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point restriction, science or politics?

The state department of wildlife resources here also tried someting similar a few years back on the Natchez Trace Wildlife Management Area. They placed a point restriction of four visible points on one side to be considered a legal buck. In theory this should have caused an increase in larger racked deer but it hasn't. What happenned was a large portion of the deer killed were still the 1 1/2 year old bucks that were the ones the rule was made to protect. The "basket racked bucks" who were scrub 7 & 8' who would appear to have good genetic potential by developing that many points on their first true set of antlers. We've seen an increase so far this year in the number of bucks because the state lowered the bag limit on bucks to no more than three a seson, and thats with all weapons combined. Before you could have harvested up to 11 bucks. Four deer either sex with a bow, one buck with a muzzleloader, four bucks with a rifle, and two either sex during the late muzzleloader hunt. As far as spikes, I don't think you should consider them inferior until they have reached 2 1/2 years of age. Sometimes fawns are dropped late in the season and their antler growth gets a late start, but soon stabilizes after another year or two. Oh well, just my .02 cents worth. I think age should be a more valued judging tool but under normal field conditions would be almost impossible.

Frog :D
 

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Spikes

I used to thinkthe same thing - spikes are inferior deer with little potential, until I read a study in Buckmaster magazine. There was a study done that showed the progess of bucks at 1 1/2 years old from spikes to 8 pointers that showed the spike had at least the same chance, if not better to be a real shooter if allowed to survive to maturity. It was a real eye opener!
 

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point restriction, science or politics?

Most of the detailed studies of deer in natural habitat as opposed to small enclosed areas seems to indicate most spikes are that in their first year more because of being born late or malnutrition than for any genetic deficiences. By their third year IF they live that long most have caught up with the bucks with racks with more points on them by then and have nice racks if they have enough to eat and live long enough.

I'm sure no advocate of point limits or even worse spread limits however. I think if you control the number of does and keep the ration down to around 2 does per buck or less the bucks will take care of themselves. If you think the buck harvest is too high then limit the number taken not the size of them. That's my unscientific opinion.

GB
 

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point restriction, science or politics?

The antler resrtiction battle in Pennsylvania has been fought and the war is over for now. Antler restrictions are the rule for this year at least.

Whether it was a victory or a loss depends if you belong to the anti or pro Alt (Game Commission biologist Dr. Gary Alt) camp. Sure, the heated debate still rages on as it has for most of this year, but all arguments are now mute. AR is now the rule. Three points on one side in most of the state except four points on one side in some of the western counties.

Rifle deer season opens Monday (December 2) and all I can say for sure is that it is going to be real interesting to see how this thing pans out.
 

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point restriction, science or politics?

My personal belief is that the point restriction is an excersise in futilety.

As most know, at least from what has been posted so far, Antler growth depends on genetics, age and diet. Besides protien, the two most important elements to help develop antlers is Calcium and Phosphorus, if those minerals are missing or they don't get enough, you have poor antler development. Large bodied deer with small racks.

I have no idea why the PA deer have small racks, down here in TX, expecially west of I-35 and in South TX we have a fourth element involved that has been proven by TX A&M over a 10 year period.

Rainfall.

In good years, we get average to good antler development, in bad years, we had 5 in a row prior to this year, development is usually poor to fair. The last statement is only true on ranches that DO NOT have a year round supplement program.

I don't know what the answer is and I am not sure there is one that will satisfy the Game and Fish folks and hunters.

The above is based on information from TX A&M University and 40 years of hunting deer.

Pecos
 
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