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I have to say that I firmly believe that our antler restrictions have been thrusting bad genes into our herd. Now our 1 1/2 year old six's and eight's are being harvested as legal bucks, while the 1 1/2 year old spikes and four's are passed and left to breed. I have witnessed over the past several years an overwhelming abundance of spikes and forks. some were definitely 1 1/2's but i believe that some of the forks were 2 years old. what are your views?
 

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My view is this. I believe a lot of people are misunderstanding what they are seeing. I also have seen more spikes and forks over the last few years, but that's because the 3 pr is doing what it was intended to do(keep people from shooting spikes and forks).These deer are the stupidest deer in the woods and they've always been killed out by the first afternoon of gun season, thereby not allowing themselves to be seen roaming around anymore. It's not that we have any greater number of spikes than we ever did, it's just that they weren't living to be seen another day, now they are. I've always made a habit of asking to see the check sheets at every check station I've stopped at for years, and what I used to see was mostly spikes and forks being checked early in the season. I also believe a lot of people don't invest much time in hunting, and they believe they should be entitled to kill the first thing they see, so they can go back to their couch and watch football. So naturaly they are going to be against antler or age restrictions of any kind, and if they can convince everyone else they're bad maybe they can get rid of them. I also believe that people don't want to believe that 1 person can effect the outcome of anything , so it couldn't possibly matter if I kill a spike or fork. I also believe this great "genetic deline" we're seeing isn't really genetic decline, instead it is age decline brought on not by antler restrictions, but by ever increasing gun seasons that allow us to overharvest our bucks. Which when seen with the results of the successful 3 pr(more younger bucks)appears to some to be genetic decline.
Now Jake I don't know you so I'm not trying to put you in any of those categories, but those are some of my views on antler restrictions. They're not what anyone would use to manage private land, but they're probably the best alternative on a statewide basis to hold some bucks over till next year.
 

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I might agree with you if the overall kill results showed that more older deer were being killed than before, but that doesn't appear to be the case.

Apparently we are still killing mostly yearling deer, just like we always were. If in fact that is the case, you might want to think again about all those spikes you're seeing that didn't live to see another season because they were the dumbest deer in the woods. Because that's now your breeding stock.

We're taking the better young deer out and leaving the inferior ones - how can that possibly be helping the herd?

The reason you're seeing more spikes than you were before is because we can't shoot 'em. And the truth is, a yearling deer with six points is probably no smarter than a yearling spike. Both learn from their experiences - it ain't like the deer with better headgear get into better schools...:wink:

Spot
 

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I might agree with you if the overall kill results showed that more older deer were being killed than before, but that doesn't appear to be the case.

Apparently we are still killing mostly yearling deer, just like we always were.
Spot....you might want to do a wee bit more research on that to get some facts...:cool:
 

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My ears are wide open, friend - tell me where I'm wrong and where I can find information proving it.

I would like to believe in the program we have, so please, straighten me out.:confused:

Spot
 

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I might agree with you if the overall kill results showed that more older deer were being killed than before, but that doesn't appear to be the case.

Apparently we are still killing mostly yearling deer, just like we always were. If in fact that is the case, you might want to think again about all those spikes you're seeing that didn't live to see another season because they were the dumbest deer in the woods. Because that's now your breeding stock.

We're taking the better young deer out and leaving the inferior ones - how can that possibly be helping the herd?

The reason you're seeing more spikes than you were before is because we can't shoot 'em. And the truth is, a yearling deer with six points is probably no smarter than a yearling spike. Both learn from their experiences - it ain't like the deer with better headgear get into better schools...:wink:

Spot
Well Spot I guess you'll have to agree with me after you do a little more research on average age of deer killed, because I believe the last numbers I've seen said 2-1/2 year olds made up the biggest percentage of the kill.

I guess your one of those guys I was talking about who mistake genetic decline and young age structure of the overall herd. You can't see genetics by looking at a wild yearling bucks headgear. Your just assuming because a buck only has spikes he's inferior and will never amount to anything. That's just wrong thinking. There are a lot of factors in antler growth that determine size of first racks, nutrition being a big one, but I think probably the biggest factor is date of birth. The way the buck to doe ratio is in most of the state some does may not be bred till Jan. or Feb., that puts some fawns being born in August,which some folks say is the toughest time for deer in this state. In any case these late born bucks have a whole lot of catching up to do and most of them can only muster up a set of 3 or 4 inch spikes, just give'em another year they'll catch up.

An example of how nutrition effects antler growth would be the "pet" buck I was given by someone. This guy caught a fawn buck, raised him on a bottle and once he was grown never fed him anything but corn. He was a 3" spike his first year,and a 6" three point his second year. I got him just after he dropped his second set. I fed him 16% sweet feed and calf manna,which was over 20% protien and kept mineral blocks in his pen at all times. The first year I had him he was a 9 pt with a 13" spread and eventually became a 5x6 with an 18" spread. At the same time I had a friend who found a buck fawn and right off the bat he gave him the same food I was feeding and his first rack was a small 8 pt. He ate like a king for 8 years and never got bigger than 8 pts and 15" wide. My point being you can't see genetics in a bucks first rack, there are just too many factors involved. Another thing to think about as to why we may have seen more spikes this past season would be the easter freeze of '07 and the lack of a mast crop in the fall of '07. This would effect the antler sizes in the fall of '08 very possibly causing fewer yearling bucks to grow forked antlers.

I would suggest if you TRULY want to insure good genetics then focus on the real problem, buck overharvest. We kill too many bucks, thereby eliminating ANY competition to breed, so every buck in the woods gets to pass on his genetics, good or bad. So how is killing more bucks going to help? Maybe you need to focus your efforts on getting the gun season shortened or going to a 1 buck limit or a later gun season or better yet all 3.......If you're TRULY interested in improving genetics. Anyways I hope I helped you to see the light a little.

P.S. I almost forgot:up:
 

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I have witnessed over the past several years an overwhelming abundance of spikes and forks. some were definitely 1 1/2's but i believe that some of the forks were 2 years old. what are your views?
Believe it or not this took place before the APR's as well. The biggest problem I've seen with the APR's is the number of people that don't really understand it's purpose. It's viewed as a head gear trophy management tool rather than a way to help balance the age of the buck portion of the herd.
 

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I guess your one of those guys I was talking about who mistake genetic decline and young age structure of the overall herd. You can't see genetics by looking at a wild yearling bucks headgear. Your just assuming because a buck only has spikes he's inferior and will never amount to anything.
No sir, I'm not assuming anythng. I have seen conflicting numbers, depending on the source of the information.

I agree with you that there are a lot of factors that influence rack sizes - age, nutrition, genetics - these things are well known. I also agree that, just because a little buck is a spike in his first year, that doesn't mean he will "never amount to anything." That fact is well known too. But I'm sure you're not trying to make the argument that a genetic line that tends toward spikes in its first year is superior to a genetic line that tends toward 4- or 6-points. That's what I was talking about.

I'm not trying to be argumentative here, and I don't pretend to have all the answers. Again, I would like to believe in the program.

I do most of my hunting with primitive weapons (flintlocks and such), and am by no means a trophy hunter. I simply want what's best for the herd, and have never been convinced that this is it. I'm sure everybody else wants what's best for the herd too, by the way...

I would suggest if you TRULY want to insure good genetics then focus on the real problem, buck overharvest.
That's another discussion entirely.:biggrin:

Spot
 

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Spot.....here is the "facts" as you requested.

This is the average ages of harvested deer for 05-06.


The 06-07 data is almost identical...per the graph in SECT. THREE on this site.
http://www.agfc.com/!userfiles/pdfs/reports/deer_report_2006-07.pdf


From AGFC 04-05 Deer Report....(Exec. Summary, third paragraph)
Also see harvest age chart in SECTION THREE.
The 2004-05 biological data demonstrates the majority of bucks (47 percent) and does (30 percent) harvested statewide were 2.5 years old. This is primarily the result of the three-point rule started in 1997.
http://www.agfc.com/pdfs/reports/deer_report_2004-05.pdf


The 2003-2004 biological data demonstrate that the majority of bucks and does harvested statewide
are 2.5 years old.



Now Spot, I would ask that you respond to this statement
No sir, I'm not assuming anythng. I have seen conflicting numbers, depending on the source of the information.
and refer me to the "source" that proves that we are still killing more yearlings.

It is common knowledge that the yearling harvest dropped from about 70-80 percent of the total kill...to about 20-30 percent...the first year of antler restrictions.
 

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Believe it or not this took place before the APR's as well. The biggest problem I've seen with the APR's is the number of people that don't really understand it's purpose. It's viewed as a head gear trophy management tool rather than a way to help balance the age of the buck portion of the herd.
Wish I had said that......:up:
 

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Spot, no I'm not saying a genetic line that produces first rack spikes is better than one that produces forks or sixes. What I'm saying is you can't determine a true genetic line in wild whitetails by looking at first racks or even second racks in a lot of cases. It takes time to grow big racks and not many deer in this state get to reach that age. To say an entire genetic line is inferior because you've seen more spikes than anything else is wrong in my opinion, when there are so many other factors at play.
 

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CP, you beat me to it. I went back through the harvest data and wrote the average bucks age per (harvested of course) DMU.

...........03/04......04/05......05/06......06/07
DMU 1....2.5.........3.1.........3.0..........3.5
DMU 2....2.4.........3.1.........3.0..........3.5
DMU 3....2.3.........2.9.........3.0..........3.5
DMU 4....2.5.........3.0.........3.2..........3.7
DMU 5....2.8.........3.1.........3.3..........4.0
DMU 6....2.0.........2.8.........3.1..........3.9

As far as the genetics portion goes people often forget the doe contributes a pretty good part of that as well. Not only will she provide that (genetics) but if she's one of the dominant does she'll also provide the better forage for her fawns which lends itself to the nutrition part of antler growth.
 

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...........03/04......04/05......05/06......06/07
DMU 1....2.5.........3.1.........3.0..........3.5
DMU 2....2.4.........3.1.........3.0..........3.5
DMU 3....2.3.........2.9.........3.0..........3.5
DMU 4....2.5.........3.0.........3.2..........3.7
DMU 5....2.8.........3.1.........3.3..........4.0
DMU 6....2.0.........2.8.........3.1..........3.9
Possum...if that ain't straight forward so called, "scientific data" to counter all the "it ain't working" stuff,...I would guess there is little use in trying any farther...:doh:
 

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Well again,

I'm not trying to be argumentative, I'm just not convinced. I am aware of the statistics provided by the AGFC. I am also aware that they deny the existence of mountain lions in the state.

Listen, I'm not trying to be ridiculous or discount everything AGFC says.
BUT
I think the informed consensus about the existence of mountain lions in Arkansas is that it is simply not in the best interest of the AGFC to admit that there is a breeding population of mountain lions in the state. Such an admission would bring with it the requirement for a management plan that would drain away funding and resources that the AGFC simply does not have.

Now, I mentioned that to preface this point about the deer harvest numbers - where do you think they get those numbers? What is the percentage of deer registration that occurs online for example, or at check stations where no game biologists or other AGFC representatives are present? How reliable, even given their best effort, can this information be? Is it a cross-section? That's good if it is, but it still isn't anything like 100%.

The fact is, these statistics are a best guess and nothing more. AGFC implemented this policy to produce more big-racked bucks - they were pretty clear about that at the time. It is in their best interest for the statistics to produce results that support their position. Now please understand, I am in no way suggesting that anything untoward is going on at the AGFC. I am simply pointing out that any conclusions drawn from the statistics they have to work with, necessarily involve a certain amount of "concluding.":biggrin: There are any number of independent studies and surveys that have been made around the country that make the same argument I do.

I don't want to offend anyone and believe everyone here has made good, intelligent points. But I stand by my position, which is that I simply don't believe that a policy that allows some of the best genetic strains to survive, and ALL of the worst genetic strains to survive, is the best long-term policy for our deer herd.

My opinion on this issue is not written in stone. I respect the views that have been presented and appreciate the willingness for discussion on what, in some circles, can be a pretty emotional issue. :up:

Spot
 

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Spot, I have one final point...but you may discount it, so I will make it short.:wink:

The fallacy in your assumption about the G&F data is this.

It is "comparison trend data" in that the before data on yearling harvests is EXACTLY the same source as the after data source.

That should make your position less than accurate.
 
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