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#595489 - 02/02/08 09:55 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
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Registered: 03/11/99
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Here's a real-world hunting situation. I apologize for the poor quality of the images, but these are still-images stripped from a video I took from my deer stand. It was a very foggy morning and first a yearling buck came walking and feeding through a food plot I was hunting. 30 minutes later a mature (4 1/2 year-old) buck came along the same route as the spike. I tried to pull images of the two bucks in exactly the same location and body posture for comparison. Notice the major differences in neck size at the shoulder juncture, and in the "head on" pictures the major difference and body width from side to side. In each par, the first pic is the yearling and the second pic is the mature buck:

Pair 1:




Pair 2:




Pair 3:

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#595552 - 02/02/08 10:38 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
Wes Parrish
16 Point


Registered: 06/12/02
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Excellent post, BSK!
Great info, seldom even mentioned in the popular (and generally worthless) hunting magazines.
 Originally Posted By: BSK
. . . when field-judging buck age, always, always, ALWAYS ignore the antlers.

This particular yearling buck illustrates one of the main reasons I usually don't like antler restrictions being used as criteria in defining "shooter" bucks.

By not focusing on age first, many QDM clubs (and particularly WMA's with antler restrictions) are actually "high grading" their best yearling bucks and above-average 2 1/2-yr-old bucks, mainly leaving the genetically inferior survivors into the older ages classes. Many WMAs and QDM clubs would actually be producing more genetically superior antlered older bucks if they were NOT using any antler restrictions, particularly if they just made yearling bucks illegal (no matter what the antlers on that yearling).

I like to focus on AGE first, while trying to totally ignore antlers.
In the field, a quick focus at the buck's neck is where you start. "Skinny" neck = young buck. "Very fat" neck = 3 1/2 or older buck.

By the way, regarding this particular yearling pic above, there are probably no reasonable antler restrictions that would prevent him from being a "legal" buck at the age of 2 1/2. Yet it is bucks like this one that have the most potential to become the very top-end largest antlered bucks whould they survive to 3 1/2 or older.

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#595589 - 02/02/08 11:23 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: Wes Parrish]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
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I completely agree Wes. In my area we have a significant percentage of yearling bucks that would qualify for harvest under a "4-points-on-one-side" rule. That's why I don't like antler restrictions outside of specific geographic locations.

Now in the Deep South, where the majority of yearling bucks are fork-horns or smaller, antler restrictions can work very well.
_________________________
"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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#595630 - 02/02/08 11:52 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
DWM
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I just noticed that in the facing position a good rule would be if the upper to middle neck is as wide or wider than the skull he is at least 4 1/2. To me that would be an easy quick way to judge deer coming toward you.
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#595632 - 02/02/08 11:55 AM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
Wes Parrish
16 Point


Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 19343
Loc: Knoxville-Dover-Union City, TN

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 Originally Posted By: BSK
Now in the Deep South, where the majority of yearling bucks are fork-horns or smaller, antler restrictions can work very well.

I both agree and disagree, "depending" on just what you're trying to accomplish.

If your goal is simply to produce more 2 1/2-yr-old bucks, then of course, antler restrictions such as "4 points on one side, 8 points, 9 points, etc." will certainly do a great job in accomplishing this goal.

But many hunters state they have a personal goal of killing a large antlered buck, something that generally cannot even begin to happen prior to a buck reaching 3 1/2 years or older. And for any buck to even approach his antlers' genetic potential, he must reach the age of 4 1/2. But then again, how one defines "large" antlers comes into play.

My thinking is that most "practical" antler restrictions (those in use by most WMA's that use antler restrictions) actually increase the harvest of the genetically best antlered 2 1/2-yr-old and younger bucks. My thinking is that WITHOUT antler restrictions, many of these same areas would in fact have MORE genetically superior (large) antlered older bucks, albeit they would have fewer older bucks.

BECAUSE of antler restrictions, the best antlered yearlings are killed at a higher rate on the Catoosa WMA than they would be killed if there were no antler restrictions at all. BECAUSE of antler restrictions, the best antlered 2 1/2-yr-old bucks are killed at a higher rate on President's Island WMA than they would be killed if there were no antler restrictions at all.

And even those places where the majority of yearling bucks are fork-horns or smaller, if they use antler restrictions, BECAUSE of those antler restrictions, the best antlered younger bucks will be killed at a higher rate --- leaving fewer of the best to reach the older age classes.

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#595640 - 02/02/08 12:03 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: Wes Parrish]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
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Wes,

Hence the research on the affects of the "four total point rule" in Mississippi....

Is it reducing the average antler size of older bucks? It might be...
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"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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#595642 - 02/02/08 12:04 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: DWM]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
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 Originally Posted By: DWM
I just noticed that in the facing position a good rule would be if the upper to middle neck is as wide or wider than the skull he is at least 4 1/2. To me that would be an easy quick way to judge deer coming toward you.


Good observation DWM.
_________________________
"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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#595687 - 02/02/08 12:44 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
Chaneylake
Brownsville Mafia
16 Point


Registered: 12/18/07
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this is good, thanks
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#596093 - 02/02/08 07:06 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: Chaneylake]
baller_9
8 Point


Registered: 03/24/06
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Loc: West TN

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Great post BSK

Wes...I'm not disagreeing with you but what makes you think that antler restrictions cause the best 2 1/2 antlered bucks to be killed at a higher rate? And that these areas would have more superior bucks without the restrictions?

If there is not an antler restriction in some of the WMA's than many hunters would be happy with any buck that came by. With it being on public land hunters are going to be a lot more trigger happy knowing that there might be a another hunter on the next ridge.

In my opinion without the antler restrictions there wouldn't be so many of the top end 2 1/2 yr old bucks and than the few that go on to 3 1/2 plus. I do not believe it would ever be a good idea to have a statewide restriction. However, in my opinion I believe that the restrictions on WMA's are a great asset and allow hunters to be more selective and atleast giving bucks a chance to get some age.

I'm not saying I'm right but I would like to hear your response.

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#596147 - 02/02/08 07:32 PM Re: Field-judging buck age examples [Re: BSK]
TN RDG RNR
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Registered: 06/28/07
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awesome examples BSK thanks
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