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#596005 - 02/02/08 06:23 PM Re: AGE vs. ANTLERS on select TWRA-Managed WMAs [Re: BSK]
Wes Parrish
16 Point


Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 19448
Loc: Knoxville-Dover-Union City, TN

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 Originally Posted By: BSK
When I glanced over my shoulder and saw the mature buck I killed this year, I don't conciously remember looking at his antlers . . . . . But I do remember seeing that massive chest walking straight towards me. The adrenaline rush was so instantaneous that I actually felt a physical jolt run through my body like an electric shock. My entire body physically flinched. Even as he walked past me at only 20 yards and I was lining him up in a 3X scope, all I knew about his rack was that he was at least a decent 8-pointer. I had no idea until I had my hands on his antlers that he was a mid-150s 13-point . . . . . . I got the antlers WAY wrong, but I didn't get the general age wrong.

Even though I pulled the trigger on that buck at only 20 yards, if I had been hunting Presidents Island, I would not have pulled the trigger. I didn't know he had more than 8 points.

Bryan, you did a great job of making the point of what I've been trying to say.
It's easier to quickly identify an older buck than it is to count points.
And can you imagine the "hunter dissatisfaction" if the rule was you had to count each of that buck's antler points before you pulled your trigger?
Even though he was a massively-antlered MATURE buck, you'd probably have let him walk just because you didn't have time to accurately count.

Mature bucks, when they present, may give you plenty of time to realize what they are, plenty of time to make the shot, but no time to count points.

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#596011 - 02/02/08 06:30 PM Re: AGE vs. ANTLERS on select TWRA-Managed WMAs [Re: Wes Parrish]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
Non-Typical


Registered: 03/11/99
Posts: 65979
Loc: Nashville, TN

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Either I made a good point or I just let everyone know how bad my eyesight really is!

At nearly point-blank range I thought THIS was a mid-120 8-pointer:



...but then in my defense, I only saw him clearly broadside.
_________________________
"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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#596364 - 02/02/08 09:58 PM Re: AGE vs. ANTLERS on select TWRA-Managed WMAs [Re: BSK]
Wes Parrish
16 Point


Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 19448
Loc: Knoxville-Dover-Union City, TN

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BSK, I can certainly see why at first glance, your buck appeared to be a mature mainframe 8-pointer. And can also see why you said "BANG", before even caring how many "points" that buck may or may not have had, and doubt you even care much now either --- just happy to kill a mature buck, period.

 Originally Posted By: baller_9
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 at least giving bucks a chance to get some age.

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

I'm not saying I'm right either, just would like to share some critical thought.

I think the antler restrictions on select WMAs may have served a good purpose. But is it time to make some changes, possibly with a focus more on a buck's age than his antlers?

Let's say you have 1,000 hunters hunting a particular WMA with no antler restrictions. Many will kill the first antlered buck they see, most commonly a yearling buck. So you are right, most antler restrictions do cause a higher carry-over of yearling bucks into next year's 2 1/2-yr-old cohort.

However, let's assume those same 1,000 hunters were under a "4 points on one side" antler restriction. Perhaps only 10% of the yearling bucks have 4 points on one side. But would you agree that THAT 10% is generally the best 10% of the yearling bucks? But with the antler restrictions, the other 90% are allowed to walk, and since the hunters are still in the woods hunting, they are going to kill a much larger percentage of that best 10% than they would had there been no antler restrictions.

Let's just think that with no antler restrictions, the hunters might have killed 70% of the best 10%. But with antler restrictions, they might kill 95% of that best 10%. In this assumption, the bottom line is there would be about 6 times (500% more) as many of the top 10% surviving another year WITHOUT antler restrictions.

I realize that in most realities, the difference could be more or less than with this assumption --- a big part of why I'm asking for input and thought from you and others.

And of course, at least on the surface, it appears more beneficial to simply have a higher percentage of the yearling bucks survive to become 2 1/2's. But what if the cost of more yearlings making it to 2 1/2 is far fewer of the largest antlered yearlings becoming 2 1/2's?

Carry it one step further. Again, with no antler restrictions the next year, the hunters would be more inclined to kill "any" antlered buck, again, it would be mostly yearling bucks. But WITH antler restrictions going into Year Two, this same group of hunters would be forced to again target the very best of the yearlings, and mainly the above average among the 2 1/2's.

By Year Three, with antler restrictions, wouldn't we have mostly and mainly only the smallest antlered of the original yearling (and 2 1/2-yr-old) bucks being most likely to survive to 3 1/2? Of course, to a large degree, this is true with or without antler restrictions. My belief is it is true to a lesser extent WITHOUT antler restrictions, and to even a lesser extent if hunters focus more on age (i.e. simply not killing yearling bucks) rather than focusing on antlers (i.e. "high grading" or killing off most of the best of the best young bucks).

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#596528 - 02/03/08 06:02 AM Re: AGE vs. ANTLERS on select TWRA-Managed WMAs [Re: Wes Parrish]
Radar
Non-Typical


Registered: 08/19/01
Posts: 31209
Loc: Kansas City, Mo.

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I understand what you are saying ,Wes . I passed up what I believed to be a 3.5 year old 8 point this past season that stayed within bow range for 10 minutes , because it did not meet the antler minimum score for the property I was hunting .
His body was much bigger than the 2.5 year old 8 pt. that I had just passed up from the same stand , but his rack was only 115 class . He was very similar to the examples of 3.5 year old bucks BSK posted in his age class thread , in body and rack size .
With the poor mast crop this past fall , I think it will be even tougher for hunters to take bucks that surpass the higher antler score minimums set by many clubs this fall .

One problem I see in management by age class is the difference in neck size with a mature buck in early bow season vs. the rut when the neck swells up , making the body size appear much larger than during the early season .
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#596612 - 02/03/08 07:59 AM Re: AGE vs. ANTLERS on select TWRA-Managed WMAs [Re: Radar]
8 POINTS OR BETTER
10 Point


Registered: 08/15/07
Posts: 4095
Loc: Hardin, Co.

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Wes,

I also understand what you’re saying. But look at PI 2006 data 80% of the bucks taken are 3 1/2 or older. I think if you took away the antler restrictions you would not get that kind of %. I still think the good 2 1/2 deer would be shot with or without the antler restrictions. I would not be for state wide antler restrictions, but would like to see an effort to educate hunters on ageing deer in the field with emphasis on taking old bucks.

I guess what I'm trying to say is I think the antler restrictions are working on some of the WMA's, but I would like to see something, other than antler restrictions, on a statewide bases to encourage and educate hunters ( myself included) to kill older bucks. JMO
_________________________
" Some localities are willing to work for their sport, and have plenty. Others are willing merely to take what comes easy, and have little or none." - Aldo Leopold

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#596613 - 02/03/08 07:59 AM Re: AGE vs. ANTLERS on select TWRA-Managed WMAs [Re: Radar]
Wes Parrish
16 Point


Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 19448
Loc: Knoxville-Dover-Union City, TN

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 Originally Posted By: Radar
I understand what you are saying ,Wes. I passed up what I believed to be a 3.5 year old 8 point this past season that stayed within bow range for 10 minutes, because it did not meet the antler minimum score for the property I was hunting.
. . . . but his rack was only 115 class.

Yet, on this same property, a genetically superior 125-class 2 1/2-yr-old would have been considered a shooter?

 Originally Posted By: Radar
One problem I see in management by age class is the difference in neck size with a mature buck in early bow season vs. the rut when the neck swells up, making the body size appear much larger than during the early season .

That is true.
We should also note that due to a relative lack of buck movement in early bow season, and the fact that bowhunters are relatively few and short-ranged in weapon, this becomes less an issue.

Note that on public WMAs, as an alternative to antler restrictions currently in use, I have suggested only dissallowing yearling bucks from harvest, as yearlings are much more readily identified at all times of the year.


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#596629 - 02/03/08 08:10 AM Re: AGE vs. ANTLERS on select TWRA-Managed WMAs [Re: 8 POINTS OR BETTER]
Wes Parrish
16 Point


Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 19448
Loc: Knoxville-Dover-Union City, TN

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 Originally Posted By: 8 POINTS OR BETTER
But look at PI 2006 data 80% of the bucks taken are 3 1/2 or older. I think if you took away the antler restrictions you would not get that kind of %.

First, there is probably no WMA in TN on which those who get to hunt it are as satisfied with the hunting as President's Island. But what role have antler restrictions played in that hunter satisfaction? And if those antler restrictions there have had little to do with the herd structure, might those AR's actually be causing more hunter dissatisfaction than satisfaction? Considering the balance of hunter satisfaction and good deer management, are there better alternatives than antler restrictions?.

IMO, the current antler restrictions have very little to do with the deer hunting opportunity at President's Island. There's a lot of older bucks there mainly due to a lack of buck hunting ---- one weekend a year, archery only. With only one weekend a year of bowhunting for bucks, would ANY antler restrictions make much difference to the buck herd structure?
I need to add that "technically speaking" bucks are allowed on all three of the annual weekend bowhunts at President's Island. But on the first two, only female deer and spike bucks are legal. Only on the 3rd weekend bowhunt each year have antlered bucks (other than spikes) been legal for harvest. So "practically speaking" there is only one weekend of archery-only buck hunting at President's Island.

But let's say due to the "9 points an inch or longer" rule that 80% of the bucks harvested are 3 1/2 years or older. Might this 9-point rule possibly also EXCLUDE 80% of the bucks from harvest that are 3 1/2 years old or older? As in, don't most bucks become and remain 8-point mainframes, even up until the point they die of old age?

In the case of President's Island, if only yearling bucks were disallowed, buck hunting remained one weekend annually, archery only ---- would the carry-over of bucks change much? Would hunter satisfaction be better or worse? Would the average mature buck become larger antlered on President's Island (and be legal for harvest) without the 9-pt antler restriction?

With no antler restrictions, but with yearling bucks being disallowed, would the new ability to harvest mature 8-point bucks displace/replace the current harvest of some of those genetically superior 2 1/2 and 3 1/2-yr-old 9-pointers? As a hunter, would you consider an average mature 8-pointer (let's say scoring 130), a better "trophy" than an above average 2 1/2-yr-old 9-pointer (let's say gross scoring 118)?

My thinking is there are different ways of accomplishing similar goals, maybe better ways to get even better results. In the case of President's Island, so long as the buck hunting is one weekend a year, archery only, 1-buck limit ----- would the deer herd structure differ much over time even if ANY buck (including yearlings) were legal for harvest?

The 9-point rule on President's Island does a great job of protecting yearling bucks; the drawback is it also disallows mature bucks from harvest that only have 8 points, or maybe more commonly, the hunter is unable to quickly ascertain 9 points in many hunting situations.

And, Alan, I'm not trying to come across as "criticizing" but rather to ask:
"Are there alternatives to antler restrictions that could both improve hunter satisfaction and improve the deer herd at the same time?"

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#596842 - 02/03/08 10:48 AM Re: AGE vs. ANTLERS on select TWRA-Managed WMAs [Re: Wes Parrish]
Mike Belt
TnDeer Old Timer
16 Point


Registered: 03/26/99
Posts: 18496
Loc: Lakeland, Tn.

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I'd have to say that IMO, the hunter satisfaction gained from PI has alot more to do with the opportunity to see first hand the massive amounts of sign from such a concentrated number of deer with many of them being fully mature and the possibility of taking one of them than it does with actually taking one. The perception of taking one is there but that 9 point rule has prevented most hunters from ever taking a shot. I wish they'd at least incorporate an and/or age along with point rule. If a hunter's willing to travel great distances to hunt PI late season with archery equipment he should be willing to learn to judge age on the hoof. I'd suggest 4.5+.
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#597002 - 02/03/08 01:51 PM Re: AGE vs. ANTLERS on select TWRA-Managed WMAs [Re: ]
Radar
Non-Typical


Registered: 08/19/01
Posts: 31209
Loc: Kansas City, Mo.

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 Originally Posted By: tndrbstr
Heck some people apparently can't even count the number of points on a buck, how could they be expected to age a deer on the hoof?


I agree with the concept of age restrictions like Wes mentioned , but aging deer on the hoof takes plenty of experience . I have seen experts mess up too .
Counting points is easier for most hunters , and it doesn't take a wealth of experience to count .
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#597088 - 02/03/08 02:54 PM Re: AGE vs. ANTLERS on select TWRA-Managed WMAs [Re: Radar]
megalomaniac
12 Point


Registered: 10/28/05
Posts: 5197
Loc: Mississippi

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Okay, Wes, I got you now...

I agree with you that any average hunter can be educated in 5-10 minutes on the difference between a yearling and everything else, so disallowing only yearlings on PI would be feasible. I though you were speaking of disallowing bucks until 3 1/2, and sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish between 2 1/2 yr olds and 3 1/2 yr olds.

I also agree that most 4 1/2 and up bucks are fairly easy to distinguish based on body characteristics alone.

I bet the private clubs on PI are thrilled with TWRA's point restriction. I'm sure some of those 150" 8 ptrs are taken off those clubs every year. But PI is still an incredible hunting opportunity for the average TN deer hunter.

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