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Minn. could see antler-point restrictions in 2010


RuttenBuck

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Here is an article I just read on the OutdoorNews website. Change appears to be coming ready or not. Sounds like Missouri has had great success implementing AR.

Quote:
By John Weiss

Post-Bulletin of Rochester

Published:

Thursday, April 9, 2009 6:01 PM CDT

Rochester, Minn. (AP) - In the future, when bluff land deer hunters see a buck, they might need to take a deep breath and count to four.

It's possible they will have to make sure the buck has at least four one-inch tines on one side before they can shoot. That management method became the de facto focus of a late March deer-hunting round-table in Rochester.

Bluffland Whitetails Association organized the gathering of top Department of Natural Resources wildlife managers, deer-hunter groups and experts from three other states. BWA and several other groups say they are seeing too few big bucks and want a better chance to shoot one someday. Just knowing more big bucks are in the woods would make the hunt more enjoyable, and maybe keep more people hunting.

The question is how to get that balance. The answer that appeared most viable: point restrictions.

Lonnie Hansen of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources is in the middle of leading such a change, and he said that although hunters objected at first, they began seeing more big bucks and changed their minds in fairly short order. Some counties now have 70 percent acceptance rates for that change, he said. The state is expanding the management technique into a majority of the state's counties.

After a few years, the number of yearling bucks shot in Missouri fell 66 percent, he said. But the harvest of 2.5-year-olds rose 20 percent, 3.5-year-olds was up 62 percent and older ones rose 200 percent. Keep in mind, that the 200 percent rise really means a relatively small number because there weren't that many in the first place.

But it was striking how Hansen said the initial hesitancy fell away when hunters got used to it and started seeing more big bucks.

That was a theme other speakers used. Even in Minnesota, where some experimental limits on bucks have been tried in state parks, the concept grew more popular each year. Hunters tried it, and they liked it.

The Minnesota DNR indicated it's very receptive to antler point restrictions, and it's likely that the southeast region would be the site of major experimental regulations. The DNR estimates that roughly half the yearling bucks wouldn't meet the four-point standard and thus would be protected.

Another example cited of a place where it worked was Pennsylvania. It had the worst-managed deer herd in the country because of the tradition of killing most of the yearling bucks and not taking enough does, said Marrett Grund, a Minnesota DNR whitetail expert who once worked there.

With the restrictions, buck harvest fell from 203,000 to about 125,000 a year, he said. Hunters were happy because they now might see two or three bucks a day; before, seeing a buck was rare after the first day of the season, he said. The days of shoot-all-bucks are gone.

Point restrictions were able to "break the back of that tradition,'' he said.

In Minnesota, buck harvest statewide with antler-point restrictions would fall from about 110,000 to about 65,000, Grund said. But it could also mean more does would be shot, because in areas where the DNR wants to cull the herd by offering many antlerless permits, 84 percent of hunters only take one deer, he said. If they can't take a yearling, they might take a doe.

Kip Adams, a biologist with the Quality Deer Management Association, said about 60 percent of its bucks harvested in Minnesota are yearlings, which is among the highest in the country. Having too few older bucks means more yearlings will breed. That means they go into winter in poorer shape, he said.

The meeting, however, was just the beginning, said Dave Schad, director of the Minnesota DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife. The DNR plans to do an intensive survey of hunters in this region, then hold public meetings about possible changes. The earliest any big change will come would be 2010, he said.

"We have a lot of work to do,'' he said.

But two other top managers added a huge note of optimism that change is coming.

People at the meeting showed off some cutting-edge ideas, said Lou Cornicelli, big-game program coordinator. "I'm encouraged that we can begin doing all of this stuff.''

Added Dennis Simon, wildlife section chief, "I think we are on the verge of doing something.''

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Cool! That would be awesome. I was talking to one of my QDMA's group members and he said something about areas 240 and 241 being part of the experiment zones possibly by next year. That is the only time I have heard that though so I was wondering if anyone else has heard of that being a possibility?

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that would be awesome to see it done in zone 240, as that is the zone i hunt in. I am pro antler restriction, so to have it possibly manditory would be great! finally, some of the neighbors would have to pass on the youngins we let walk!! laugh

Odd thing though, 240 doesn't have an early antlerless season, but cross highway 71 in zone 241 there is EA. Would be a good couple of zones to test, as 241 has a higher doe population, just to see if AR actually effects doe harvest

To those that oppose AR, its really no different than having to release fish in a slot limit.

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Lame! Just when we were starting to simplify our regs, more special exceptions for just a small part of the state.

This is just like harvesting all the large fish out of the metro lakes, all that's left is little fish with increasingly poor genes.

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Lame! Just when we were starting to simplify our regs, more special exceptions for just a small part of the state.

This is just like harvesting all the large fish out of the metro lakes, all that's left is little fish with increasingly poor genes.

It's completely a different situation with deer and big fish (there are slots- none for antler restriction) IMO. More people are releasing big fish nowadays anyway. For meat hunters- shoot a doe, way plenty of them.....well in the area where I hunt. It would be interesting to see how this works out if this passes.

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I would be all for it in SE Minn since I don't hunt there, as long as it doesn't go up to the northern counties. All we need is a couple of bad winters (ie: 1996 era) and you will hardly see any deer, let alone a buck. You could have a 3 1/2 year old deer that would not make the point restriction. As long as they implement this proposal in an area by area basis I could live with it, if it passes. Of course that would complicate the rules again.

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Change! I like the sound of it, wish I hunted the SE, but maybe a road trip is in order sometime down the road.

I would really like to see AR's based on the management area you hunt in, it would make sense for a lot of people and give hunters outside of the SE a fighting chance.

Something like:

Intensive Harvest Area - 4 Points a side Antler Restrictions

Management Area - No buck party hunting

Lotto Area - Brown its down until the population rebounds

If you can't understand these regs you probably shouldn't be holding a gun in the first place.

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I took a couple of minutes and researched if any states had tried Antler Restrictions and stopped using them. Couldn't find much on Whitetail AR, but it seems 8 western states have tried and now eliminated AR, mostly these restrictions were tried on mule deer. What was most interesting to me was it seemed the main reason for stopping AR was the high amount illegal kills; in other words illegal bucks were shot and left lay. My 2 minutes of research did show strong support for AR on select parcels of public land that was bow-hunting only.

Thinking a little more about comparing AR to slot limits and fishing. With AR and hunting, the hunter would be look-n-releasing not catch-n-releasing. Where on FM.com do we see the term look-n-release? Mostly in the spearing forum. So maybe a better comparison would be AR and spearing on lakes with slot limits. What happens to an illegal fish speared in the slot on a slot lake? Most likely the same as an illegal buck shot, left to lay. Really though, many spearfisherman avoid slot lakes all together. Maybe that's also the hopes of some archery hunters, having many gun hunters avoid areas with AR.

I do spear(and bow hunt), and do support a limited amount of slot lakes. I support very limited Antler Restrictions on some public land, like we have now in a few state parks, but do not support wide ranging Antler Restrictions.

Bear55, I like your idea, but think that deer population and not rack size should determine management. How about

Intensive:Earn a buck

Managed:keep it as it is

Lottery:Buck Lottery and Doe Lottery

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does it actually bother you that much that you would have to let a six pointer walk till another year? If you ask me, a meat hunter that needs meat that bad isn't going care how many points it has let alone its in season or not. Maybe I'll just quit preaching what i think we should be doing for whitetail regs and management.

to your "look and release" comparison, what is that? if size doesn't matter to you, let alone age, then if i meet you at a public lake access someday, i'd expect to see every sunny you caught in your livewell, within your limit that is. like you said earlier, take the first thing that walks to ya, small or big. why not keep everything you catch to eat, small or big.

almost all outdoorsman would like to catch a trophy walleye, or shoot the thirty point buck. but apparently, no one wants to be told they have to wait a year or two for that to happen.

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I can tell some ar supporters have never hunted in the thick woods most times you can't tell how many points they have.but then again most supporters would rather they were the only ones hunting.Try it in the se if they want I don't think it would work in the big woods

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it wouldnt bother me any if it passes other than the thousand or so deer that will be left lay.bow hunting is kind of my trophy season and october is only time i bow hunt the gun season is for meat,but i dont just shoot what ever comes buy either.i also like the earn a buck deal.

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I can tell some ar supporters have never hunted in the thick woods most times you can't tell how many points they have.

Maybe you shouldn't shoot then.

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Earn a buck can be good method, if used correctly. As you see what happened in Wisconsin with seasons of EAB and early and late doe seasons. The number of deer really took a dive. I just heard that they are planning on suspending EAB this year, great now that I hunted all last season passing on numerous bucks to get my doe.

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Plenty of thick woods experience here MOSSY. I don't buy that argument. If you can't properly identify your target you shouldn't be shooting anyway. It always amazes me that guys will have the patience to sit for hours in a deerstand in downright brutal conditions but have a tough time waiting that extra 5 or 10 seconds to identify what exactly it is they're shooting at and make a quality shot. Buck fever I guess.

This does put a crimp in the good old fashioned deer drive though. That's the epitome of it's brown it's down. It's pretty tough to count points on a deer pushin 30 mph.

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most bucks I have shot I didn't know how big they were and didn't care I knew it was a legal buck and made a killing shot

where we hunt we don't have the luxury of seeing very many deer,so we shoot what is legal

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I'm sure it'll be a small sample area to start out with, but I'm all for it. Hopefully it picks up steam and support and spreads across the state. It would be nice to know that the majority of the yearlings I let walk during October would get a free pass in November as well. Change is a comin'!

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I agree with doing it in test areas first to try and gain support of it. In most states were they have tried AR it gained support the longer it was in place so I think if people see it working in the test areas they will be more accepting of it being in place in a larger area or even statewide eventually. I just wish they would have done this about 10 years ago but I guess now is better than never.

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Mossy...Only if they are 3.5 years old and score at least Pope and Young minimum. Also, all waterfowl needs to be shot over my wild rice food plot or it's nutritionally flawed.

I will occasionally take an immature squirrel but only over bait and only if it's sitting within 10 feet of my kitchen window.

Seriously, it's a bad analogy, If you're saying you don't visually identify legal Waterfowl and upland game before shooting then I would say you could be in a tad bit of trouble someday.

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I said it was a legal deer, in the area I hunt you don't have the luxury of watching them for very long.My anaogy was about shooting at a moving target,not identifying it

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maybe you're right, about me not hunting to far north, where its claimed to be thick. maybe where i hunt is 1/2 cropland, 1/2 wooded,etc. however, don't let that fool you, some of that wooded land is darn right impassible river bottom, and very dense tag alder with tamarak. you don't even see the deer in it when your are making the drive, but ya hear em just steps away.

as far north as i have hunted would be the huntersville state forest area. that there is some dense stuff too, especially all of the hazelnut brush growing up.

But, I knew exactly what every deer in my life has looked like before i pulled the trigger. its called "identifying your target."

moose hunters in alaska have to be able to identify the moose by overall spread. has to be 50" or wider. Now i think that is more difficult than counting the points on a deer. If it is so thick where one hunts, i'm guessing the animal is relatively close to you when you do see it, making it easier to count points.

if its running through this, "thick" cover, and you don't have a window to count points, i'm guessing there isn't much of a window for an ethical shot either.

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I never said I was shooting at running deer in thick woods

lets say the buck is walking through your only shooting lane in that direction , you have seen antlers, but not enough time to count if it was three or four on a side,180 plus pounds , only deer you've seen all season , standing broadside shot , one hundred yards.sure dooesn't seem like I should have to pass it up , so somebody else can shoot it next year. Kind of like saying don't shoot that immature drake mallard. He will be bigger and prettier next year

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does it actually bother you that much that you would have to let a six pointer walk till another year?
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