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#3649087 - 04/18/14 03:20 PM Deer population & hunter success in decline?
Poser
Mud Dauber
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Registered: 07/28/10
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Loc: Tennessee

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BSK?

http://www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/big-buc...nd-deer-hunting
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#3649101 - 04/18/14 03:38 PM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: Poser]
smstone22
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Registered: 01/11/04
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You should look into some of the stuff happening in MN. You actually have a DNR that is shooting for single digit deer per square mile numbers in many zones and they have made it there apparently.
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#3649338 - 04/18/14 07:48 PM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: smstone22]
deerhunter10
10 Point


Registered: 08/21/12
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I would say its because more and more hunters are going the trophy route. and I don't see in Tennessee a declining. but that's just me. the age of if its brown its down is starting to dwindle down I think. im kind of glad it is. but I think that's why the success rate is going down if it is at all. but im not the biologist just what ive seen kind of.
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#3649637 - 04/19/14 08:17 AM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: deerhunter10]
TNlandowner
6 Point


Registered: 03/28/06
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Loc: Carroll County

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I personally have been very successful over the last few years. Due to education and QDM activities, we are harvesting older deer. Additionally, our deer weight averages have slightly gone up. I can't give data on deer observation statistics as we haven't keep accurate data.

Deer numbers will increase and decrease in cycles. Mother nature and disease have hurt deer populations over the last decade. (EHD, CWD, Droughts, extreme weather conditions)

http://www.tndeer.com/tndeertalk/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showthreaded&Number=3646502

I think the liberal doe harvest policy could be reducing the herd. With all this said, I believe our wildlife commission uses micro-analysis with these considerations to determine the best regional management plans for our deer herd. In reference to the buck limit discussions here at TNDEER, I support changes to harvest numbers to grow the herd, but do not care for the Texas style "Trophy Management" plans.
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#3649684 - 04/19/14 09:15 AM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: TNlandowner]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
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Poser,

First let me point out the obvious: the author's main point. The QDMA put out press releases advertising their summit with "the sky is falling" rhetoric about our vanishing deer herds. I and many others were highly critical of the organization for such alarmist rhetoric. Then their symposium, including hundreds of biologists and other "vested interests," doesn't find that declining deer populations should make their "Top 10 list" of concerns about deer and deer hunting. Hmmmm...

That said, I do agree that in at least some sections of the country, deer populations are down significantly, especially in the agricultural Midwest--a part of deer country that gets a lot of press. In addition, most parts of whitetail country are seeing deer populations below what they were during the deer population highs that occurred around the turn of the Century. I wish I had detailed data from every state so that I could say definitively what is going on, but lacking that, my personal beliefs on what hunters are seeing are:

1) The agricultural Midwest is seeing a much reduced deer population primarily due to the ultra-severe EHD outbreak that occurred in that region the late summer of 2012. I have some pretty good trail-camera data from hunters and managers in that region suggesting some locations lost at least 50% of their deer population during the outbreak. In past outbreaks, deer populations rebounded fairly quickly, even from severe outbreaks. But "in the past" ultraliberal doe harvest limits were not in place. As I believe we've seen in TN since our last big EHD outbreak (2007), a major decline in deer population while liberal doe harvest limits are in place, experience much slower population rebound. In fact, I don't think TN's deer population has fully rebound from our outbreak 7 years ago (and I consider that a very good thing, as in places, our population was too high at the time of the outbreak). So for the Midwest, a big deer die-off in the midst of liberal doe harvest policies will, in my opinion, definitely experience a slow population rebound, and may actually never see a full rebound. Whether or not this is a good thing for the Midwest is another question, as their biologically carrying capacity is so astronomically high.

2) In the Southeast, Atlantic Coast states, and far North (forested regions of the northern tier of states), deer densities are lower because they needed to be. Back when I first started working in private land management, the #1 PROBLEM I witnessed across the Southeast and Atlantic Coast states was not poor sex ratios or poor buck age structure (although these problems DID exist). The #1 problem was deer overpopulation. I observed VAST areas of these regions displaying severe over-browsing of the habitat by deer. Thankfully, these regions' wildlife biologists and hunters "got the message" and both allowed and participated in more liberal doe harvests, with the expressed purpose of reducing deer densities. At that, they have been effective, for the good of the remaining deer population and the habitat (as well as all the other animal species that use the same habitat). Of course, now hunters will have to accept what goes along with a lower deer density produced through higher antlerless harvests: fewer deer which means sightings going down; and antlerless deer that have become as hunter-shy as bucks making them even less observable. Both of these lead to fewer deer seen and sometimes lower harvest success rates. It's a trade-off: fewer but healthier/larger deer that are harder to hunt and kill. However, I do not believe that any widespread areas of these regions have dangerously low deer populations. They simply have reduced populations that are more hunter-shy, which reduces hunter observations and harvests.
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#3651214 - 04/21/14 09:52 AM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: BSK]
bowriter
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Registered: 08/31/02
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If hunter success rates are declining...and I am not convinced they are, it is due to trophy hunting or pass that one up and let him grow kind of hunting.

Through the Midwest, over the past two years, there has been a decline due to a massive EHD outbreak that did decrease deer numbers. However, in states with healthy deer populations, there is only one reason for a decline in success; the one I mentioned.

As for hunter recruitment and retention, yes, that is a problem. You can lay it right at the feet of fathers or lack thereof. In a single parent household, often, the father does not have adequate time or resources to "take a kid hunting". In dual parent households, often, it is the lack of desire on the part of the child and the parent, coupled with a plethora of other activities in which the child is interested.

Bottom line-more deer and land for me to hunt.

Now isn't that a selfish attitude? Truth is, after writing about this very same thing over a decade ago and trying to encourage more adult/youth activities, I, at my advanced age, have stopped worrying about it.
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#3651447 - 04/21/14 02:10 PM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: bowriter]
BHC
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Registered: 09/16/11
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I tend to agree with the analysis of those on here, but disagree with the hunting population. I tend to believe there are more people hunting to than ever before.. I agree a much lower percentage of ppl hunt today than in the past, but I believe there are likely more deer hunters/ land managers than there ever has been..
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#3651540 - 04/21/14 04:23 PM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: BHC]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
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Registered: 03/11/99
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 Originally Posted By: BHC
I tend to agree with the analysis of those on here, but disagree with the hunting population. I tend to believe there are more people hunting to than ever before.. I agree a much lower percentage of ppl hunt today than in the past, but I believe there are likely more deer hunters/ land managers than there ever has been..


Actual number of hunters had been on a steady decline since the 1980s. However, the last big survey done found a small uptick. But we do not have as many hunters now as we did 20-30 years ago.
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#3651546 - 04/21/14 04:30 PM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: BHC]
deerhunter10
10 Point


Registered: 08/21/12
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Loc: maury county tn

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 Originally Posted By: BHC
I tend to agree with the analysis of those on here, but disagree with the hunting population. I tend to believe there are more people hunting to than ever before.. I agree a much lower percentage of ppl hunt today than in the past, but I believe there are likely more deer hunters/ land managers than there ever has been..


I disagree with the population to. I can tell just on opening day its down. Money is tight and let's face it hunting is not cheap any more. I know even 10 years ago there were more hunters then now. I think it is deciding because we are in the social media and television age. and it makes it seem like a ton of hunters. But I think there are for sure less now. Which being a trophy hunter its not hurting my feelings although I would like the see more kids involved I just don't see it happening. I know that is kind of selfish though. But it doesn't hurt my feelings either if there are a lot of hunters either. But I do think it is less then it was for sure.
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#3651840 - 04/21/14 09:26 PM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: BSK]
redblood
16 Point


Registered: 01/22/06
Posts: 14410
Loc: Lewisburg

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 Originally Posted By: BSK
 Originally Posted By: BHC
I tend to agree with the analysis of those on here, but disagree with the hunting population. I tend to believe there are more people hunting to than ever before.. I agree a much lower percentage of ppl hunt today than in the past, but I believe there are likely more deer hunters/ land managers than there ever has been..


Actual number of hunters had been on a steady decline since the 1980s. However, the last big survey done found a small uptick. But we do not have as many hunters now as we did 20-30 years ago.



i agree. but do we have less deer hunters. most of the decline that i have seen in print, seem to highlight a huge decline of small game hunters- not deer hunters. i bet more than half of of tndeer members only deer and turkey hunt.
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#3651856 - 04/21/14 09:37 PM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: redblood]
AT Hiker
6 Point


Registered: 07/03/11
Posts: 848
Loc: Clarksville, Tennessee

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I think a lot of us think more people hunt because there is less available land to hunt, therefore hunters are concentrated.

What is the harvest reporting methods for these states with a decline?

In WY you do not "check" your deer in, they randomly mail you a survey. Three of us went last fall and all killed bucks, none of us received a survey so therefore our 3 deer were never recorded. I think this is a major issue and poor management on the state agency. Its really not that hard or expensive (make the hunter pay for it) to have a mail in survey attached to your tag for states with one buck limits and those that require individual tags for bonus deer.
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#3652116 - 04/22/14 08:18 AM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: redblood]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
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Registered: 03/11/99
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 Originally Posted By: redblood
 Originally Posted By: BSK
 Originally Posted By: BHC
I tend to agree with the analysis of those on here, but disagree with the hunting population. I tend to believe there are more people hunting to than ever before.. I agree a much lower percentage of ppl hunt today than in the past, but I believe there are likely more deer hunters/ land managers than there ever has been..


Actual number of hunters had been on a steady decline since the 1980s. However, the last big survey done found a small uptick. But we do not have as many hunters now as we did 20-30 years ago.



i agree. but do we have less deer hunters.


Yes, less deer hunters too (except for the last survey, which showed a slight uptick).

I think the perceived increase in deer hunters is driven, as someone earlier posted, by the loss of areas to hunt, forcing fewer deer hunters into even less land. In addition, I think the shift in emphasis towards hunting older deer has produced a perceived need for more acres per hunter. We hunters now feel "crowded" at hunter densities that would have been perfectly acceptable 20 years ago. Then throw in the growing trend towards deer hunting being seen as a competition between hunters rather than a competition with Nature.
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#3652473 - 04/22/14 02:23 PM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: BSK]
Jaahspike
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Registered: 11/17/10
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I absolutely hate that competition between hunters is going on!!! It is one thing to have a friendly competition where no feelings are hurt, but to say things that disrespect the hunter, the animal, and our great sport is just wrong.
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#3652481 - 04/22/14 02:40 PM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: Jaahspike]
pass-thru
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Less deer hunters, but probably a lot more that hunt obsessivley and kill high numbers of deer....as opposed to the vast quantities that used to pay $20 for a license and go once or twice.

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#3652889 - 04/22/14 09:25 PM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: pass-thru]
TX300mag
Pea Picker
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Registered: 11/10/02
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In Texas a lot of people are getting frustrated and throwing in the towel, so I would say hunter numbers are dwindling. Factors I've noticed:

1. Lease prices
2. Lack of available land
3. Unrealistic expectations resulting in dissatisfaction

All of these (IMO) are a direct result of obsession with trophy sized antlers. People are no longer satisfied with joining an inexpensive camp, lease, or hunting public ground and killing deer. Hunting shows and trophy hunters condition many to feel like a successful hunt has to be a mature animal with large antlers.

I REALLY hope I don't see TN going down that same path.

The one exception, and I think it just might potentially be a game changer, is the locavore/natural/back to basics group that is hunting for the opportunity to harvest fresh, natural meat as a food source.
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#3652925 - 04/22/14 09:57 PM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: TX300mag]
BigGameGuy
TWRA Biologist
12 Point


Registered: 05/14/04
Posts: 6609
Loc: Nashville

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In my opinion I believe there's a much simpler answer. First off. in regards to hunter success. Easy...they are choosier and not pulling the trigger at the first deer they see.

In regards to declining deer numbers, I believe deer and turkey hunters need to realize, we don't and will not return anytime soon to the days of deer and turkey everywhere. What I mean is their "peak" numbers.

Here is a graph of how "restored" wildlife populations respond:



As you can see, there is a peak, followed by a decline, followed by settling out on K (carrying capacity). I believe deer and turkey numbers are now coming off their peaks and are seen in decline...that's NORMAL. Almost all of Tennessee's deer and turkey data shows this exact trend. We as a wildlife agency need to educate our hunters that the days of peak populations simply aren't sustainable.
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#3652929 - 04/22/14 10:00 PM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: TX300mag]
BigGameGuy
TWRA Biologist
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Registered: 05/14/04
Posts: 6609
Loc: Nashville

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 Originally Posted By: TX300mag
In Texas a lot of people are getting frustrated and throwing in the towel, so I would say hunter numbers are dwindling. Factors I've noticed:

1. Lease prices
2. Lack of available land
3. Unrealistic expectations resulting in dissatisfaction

All of these (IMO) are a direct result of obsession with trophy sized antlers. People are no longer satisfied with joining an inexpensive camp, lease, or hunting public ground and killing deer. Hunting shows and trophy hunters condition many to feel like a successful hunt has to be a mature animal with large antlers.

I REALLY hope I don't see TN going down that same path.

The one exception, and I think it just might potentially be a game changer, is the locavore/natural/back to basics group that is hunting for the opportunity to harvest fresh, natural meat as a food source.





That is simply one of the best comments I have read. I believe you are spot on with all that you said (especially #3).
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#3652937 - 04/22/14 10:11 PM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: TX300mag]
deerhunter10
10 Point


Registered: 08/21/12
Posts: 3368
Loc: maury county tn

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 Originally Posted By: TX300mag
In Texas a lot of people are getting frustrated and throwing in the towel, so I would say hunter numbers are dwindling. Factors I've noticed:

1. Lease prices
2. Lack of available land
3. Unrealistic expectations resulting in dissatisfaction

All of these (IMO) are a direct result of obsession with trophy sized antlers. People are no longer satisfied with joining an inexpensive camp, lease, or hunting public ground and killing deer. Hunting shows and trophy hunters condition many to feel like a successful hunt has to be a mature animal with large antlers.

I REALLY hope I don't see TN going down that same path.

The one exception, and I think it just might potentially be a game changer, is the locavore/natural/back to basics group that is hunting for the opportunity to harvest fresh, natural meat as a food source.





spot on but it is already happening in Tennessee. is it as bad as other states no but we are already heading that direction.
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#3653082 - 04/23/14 08:00 AM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: pass-thru]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
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Registered: 03/11/99
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 Originally Posted By: pass-thru

Less deer hunters, but probably a lot more that hunt obsessivley and kill high numbers of deer....


I do agree that we are seeing a larger number of deer hunters that are truly obsessed. They eat, breath, and sleep deer hunting 365. But I'm not sure they kill more deer. These hunters are highly selective about what they kill. Although I would say these hunters are far more successful at killing older bucks than hunters used to be, which is seen in the harvest data.

 Quote:
...as opposed to the vast quantities that used to pay $20 for a license and go once or twice.


I think we still have plenty of these type of hunters--what I call "opening weekend" hunters; those that only deer hunting opening weekend of gun season, and then again around Thanksgiving. Perhaps BGG has more recent numbers, but the last time the TWRA did a survey asking how many days deer hunters hunted per year, the average was only around 12 days. And remember, that's averaging in all of the hardcore deer hunters that are hunting 40-60+ days per year, so there has to a be a ton of hunters only hunting 4 or less days a year to get an average around 12.
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#3653098 - 04/23/14 08:26 AM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: TX300mag]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
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Registered: 03/11/99
Posts: 64800
Loc: Nashville, TN

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 Originally Posted By: TX300mag
In Texas a lot of people are getting frustrated and throwing in the towel, so I would say hunter numbers are dwindling. Factors I've noticed:

1. Lease prices
2. Lack of available land
3. Unrealistic expectations resulting in dissatisfaction

All of these (IMO) are a direct result of obsession with trophy sized antlers. People are no longer satisfied with joining an inexpensive camp, lease, or hunting public ground and killing deer. Hunting shows and trophy hunters condition many to feel like a successful hunt has to be a mature animal with large antlers.

I REALLY hope I don't see TN going down that same path.


I agree with deerhunter10; it is happening in TN, just not quite as bad as in TX and some of the Midwestern states.

In my opinion, your 3rd point about "unrealistic expectations" is the real killer. I'm becoming appalled at the rhetoric I see presented on TV hunting shows and even from organizations such as the QDMA. Their ever-increasing standards of what qualifies as a "worthy" deer for harvest is FAR beyond what is realistic for 95% of deer hunters. In fact, if you listen to today's hunting media, anything less than a 5 1/2+ year-old buck is a "young" buck that should be protected. I can promise you that mathematically, if that were the criteria of hunting "success," success rates among hunters would be so low as to drive 95+% of them out of the hunting world forever.

 Quote:
The one exception, and I think it just might potentially be a game changer, is the locavore/natural/back to basics group that is hunting for the opportunity to harvest fresh, natural meat as a food source.


Agreed. In fact, they may be the ones driving the sudden uptick in hunter numbers observed in the last hunting census.
_________________________
"Know where you stand, and stand there" --Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan

"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." --Clive James

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#3653137 - 04/23/14 09:10 AM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: BSK]
Lost Lake
6 Point


Registered: 11/17/12
Posts: 695
Loc: Middle Tn

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 Originally Posted By: BSK
 Originally Posted By: TX300mag
In Texas a lot of people are getting frustrated and throwing in the towel, so I would say hunter numbers are dwindling. Factors I've noticed:

1. Lease prices
2. Lack of available land
3. Unrealistic expectations resulting in dissatisfaction

All of these (IMO) are a direct result of obsession with trophy sized antlers. People are no longer satisfied with joining an inexpensive camp, lease, or hunting public ground and killing deer. Hunting shows and trophy hunters condition many to feel like a successful hunt has to be a mature animal with large antlers.

I REALLY hope I don't see TN going down that same path.


I agree with deerhunter10; it is happening in TN, just not quite as bad as in TX and some of the Midwestern states.

In my opinion, your 3rd point about "unrealistic expectations" is the real killer. I'm becoming appalled at the rhetoric I see presented on TV hunting shows and even from organizations such as the QDMA. Their ever-increasing standards of what qualifies as a "worthy" deer for harvest is FAR beyond what is realistic for 95% of deer hunters. In fact, if you listen to today's hunting media, anything less than a 5 1/2+ year-old buck is a "young" buck that should be protected. I can promise you that mathematically, if that were the criteria of hunting "success," success rates among hunters would be so low as to drive 95+% of them out of the hunting world forever.

 Quote:
The one exception, and I think it just might potentially be a game changer, is the locavore/natural/back to basics group that is hunting for the opportunity to harvest fresh, natural meat as a food source.


Agreed. In fact, they may be the ones driving the sudden uptick in hunter numbers observed in the last hunting census.


Probably the best posts I've seen here since I've joined.

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#3653139 - 04/23/14 09:13 AM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: BSK]
TX300mag
Pea Picker
14 Point


Registered: 11/10/02
Posts: 8884
Loc: Crosby, TX

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It's sad, but I've seen people in Texas ostracized, made fun of, and looked down on for their FIRST deer being a 2.5 and even 3.5 year old buck.

I remember one instance in particular where a young hunter (13-14 years old) walked away during the early season and never came back. He watched his father being ridiculed and chastised for killing his first deer, which was an 8 point buck that didn't meet other hunters standard (no rule violated). Way to introduce two new hunters to the sport.
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#3653162 - 04/23/14 09:30 AM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: TX300mag]
stik
"Popcorn"
18 Point


Registered: 03/12/99
Posts: 20766
Loc: lenoir city,tn

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 Originally Posted By: TX300mag
It's sad, but I've seen people in Texas ostracized, made fun of, and looked down on for their FIRST deer being a 2.5 and even 3.5 year old buck.

I remember one instance in particular where a young hunter (13-14 years old) walked away during the early season and never came back. He watched his father being ridiculed and chastised for killing his first deer, which was an 8 point buck that didn't meet other hunters standard (no rule violated). Way to introduce two new hunters to the sport.


that happens here(tndeer) too. there are those amongst us who belittle others' deer if they don't meet their standards.
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#3653226 - 04/23/14 10:18 AM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: stik]
woodsman87
8 Point


Registered: 09/27/12
Posts: 1274
Loc: south TN

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TV hunting has just about ruined it. Now if you don't kill a 150"er behind your house with a brand new Mathews you aren't cool enough to hunt.

Instead of TV hunters trying to teach people new to the sport how to hunt, they have just gone to making money and trying to sell their crap.

So many new hunters buy the deer calls, doe pee, and attractants, (like acorn rage and trophy rock) and expect instant success. When they hunt opening weekend and see nothing, or kill a yearling buck, they are ridiculed and discouraged and therefore quit.

In order to be like the TV people, you have to be lucky in the fact that you know some people with access to these great lands, or you have to be rich without a family in order to find a lease that has big bucks.

TV hunting is just dispicable. I remember when it was good entertainment as well as educational, but now it is all about the antlers and money.

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#3653228 - 04/23/14 10:23 AM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: woodsman87]
woodsman87
8 Point


Registered: 09/27/12
Posts: 1274
Loc: south TN

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I went through a trophy stage, where I wasn't going to shoot anything unless it was mountable, and It had to be big enough to impress my friends. I used to frown upon people for shooting yearlings. I am no longer like that. It makes me feel so much better now that I am mature as a sportsman, and if a hunter is happy with an animal he/she killed then congrats to them.

I hunt for myself now. If I feel like shooting a small 2-1/2 year old six point I shoot him. I do not post pictures of any animal I kill or fish I catch. I do not like to brag about anything that I shoot. It is a personal accomplishment to myself, so I keep it to myself.

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#3653355 - 04/23/14 12:57 PM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: woodsman87]
barkscraper
Spike


Registered: 08/03/11
Posts: 92
Loc: morgan

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Your right woodsman87 I have only me to please and i choose to hunt the 3 1/2 yr old deer and up,not the rack as much anymore. I killed nothing last yr passing on 14 different bucks. I HATE the RACK IN A SACK seed and mineral companies the staged tv shows it has done more damage to our sport than anything else listed. We need to hunt to please our self so we as hunters need to start looking around to see what we are supporting
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#3653872 - 04/24/14 06:05 AM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: barkscraper]
mike243
16 Point


Registered: 09/06/06
Posts: 11545
Loc: east tn

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Throw EHD into the mix & you might find part of the reasons for some states wanting a lower deer density # ,they were trying to kill every deer in some states & county's in order to stop it. It can occur naturally so it wont ever be eradicated but the spread can be slowed down by limiting the population
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#3653899 - 04/24/14 06:56 AM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: mike243]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
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Registered: 03/11/99
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 Originally Posted By: mike243
Throw EHD into the mix & you might find part of the reasons for some states wanting a lower deer density # ,they were trying to kill every deer in some states & county's in order to stop it. It can occur naturally so it wont ever be eradicated but the spread can be slowed down by limiting the population


mike243,

EHD is not contagious. It does not spread from deer to deer. Deer density has no relation to outbreaks of EHD or those outbreaks' severity. The chance of an individual deer getting EHD is the same if the density is 5 or 50 deer per square mile.
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#3654080 - 04/24/14 10:30 AM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: mike243]
TNGunsmoke
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Registered: 09/07/11
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 Originally Posted By: mike243
Throw EHD into the mix & you might find part of the reasons for some states wanting a lower deer density # ,they were trying to kill every deer in some states & county's in order to stop it. It can occur naturally so it wont ever be eradicated but the spread can be slowed down by limiting the population


I think you have EHD and CWD confused. CWD is the one that is speculated to be spread by too high a concentration of deer. I really wonder sometimes if they know exactly what causes it, I am just glad it has not yet been found here.
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#3654575 - 04/24/14 08:18 PM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: BSK]
landman
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Registered: 11/15/09
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TWRA showed a graph today that showed TN 3.5 yr old buck harvest has dropped the last 2-3 yrs we are now back to the same amount killed in 2008
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#3654580 - 04/24/14 08:20 PM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: stik]
landman
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 Originally Posted By: stik
 Originally Posted By: TX300mag
It's sad, but I've seen people in Texas ostracized, made fun of, and looked down on for their FIRST deer being a 2.5 and even 3.5 year old buck.

I remember one instance in particular where a young hunter (13-14 years old) walked away during the early season and never came back. He watched his father being ridiculed and chastised for killing his first deer, which was an 8 point buck that didn't meet other hunters standard (no rule violated). Way to introduce two new hunters to the sport.

That's the truth
that happens here(tndeer) too. there are those amongst us who belittle others' deer if they don't meet their standards.
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#3654657 - 04/24/14 09:14 PM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: landman]
Wes Parrish
16 Point


Registered: 06/12/02
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Loc: Knoxville-Dover-Union City, TN

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 Originally Posted By: landman
TWRA showed a graph today that showed TN 3.5 yr old buck harvest has dropped the last 2-3 yrs we are now back to the same amount killed in 2008

Wonder if it had anything to do with the November muzzleloader buck limit going from 1 to 3 bucks, was that about 4 years ago?

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#3654687 - 04/24/14 09:43 PM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: Wes Parrish]
landman
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Registered: 11/15/09
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 Originally Posted By: Wes Parrish
 Originally Posted By: landman
TWRA showed a graph today that showed TN 3.5 yr old buck harvest has dropped the last 2-3 yrs we are now back to the same amount killed in 2008

Wonder if it had anything to do with the November muzzleloader buck limit going from 1 to 3 bucks, was that about 4 years ago?


Good point Wes.

But that couldn't be a factor....less than 2,500 killed 3 bucks this year
But at the same time 120,000 didn't kill a buck...those numbers are per TWRA
as of today
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#3654707 - 04/24/14 10:02 PM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: landman]
AT Hiker
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Registered: 07/03/11
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 Originally Posted By: landman
 Originally Posted By: Wes Parrish
 Originally Posted By: landman
TWRA showed a graph today that showed TN 3.5 yr old buck harvest has dropped the last 2-3 yrs we are now back to the same amount killed in 2008

Wonder if it had anything to do with the November muzzleloader buck limit going from 1 to 3 bucks, was that about 4 years ago?


Good point Wes.

But that couldn't be a factor....less than 2,500 killed 3 bucks this year
But at the same time 120,000 didn't kill a buck...those numbers are per TWRA
as of today


Im not one to argue with TWRA records, but 120,000 didnt kill one? I would like to see a breakdown of demographics on these people. Are they bird hunters and fisherman who buy a sportsmans tag, lifetime tag holders who dont deer hunt, relatives in town for a holiday, what? Im sure a laarge portion of them chose not to kill one as well. Then you got the folks who dont check them in, some say that number is not as high but I think it is higher than we think. For example; people using the landowner exemption, getting other people to check their kills in, killing more than the limit and not checking it in. We all know it happens, but to what extent is unknown. To be naive and say it is statistically irrelevant is the lazy way out.
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#3654780 - 04/25/14 02:46 AM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: TNGunsmoke]
mike243
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Registered: 09/06/06
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 Originally Posted By: TNGunsmoke
 Originally Posted By: mike243
Throw EHD into the mix & you might find part of the reasons for some states wanting a lower deer density # ,they were trying to kill every deer in some states & county's in order to stop it. It can occur naturally so it wont ever be eradicated but the spread can be slowed down by limiting the population


I think you have EHD and CWD confused. CWD is the one that is speculated to be spread by too high a concentration of deer. I really wonder sometimes if they know exactly what causes it, I am just glad it has not yet been found here.
yep picked wrong disease name sorry
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#3655369 - 04/25/14 04:21 PM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: AT Hiker]
BSK
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 Originally Posted By: AT Hiker
Im not one to argue with TWRA records, but 120,000 didnt kill one? I would like to see a breakdown of demographics on these people. Are they bird hunters and fisherman who buy a sportsmans tag, lifetime tag holders who dont deer hunt, relatives in town for a holiday, what? Im sure a laarge portion of them chose not to kill one as well. Then you got the folks who dont check them in, some say that number is not as high but I think it is higher than we think. For example; people using the landowner exemption, getting other people to check their kills in, killing more than the limit and not checking it in. We all know it happens, but to what extent is unknown. To be naive and say it is statistically irrelevant is the lazy way out.


For the serious deer hunters, it's hard to imagine, but it really is true that of the 200,000+ DEER hunters (not all hunters) in TN, less than half kill even one deer each year. Only around 1 in 3 deer hunters kill even one buck each year. I believe the serious deer hunters severely under-estimate how many deer hunters only hunt opening weekend of gun season, and then maybe again around Thanksgiving. The average number of days deer hunted by deer hunters in TN is shockingly low, even with almost 4 total months of some type of deer season open. And all of these success rate numbers have held amazingly consistent for about the last 10 years.

However, I STRONGLY suspect that of that 1 in 3 deer hunters that are successful at killing at least one buck each year, there is a large subset of that group that is successful every year, and this subset are the "serious deer hunters." I suspect this group kills the vast majority of the bucks killed each year.
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#3655417 - 04/25/14 05:34 PM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: BSK]
Wes Parrish
16 Point


Registered: 06/12/02
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Loc: Knoxville-Dover-Union City, TN

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 Originally Posted By: BSK
However, I STRONGLY suspect that of that 1 in 3 deer hunters that are successful at killing at least one buck each year, there is a large subset of that group that is successful every year, and this subset are the "serious deer hunters." I suspect this group kills the vast majority of the bucks killed each year.

Not only have you hit the nail on the head, but this, my friend, is thinking outside the box of just tabulating raw data!

THIS is why going from a 3-buck to a 2-buck limit may do much more for herd health than the data tabulators can imagine.

This issue is not so much how many hunters currently kill 3 bucks annually, or 2 bucks annually, but more about WHICH hunters consistently average killing 1 or more bucks annually. THESE are the hunters who will (by and large) voluntarily choose to raise their own standards on both their first and 2nd bucks when they do not have that 3rd buck tag. Not only will their actions improve buck:doe ratios and buck age structure, but these same actions will also increase the harvest success of those less-avid hunters who may only hunt a couple weekends a year during gun season.

Simply put, when the less avid go afield (mostly during the last half of November), there will be more bucks still living, increasing their odds of seeing one. (I suspect a lot more bucks will particularly survive the early November muzzleloader season.) At the same time, more bucks will survive period, herd dynamics and hunting opportunity improves for all hunters.

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#3656519 - 04/27/14 04:27 PM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: Wes Parrish]
Hoss
TnDeer Old Timer
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I don't find it difficult at all to imagine the lack of success among hunters. I have been saying it for years the largest roadblock to improving hunting success and hunter satisfaction and recruitment is the lack of access to quality land. Many, Many, Many hunters in Tennessee would like to take a deer, any deer, but do not have access to quality private land. They are discouraged to hunt public land, often times due to a bad experience or horror story. So they may hunt once or twice on land that is marginally conducive to good deer hunting and give up. I personally know at least 2 or 3 dozen people who hunted a lot in the late eighties and early nineties that got out of hunting altogether or at least effectively becaue in their words, "I don't have any place to go."
So if you have access to quality deer hunting opportunities on private land be grateful! And be responsible, because I can tell you it can go away before you know it, even if you do nothing wrong!!


Edited by Hoss (04/27/14 04:29 PM)
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#3657103 - 04/28/14 09:34 AM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: BSK]
bowriter
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Registered: 08/31/02
Posts: 41731
Loc: Lebanon,TN USA

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 Originally Posted By: BSK
 Originally Posted By: AT Hiker
Im not one to argue with TWRA records, but 120,000 didnt kill one? I would like to see a breakdown of demographics on these people. Are they bird hunters and fisherman who buy a sportsmans tag, lifetime tag holders who dont deer hunt, relatives in town for a holiday, what? Im sure a laarge portion of them chose not to kill one as well. Then you got the folks who dont check them in, some say that number is not as high but I think it is higher than we think. For example; people using the landowner exemption, getting other people to check their kills in, killing more than the limit and not checking it in. We all know it happens, but to what extent is unknown. To be naive and say it is statistically irrelevant is the lazy way out.


For the serious deer hunters, it's hard to imagine, but it really is true that of the 200,000+ DEER hunters (not all hunters) in TN, less than half kill even one deer each year. Only around 1 in 3 deer hunters kill even one buck each year. I believe the serious deer hunters severely under-estimate how many deer hunters only hunt opening weekend of gun season, and then maybe again around Thanksgiving. The average number of days deer hunted by deer hunters in TN is shockingly low, even with almost 4 total months of some type of deer season open. And all of these success rate numbers have held amazingly consistent for about the last 10 years.

However, I STRONGLY suspect that of that 1 in 3 deer hunters that are successful at killing at least one buck each year, there is a large subset of that group that is successful every year, and this subset are the "serious deer hunters." I suspect this group kills the vast majority of the bucks killed each year.


Exactly and there is another factor you might consider.

The age of TN hunters is increasing. I suspect there is a growing number who are like me and don't really care about killing a buck unless it is one that seriously belongs on their wall. Therefore, as with me, they might kill four or five does and be done.

We go sit and enjoy the woods and shoot the first doe that comes along and that is our hunt for the day. For some, it is the hunt for the year.
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#3658527 - 04/29/14 03:29 PM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: Wes Parrish]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
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 Originally Posted By: Wes Parrish
 Originally Posted By: BSK
However, I STRONGLY suspect that of that 1 in 3 deer hunters that are successful at killing at least one buck each year, there is a large subset of that group that is successful every year, and this subset are the "serious deer hunters." I suspect this group kills the vast majority of the bucks killed each year.

Not only have you hit the nail on the head, but this, my friend, is thinking outside the box of just tabulating raw data!

THIS is why going from a 3-buck to a 2-buck limit may do much more for herd health than the data tabulators can imagine.

This issue is not so much how many hunters currently kill 3 bucks annually, or 2 bucks annually, but more about WHICH hunters consistently average killing 1 or more bucks annually. THESE are the hunters who will (by and large) voluntarily choose to raise their own standards on both their first and 2nd bucks when they do not have that 3rd buck tag. Not only will their actions improve buck:doe ratios and buck age structure, but these same actions will also increase the harvest success of those less-avid hunters who may only hunt a couple weekends a year during gun season.


A real possibility Wes. I don't think going to a 2 buck limit would help much, but it very well might.
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#3658948 - 04/29/14 10:16 PM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: BSK]
TNlandowner
6 Point


Registered: 03/28/06
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Gentlemen,
I am able to harvest mature bucks every year. Some years 1 buck, others 3, and more bucks (I hunt several states) on better years. So, place me in whatever statistical subset is appropriate. The key in my situation is I have a choice on which deer to harvest.
My question is why another hunter would attack my ability to pursue happiness by hunting mature bucks? Why are you worried if I harvest three mature bucks on lands that we manage?

In all fairness, I don't understand the push for buck limit reductions. If a change is absolutely needed, why not focus on protecting younger bucks?

We should not be in such a rush to "over-regulate" deer hunting. One may simply view European models as an example of how to end hunting in the USA.




Edited by TNlandowner (04/30/14 07:32 AM)
Edit Reason: added photo
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#3659719 - 04/30/14 07:41 PM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: TNlandowner]
Wes Parrish
16 Point


Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 19012
Loc: Knoxville-Dover-Union City, TN

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 Originally Posted By: TNlandowner
I am able to harvest mature bucks every year. Some years 1 buck, others 3, and more bucks (I hunt several states) on better years. So, place me in whatever statistical subset is appropriate. The key in my situation is I have a choice on which deer to harvest.

CONGRATULATIONS!
The average TN hunter (who only hunts in TN), not only VERY SELDOM if ever has killed a mature buck in his life, but only averages "a" buck about once every 3 years. So I would appropriately place you in a statistical subset of "very accomplished".

Please note what you consider the "key" in your situation. \:\)

 Originally Posted By: TNlandowner
My question is why another hunter would attack my ability to pursue happiness by hunting mature bucks? Why are you worried if I harvest three mature bucks on lands that we manage?

Like you, I am also happiest hunting specifically for mature bucks, and managing to have more of them, specifically, more large-antlered mature bucks. Best I can determine, most hunters are not attacking another hunter's ability to pursue happiness by hunting mature bucks, although some do, I don't know why. (Similarly, some attack another hunter's ability to pursue happiness by hunting "a" buck.)

But I do know why some worry if bucks (mature or otherwise) are getting over-harvested by either a minority of accomplished hunters (or a majority of less accomplished hunters). Whether or not there should be any concern of "a" particular hunter over-harvesting bucks on lands that he "manages" would likely depend on just how much land he is managing. The average mature buck is roaming across several miles of land, and is not necessarily "owned" by any one landowner. Even though we commonly think of the bucks we see on our land as "our" bucks, we have neighbors and their neighbors calling those same bucks "theirs".

 Originally Posted By: TNlandowner
In all fairness, I don't understand the push for buck limit reductions. If a change is absolutely needed, why not focus on protecting younger bucks?

I think you answered your own question with what you consider "key" to your own personal situation in the 1st paragraph above, i.e. freedom of choice on whichever buck a hunter chooses to harvest.

Going from a 3 to a 2-buck limit would only compromise those hunters who regularly do kill 3 bucks annually. Based on what I've seen, most in TN who do regularly kill 3 bucks annually are NOT killing mature bucks. But the average TN hunter? He may not be too concerned should some of us only be allowed to kill 2 instead of 3 in the future, might even prefer it. However, going to a 2-buck limit would cause more young bucks to live older, would help to increase the number of mature bucks.

Regarding antler restrictions, the only ones that would ever have any chance of being imposed would be those that mainly just protect yearling bucks. These have been proven to increase antler high-grading, mainly leaving those bucks with the smallest antlers to survive to maturity. Would you want that? More mature bucks, but carrying smaller antlers than mature bucks carried before a few years of antler restrictions?

 Originally Posted By: TNlandowner
We should not be in such a rush to "over-regulate" deer hunting. One may simply view European models as an example of how to end hunting in the USA.

And we're not, nor should we.
The trend in Tennessee has been to "de-regulate" not "over-regulate". Antler restrictions would be increasing regulations. Changing the buck limit from 3 to 2 is simply a small adjustment to an existing limit. Neither of these options has anything to do with the European model of wildlife management.

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#3659724 - 04/30/14 07:48 PM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: BSK]
Wes Parrish
16 Point


Registered: 06/12/02
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Loc: Knoxville-Dover-Union City, TN

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 Originally Posted By: BSK
 Originally Posted By: Wes Parrish
 Originally Posted By: BSK
However, I STRONGLY suspect that of that 1 in 3 deer hunters that are successful at killing at least one buck each year, there is a large subset of that group that is successful every year, and this subset are the "serious deer hunters." I suspect this group kills the vast majority of the bucks killed each year.

Not only have you hit the nail on the head, but this, my friend, is thinking outside the box of just tabulating raw data!
THIS is why going from a 3-buck to a 2-buck limit may do much more for herd health than the data tabulators can imagine.
This issue is not so much how many hunters currently kill 3 bucks annually, or 2 bucks annually, but more about WHICH hunters consistently average killing 1 or more bucks annually. . . . . . Not only will their actions improve buck:doe ratios and buck age structure, but these same actions will also increase the harvest success of those less-avid hunters who may only hunt a couple weekends a year during gun season.
A real possibility Wes. I don't think going to a 2 buck limit would help much, but it very well might.

I am glad we agree it would "do no harm". \:\)
I think we agree it WOULD improve herd health and hunter success, even if only slightly?

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#3660006 - 05/01/14 08:32 AM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: Wes Parrish]
BSK
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 Originally Posted By: Wes Parrish
 Originally Posted By: BSK
A real possibility Wes. I don't think going to a 2 buck limit would help much, but it very well might.

I am glad we agree it would "do no harm". \:\)
I think we agree it WOULD improve herd health and hunter success, even if only slightly?


A 2 buck limit would certainly do no harm to the deer herd, just to hunter opportunity (although few hunters actually kill 3 bucks).

However, I question just how much it would help herd health. It might help, but again, the evidence I've seen makes me question whether a 2 buck limit would "save" enough young bucks to make a difference. It might, but I don't feel confident in saying it would.
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#3660047 - 05/01/14 09:36 AM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: BSK]
Wes Parrish
16 Point


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Loc: Knoxville-Dover-Union City, TN

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 Originally Posted By: BSK
A 2 buck limit would certainly do no harm to the deer herd, just to hunter opportunity (although few hunters actually kill 3 bucks).

I am puzzled by your comment regarding the hunter opportunity being "harmed"? This makes little sense to me, since if over 90% have increased opportunity, while less than 10% have decreased opportunity (and that only in being limited to 2 instead of 3 bucks), how does this "change" not provide more benefit than detriment to 90-plus percent of the hunters?

Considering that over 90% of hunters do NOT kill 3 bucks annually, to what extent those who do kill 3 go to killing 2, this WOULD BENEFIT those who have been taking 2 and fewer via providing them increased target opportunity?

That would appear an overall increase in overall hunter opportunity, as the expectation is that MORE hunters would harvest at least one (or more) bucks annually?

It could also be argued that a 1-buck limit provides even much greater harvest opportunity to the "average" deer hunter for these same reasons. But as stated many times, I am not in favor of a 1-buck limit, seeing the 2-buck limit as the best middle ground on buck limits.

I guess the real issue becomes to what extent do we design regulations more for a minority of hunters than the majority, coupled with to what extent we weigh "do no harm" to herd health vs. "improving" herd health?

In the meantime, herd health appears to be declining since we more recently went to a simple 3-buck limit (which began when the November muzzleloader season segment went from a limit of 1 buck to 3 bucks).

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#3660295 - 05/01/14 03:43 PM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: Wes Parrish]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
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 Originally Posted By: Wes Parrish
[quote=BSK]Considering that over 90% of hunters do NOT kill 3 bucks annually, to what extent those who do kill 3 go to killing 2, this WOULD BENEFIT those who have been taking 2 and fewer via providing them increased target opportunity?


This idea--that if fewer bucks are killed, more survive until next year, hence produce more targets and more opportunity for hunters the following year--makes logical sense. However, the data suggests that in reality, it didn't happen when TN tried it earlier. When TN went from a de facto 11 buck limit (when the total bucks allowed with each weapon are added together) in 1997 to a 2 buck limit in 1998, we saw what was hoped for: a huge decline in yearling bucks killed in 1998. Statistically, it appears that change in limits "saved" between 20,000 and 30,000 yearling bucks from harvest. And if the logical hypothesis that fewer yearling bucks being killed will produce far more older buck targets the following year, then 2 1/2 year-old buck kills should have taken a corresponding jump the following year, in 1999. Yet they didn't. In fact, they didn't even take a little blip upwards. The harvest of 2 1/2 year-old bucks just cruised through the change in limits without any change in the slow rate of increase that had been going on for a number of years prior to the limit change. So the idea that having more older bucks in the woods will produce more older bucks killed by hunters isn't correct. We saw no major upswing in older bucks killed the year after the major limit change or any year after.

In addition, if the theory that fewer bucks being killed "spreads the available bucks out to more hunters" is true, the year hunters are more limited in their kills, hunter success should rise significantly. Yet we didn't see that either. Like the harvest of 2 1/2 year-old bucks, hunter success cruised through the dramatic change in limits without any significant improvements. Hunter success had been increasing slowly for some time prior to the limit change, and it continued improving at the same slow rate right through the limit change. It appears the limit change--and a very dramatic one at that--really did not increase hunter success. It did not "spread the available bucks out between more hunters" as logic would suggest.

It is just these major differences between logical "theory," and measured reality that make me question what would be accomplished by lowering the buck limit from 3 to 2. Considering the reality we have seen in the past, it might help, but the data suggest otherwise.
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#3660565 - 05/01/14 09:36 PM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: BSK]
Wes Parrish
16 Point


Registered: 06/12/02
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Loc: Knoxville-Dover-Union City, TN

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 Originally Posted By: BSK
This idea--that if fewer bucks are killed, more survive until next year, hence produce more targets and more opportunity for hunters the following year--makes logical sense. . . . . . . We saw no major upswing in older bucks killed the year after the major limit change or any year after.
. . . . .
It is just these major differences between logical "theory," and measured reality that make me question what would be accomplished by lowering the buck limit from 3 to 2.

Well, gee, based on that data, why not just make the annual buck limit 100, as what difference would it make? We could be more like Alabama! \:\)

Does our harvest data really measure reality? Do bucks really shed their antlers?

The harvest data is what it is, and there appears many variables are coming into play. Among them, I suspect the less avid hunters are hunting considerably fewer days than this particular hunter group did back in the 90's. At least that has been my field observation. Meanwhile, the avid hunters may have become more effective, to the point of creating significantly more antler high-grading of the 2 1/2-yr-old buck cohort. And with this wide-spread promotion of antler restrictions (such as 4 on a side), there seems to be significant antler high-grading of the yearling cohort as well.

Fact is, so many of the variables effecting the deer harvest have changed that the actual deer "kill" says much less than it did in times past. But we can still logically conclude that if there are more 3 1/2 & older bucks in a square mile, there is greater opportunity for any and all hunters to kill one, than if there were fewer.

But more pointedly, how has the buck harvest of 3 1/2 & older bucks trended over the past 3 years? 2 1/2's? Yearlings? And relative to the doe harvest? How about the trends in antler high-grading, whoops, that's not in the data?

No one has said going from a 3-buck limit to a 2-buck limit would make a "major" difference in one year, or even a few. It's just a targeted adjustment to improve both herd health and hunter opportunity incrementally over time. Kinda like when we're a little overweight, and we ponder is it better to do nothing differently and keep gaining "only" 5 lbs a year (less healthy) vs. making a small adjustment and losing 5 lbs a year (more healthy).

Again, how are we TRENDING (particularly since we went to a simple 3-buck limit which increased the November muzzleloader segment limit from 1 to 3 bucks),
and where will we be in another three or four years?

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#3660755 - 05/02/14 07:59 AM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: Wes Parrish]
BSK
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 Originally Posted By: Wes Parrish
Fact is, so many of the variables effecting the deer harvest have changed that the actual deer "kill" says much less than it did in times past.


I agree with that statement. And that's why it's up to those assessing the data to try and track the changes in hunter attitudes and trends that effect what is being harvested. However, that doesn't change the fact that in the past in TN, lower buck limits did NOT produce the changes that we expected to logically see. Killing 20,000 to 30,000 less yearling bucks in one year did not produce higher 2 1/2 year-old buck kills the following year. 20,000 to 30,000 more bucks in the woods did not "spread the kill between more hunters." Now without question it improved the buck age structure, but an improved buck age structure did not result in hunters killing more of those older bucks. I'm not arguing against management. I'm just pointing out that what we expect to see from a management change may not occur at all.

 Quote:
But more pointedly, how has the buck harvest of 3 1/2 & older bucks trended over the past 3 years? 2 1/2's? Yearlings?


It has been slightly downward. But is that the result of the 3 buck limit, or is that the result of the recent unprecedented increase in hunters who say they primarily hunt for meat?

 Quote:
No one has said going from a 3-buck limit to a 2-buck limit would make a "major" difference in one year, or even a few. It's just a targeted adjustment to improve both herd health and hunter opportunity incrementally over time.


As I've said many times, I'm perfectly happy--both scientifically and as a hunter--with our current 3 buck limit. However I would be equally happy--both scientifically and as a hunter--with a 2 buck limit. Yet based on the data collected to date, I cannot and will not scientifically make the case that a 2 buck limit would significantly improve herd health or hunter success. The data does not support that hypothesis.
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#3660832 - 05/02/14 09:35 AM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: BSK]
Mike Belt
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Interesting topic and it could be discussed and cussed in many directions. First of all let me say that I am satisfied with our current 3 buck limit but I can see no problem with dropping to a 2 buck limit either. I don't doubt that drop would result in a few more bucks spread statewide but I also question whether that increase would result in any tangible increase in overall statewide kill... particularly if that buck kill increase is static now and considering that older bucks are inclined to be harder to kill. When and if the limit was dropped to 2 bucks and the results were marginal would the outcry become a 1 buck limit?

As known I hunt at Ames Plantation. We've had a 2 buck limit since the club's inception. Our size restriction severely limits our yearling buck harvest and our overall buck harvest altogether. It is much more a factor than the 2 buck limit. That 2 buck limit has resulted in more older bucks in the population but coupled with our size restriction, I can't tell that it's increased the available number of legal killable bucks. If the goal of a reduced limit is to increase the size of bucks in a population the results probably won't be noticeable. Just as water seeks it's own level a buck population in any given area is going to reach it's potential and stabilize at that point. At that point if size is the goal it really doesn't matter whether the limit is 1, 2, or 3.
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#3660902 - 05/02/14 10:30 AM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: Mike Belt]
BSK
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 Originally Posted By: Mike Belt
Just as water seeks it's own level a buck population in any given area is going to reach it's potential and stabilize at that point.


That's a critically important point Mike. As I was pointing out to BGG the other day, I now have 15 years of detailed buck age structure data from my area (season-long photo-census). In the early years of data collection, buck age structure was improving fairly rapidly. However, it eventually leveled off and reached a very stable equilibrium. In fact, no matter what is killed locally, the buck age structure hasn't moved in either direction since 2004. This indicates you can't "stockpile" older bucks. Eventually Nature stabilizes the buck age structure in a given environment. The idea that "If we could just save more young bucks, eventually we will have a lot of mature bucks" doesn't hold true. Without MAJOR changes in hunter harvest, eventually buck age structure "maxes out" in the area, and the "max" isn't anywhere near as high as hunters think it will be. In MOST normally hunted environments (and these numbers come from data collected everywhere from the Deep South to trophy managed properties in IL and IA), mature bucks make up 8-13% of the total buck population.
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#3661040 - 05/02/14 01:50 PM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: BSK]
Winchester
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 Originally Posted By: BSK
 Originally Posted By: Wes Parrish
 Originally Posted By: BSK
A real possibility Wes. I don't think going to a 2 buck limit would help much, but it very well might.

I am glad we agree it would "do no harm". \:\)
I think we agree it WOULD improve herd health and hunter success, even if only slightly?


A 2 buck limit would certainly do no harm to the deer herd, just to hunter opportunity (although few hunters actually kill 3 bucks).

However, I question just how much it would help herd health. It might help, but again, the evidence I've seen makes me question whether a 2 buck limit would "save" enough young bucks to make a difference. It might, but I don't feel confident in saying it would.

I agree 100% BSK and Unit B is a good example of how it made no measurable difference if any, but it did make lots of hunters unhappy with ZERO positive results.
As stated above by others, I too hunt mainly for older bucks and even in Unit b a good deal. I see absolutely no viable reason to lower the buck limit, as the hunting (mature bucks included) is the best its been in my lifetime here in TN RIGHT NOW!

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#3661643 - 05/03/14 08:32 AM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: Winchester]
BSK
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 Originally Posted By: Winchester
As stated above by others, I too hunt mainly for older bucks and even in Unit b a good deal. I see absolutely no viable reason to lower the buck limit, as the hunting (mature bucks included) is the best its been in my lifetime here in TN RIGHT NOW!


Of all the things posted in this discussion Winchester, in my opinion, THAT is the critical statement. Deer hunting, including mature buck hunting, is the best it's ever been in Tennessee RIGHT NOW.

15 years ago, if you had told me this would become the situation, I simply wouldn't have believed you. And what I would have been most incredulous about is the change in hunter attitudes. I never would have believe they could change so fast.

I will be the first to say I don't think the majority (>50%) of deer hunters in TN pass up young bucks. However, as I mentioned previously, I think there is a small sub-set of TN deer hunters--the most serious deer hunters--that kill the vast majority of bucks every year, and I believe it is THIS smaller sub-set of hunters that have embraced the idea of passing young bucks. And since this group is responsible for killing the majority of bucks each year, they are the ones who have driven our major increase in buck age structure. Although the TWRA have made some very wise management decisions that have helped TN's deer herd, I don't believe limits or seasons are the reason for the current improvements. If you want to "Thank" those responsible for the much improved buck age structure we see in many parts of the state, thank the deer hunters themselves. Those deer hunters who regularly pass up young bucks are the ones who have played the majority role in our current success.
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#3662441 - 05/04/14 05:52 PM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: BSK]
BigGameGuy
TWRA Biologist
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 Originally Posted By: BSK
If you want to "Thank" those responsible for the much improved buck age structure we see in many parts of the state, thank the deer hunters themselves. Those deer hunters who regularly pass up young bucks are the ones who have played the majority role in our current success.


Truest words ever spoken. This is why I am so adamant about NOT making stricter regulations without reason. Our hunters have created an incredibly healthy herd voluntarily, no reason to slap restrictions on them unnecessarily. (Imagine that...a govt worker who's anti-govt ;\) )
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#3662462 - 05/04/14 06:18 PM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: BigGameGuy]
timberjack86
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Registered: 06/20/11
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The only thing that I cannot wrap my head around is why these guys want a 2 buck limit? Most of they guys manage there own land, in doing so they can control the harvest on there land. Why would you want me to be limited on my land or lease. My goals are probably very different from yours. We love the experience and the meat. Antlers and age are fun but not mandatory for myself and the people I hunt with.

I hear it will increase the odds of harvesting a mature buck on public land. It might, but there are bucks that survive the blaze army every year only to die of old age or is killed by a lucky hunter who happens to be in the right place at the right time. A mature buck does not get old by being stupid. He will learn to live or die at a very young age on public land despite limiting hunters. Just my 2 cents.
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#3662704 - 05/04/14 10:57 PM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: timberjack86]
PillsburyDoughboy
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 Originally Posted By: timberjack86
The only thing that I cannot wrap my head around is why these guys want a 2 buck limit? Most of they guys manage there own land, in doing so they can control the harvest on there land. Why would you want me to be limited on my land or lease. My goals are probably very different from yours. We love the experience and the meat. Antlers and age are fun but not mandatory for myself and the people I hunt with.

I hear it will increase the odds of harvesting a mature buck on public land. It might, but there are bucks that survive the blaze army every year only to die of old age or is killed by a lucky hunter who happens to be in the right place at the right time. A mature buck does not get old by being stupid. He will learn to live or die at a very young age on public land despite limiting hunters. Just my 2 cents.


THIS!!!

You can talk all the mature buck Managment all you want to but unless you are managing 1000 s of acres you are at the mercy of the guy across the street. He can shoot the 2 1/2 year old buck you let walk this morning by late afternoon.


I suspect this is why people get upset when another hunter kills a 2 and 3 year old buck because they can no longer manage the deer herd on their land. Best advice I can give you is buy more land..because you are never going to be able to control or manage other hunters.


A two buck limit may force some hunters to check themselves at the gate and be more selective about the first buck they kill but you can bet with all the tree stand thieves, trail cam thieves and poachers out there a number of them will falsify or fail,to report a sub buck or break off a antler to make it less than 3 inches. So in reality the difference in the 2 buck limit and the 3 buck limit would probably mean very little along with the other factors all ready mentioned in this thread,

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#3662828 - 05/05/14 07:50 AM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: PillsburyDoughboy]
BSK
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 Originally Posted By: PillsburyDoughboy
I suspect this is why people get upset when another hunter kills a 2 and 3 year old buck because they can no longer manage the deer herd on their land.


To the detriment of the mature buck hunter/manager, everybody hunts/manages for something different. The desired "experience" is different between hunters. For example those 2 and 3 year-old bucks the mature buck hunter/manager is trying to protect would be prize kills on my place. We would be thrilled to have them! However, to the befit of the mature buck hunter/manager, once bucks get beyond the yearling age-class, they tend to be able to take care of themselves better than most hunters believe. Even though we will quickly kill "decent" 2 and 3 year-old bucks, we still have mature bucks around. Just because some hunters are killing 2 and 3 year-old bucks doesn't mean mature bucks won't exist. They can, and in huntable numbers.
_________________________
"Know where you stand, and stand there" --Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan

"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." --Clive James

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#3663192 - 05/05/14 03:34 PM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: BSK]
PillsburyDoughboy
Spike


Registered: 11/29/13
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 Originally Posted By: BSK
 Originally Posted By: PillsburyDoughboy
I suspect this is why people get upset when another hunter kills a 2 and 3 year old buck because they can no longer manage the deer herd on their land.


To the detriment of the mature buck hunter/manager, everybody hunts/manages for something different. The desired "experience" is different between hunters.


This agree with 110%

There are those that tend on trying to rain on others parades when he/she thinks they are raining on thier's though.

I look at it this way. A man is paying his taxes for his land. If he is working within the limits and guidelines of the TWRA. Leave him be.

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#3664823 - 05/07/14 01:02 PM Re: Deer population & hunter success in decline? [Re: BigGameGuy]
Winchester
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 Originally Posted By: BigGameGuy
 Originally Posted By: BSK
If you want to "Thank" those responsible for the much improved buck age structure we see in many parts of the state, thank the deer hunters themselves. Those deer hunters who regularly pass up young bucks are the ones who have played the majority role in our current success.


Truest words ever spoken. This is why I am so adamant about NOT making stricter regulations without reason. Our hunters have created an incredibly healthy herd voluntarily, no reason to slap restrictions on them unnecessarily. (Imagine that...a govt worker who's anti-govt ;\) )

Great post BGG we simply DONT NEED restrictions on buck harvest right now!

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