8 replies [Last post]
Ca_Vermonster's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: San Diego, CA
Joined: 07/27/2007
Posts: 5813
QDM and AR's

Well, this can always start a good fight, so what's your opinion???? Wink

Personally, I don't mind trying to even out the buck/doe population and get a balanced herd. If there are too many doe, open a more liberal doe season.

However, the one thing I don't agree with are AR's.  If you live in a state where you can see 8-10 buck a day,. then maybe it's okay to be choosy. However, where I grew up hunting in Vermont, you would shoot the first legal buck that you saw.  The first year they instituted AR's, the buck kill went down almost 50%.  In my book, that's 50% less happy hunters.

I think it's mostly a ploy by people who want to shoot record book deer for all the glory that comes with them.  I would love to shoot a trophy deer, but I am all about the tradition and just getting into the woods, and I am more than happy with a 100 lb spikehorn.


Joined: 02/23/2010
Posts: 9
Antler restrictions

Im from PA, and we have had antler restrictions for a few years now, and Im seeing positive results in terms of larger bucks being seen and shot, but one problem i do see, is the PGC while trying to get a higher buck to doe ratio, Seems like they tried to do it to quickly.  Instead of just implementing the antler restrictions and waiting for the buck numbers to increase, they also issued more doe tags and increased the length of the season.  So although we have larger bucks with a higher buck to doe ratio our deer numbers are down.  

It would be nice to see more doe and buck per day, which i would expect with higher numbers, but overall i think antler restrictions are a good idea.  They make a lot of hunter take more ethical shots.  Not being able to start shooting as soon as they see antler on a drive or a jumped deer.

ecubackpacker's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: NC
Joined: 09/11/2009
Posts: 1638
That's the nature of the

That's the nature of the beast. To manage for a stronger herd of deer, you have to thin out the doe population to provide more feed for the increased number of bucks. They have to keep the deer below the carrying capacity of the land. I've seen some big bucks harvested from Pa. I wish we had the same genetics here, heck I wish our deer would have been re-stocked with the same deer they have in Va. Va produces some great deer every year, we'll have to do what we can. This state as a whole is killing better deer every year, so who knows.

Location: Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Joined: 01/13/2007
Posts: 363
I am with CA_Vermonster!  I

I am with CA_Vermonster!  I do not like anyone telling me what I should consider a trophy!  The biggest complaint I have with AR's is that it protects bucks that you don't want breeding, like ones that do not grow brow tines or badly distorted racks (I don't mean Non-typicals).

Location: Florida,USA
Joined: 08/21/2003
Posts: 1585

Any QDM program should have provisions for culling Bucks that display bad genetics, ie; small racks at a good age, distorted racks not caused by injury, old bucks that no longer produce large racks, etc. You should also take out all small and (for lack of a better word) "not pretty" Does. A good Doe will have a large frame and beautiful coat and you can see the swagger in their walk when around other Deer.

Any good QDM program will have larger number of Doe tags than Bucks expected to be taken. Does will eat everything in sight and the large matriarch Does will rule the roost and keep ALL deer, Bucks included , from preferred food sources.

The goal is to have only good genetics in the herd so it would not matter that you take a large Buck cause the next one has the same genes. This goal can never be attained though as there are Bucks from other ranges that wander in a breed with your Does and there is research that suggest that the larger Bucks don't mate with Does as much as it had been believed and that small, younger Bucks do most of the mating.


Our club has a 6-point rule however it is encouraged that a 2 1/2 year old spike be removed from the herd along with as many Does that you can, a feat harder to task than it appears to be as most hunters won't shoot a Doe. Dunno why, I would rather eat a Doe that a Buck anyday.

Our Club was issued 60+ Doe tags and only issued 14. I, myself, let half a dozen walk, after taking the first one, thinking that there was a buck coming in behind them.

ManOfTheFall's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Dover, Ohio Tuscarawas County
Joined: 07/07/2010
Posts: 2127
   I am all about letting a

   I am all about letting a buck get to a minimum of 3 1/2 years. Maybe even 4 1/2. As far as antler restrictions go I think it is good to a point. I really think if people would educate themselves and shoot a buck that is older you will really start to see a difference. This stuff saying I am a meat hunter or I am a trophy hunter is crap. Most places in the USA the deer herd is large enough that most hunters can take out several doe and have plenty of meat. So why take out a young buck for meat. Unless it is your first buck or there is something really special about this young buck it's not going up on the wall and there is no bragging rights about it so why shoot it. I am proud of all the deer I shoot and I have shot some young bucks even but I have changed my ways over the past 5 years and the result is phenomenal of how many more big bucks my son and I see. If anyone wants to shoot anything that is fine with me too. But if they expect to shoot a bigger buck sometime then they are defeating their purpose.

cscott711's picture
Location: Michigan
Joined: 11/22/2010
Posts: 101
While I agree that taking out

While I agree that taking out cull bucks is important, I think that the vast majority of us are light years away from getting to that situation.  Unless you are a landowner of thousands of continuous acres, you will have zero control over a free-range herd on your own.  Also, I have read through the years of several studies charting the antler growth of early and late blooming bucks.  By the time they reach maturity, 5.5-6.5 years old, the size of the antlers are within a matter of inches of one another.  

I don't think that the general hunting public will ever have a firm grasp on aging deer in the field and determining if that specific deer is a cull buck that should be taken from the gene pool.  Perhaps, if a QDM co-op that encompasses thousands of continuous acres educates their members and develops a plan to remove any "cull-worthy" deer, then I can see that being rather effective in the long-term.  

To answer the OP's question, I am for both QDM and APR's.  Keep in mind, there is a difference between QDM and TDM (Trophy Deer Management).  QDM and APR's go hand in hand as AP is one method to help immature deer survive a little while longer.  APR's are not fool-proof and in southern Michigan where I hunt, many 1.5's will have 4 or more points on a side.  However, state agencies will have a heck of a time ever passing rule changes that completely align with QDMA principles.  APR's are a step in the right direction.  EAB and OBR are additional steps that various states have implemented, although I'm not able to list my home state of Michigan as a participant.  

I hope that someday in the near future that would change because who doesn't enjoy seeing mature whitetails in the woods?  It is simple logic to understand that if you shoot them when they are small, then you won't get to see them when they grow up.  I have been passing on 1.5's and 2.5's for the last seven years and I've only shot one 3.5 year old since then.  I have had opportunities the last two years that I've managed to screw up, but it is exciting to them in the wild.  

I plan on starting a qdm co-op where I hunt this year and although it will take several years for the steam to build and things to take off, I have no doubt that others will continuously hop on board.  There are always plenty of does to shoot in the area and a meat hunter could never go hungry in my neck of the woods unless they simply didn't put the time in or didn't know how to shoot a bow or gun.

However, don't take this the wrong way in thinking that I am against those who don't see things like I do.  I think everyone has the right to hunt (legally) how they want and I've understood that from the beginning.  

Ca_Vermonster's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: San Diego, CA
Joined: 07/27/2007
Posts: 5813
Good comments from you all. 

Good comments from you all.  I have absolutely no problem with landowners running their place based on AR's.  Heck, it's their land.  But as a state, to do that on public land, well.

I'm also not against fish and game rules.  I know we almost hunted many animals to extinction, so we need to be managed.  However, using Vermont as an example, I have never seen the herd unhealthy.  The deer always look "healthy", and there are good numbers of them.  Maybe unbalanced, but I don't believe that's an "unhealthy" herd.  Just let us shoot whatever buck, but give more doe permits if you want to even it out.

Thanks for keeping it civil guys.

Joined: 07/10/2009
Posts: 11

Completely agree on the heard health comment. Do large antlers mean healthy deer? This seems to be a rallying cry that some people are using for AR here in NY.

Lets keep this a personal choice.