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jim boyd's picture
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Antler Restrictions: Good or Bad Thing?

Hey Folks

Let me start off by saying I am not a "stir the pot" kind of guy - but this one could be a little controversial.

How do you folks feel about antler restrictions, like 4 point per side rule or a minimum width rule for bucks?

In the south, this is hotly debated.

Some states have rules like this - that may be county specific or WMA / State Forest specific - and a LOT of clubs have rules like this, some of which carry hefty fines for failure to comply.

I am in favor - within reason - in spite of the fact that I inadverdantly broke that rule in my club last week.

Thoughts??

Opinions?

Thanks,

JimBob

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I personally do not believe

I personally do not believe in AR's.  Some states may be able to do it, places that have huge numbers of deer.  However, for the other places, like the northeast where I am from, I think all you are doing is taking away peoples' chances to be successful.  When they did away with the spikehorns in Vermont, success rate fell by 40 percent.  If it ever gets back to where it was, i may give them some credit, but it has shown no sign of doing so.

Some people will talk about them contributing to the health of the herd.  That is a sham too.  A spikehorn can do his thing with a doe just as easy as an eight pointer.  If people talk about "genetics", then it's all about the trophy and the almighty $$$$$$.

Now, if they want to talk abut QDM, and taking more does to balance the herd, I can stand by that.  Bringing the ratio into whack is a good thing.  But, tell me that one buck is better than another, then I would like to tell you to go find another state to hunt in.  I believe it should be a personal choice and not state mandated.  If you want to grow bigger antlers on your property, then go for it.  But, if you are like me and just liek the "hunt" and want to just bring some food home, then I should be able to shoot any size buck I want.

Sorry, too opinionated???? lol

jim boyd's picture
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Not too opinionated at all.

Not too opinionated at all.

I say - tell it the way you feel it.

Whay really gripes my backside is when one hunter forcefully tells another "he would have been a good one next year" as if taking the deer this year was a bad thing!

Let's hear all opinions folks.

ManOfTheFall's picture
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I really don't think antler

I really don't think antler restrictions is a bad thing. However, what people should educate themselves more on is the age of a buck. When we got into hunting anything was fair game. Then it became easy to shoot that year and a half old buck every year. So we tried to get that limit up to two and a half. Now we are only taking bucks that are at least 3 and a half years old. If we aren't sure of the age of the deer we simply don't shoot it. Back to the antler restriction thing. If you have a 4 per side restriction you may be limiting yourself on taking out some inferior genetic bucks. I have seen some  mature heavy massed huge 6 pointers and would have no problem shooting them. But, with a restriction of 4 per side does that take that huge 6 pointer off the board? Not in my book. Aim for age not antlers.

Ca_Vermonster's picture
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I absolutely agree with

I absolutely agree with everything you are saying.  However, I think that should be a personal choice.  I don't think the State should step in and tell people hunting on public land that they can't shoot a certain buck......

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Back to the basics

  I really think it revolves around your philosophy of what deer are here for. I say they are here for meat - just like every other animal on the planet. No one complains about a steer that was killed before it was able to become "mature". I haven't ever heard someone in a restaurant ask for a 4 year-old chicken. The only reason some want large antlers on their deer is for bragging rights.

 The craze for "older, mature" bucks with mega racks has been fueled by the makers of sporting equipment, videos, TV shows, and especially, the game ranches, who charge thousands of dollars for a big buck.

  If someone has private property and wants to manage it for the biggest antlers possible, that's up to them. But in my opinion, public land should not - and really cannot be managed that way. It will result in lower hunter participation and lower revenues for the states involved.

  Other than that, I don't really have an opinion on the issue.  Big smile

chrisp's picture
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I cant wait for Florida to

I cant wait for Florida to follow suit with Georgia,an they will in a few year's,after they get their study'n done. 2 Buck's,=1 of any choice,1 with 4 or more on one side,10 doe's.....U want meat,hunt'n Xperience, 10 doe's,that ant enuff?....U cant tell me just Bcause u did'nt get all the deer u want'd to put N freezer cause of antler restriction's that your gonna starve an fall of earth for that season.Sorry i love my horn's,i no they dont eat well,butt dang they look GooD on Wall.Here in Florida your allow'd 2 deer a day(bucks),only time we can take a doe is durin archery and we get a week durin general gun,that dont add up to a lot of doe.To me we're overrun with doe. My answer is yes to antler restriction's,not width wise but point wise,ant been able to put a tape on one till he's on the ground....My 2 cent's bout it...Bsafe!

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I hadn't thought of that

I hadn't thought of that idea, having AR's for the second buck.  That at least would give the person the option of shooting whichever buck he wants, then if they want more, they gotta shoot a big one.  I may be amenable to that.

CVC
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Trophy is in the eye of the

Trophy is in the eye of the beholder and as long as it is a legal deer I say to each their own.  I saw a trail cam pic recently of a real nice deer that the poster said he was going to wait another year on. 

Man, if that deer gave me an opportunity I would take it as it was the biggest deer I've seen in the woods and woudl be the biggest deer I've taken.

So, while he may have let it pass I wouldn't.

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One problem with antler

One problem with antler restrictions is inferior bucks can't be harvested. We have a problem within the deer herd in my area where there are too many, big 6 pointers. Among the guys in our club, there have been several 6 pointers harvested that weighted over 200 lbs. A 200 lb deer around here is the "boss" deer. These deer will push out smaller 8 and 10 pointers. The boss will do most of the breeding and there goes your genetics for 8 or 10's.

I killed a 4 pointer several years back that was a four year-old deer. He was a 165 lb deer. I actually shot him thinking he was a six pointer. The next year my buddy shot the heaviest four pointer we have seen. IMO, He shouldn't be allowed to breed if you want the genetics of the 8 or 10 pointers to be the dominant genes.

Like MOTF said. It's better to shoot older deer, no matter what the size of the rack. But it takes time and experience to be able to judge the age of a deer. And even then, it pretty difficult to judge a deer past 3 years of age.

CVC
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i try to pay attention when

i try to pay attention when they talk about a deer's age on tv to better educate myself on aging a deer.  Not that it really matters because i will shoot a decent buck regardless of age.  i am not managing bucks in an area and neither is the land owner.  I might be in Kansas but I dont see the monster deer so if it is bigger than the one I took last year it is a goner provideed I do everything right.

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