Proliferation of older bucks

fairchaser

fairchaser

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In your opinion, what if any impact does the proliferation of older mature bucks that have inferior racks have on the future quality of bucks on a property. Science has proven that you can’t control the genetics of a wild deer herd. So, other than that, how does it affect future bucks to allow big mature 6 and 7 point bucks to get a pass year after year.
 
MUP

MUP

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The only thing I can think of off the top of my head is that the older, inferior racked buck may become a "bully" buck and keep the other bucks run off from your place?
 
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MickThompson

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No measurable impact. Regardless of what you shoot, there will be gene flow into and out of a property unless you put up a big honking fence.

I don’t pass a big mature anything though, as that’s what I want to kill.


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Andy S.

Andy S.

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fairchaser":1u8xz9zi said:
.....the proliferation of older mature bucks that have inferior racks have on the future quality of bucks on a property.
Agree with Mick for future bucks, no impact, too much in and out on the fringes, and too much genetic traits being passed down by does. But those few of us who hunt 18k acres, we can many times SEE these inferior racked bucks OVER and OVER, giving us the false sense that they are the only ones out there. I suspect that is what you are getting at FC, and I like you, have witnessed these bucks many times over.

Mick - if our aging method (TR&W) was not bastardized to produce an EXACT age (laughable at best after 3.5) for our data, with fines associated with that EXACT age, then many of us members would pull the trigger. In our case, we have seen numerous 4.5 and 5.5 year old bucks (trail cam pics over several years with identifiable traits) aged at 3.5 over the years, and fines imposed, thus we have become gun shy and could care less about how shooting a mature 110" 6 point, in fear of paying a fine because the subjective tooth wear method was used to record an EXACT age.
 
Jmed

Jmed

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I'm not gonna let a heavy buck walk regardless of number of points. IF you have a 5 year old 4 pointer with coke can mass, its gonna be a cool deer to harvest. That's why antler point restrictions are crap. You let the 5 year old 70" 4 pointer walk, and end up killing the 80" 2 year old 9 pointer that would have gone 140" in a few years, makes no sense.
 
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Talome13

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Social media killed deer hunting, much like everything else.
 
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TheLBLman

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Generally speaking, at least until males surpass females in the localized herd,
having more older bucks is better for herd health.

There is a hormonal effect increased by the presence of more older bucks in the herd,
and this seems to promote increased antler growth of younger bucks in that same localized herd.

Also, how many of us wouldn't typically consider a fully mature 6-point buck,
or a very non-typical mature buck, a unique trophy?
 
fairchaser

fairchaser

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In the world of honeybees, the male bee called a drone, is pushed out of the hive in winter by the female worker bees, to starve. They have outlived their useful purpose. QDM has drilled into our psyche how important it is to kill does to keep the herd balanced and keep the plenty of winter browse for the remaining herd. Yet, when it comes to letting these inferior racked mature bucks walk around, chasing off other bucks and snapping tines off other trophy bucks, they get a free ride. What hunter wouldn’t be happy using one of their two tags to take a 4 or 5 year old 115 inch 7 pt. and at the same time helping the deer herd? These bucks that get passed are a little more brave and bolder because they encounter a hunter and nothing happens. They know they have a free ride! Possibly they get around more than other bucks because they are less afraid. The trophy buck must be more reclusive either through learned behavior or genetically to survive for several years. Possibly this gives the bolder buck an advantage over territory and in the breeding. I disagree that it makes no difference to have them around. Maybe the competition with other bucks generates more intense rutting behavior in the herd but that’s the only benefit I can see.
 
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Mike Belt

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Don't forget that Ames also has an "or 4.5 or older" to go along with the minimum score. Just how many have been killed based on age since that rule was added is questionable. I doubt very many.

Agreed that there are too many variables associated with the genetics of a free ranging deer herd to be able to shoot into or out of a desired trait. Because of this, I really don't know what effect older bucks with sub average scoring antlers has on the herd. I don't ever remember reading any kind of research on anything pertaining to that. We've all read how older bucks influence younger bucks hormonally and to some extent, the rut itself. I don't buy into antler size being a determining factor on which bucks have first rights because each has his own personality. A 6 pointer with a nasty attitude will trump that of a larger antlered buck most of the time.

fairchaser makes a good point in the fighting and breaking off antler parts of target bucks based on their entire racks.
 
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Winchester

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I agree, outside of of large tracts managed intensely just too many variables for them to have much if any affect. They are however just another mouth to feed on any given property, especially if you have no plans of ever shooting the smaller racked bucks regardless of age, which is my case. I just dont see burning one of only 2 tags we have on a small racked buck regardless of his age. I love having the opportunity to kill ANY mature buck and consider the hunt a success if an opportunity is there, but just wont burn a tag in most cases with a 2 buck limit. I also agree rack size has little to do with dominance in mature bucks as some just have the body size and attitude to be a bully buck, when they actually have a much smaller rack than other bucks the same age in an area!
 
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Grnwing

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I think the social impact of any mature buck will have an influence on the surrounding deer heard. You only have so many acres and if you have a lot of mature bucks(with inferior antlers) you are pushing out your up and coming age class of bucks out to surrounding properties. You older bucks will establish their range and protect their territory and does. With the drop in doe numbers, you may actually be making it easier for those "inferior" racked mature bucks to tend their territory. I would think you would have some ground to debate with Ames on possibly allowing the harvest of some of these "inferior" bucks, but now this sounds like a "cull" buck and we know there is no such thing as a cull deer. SCN's recent post documenting the antler characteristics from year to year and the drastic changes that can happen. However, there maybe some benefit in the non-rut/bachelor period of the year where there is some benefit to the overall heard( I don't know what that would or could be). Since bachelor groups usually run by age class, there may not be any real significant impact of having the "inferior" antlered buck in the Ames heard.
 
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megalomaniac

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you will not affect the genetics of the herd if you remove them. you will not affect the genetics of the herd if you let them live.

You NEED some mature bucks on the property to suppress the younger bucks from doing most of the breeding. A 1.5 y/o buck actively participating in the rut will lose enough weight his 2nd fall/ winter that he will NEVER express his genetic antler potential. That has been proven over and over in penned deer studies.

The flip side to the coin is that you can have TOO MANY mature bucks as well. Usually, the older bucks are more dominant, fight harder with other bucks, and are MUCH more likely to break off one of your mature 'trophy' bucks. No biggie that year, as the trophy will have an even bigger rack the following year, but if the pedicle is damaged, that trophy buck will never be a trophy again in subsequent years. Even worse than damaging the antlers, there is a very real possibility of your 'trophy' mature buck getting seriously injured from fighting.

So how do you find that balance between a few mature bucks left in the herd to help improve expressed genetics down the road in younger deer versus too many mature bucks left in the herd causing injuries/ damage directly to other mature bucks??? Most in TN will never have that problem unless they are behind a high fence or only remove an extremely small percentage of the available bucks (and their neighbors are doing the same). I'm not sure if Ames is in that boat or not. I know that my farms ARE at that point. I'm still amazed at how much success I've had with my 1 buck limit (actually 1 'buck of choice' plus 1 cull if available) I instituted about 5 or 6 years ago. This year, I've seen a 5.5 y/o cull I chose to pass, a 4.5 y/o I chose to kill, and 2 other 4.5 y/o's I was forced to pass (because I had already killed my 'buck of choice'). I am certainly seeing the young bucks not participate in the rut (aside from the silly chasing at the end of October), but I'm also seeing more and more bucks each year broken or with injured pedicles.
 
fairchaser

fairchaser

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I agree with your assessment Megla. Ames is in that situation IMO due to the fines in place and uncertainty around the aging process. Hunters are reluctant to take out a management buck even though they would be happy with it. If they shoot 119 inch buck they believe is 4.5 based on their photo history but the buck gets aged by the staff at 3.5 based on TWR, then the hunter not only pays a fine, gets his picture on the bad board, but must also saw the horns off and leave the rack at the check station. As a result, there are many big old sixes and sevens running around large and in charge. Not unusual later on in the season for hurt and busted up bucks coming into the check station. I call those heavy horned sixes, rack snappers. I wish management could tweak the rules to allow some of those racksnappers to be killed.
 
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Gone Hunting

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Great posts ,I enjoyed reading everyone's posts on this subject.The problem with opening up and letting people shoot so called culls or older age bucks with smaller antlers or less pts is seems most just get to excited and shoot the 2 year old six pts. Seems if older members of these clubs could get together and with managers and identify these bucks via trail cams and put them on the hit list shouldn't matter what teeth or even weight have to do with age .
 
fairchaser

fairchaser

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Gone Hunting":7asxeyso said:
Great posts ,I enjoyed reading everyone's posts on this subject.The problem with opening up and letting people shoot so called culls or older age bucks with smaller antlers or less pts is seems most just get to excited and shoot the 2 year old six pts. Seems if older members of these clubs could get together and with managers and identify these bucks via trail cams and put them on the hit list shouldn't matter what teeth or even weight have to do with age .

You make a great point Gone Hunting and this has been tried but everyone seems afraid of making a mistake. The staff is reluctant to call something mature when it’s not obvious and rarely is unless you have multiple years of pics. Even then no one can prove it’s the same buck. I guess most just don’t want to chance it. Another problem with the hit list is giving up a buck. The hit list becomes public.Hunters are a secretive bunch especially when mature bucks and honey holes are involved. A hit list buck was killed this year and the debate went back and forth for several days on whether it was or wasn’t. It finally did get resolved in favor of the hunter. I killed a buck this year that several hunters had been targeting due to his age. We had three years of pics and knew he was at least 4.5 and we thought he might also score. He was a shoot on sight buck by at least 4 club members. I was the lucky guy that got him. Unfortunately he was aged at 3.5 using TRW and scored 1 3/8 under the minimum score. Overall, the staff is consistent and fair and do their best. There is no perfect system. Sometimes the pendulum swings the other way too. I’ve sent the incisors off for CA for my own satisfaction. Maybe, the club can fine tune the hit list program going forward. That would be nice.
 
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Talome13

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I can't believe some people have to go through all that crap just to shoot a deer. I would give up hunting.
 
MUP

MUP

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Talome13":3huz2w1l said:
I can't believe some people have to go through all that crap just to shoot a deer. I would give up hunting.

I have to agree with you on that. To me the perfect system is to just hunt and shoot what makes the individual happy. If tight restrictions float your boat, then sail on, but no one needs to complain about it if you've chosen to pay for the experience IMO. This is why I've never considered being on a lease, but I am fortunate enough to have some property of my own, and hunt it exactly how I want, when and where I want. And after reading about all the lease/club aggravation, I feel even more blessed. :)
 
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Gone Hunting

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I agree leasing with others can and is a head ache sometimes because most don't have the same views but to get to some better age classes and better bucks it's worth it because with out some guide lines most don't survive and I enjoy and feel privileged to hunt ground with better than average deer for an area.
 
MUP

MUP

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I do as well, and it is tough even on my little patch of ground bc of trespassing poachers and others that sneak in, as well as regular neighbors who are hunting right along side me. I practice my own self regulated management, and that means letting young bucks walk anymore, but I got to that point on my on, thru my own progression as a hunter. Shooting what made me happy early in my life, then I just kept continuing to shoot what made me happy, and that just progressed into being a little bigger and better/older deer. I'm super blessed to be able to get about 1 deer per year, and it's been a 3-1/2 or older buck for a few years now. Life is good. ;)
 

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