all know how horribly inaccurate harvest information is in states that only send out voluntary harvest questionnaires, like Colorado. So, how were these numbers calculated?

Matt

15-Feb-21
I practice my version of QDM and private property management. I log, plant food plots, heavily restrict travel (including checking cameras and joy rides), practice some APR's, plant waterways, roads, etc etc. In terms of numbers, quality and wildlife diversity, you bet it works! This is not even debatable on my properties.

From: JSW
15-Feb-21
TL, you say MAPR's don't work. That might be true in some instances, I haven't really kept track, but in mule deer and elk country, they absolutely work. You may see a drop in buck or bull harvests that first year but after that, it gets back to normal and all of the sudden you are killing mature bucks and bulls instead of spikes and forkies. I think that is a very good thing.

From: Ollie
15-Feb-21
What is useless about improving the habitat on land that you control? One thing is certain, if you kill that young buck because your neighbor will shoot him there is a 100% chance that deer will never grow to his potential. As to comments that the QDMA tries to force QDM on anyone is just a purely ignorant statement by someone who know nothing of the QDMA and what they do. A lot of ignorant know-it-all’s on this web site.

From: JL
15-Feb-21
^....come to Michigan and see what sponsoring groups are behind forcing MAPR's statewide. Mississippi had to role their MAPR's back because of the high-grading problem. You may want to do some real research before you post.

From: t-roy
15-Feb-21
I think all politics.....and QDM is local. Overall, I think QDM has much more of a positive impact on the herd, than the perceived negative aspects.

15-Feb-21
How would spending my money, and my time, improving my land, to my specifications, and for my pleasure be a waste of time and money? Who else but me can determine that?

15-Feb-21
Please do not confuse QDM, with the QDMA. I do my own QDM, and am not yet a member of the QDMA.

From: Pat Lefemine
15-Feb-21
t-Roy, agree.

I’m a huge supporter of QDM, I also agree that QDMA is about education and advocacy for a healthy deer herd. Any claim to the contrary is not accurate.

Passing on immature bucks is one small part of QDM and that’s the part that I feel may result in extreme frustration in areas where it will never work - due to horrendous deer seasons or a lack of cooperation between smaller landowners. But all the other aspects of QDM like food plots, TSI, habitat improvement, etc are really not debatable IMO.

Gene and Barry Wensel said it first and it can’t be stressed enough; if you want to kill big bucks you have to hunt where big bucks live.

From: JL
15-Feb-21
Jim,

https://wafwa.org/wpdm-package/fact-sheet-6-understanding-mule-deer-and-antler-point-restrictions/

WRT to muleys and APR's. If you're familiar WAFWA (Western Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies), they've done some research on this topic. In 2013, WAFWA, along with support from the Mule Deer Foundation, put out a fact sheet on their collective experiences with MAPR's on the mule deer. It was pretty eye opening when I first read it years ago. Take a look at it and see what ya think. They list the Good, the Bads and the Uglies with using APR's on muleys. This from their Fact Sheet #6. I don't know if they changed their thinking since, so take it for what it's worth. I also think folks need to keep in mind the differences in the deer, where they live and how they are managed differently

""UNDERSTANDING MULE DEER AND ANTLER POINT RESTRICTIONS Fact Sheet #6

Antler restrictions are harvest restrictions that limit buck harvest to animals that meet specific antler criteria. The most common type of antler restriction is a point restriction. Antler point restrictions have been used as a harvest strategy with the hope they will increase the number of large-antlered bucks in a mule deer population. Experience of many states and provinces with antler point restrictions suggest this harvest strategy has very limited potential to produce more trophy bucks and could result in other unintended challenges.

BACKGROUND

Increasing the number of big-antlered bucks is typically the basis for hunter demands to implement antler point restrictions. The idea seems straightforward and promising; if we just don’t allow hunters to harvest young bucks, they will grow older and bigger and be available for harvest later. Most western states and provinces have, at one point in time, employed some type of antler point restriction attempting to increase the number of “trophy” bucks in their herds.

THE GOOD

• Decreases hunter pressure and total buck harvest by discouraging some hunters who do not want to be restricted to a particular antler-sized buck. This can be beneficial when harvest is heavy in relation to the number of available bucks, but not heavy enough to warrant changing to limited quota seasons. • In some cases, antler point restrictions have increased the proportion of bucks in the population, but this effect may not be long-lasting. • In remote areas with limited access, antler point restrictions have been used in combination with general seasons to maintain hunter opportunity.

THE BAD

• Antler point restrictions focus all the hunting pressure on the oldest age classes of bucks, gradually decrease the average age of the buck segment of the population, and make it more difficult for bucks to reach the older age classes due to the displaced harvest pressure. • Antler point restrictions have been shown to reduce the number of trophy bucks over time by protecting only the smaller-antlered young bucks. • Antler point restrictions do not increase fawn production or population size. Even in herds with very low buck:doe ratios (<10:100), pregnancy rates are well over 90%. Large increases in buck ratios result in relatively few, or no, additional fawns.

THE UGLY

• Antler point restrictions dramatically reduce hunter participation, harvest success, and total harvest. • Antler point restrictions increase the number of deer shot and illegally left in the field; this can be significant, and has been documented in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Oregon, Nevada, and Montana. • Antler point restrictions can cheapen the value of young bucks by changing the threshold for success from “a buck” to a quest where only a big buck will do. • Antler point restrictions may discourage hunters (especially beginning and young hunters) by increasing the difficulty of locating and identifying legal deer.

CONCLUSIONS

After decades of use and many evaluations reporting disappointing results, most western states and provinces have discontinued statewide antler point restrictions. The two main reasons for abandoning widespread antler point restrictions are (1) unacceptable accidental-illegal kill, and (2) harvest mortality was increased (focused) on the very age classes they intended to promote. Available data and experience suggest antler point restrictions result in no long-term increase in either the proportion or number of mature bucks, or the total deer population. A few jurisdictions still have limited areas with antler point restrictions, due to hunter preference. The use of antler point restrictions in a combined strategy with general seasons is used in at least one case to maximize hunting opportunity. There are additional reasons why the widespread use of antler point restrictions has not been successful. Research has shown buck fawns born to does in poor body condition have difficulty outgrowing the effects of poor body condition at birth, and may never reach their genetic potential for antler growth. Regulations protecting these bucks from harvest are counterproductive to the intended benefit. Most western states and provinces have concluded that sustainable improvements in buck:doe ratios and the number of mature bucks can only be realized by reducing harvest through 1) a limited-quota license system that decreases overall total buck harvest while allowing some level of doe harvest, or 2) setting a very short hunting season in early fall when more mature bucks are less vulnerable. It has been suggested while antler point restrictions may increase the proportion of bucks in certain populations with low buck:doe ratios, there is no evidence they substantially increase the total number of adult (mature) bucks.

15-Feb-21
I do my own version of APR's on my private property, and the restrictions are subject to change as the season progresses. That is not the same as a mandated APR.

From: JL
15-Feb-21
MB.....we do the exact same approach where we're at. Even if we didn't have MAPR's....we would not shoot any spikes/forkies unless they were suffering for some reason.

From: drycreek
15-Feb-21
Perhaps I should have explained better. I think antler restrictions work, my state has proven that. I practice QDM I guess, at least to a degree. I plant spring and fall plots, try not to shoot anything under 3.5 years old, furnish the deer minerals , etc. What I should have said, is if you expect to pass the same buck for a couple years on a small property you’ll probably be disappointed if there’s hunting pressure around you.

From: Bou'bound
15-Feb-21
“Not that long ago over 50% of antlered bucks killed nationwide were 1 1/2 year old deer. in 2019 that number has dropped to 28% and a whopping 39% of all bucks killed were over 3 1/2 years old. More than a third of all bucks killed are mature, older deer.”

The 50% plus figure has been undisputed for many many decades. Even higher has been the norm. Indisputable.

To have that reduced by 50% or more to only 28% is absolutely astounding if even close to accurate. For a national number that was consistent across the country essentially forever to see that kind of change is shocking.

The national change in human behavior and hunting demographics / cultural mindset changes that would have to take hold for that to happen on a significant sample size is astronomical from a statistical standpoint

I personally can’t believe that people have shifted their basic core motivations and behaviors to that degree. If you said it was down 5% in a decade I would say we are making major progress. Down to only 28%, a 50% decline................ No way

15-Feb-21
I know several guys, especially with young hunters who practice habitat improvement and DM ( deer management ) but with little emphasis on antler size and quality. For them, deer numbers and other wildlife for the youth are the main drivers. IMO, it all can be a benefit.

From: LKH
15-Feb-21
I don't shoot 1.5's for 2 reasons.

A. I only get one buck tag and want my season to last. That's the principle reason.

B. A 2.5 has about 35% more meat than a 1.5. I'm sure this will be challenged and it's an observation from weighing what we get over the years and it's been a number of years since I did a 1.5.

15-Feb-21
I think it has been adopted in variations by a large percentage of hunters. Whether they prescribe to more doe kills by actually participating, whether it be letting a young deer walk, etc.... I think the QDMA has been very successful in teaching that aspect. And it’s become the norm for hunters to adopt it.

Where I think it’s failing is the understanding of habitat. Let me clarify they I think the WDMA is 100% correct. I think the failing cones from the hunters.

Must guys can’t get past timber harvest. They talk like it’s a good thing. But, let the state it feds sell timber on grounds that they hunt and, it becomes a free bash session. In other words, thick young succession hides the deer more often then the hunter sees them. So, it’s a “The timber cutting run off all the deer”, kinda thing.

Therefore, I believe it’s influences belong in state wide management based solely on state statistics saying killing less bucks is a change that’s needed. In other words, it’s not a one shoe fits all. And, you can’t stockpile game. It’s more important in my mind to offer quality hunting habitat before any real changes to deer harvests are made. If you build it, they will come.

From: drycreek
15-Feb-21
Bou, as much as I hate to say it, antler porn has been the driving force IMO. I’m old enough to remember when everybody hunted for the meat, at least everybody I knew. For several years I practiced the “if it’s brown it’s down” management. That was when we didn’t have many deer, you were only allowed one buck, so I got mine in the freezer as quickly as possible and went on to more serious stuff, such as duck hunting and quail hunting. In those days nobody ever said “he needed another year”, nobody measured antlers, and Boone and Crockett were just a couple guys you read about in the history books. Now, meat hunters are belittled and frowned upon in some circles and everybody wants to know the score.

From: DanaC
15-Feb-21
Not sure if it's QDM or the simple maturation of the hunting population as a whole. Many of us (too many?) are older and less worried about simply filling a tag.

From: Shiloh
15-Feb-21
What does MAPR stand for?? I hate acronyms!

From: t-roy
15-Feb-21
“APR” is antler point restrictions. Not sure what the “M” signifies.

From: JL
15-Feb-21
M = Mandatory.....meaning someone else decided for you and you don't have a choice.

From: Rupe
16-Feb-21

Rupe's Link
JL you mentioned “high grading” . That’s a ridiculous comment because you have no idea of the genetic potential of a young buck. In Iowa we practice QDM along with dozens of neighbors and we still kill giant bucks each and every year.

MAPR worked in Pennsylvania.

From: One Arrow
16-Feb-21
QDM works. Having jack wagons or outfitters on your property lines will negate all the positives of QDM.

The time, money, and sweat invested will lead to burn-out if your neighbors are not on board. I’ll never practice it again.

16-Feb-21
Most QDM guys I know do it for year round enjoyment, they immerse themselves into the process and learn. If I did QDM only for antler inches in October and November, I would consider it a poor investment, and that does not interest me. True fair chase trophy hunts and antler inches can be purchased, and I can afford them. I simply find enjoyment in managing my own lands for a multitude of wildlife and aesthetics, including non hunting recreation, TSI, profit farming, erosion control, pollinators and carbon. It is not all about huge antlers for me, and that keeps it fun.

From: Bow Crazy
16-Feb-21
QDM differently works. A good QDM program includes: habitat management, herd management, hunter management, and herd monitoring. It takes time and effort, but it's worth it. Make the commitment first, then start talking to your neighbors. BC

From: MQQSE
16-Feb-21
I have been dedicated to it for years and simply enjoy all aspect of it. Results will be different depending on how much habitat you have in the program. When I began the journey I owned 45 acres in upstate NY. Now I own 2500 acres along the MO/IA border with over 2100 in one chunk. To say I see big differences where I am now would he an understatement. Having said that, even when I was in NY I still enjoyed the process and believe my overall experience was more enjoyable all year long due to improving habitat and seeing how they benefited more than just deer.

From: goyt
16-Feb-21
I feel that one of the big aspects of QDM is controlling the herd by shooting enough does. This protects the habitat so that deer do not have to travel as much in search of food. Plus the deer herd knows that it is being hunted. It makes the hunting a little more challenging.

From: 12yards
16-Feb-21
I wonder how they know 39% were 3.5 years old. In MN, they don't age deer harvested. If it isn't a fawn, it is an adult.

From: JL
16-Feb-21

JL's Link
Rupe....do you know what high-grading is and how it occurs? I encourage you read the attached MSU study on APR's. It is a fantastic read that gives a scientific, fair and balanced discussion on the goods and bads of APR usage and how/where their high-grading problems occurred using APR's. Anyone wanting to employ APR's on their place should read this. The below is a snip explaining their high-grading.

""The effectiveness of an antler restriction designed to protect smaller-antlered young bucks within an age class can be a source of problems. Are the protected bucks the ones you want growing older? The answer depends on your harvest goals. Remember that just about any sample of older bucks will have larger antlers, on average, than a similar sample of younger bucks. So if you are interested only in harvesting deer with larger antlers, a simple antler restriction protecting younger bucks, even if they are of lower antler quality, can be effective. But if your goal is to improve antler quality in older age classes, such an antler restriction may not be the best long-term approach. Protecting smaller-antlered bucks and harvesting larger- antlered bucks within an age class reduces average antler size in older age classes – if antler development in younger bucks predicts future antler development. This is called “high grading” and is similar to removing better quality timber and leaving lower-quality timber for later harvest (Photo 1). High-grading effects can be documented by measuring antler size of surviving bucks at older ages. In contrast, population-level genetic effects take longer to develop and are more difficult to document because of a lack of reliable markers to gauge antler genetics within a population. We do know antler size and shape are heritable, so it does matter which bucks are breeding. Measuring the genetic effect at the population level, though, will be a limitation for the foreseeable future. Mississippi’s statewide 4-point antler restriction was established by legislative action in 1995. Although the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks had experimented with antler point restrictions on some of its public wildlife management areas (WMAs), they did not recommend creating the statewide 4-point antler restriction.""

WRT to your PGC link.....that document was out around 2008/9. I've looked at PA quite a bit over the years and have done a lot of number crunching. Anything the PGC puts out you have use with caution. They're in deep on MAPR's and if they said they didn't work it would make them look foolish. You can locate all of their hunter surveys on the PGC site. You can also get other reports containing information that allows you piece things together. I have the most recent 2016/17 hunter survey published in 2018. Since beginning MAPR's, PA hunter success rates on antlered bucks runs between 17% to 19%. That means 81% to 83% of respondents did not get a buck. Is that good?? I guess folks can decide that. Prior to MAPR's their success rates were quite a bit higher. The 2018 survey respondents report 23% got an antlerless deer......77% didn't get one. Is that good?? 66% of the respondents support APR's, 16% don't know and 19% do not like them. However.....hunter satisfaction with what they see and the experience always runs low. 39% were satisfied, 28% didn't know and 33% were dissatisfied with their hunting experience.

I have some crunched numbers in my files somewhere. Of their TOTAL buck harvest....it was something like 87-something percent are 2.5's and below. 3.5's and up make up the rest of the total buck harvest.....12% to 13%. 4.5's and up are a very, very small percentage of the total buck harvest. So in essence.....the 2.5's became the old 1.5's in the total buck harvest of those 17% - 19% who do harvest a buck. All of this info is public info and anyone can get it to study.

Keep in mind this is across both public and private land. Some folks swear by MAPR's....others not so. This is why you have to judge MAPR across the whole private/public spectrum and not just on private land. The things you can do on private land to grow big horns is illegal on public land and will get you a ticket. That's one of the reasons I do not like MAPR's.....there is no parity between private and public. The public land folks are at a disadvantage in that respect.

From: Rupe
17-Feb-21
Your own article states “ if antler development in younger bucks predicts future antler development” if if if if if. Meaning they don’t know.

And that is exactly what I said. “ you have no idea of the genetic potential of a young buck”!

As to Pennsylvania there could be other factors in play you have avoided mentioning. First off there are less hunters, loss of habitat, loss of hunting permission, antler restrictions mean hunters have to be careful before shooting. But harvest numbers have actually increased.

https://apnews.com/article/e395dd3321f84f75927a1e88c3621131

And the age structure of harvested bucks has increased dramatically.

https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Game-Commission-Details.aspx?newsid=169

As to everyone knowing MARP don’t work and don’t want to admit it, I’m calling BS. That’s your opinion. I don’t think any biologists secretly believes that but are too cowardly to admit it.

17-Feb-21
I have rifle hunted the last three years in a unit with DNR mandated APR's, 3 points on one side. There is far less shooting in the minutes pushing the legal shooting times, and almost zero deer drives. Targets have to be uniquely identified. I have no idea how it has altered kill statistics or improved overall quality, but for certain I see larger racks and the hunting culture changing. I am not personally for mandated APR's as I am not a horn porn hunter, but I do believe it makes a difference for those who are.

From: joehunter
17-Feb-21
APR in my hunting area in the middle of Michigan has changed the attitude of most hunters. Our population is high. We have almost unlimited doe permits and almost unlimited hunting opportunities with very liberal seasons. Doe harvest is at an all time high. Buck harvest is also high. But instead of piles of 1.5 year old bucks we now have 2.5, 3.5 and 4.5 year old bucks making up most of the harvest. This is almost exclusively private property in this area. Youth hunters and apprentice hunters can shoot any buck they want. We still have two buck tags. But after hunting the same area for 45 years we now have a high percentage of deer making it to the next age class. In the past if you saw a deer with antlers after season you where lucky. No one ever shed hunted. I can not see how on private property anyone can complain. You can kill all the does you want to eat and everyone now has a legitimate opportunity to kill a very nice buck.

From: Dale06
17-Feb-21
Where I hunt, the practice is, “if it’s brown, it’s down”. Lots of meat hunters, and a fair amount of youngsters trying to kill their first deer or maybe second or third. They do not care about QDM, at all.

From: Squash
17-Feb-21
I agree with Pat, there are places QDM does not work. The snow belt of NY’s Tug Hill Plateau (+200” snow annually) for one. Several landowners , lesses , and my self formed a several thousand acre cooperative in this area, and tried it for around 20 years now. Hard to find any positive results. Conclusion too many factors stacked against us in this micro-climate area. Migratory herd, high winterkill, all timberland with no Ag land within miles, re-introduction of another large predator in the area(black bear), with already high coyote population, and the list goes on. The most troubling thing I’ve noticed besides less deer on the landscape ,is with the antlerless harvest on the cooperatives lands, we have killed off many of our older matriarchal does who return to our land each year. The herd being migratory, moving several miles each winter to wintering yards, I believe the orphaned fawns do not return to our property. Just my observation. Anyway, I’ve dropped out of the group, still pass on young bucks, but no longer harvest antlerless deer on my property.

17-Feb-21

when hunters start to think about wild animals as "my inventory" its harder to get cooperation from the neighbors. at least around here that kind of attitude doesn't get you far.

From: Will
17-Feb-21
WV - totally agree on the positives of regrowth and young succession. Deer love that nasty stuff, and the edges it creates. Our fish and wildlife agency and conservation and rec agency has been aggressively doing cuts the past 15-20yrs. And they are doing it with wildlife in mind, cutting 2-5 acre chunks with 20-50 yd wide mature woods between chunks, creating edges galore and amazing cover. It's awesome.

From: Pat Lefemine
17-Feb-21

Pat Lefemine's embedded Photo
2020
Pat Lefemine's embedded Photo
2020
Pat Lefemine's embedded Photo
2019
Pat Lefemine's embedded Photo
2019
Pat Lefemine's embedded Photo
2013
Pat Lefemine's embedded Photo
2013
So Let’s talk about PA. I bought 30 acres in PA in 1992. I paid $7500.00 for the parcel located in McKean County. I have hunted it every year since 1992. Up until the year 2005 I Never saw a rack. Only spike and forks. We shot our share too back then. I started seeing racks regularly by 2008. By 2015 we started getting selective. And now I will only shoot 4+ bucks.

It took a while but nobody can convince me that it doesn’t work. These pics were taken the last three years.

From: Pat Lefemine
17-Feb-21
This is not some managed 3000 acre property with hundreds of acres of plots. It’s a tiny 30 acre parcel with one .5 acre plot surrounded by other small properties. I don’t expect a 180 but I can realistically hope for a couple 130-145 bucks each year.

This was after nearly 20 years of spikes and forks. So ask yourself, what changed?

From: Molson 441
17-Feb-21
Genetics. Plain and Simple.. Something Changed in the area. New Bucks moved in and changed the Herd.

There is an Area in Central Illinois where a good friend lives and hunts with a few Die Hards. They have a Herd that has NO BROW TINEs on their Mature Bucks. Been that way for years. Im talking ZERO growth on the Brows.

From: Pat Lefemine
17-Feb-21
Really? You think some ‘superbuck’ moved in and now I have older bucks after 20 years of 1.5 year olds? Genetics don’t help deer get to four or five years old.

From: JSW
17-Feb-21
Pat, if I had a property that hadn't produced a decent buck in 20 years I would be talking to a realtor. If your neighbors are that bad, there's nothing you can do about it. They do kill some good bucks in NY and other parts of the north east. Start over while you're still young enough to enjoy it.

Too many here are missing the point. QDM is QUALITY DEER MANAGEMENT. Increasing the health of any deer herd is always a good thing. Growing more deer is good. Killing bigger older bucks is good.

There are a few on here who have given up on spending the extra time that it takes to improve your properties saying it's just not worth it. It's sad that your hunting experience is that bad.

None of my friends in Kansas, Nebraska or Iowa would ever make that statement, though. To a man, the more they work at it, the bigger bucks they kill and the more they enjoy the hunt. Not only that, we turn whitetail hunting into a year round adventure. Not just a few days in a tree stand every fall.

From: Pat Lefemine
17-Feb-21
Jim, I seem to be confusing everyone by jumping around. My 2 posts above referenced my property in PA, not NY after people began criticizing MAPRs which I believe have worked wonders in PA based on my 30 years of experience hunting there.

PA took an incredibly difficult position in 2002 to implement a massive sea-change in deer management. They were, and still are experiencing resistance by hunters who don't want to be restricted or feel it has not worked. My post above is to provide a small sliver of evidence as to why many, including me, believe it does in fact work, and it's a model that I feel should be considered in other states with poor deer quality.

From: Bou'bound
17-Feb-21
“Not that long ago over 50% of antlered bucks killed nationwide were 1 1/2 year old deer. in 2019 that number has dropped to 28% and a whopping 39% of all bucks killed were over 3 1/2 years old. More than a third of all bucks killed are mature, older deer.”

The 50% plus figure has been undisputed for many many decades. Even higher has been the norm. Indisputable.

To have that reduced by 50% or more to only 28% is absolutely astounding if even close to accurate. For a national number that was consistent across the country essentially forever to see that kind of change is shocking.

The national change in human behavior and hunting demographics / cultural mindset changes that would have to take hold for that to happen on a significant sample size is astronomical from a statistical standpoint

I personally can’t believe that people have shifted their basic core motivations and behaviors to that degree. If you said it was down 5% in a decade I would say we are making major progress. 50%. No way

17-Feb-21
Pat,

Are your neighbors selective with what they shoot? Are your results similar across the state due to newer regulations?

Is the .5 acre plot your only habitat improvement? Obviously pictures don’t lie, but just on the info you shared your results seem atypical, and I say that being a proponent of QDM.

EDIT: Did not see the part about the new regulations, my apology.

17-Feb-21
No offense intended, but emphasizing herd structure goals of QDM and the impact on herd health might invite more supporters. Have communicated with guys in MI who believe QDM is only about bone, and honestly I can see their frustration when guys are trying to take ownership of certain deer.

As for me, I like to help the wildlife and still just enjoy bow hunting for deer while not being concerned about measurements. To each their own!

From: gobbler
17-Feb-21

gobbler's embedded Photo
gobbler's embedded Photo
This is the part of QDM that most people don’t understand or are unwilling to do. The creation of early successional habitat

From: gobbler
17-Feb-21

gobbler's embedded Photo
gobbler's embedded Photo
Shelterwood cuts preserve biggest oaks , let’s them expand their crown while allowing sunlight to hit the ground to allow native deer browse to develop at ground level

From: gobbler
17-Feb-21

gobbler's embedded Photo
gobbler's embedded Photo
Clearcuts let everything start over again to create the early successional stage of forests that deer thrive in. Habitat management is not just food plots , it’s TSI. Control of invasive species , burning if you can . It’s about changing the landscape , not just planting an acre of clover. Food plots should only be a part of overall habitat management

From: goyt
17-Feb-21
I think that QDM has something for everyone and the more people that get involved the better for everyone. In my mind it is all about improving the habitat which in turn will improve the deer herd. The better the habitat and the healthier the deer herd the more deer that will be produced each year and the more that can be harvested. Even if your goal is to harvest younger bucks and does, with QDM there will be more young bucks and does to harvest every year. As long as the habitat is maintained and the deer are not excessively harvested things will be better for everyone. If a reasonable number of young bucks are able to survive, say 50% there should be mature bucks. If a portion of the hunters want to just harvest the first buck they see or just kill does for meat that will also allow the hard core, mature buck only hunters better hunting. The key is balance!

17-Feb-21
Gobbler nailed it.

From: Sivart
17-Feb-21
Ask anyone who's hunted elk in CO if point restriction really works. You have to manage the hunter density before any point restriction will be effective.

From: Squash
17-Feb-21
Hunter management is the real hard part of QDM.

17-Feb-21
Imagine what FWP is up against, trying to please all entities.

From: LKH
17-Feb-21
Probably the best example of MAPR failing was the Steen's unit in SE Oregon in the 80's. 4 point on one side minimum for rifle hunters in a limited draw unit.

By the time I went bow hunting there about 1983/4 there were a bunch of 2 and 3 points that were scary big. Real hogs and only bow hunters could hunt them. We didn't make a dent.

It's long gone now.

From: Rupe
17-Feb-21
“ Really? You think some ‘superbuck’ moved in and now I have older bucks after 20 years of 1.5 year olds?”

He he he he he. Great rebuttal, I’m still laughing. “Superbuck.” LMAO

From: Molson 441
17-Feb-21
Where did I say " Superbuck"? maybe you should just stick to hunting over piles of corn in Kansas. Seems more your taste.. just getting a buck to 4 years don't mean shit.

From: Pat Lefemine
17-Feb-21
Excellent comeback

From: t-roy
17-Feb-21
“Superbuck” has a nice ring to it. I’m gonna name one of my up-n-comers that, next year.

Thanks, Molson!

From: JSW
17-Feb-21
Someone asked how do they know if we are harvesting older deer. Another person questioned such a drastic change. Another comment was, nobody ever asked me.

In 1989 62% of bucks killed were 1 1/2 year old. In 2019 that number was 28%. Some states don't collect that data, many do. If you have 100,000 deer killed, you can survey only a few hundred hunters and have a very close number. Once you've surveyed the first 100 people, those numbers don't change much even if you survey 50,000. If 30 states collect data and they all trend the same way, you can safely assume the other 20 states will trend the same. That's the way statistics work.

Do your own unscientific survey. How many of your friends shoot yearling bucks. It's not that many, unless they are new hunters. As we get older, and most of us are getting up there, we would rather extend the hunt by not shooting the first legal buck that walks by. A few of the guys I talk to have killed 2 year old's to fill the freezer but I don't remember the last time one of my buddies shot a 1 year old.

I really encourage you to click on the link from the OP and look at these stats. With a little effort you can look up the stats from years back and see the trends. It's really interesting.

From: APauls
17-Feb-21
I bet the internet and horn porn have at least as big of an impact as QDM. Manage demand and you've figured it out. Todays new hunters want to shoot 150" deer. It's a huge part of what I think is wrong with hunting, but it will lead to more mature deer.

From: gobbler
17-Feb-21
The amount of young bucks killed has a direct correlation to the number of buck tags in your pocket.

A lot of hunters won’t forfeit their single tag on a spike or forkhorn.

In contrast in states that have multiple buck tags not much thought goes into first or maybe second buck if you have a 3rd buck tag. Them they usually “trophy hunt” with last tag until they discover the trophies are few and far between because everyone else is doing the same thing and majority of bucks never get the chance to teach maturity

18-Feb-21
For certain, the current hunter expectation for rack inches (horn porn) has driven much of the QDM movement. That is however broad brush painting, some enjoy enhancing their lands for other wildlife, aesthetics, deer numbers, etc. The land enhancement process keeps me (and others) active and engaged with the land many months of the year, not simply the hunting season months. I enjoy all parts of the process.

18-Feb-21
Theory is speculation. Data is the results of real world actions. Harvest data should determine allotted buck tags.

The idea of QDM is to kill as few bucks before maturity as possible. Let natural selection and mortality take what hunters are legislated not to. To leave a higher age structure of deer for remaining hunters

It’s one size all basis is great if you are a landowner participating in habitat improvements. However, It sucks when you apply it to the average hunter that has no where to hunt except public land

Land management in a lot of states, on grounds open to public use, has long drifted away from practices favoring qdm habitat principles. So, applying it to those areas doesn’t make sense for revenue or hunter interests.

I’m not being silly or calling anyone out. But, let’s be realistic. There are reasons landowners generally are on board with the qdm mindset. And, hunters hunting public ground just want to kill a deer.

QDM favors those who have control over their property and generally speaking, at the sacrifice to those who don’t. Because most state agencies aren’t staffed to micro manage a deer herd. They do the best they can with what they got.

So, you are always going to have those on both sides of the fence. The only question remains is the science of harvest data supporting your claims. That should be the determination. And, nothing else.

From: Molson 441
18-Feb-21
No problem T-roy..

also could be the Genetically modified Corn that Pat has piled up for the deer finally kicked the Horn growth into gear. Leopards cant change their spots.. or

From: gobbler
18-Feb-21
Mountaineer, I agree with the data . For the past several years in WV buck harvest has outpaced doe harvest state wide. In a few areas that might be a good thing but in most areas it’s not a good thing. This past archery season we killed approximately 1 doe for every 2 bucks . That’s not an optimal ratio especially when the vast majority of bucks are taken out before or during the rut. The rifle seasons as well comes in buck heavy over doe harvest . The only season that kills more does than bucks is muzzleloader but that’s only around 4,000 total deer in comparison to 10s of thousands during archery and rifle season

18-Feb-21
If that’s last years data, then I agree. What’s hidden in that data is bucks are born at a higher rate. What’s also hidden in it and most hunters don’t realize is that a buck to doe ratio fixes itself very quickly. Naturally. What’s hidden and not mentioned in QDM principles is that buck to buck mortality at a 2-1 or 3-1, is quite high.

I’m also confused. Several years ago, studies showed WV buck harvest structure better then most of the country. I don’t know how that can be if we are killing more legislatively defined bucks, then does. As you guys constantly suggest. I don’t know where that claim is coming from. I’ve never found that info. If it’s there, then we’ve got a statistical problem. And, we need to get that fixed. So, our managers can make the best decision. Not one that satisfies a popular idea.

Anyways, I know where you stand. You know where I stand. I’m all for growing as healthy a herd as possible. What I’m not on board with is doing something that changes a very successful management program. Any where. Especially one that has harvest quotas nearly as high as any state in the union. Has the largest bow hunting only zone in the lower 48. And, continually, year in and year out producing the quality of deer we do, statewide. Unless the DNR decides it’s needed for the betterment of herd longevity and health.

I want to kill as big a buck as anyone. I want to hunt with multiple weapons. I want what everyone wants. Just like you, I want to believe my desires are supported by something substantial. But, the truth is, Currently, There is likely no right or wrong on a macro level concerning any states situation.

From: gobbler
18-Feb-21
Bucks are born at a higher rate but it’s like 51-49 so it’s statistically not that important. I’ve got the data from last 5-6 years and we constantly harvest more bucks than does. I think one year in one county there were a few more does killed than bucs.

Kip Adams spoke at a Commission meeting a little over a year ago and with the data provided he said that we weren’t killing enough does in relation to the number of bucks that we kill.

The buck kill to doe kill is even higher in the 4 bow counties. There are several areas that are at or above carrying capacity in the 4 counties . There are other areas that are well below carrying capacity. Pretty much all of Mingo county is below carrying capacity. Other areas around Twin Falls and Chief logan is above carrying capacity. That is not good for the herd in the long run . 25 years ago big mature bucks were being killed around Twin Falls every year, now not so much.

A lot of it has to do with hunters going there from in state and out of state. They’re not going there to kill a doe

From: bigswivle
18-Feb-21
“also could be the Genetically modified Corn that Pat has piled up for the deer finally kicked the Horn growth into gear. Leopards cant change their spots.. or“

Good lawd!!!!

From: Bow Crazy
19-Feb-21
Some question the date that show the increase in 3.5+ yr old buck harvest and the decrease in 1.5 yr old buck harvest? These numbers are complied by QDMA (now the National Deer Association). The various state wildlife agencies provide the data to QDMA. Some state do not collect the data, so none is provided. I'm sure some states data is more accurate than others. Whatever, it's the best available data, and at the minimum is shows a trend that things are getting better regarding less 1. 5 yr old bucks being harvested and more 3.5+ yr old bucks being harvested. BC

From: gobbler
20-Feb-21
Bow Crazy, you are 100% correct about differences in state data . Some states do a good job of collecting data, some, not very good. And others poor . NDA(QDMA) can only report what they get.

20-Feb-21
Just use common sense. If habitat, including cover and food improves, so will wildlife numbers. If you do not shoot young animals, some will become older and larger. Do these concepts really require a study?

From: Tonybear61
20-Feb-21
I live in a longitudinal state that varies from ag with rolling hills, flat prairie, oak and maple ridges, to thick black spruce, tamarack swamps. QDM will not work as there is too much variability, plus the gun season is right in the middle of the rut every year.

I know several guys who would have their massive 6 pts yanked from a P & Y recordbook if MAPR would have been in place (typically 3-4 points on a side). Plus doesn't take into account new or youth hunters who are just fine with a spike or forkhorn.

I have been very selective hunting what is a basic archery only area (public land), haven't shot a small buck in years. Many still don't grow bigger as they are taken down by old man winter, wolves, coyotes, et. al. My choice not to shot smaller ones, I'd hate to have that choice taken away by someone who doesn't understand the area. If I want to practice QDM fine don't force it on everyone else.

21-Feb-21
The thread was really about QDM, not MAPR's. Although MAPR's appear to be increasing my sightings of more mature bucks where I gun hunt, I too am not for their mandate.

From: Realwarrior
28-Feb-21
I've practiced QDM on my farm since 2006. I have a biology degree and although my career was military my personal hobby was/ is wildlife & habitat management. My part of Kentucky has very low deer density of 5 deer psm. While we've seen significant change in antler development and age structure, we've seen QDM create some detrimental affects as well. We have created a vacuum for deer and regularly see 3 doe family groups (5-8 per group) and anywhere from 6-12 bucks. These are through sightings and cameras on 150 acres. The problem comes from the fact that we can only harvest 1 doe per person and 1 buck per person per year. When we started & up until ~3 years ago we could kill 4 deer a year (3d + 1 b, or 4d) Because we are the only property that produces quality habitat and feed, we pull deer. So because of regulations, we cannot meet our harvest objectives and because the deer are not creating "Adverse Environmental Impact", due to our quality habitat work, we cannot receive permits to harvest more does. While I'm still invested in my habitat work, I'm no longer taking part in the state's "Guidance" & cost share programs. Furthermore, as for QDMA/ NDA, I was a longtime member and Deer Steward, & had attended several National Conventions.... until they deleted the forum without good cause. I learned more from the members of that forum, than from any other vehicle that the QDMA provided. I was especially crossed by the deletion of the late Paul Knox's contributions. The QDMA also failed to step up and help members in states such as Minnesota when they should have. In essence, QDM has its place, but not everywhere, and can create a "Deer welfare system", where you have to keep supporting them because you've created the situation.

From: Catscratch
28-Feb-21
Man Realwarrior... you stated my views on QDMA and Lickcreek perfectly.

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