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Harry D.'s picture
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Antler Restrictions

Just a word from PA.   Our game commission, about 9 years ago decided that they would make a 4-pts. on one side a requirement for the Western PA. counties.  The rest of the state remained 3-pts. My last legal buck was in '03 as the fourth point would be the brow point.  No can see... even it he is standing looking at you, much less if he is walking in the woods broad side.  Finally this spring, they re-visited the ruling and returned to the old 3 points to a side after many complaints from the hunters telling them that the genetics just weren't there in western PA. for trophy deer.  This is what I believe the G.C. was after.  Non resident hunters coming in and buying their license.  I had seen many 6 point deer, but didn't dare shoot.  My grand son was started hunting with me in '03, and we both got a deer.  Mine happened to be a 7 point, his a six point as he was a Junior hunter.  That was the last legal deer he saw, and he's just a little more than disappointed in hunting.   I bought him a 30-30 Marlin, then he bought a compound bow which he didn't use last year.  The antler regulation has nothing to do with deer management, but for trophy planning.  I personally went to the local G.C. office in Franklin, PA and asked them if they could show me any Officer that could see a brow tine on a buck in the woods walking at even 50 feet away.  They said they couldn't.  With enough letters and complaints, the regulation was dropped.   They also overkill doe.  A hunter can legally shoot up to 3 doe and a buck.  A hunter can apply for a doe license, then within a month, apply for an 'unsold' license.  They can also go to a farm who has "Red Tags" meaning 'Deer crop damage management'.

Consider for a moment, a doe could have 2 fawn.  Next year 100,000 doe would have 200,000 fawn.  Now if a 100,000 hunters harvested two doe a year, that would be a loss of 200,000 dear the next year.  Multiply that by 2-4 years and we have less deer to manage.  Car Insurance companies are estatic.  The G.C. finally realized the revenue they would loose when hunters stopped buying their equipment and licenses.  How would they earn their salaries???

If you have a chance, spread the word in NY and try not to allow this to begin there.  The hunter will be the one suffering.   I personally don't want a trophy, I hunt for the meat as do the Amish. They too, suffer from the fewer deer seen.   There are some of last years fawn, but I won't shoot them intentially.  When killing a buck with too few antler points, I have seen more laying in the woods rather than the hunter pay the outlandish fines for an illegal kill.  Big racks do not mean it's an older deer.  True, the longer they live..some do grow larger racks.  I however have not seen large racks in years.   My trail camera showed only a seven point last year, and the camera picked up only 4 deer at a time.  Each day or two, I think they were the same deer. 

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Harry - Just a word about

Harry - Just a word about making a post. It takes quite a while to load up, so you have to be patient. Don't keep clicking the submit button or you'll get multiple posts!  lol

 We have a similar situation here in Michigan under certain conditions. There are Combination tags that allow a hunter to take two bucks, but one must have at least 4 points on one side. I completely agree with you that it's very hard to see that brow tine at any distance, and then only if you are looking at the deer from front or back - maybe.

Yes, we have also had way too many does killed IMO. There are areas here where hunters can get a tag in a lottery, and then after those results are posted, they sell the rest over the counter until they're gone. A hunter can purchase one per day as long as they last. Some guys go into the woods with a pocket full of doe tags.

  The last two years especially, I believe we have been seeing the results - very few deer sightings and lower harvest numbers. As you said, the insurance companies are ecstatic. It's one of those unproven rumors that they are paying the DNR to hand out all these tags. Hunter numbers are dropping off every year, and they seem to think that it's because we aren't getting younger hunters involved to take the place of older hunters who quit. Confused

  Good luck in the years to come; at least you can legally take a 6 pointer in Pennsylvania now, and you won't find them lying dead in the woods.

 

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Good

Good question!   ::-k      

There is an area in NY right now that has instituted the antler restriction, How's that coming along? If the state feels there should be one then I would gladly go along with thier proposal. I know in the area I hunt there's a good population of deer and not enough feed. Should there be an antler restriction there?, I dont know, I'm not the expert on that but  unless they allowed more taking of doe there because there is to many for the amount of feed. These doe produce a fawn every year but what's the odds of that fawn being a buck? I'm not sure but the taking of spike's in that area is not a bad thing. I will NOT shoot a small deer. The spike I took this year weighed 130 lbs and thats not a bad sized deer for around here. More feed = bigger deer. Only my opinion on this but I would always be glad to hear from the expert's on it.

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Amen guys!  I hate antler

Amen guys!  I hate antler restrictions.

As I keep trying to preach, Vermont, New York, etc. (Pennsylvannia) do NOT have the genetics to produce multiple B&C deer every trip out intot he field.  And unfortunately, that is what this small minority wanted when they railroaded these laws through.

They seem to think that these northeastern states can be like Texas, Kansas, etc., where you will one day see 20 bucks a day, and just make a decision on which one to shoot.

The fact is, weather and food are the biggest factors int he size and health of the deer herds up there.  A good winter means a good deer kill the next year, and a bad one means a bad kill.  Pretty simple.

I too am a meat hunter, and have no problem if my "genetically inferior" deer is "only" a spike.  More meat for me. Wink

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I agree with you CA, We just

I agree with you CA, We just dont have the feed and support like the mid-west states etc. We have to hunt hard for the deer we get. I wont disagree with the biologists if they decide to put an antler restriction on after all, they're supposed to know about these things. But before anything like that happens they're supposed to have meetings with the hunting public on it and I would love to sit in one just to listen to both sides. Think

I dont have wide sprawling farm lands with deer plots to hunt nor do I have shooting houses over looking large tracks of corn or wheat where I can take my pick. My area consists of mountainous terrain and it's hard hunting. I would love to wait all the time for huge rack buck but with other hunters always in the area and doing what I do, I cant be choosey at this time. Nothing bad meant, it's just the way it is up here. Yes

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different things to different people

Deer management can mean different things to different people.  For me it is all about maintaining the NUMBER of deer.  I would much rather harvest a spike or doe every year than end the season without a tag filled.  The health of the herd should indeed be the ultimate and deciding factor when making changes to regulations in a state.   

 

Now don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled with a big racked whitetail buck.  I am not a fan of antler restrictions simply because I don’t want to go through the 4 seasons when you can’t shoot spikes, forks, etc. That would be a long time without taking a deer and if you leave bucks to take does, the population will surely decline.  I’m all for growing bigger deer.  And you make a good point about the end result being bigger racked deer.  The chief problem with passing up spikes is indeed that you are taking a chance to let another hunter shoot it. You make a good argument by saying that strict antler restrictions resulting in EVERYONE passing spike horns up may be the answer on that issue BUT it is also true that allowing spike horns to live and breed more than bigger racked bucks is counter productive if you are after big racked bucks.        

 

You guys have done a good job of presenting both sides of the argument.  I confess that I am in the middle, so the present idea of letting everyone decide what to shoot seems to be where I am at.  I know one land owner that doesn’t let anyone shoot spikes.  That’s his preference and when I hunt there I will abide by it, but on my own land I am happy to take the first legal deer I see.        

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I am in the middle too Mike,

I am in the middle too Mike, in that I can see why some guys would want to take bigger bucks. 

However, my problem is, that the vast majority of hunters, like you said, would rather go home with something rather than nothing.  Any deer puts a smile ont heir faces. 

Therefore, I do not believe AR's should be used across the board.  If you own land, and want to manage it for "bigger" bucks, then by all means, it's you land, your right. 

But, just because some guy in Burlington want to get a deer like the one he paid $5000 to shoot in Texas, doesn't mean I should have to suffer through having to let a spike walk and ending up with nothing.

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