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Thoughts on antler point restrictions?


PackerBacker12

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Just wondering what your thoughts are on antler point restrictions such as at least 2 or 3 on one side in Minnesota? I would love to see that! I personally don't go out to shoot a deer to feed the family and would love to see larger bucks, even though I do love to eat venison. I've hunted a private piece of land in central MN for 3 years (I am no longer able to hunt the land frown ), It was 160 acres and most of the neighbors in the area only shot larger bucks including us and used deer management tactics. We always seen deer including large and small bucks and it was the best 3 years of hunting of my life. Seen so many deer and fun to see medium sized bucks and knowing they would be around for a few years to come and not just get shot when they crossed onto the neighbors property. I've read an article or articles in the Outdoor News about higher antler point restrictions in other states that did a test for about 3 years i think it was and i believe it was pretty successful by the way the article sounded. Whats your thoughts!?

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PB! there has been a lot of discussion about this on this site. but with that said.... Yes, i would be for anything that would improve the age structure of the minnesota deer heard!

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Packerbacker or anyone else interested in APR's in all of MN I strongly suggest you read this report from the MN DNR on APR's in northern MN., page 9: http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/publications/wildlife/research2004/farm.pdf It's from this page of Wildlife summaries: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/publications/wildlife/index.html

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Don't restrict other hunters because you want to shoot bigger bucks. If you choose to let small bucks go that's fine, but don't have restrictions to help you get bigger deer. Hunt harder, and enjoy your hunt with your own restrictions. Soon some will want restrictions on size of northern pike because they can't catch enough big ones. Learn how to fish and hunt without all the restrictions that limit others.

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I do believe in QDMA. However the trophy is in the eye of the tag holder and all we can do is talk with neighboring properties. I will never look down on or berate another hunter for what they choose too harvest. Most hunters will agree they want a big buck for the wall. Laws will not help for bigger antlers it is education that will prevail. 2c

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Packerbacker or anyone else interested in APR's in all of MN I strongly suggest you read this report from the MN DNR on APR's in northern MN., page 9: http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/publications/wildlife/research2004/farm.pdf It's from this page of Wildlife summaries: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/publications/wildlife/index.html

from page 13 of above cited DNR report:

"With the exception to a marked reduction in buck harvest during the initial year of a 4-point rule, simulated buck harvests showed no consistent trends under any of the regulations. This should be somewhat alarming to managers wishing to provide the public some expectation of how much buck harvests might change under point rules. Perhaps even more concerning is the fact that this model only considered the effect age has on protecting bucks. Soil fertility and nutrition also effect antler development (Wood and Tanner 1985, Strickland and Demarais 2000). Variation in these factors would create even more variability in percentages of legal bucks vulnerable to harvest thereby making an accurate prediction of buck harvest almost impossible."

That is the big difficulty, how to collect, analyze, model what effect rule changes have/will have in a non biased repeatable accurate way so sound decisions can be made based on facts not opinions.

QDMA's stats on our state that were part of the "facts" used by many proving the need for change have now gone from being the worst state for the % of yearling bucks in the harvest in 2008 (67%) to the most improved state in 2009 (41% which was below the midwest average) to an "*" for "data not provided/available" in 2010, the latest year they present in the 2012 QDMA report. So how do you base decisions when a stat goes from bad to good to "not enough data/data not available" in the space of 3 years????? Interesting that right before experimenting with aprs/buck cross tagging bans(2009), the % of young bucks drops tremendously according to QDMA who then awards Minnesota "the most improved state", then in 2010, the first year of the APR/ buck cross tagging ban experiment we suddenly get an "*" which means data not provided/available after years of "solid data" showing how "bad" Minnesota was!!! crazy

Can ANYONE show where the age structure of harvested Minnesota bucks is reliably and accurately tracked???? Don't we need that stat if we are to evaluate a reg that needs to change number or be scrapped? Where are the DNR multiple year stats on the % of harvest that is young bucks we want to protect????? To the best of my knowledge it doesn't exist and we are going on guesswork, gut feelings. That is why it is a 3 year experiment with a reevaluation then 3 yrs more then evaluate again. BUT WHAT DATA IS BEING TRACKED TO DETERMINE WHAT HAPPENED??? SIMPLE, IT IS ANTLERLESS HARVEST. THE PRIMARY STATED DNR GOAL OF THE CHANGES IN THE SE MN ZONE IS TO MODERATELY INCREASE ANTLERLESS HARVEST. They don't need to track buck data because it is not the main reason the regs were justified by the DNR. And if the new regs don't produce the main stated goal of the DNR of increasing antlerless harvest, then they should be dropped.

Solid year after year bio-checked stats would settle a lot of the bad will that has developed in the past few years. As well as sticking to the reason APR"S were originally justified...a means to moderately increase antlerless harvest. The 2010 hunting reg synopsis clearly states all this.

Also from the same page of the above DNR report:

"Managers concerned about skewed adult sex ratios and associated biological effects (Ditchkoff et al. 2001) should therefore liberalize antlerless harvest opportunities in concert with implementing point rules to maximize the potential of adjusting adult sex ratios."

Does this mean that those who refuse to shoot antlerless are major contributors to the "imbalance"? Oh, the 2012 QDMA report claims MN shot more antlered deer than antlerless. If memory is correct, about 40% of us refuse to shoot antlerless under any circumstances. That doesn't help sex ratios. And those that want bigger bucks/better sex ratios should be encouraging us deer hunters who prefer to shoot tasty does. grin

IMO the decisions are being made based on opinions with a very thin veneer of facts. Or the basis of "I don't like the way you hunt".

Interestingly, APR's are most common in the SE USA and NE USA. Much less common in the Midwest and non existent in Canada. Last time I checked the big buck record books, states of the deep south are still lucky to even glimpse the taillights of Iowa and Wisconsin who lack the mighty, magic APR's. And cross tag bucks.

I agree with QDMA 2012 reports statement that APR's should be voluntary, not forced on another hunter. And emphasis should be on education, not criminalizing another hunter's preference to get your way. And in my part of the world, education has shifted the culture of quite a few hunters.

debate on wink

lakevet

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I feel very fortunate that where we hunt, most ranchers are into QDMA and the bucks do have a chance to grow up.

Very hard to do this on public land as almost every hunter wnats something different.

I will never understand why people are against this as it will only improve the herd.

I just don't see what it would hurt other than the fact it could make some wait for a bit larger buck.

KIll all the smaller bucks and one will rarely see anything larger. I know, you do not care about anything larger.

The other option is to travel to other states know for bigger racked bucks but with the added cost for a NR license and the cost for a trip, that can and does get a bit spendy.

The tough part of all of this is, someone will have to change the way they hunt for deer. Either wait for a larger deer due to APR or without, wait for a nicer buck or travel to better areas. I choose to trravel outstate for the majority of my deer hunting as the home area I could hunt, gets turned imto a kill anything that moves during the deer season.

I use to register deer and for those whho say, we shot what we want, you should have seen some of the deer we registered. My wife called them glove box deer and asked how someone could even shot something that small. I said some will shoot anything even if it only has 20 pounds of mest on it. Pretty sad.

I guess a slot limit for deer.

About the only time I even hunt antlers anymore is when I have an extra tag as the majority of the deer I shoot for the table are 2 year old doe's but it is sure fun to see that bruiser coming through the woods.

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Lakevet... you lost me at about the 8th page of your book.... wink

I think I agree with you though confused

Im all for a better age structure and a better buck/ doe ratio. I dont think APR's are the answer, mainly because it puts a target on young bucks with the greatest potential, but something needs to change! And although I agree educating hunters is the most important, too many people dont care and won't learn. SOME amount of regulation maybe necessary if its whats best for the herd.

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Don't restrict other hunters because you want to shoot bigger bucks. If you choose to let small bucks go that's fine, but don't have restrictions to help you get bigger deer. Hunt harder, and enjoy your hunt with your own restrictions. Soon some will want restrictions on size of northern pike because they can't catch enough big ones. Learn how to fish and hunt without all the restrictions that limit others.

There are already a lot of lakes that the DNR has put restrictions on in order to try and raise the pike population to "trophy" size. It is becoming more and more prevelant.........

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Not a fan of APR's, I do wish for higher mature buck numbers but not at the cost of APRs. Education, as slow as it is to take effect is probably the best way to go.

I might be able to support APR's where deer numbers are getting too high like intensive harvest areas. However our managed areas are fairly large and you can have pockets of high and low populations within certain areas so it still isn't a great idea but something the DNR should maybe look at.

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Don't restrict other hunters because you want to shoot bigger bucks. If you choose to let small bucks go that's fine, but don't have restrictions to help you get bigger deer. Hunt harder, and enjoy your hunt with your own restrictions. Soon some will want restrictions on size of northern pike because they can't catch enough big ones. Learn how to fish and hunt without all the restrictions that limit others.

I guess i don't look at it in the same light as you do...

Its not RESTRICTING other hunters, its merely limiting whats legal.

In fishing there are "slot limits". unfortunately you can't throw back a spike buck! its not about GROWING, or PRODUCING trophy's....Its about management!

without proper management, the resource will die. i think we are falling behind in the times.... Hunting is not Sustenance anymore, its supplemental. and you're only fooling yourself if you think its cheaper to load up your 4x4 with fuel and drive north 2 weekends a year and blast away at critters then buying or even raising your own meat.... Call me Crazy, but Minnesnowta is not living up to its potential.

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Its about management!

without proper management, the resource will die.

Our deer herd is not going to die or crash without APR's, For that you are crazy! crazy

Also, with all due respect, look at your own signature, 4 buck 4 years 147" average. What kind of potental are you looking for!

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Call me Crazy, but Minnesnowta is not living up to its potential.

+1^^^^^^^^^^^^

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Our deer herd is not going to die or crash without APR's, For that you are crazy! crazy

Also, with all due respect, look at your own signature, 4 buck 4 years 147" average. What kind of potental are you looking for!

i believe i said it will die without proper management. i might still be a little crazy tho either way!

i do have standards, and i'll tell you what! it sure is a rush to see young bucks chasing does. seeing natural movement. watching deer grow up year after year. patterning their movements. seeing deer bed down within yards of your stand and enjoying it knowing your not going to shoot it!

but with all that said.....i like hunting and not just killing or drinking beer at the cabin with my buddies.

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Matchset, I get where your coming from, I had much the same thoughts as you not all that long ago. Over the past few years seeing my group as well as myself get older I realised (much like you alluded to)it the hunt that is important and not the meat pole or the wall(maybe I am just giving up as it is still empty cry).

It took some soul searching to realise that I wanted APR's more to restrict the "neighbor's" more than myself as I already was practicing it. I felt guilty, my neighbors shouldn't have to sacrifice thier enjoyment for MY "potential" benifit, It felt awful selfish.

This is why I am on the spread the word bandwagon, showing freinds, my kids and relatives that hunting can still be fun and often more rewarding by letting some deer pass and grow. In time (more than most would wish for) it will work and we all will see the benifits.

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Its like my buddies story in D&DH "In Another Year"

i like what you said about spreading the word; but the issue isn't about changing the ideals of young hunters. its the good ole boys who make a bad name for us more than anything.

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I'm all for it. I think some people would be unhappy about it for the 1st couple years, after that people would start to see a healthier herd and the argument would fade away.

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I guess I fall into the education aspect more than APR. I agree that education is slow and it takes time, but we have more people practicing some form of management now than we ever had before.

At our cabin we have our set of rules and it works pretty good for us. One of our neighbors is on board as well. We have been able to shoot a couple 3-6 year olds bucks every year, while passing the yearlings.

I just get frustrated with this topic because I've seen freindships ruined and i've seen neighbors get into heated arguments. It sometimes turns ugly.

In the end I see both sides of the argument. We choose to practice one method and if someone practices another i don't get to worked up.

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I think APR boils down to limiting the number of bucks harvested, not the size.

If I'm not able to shoot a small buck due to APR, then it will be bigger next year for you or I, right? Sure, but people will have to settle with nothing at times. (limiting the number)

But, if its not limiting the number, then wouldn't it be beneficial to others for me to shoot a small buck and leave all the big ones for them?

The only way to have bigger bucks is to shoot less buck, not shoot less little bucks.

I try to practice QDM, but I'm certainly not going to impose my beliefs on others. I enjoy the act of hunting, and I enjoy the meat. If a monster walks by, that's pretty exciting, but I'm certainly not disappointed at the end of the year if there wasn't a bruiser. In fact, I've never shot a "big buck". Some decent ones over the years, but nothing that's going on the wall, and that's just fine by me.

How would the APR crowd feel if there was a moratorium on shooting ALL buck for 4 years? OR no hunting at all for 4 years? Think the bucks we could have then! crazy

And BTW, I hunt mostly WI, no APRs, still plenty of monsters out there.

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Diff book, same story. We have the same battles and issues out here...

I am completely against telling folks what they should do with thier tags!

If Joe Average who works hard and only gets to hunt 3 saturdays a year wants to take a small buck - outstanding!

Usually I get to hunt 20-40 days a season and have been lucky to take some nice bucks.

Last year due to work(life) I got to bowhunt 3 times. First day out I took a small tasty doe. Last trip out I got an oppourtunity at a spiker and took him with a well placed arrow. And the flight of that arrow made my season. I'll also be enjoying some grilled venison this afternoon...

More bigger bucks has nothing to do with herd health. A good friend of mine is a retired biologist for the state out here. He is completely against ARs, QDMs, ect... They are selfish in his eyes and have nothing to do with healthy deer managment...

I commend folks whe want to practice it and usually do myself most seasons. But people and lawmakers need to remember that the hunting experience is diff for everyone...

Dont hamstring people into your ideals. If you want it, buy some land or hunt smarter and harder...

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I just want to throw this out there and see what you guys think....Do any of you believe that we might not have all this heated discussion if and its a big "IF",the outdoor television industry had not taken off in the last 10 years or so. I think some have gotten brainwashed to a certain extent. I used to watch these shows where all they shoot is 150 to 170 class bucks,I have to admit that I thought well if they do this by passing on small bucks then I could too,but that is not reality for 95% of people hunting these days. You have to have the perfect situation to accomplish this consistently. When people first get interested in deer hunting they probably watch videos or shows on TV and if thats all they know and have never experienced anything different it would be hard to see other points of view in my opinion....

I can see both sides to this whole debate and believe that it should be a personal choice whether to take a 2 year old buck or wait for a 5 year old..Its all about enjoying your time in the woods and bringing a smile to the young people we introduce to this great sport.

Debate away!

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...I will never understand why people are against this as it will only improve the herd.

I just don't see what it would hurt other than the fact it could make some wait for a bit larger buck....

Got any proof that it won't hurt the herd?

I admit that APR's would be the best thing for my hunting. My fear is that they will slowly decrease the antler size of the herd. I shouldn't even care as no noticeable difference would occur during my hunting lifetime, and I intend to not have children. It has been shown in other mammals that if humans selectively remove the few with a certain natural physical trait that soon it will disappear from the gene pool. Got any proof that the overall the antlers won't be getting smaller the longer minimum APR's are in place?

Another aspect is it places a group of deer off limits. Yes, we already do that with the does, but if you are shooting a doe generally you have a buck tag so it is rarely an issue. When a mistake happens afield to a new hunter and they need to call themselves in, or they chose to illegally leave the deer lay, it is likely they will sour towards hunting and they will be less likely to continue hunting.

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Here is some info from Mn volunteer magazine with stats from the DNR:

"Restricting hunters to bucks with at least three or four antler points on one side was more popular, but that regulation increased the antlerless harvest by only 10 to 15 percent, Grund says. The regulation also successfully increased the number of adult bucks with large antlers. At Itasca State Park, the percentage of 4½-year-old bucks—trophy deer with large, heavy beamed antlers—increased from 4 percent of the deer population to more than 10 percent during the five-year study."

Full article here: www.dnr.state.mn.us/volunteer/sepoct10/bluffland_bucks.html

So even after APR's, 90% of the deer herd are not trophy deer.

( But 90% of the deer in the hunting press are trophy bucks )

Setting all the trophy buck issues aside, we as hunters need to harvest enough of the 90% of deer that are not "trophy deer with large, heavy beamed antlers" to allow the DNR to manage the deer population as best (not perfect) as possible. Exclusively shooting only mature bucks will not work long term unless we shoot enough of the other deer. Already 40% of us are "bucks only no matter what". As stated in my earlier post as well as this article APR's are supposed to cause a modest increase in antlerless harvest. That is the main stated goal/justification for APR implementation by the DNR.

That means not belittling those that harvest smaller deer of either sex. Anyone who eats domestic meat (beef, pork, chicken, turkey) are mostly eating the youngsters, not the old "mature" animals. Younger animals taste better. Actually when you keep those "eater" walleyes under the slot, you are eating younger "small" fish with less meat than a slot fish. And whether you call them fawn or yearlings, a very large % of hunters harvest young deer. Some intentionally because they taste excellent and are first to die in a severe winter ( such as outdoor personality Tim Leismeister) and some because it is a "deer".

Proponents of APR miss the big picture unless they also promote sensible harvest of non trophy parts of the deer herd. Especially if they want that "balanced sex ratio".

Also my understanding is that many, including Blufflands Whitetails preferred not having APR's, but first choice would be moving season off rut peak. But their goal is more mature bucks. DNR goal is trying to modestly increase antlerless harvest in SE while keeping hunters happy with potential change in buck age structure.

We need enough hunters who are "deer" hunters first and "trophy buck" hunters second to get to and maintain where we need to be at for the sake of the deer herd and our tradition of deer hunting long term. With only 10% of the deer potentially being mature bucks, majority of successful hunters are going to be harvesting a non trophy deer even with changes in regs/management.

If I could do one thing, it would be erasing the "Gotta get a buck, any buck" mentality that is not Minnesota hunter's traditional mindset. It is something that was created, and is a holdover from when doe permits were first implemented to help deer herd recover from very low population levels in the 1970's. That is when the focus on harvesting bucks and passing on antlerless started. As a result we have a significant % of hunters who let the legal shootable doe walk and blast the stupid lovestruck teenage buck coming behind her. SHOOT THE DOE!!!!!!

Lakevet

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I think some have gotten brainwashed to a certain extent. I used to watch these shows where all they shoot is 150 to 170 class bucks, but that is not reality for 95% of people hunting these days. You have to have the perfect situation to accomplish this consistently.

you are right! with the exception the the necessary amount of editing... those guys are seeing deer pretty often! you and i both know that seeing deer is fun, and almost none of us have been forced to "not shoot" a deer! in minnesota, you can slap one tag or another on ANY deer and make it legal.

Those guides and Guys on TV must be doing something right? RIGHT? APR or not, they sure know how to grow bucks; lets not fall behind fellas

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Do any of you believe that we might not have all this heated discussion if and its a big "IF",the outdoor television industry had not taken off in the last 10 years or so.

It's very possible and some people do get swept up in it. However I dont' see it having any more/less of a brainwashing effect than say the DNR having us target every legal buck and pass doe after doe for decades. A good balance is needed.

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DNR having us target every legal buck and pass doe after doe for decades. A good balance is needed.

The area I live they targeted everything. Early antler less and intensive harvest zone = 7 deer a person now the heard is suffering and your lucky too see a deer in some areas of this zone.

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Same here sniper, it was decades of just shooting a buck and then people slowly came around to shooting does. Which was great at frist but that turned into atag bonanza and a mild slaughter in some areas. We have been hurting for deer going on 4 years now in the area I hunt.

The DNR and hunters need to balance things out, we had a record population boom in the early 2000's - the hunters and the DNR made some mistakes. Hopefully we all learned something and we don't have the wild population swings in the future.

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Its not RESTRICTING other hunters, its merely limiting whats legal.

I've gone round and round with in enough APR threads that I don't have much else to say - other than I'm against them.

But I just had to quote this because it gave me a chuckle. Is "it's not restricting, it's just limiting" the same as "it's not a tax, it's a fee?"

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More bigger bucks has nothing to do with herd health. A good friend of mine is a retired biologist for the state out here. He is completely against ARs, QDMs, ect... They are selfish in his eyes and have nothing to do with healthy deer managment...

This is completely false. This is simply logic and anyone who denies that is ignorant. More old deer means more big bucks plain and simple. A healthy population is a "pyramid" with mostly young and steadily fewer numbers of individuals as the age increased.

The deer population in farmland MN would resemble that of a 3rd World Country!!! We have an extremely large population of "yearling" animals. These animals are there to replace the 1 1/2 yr olds that are killed that hunting season. This results in very high amounts of young deer and very few old deer.... this is not your picture perfect population.

The difference between here and Somalia... is we have food. So, our numbers are here to stay with even a half-azz decent plan. BUT our age struture is similar to a starving Somalian tribe because we MANAGE IT THAT WAY. This is not how a healthy herd OF ANYTHING is proportioned.

Efforts should be made not to have more deer or bigger bucks, but a better age structure and buck:doe ratio with the deer we have, and the bigger antlered bucks... they are simply a byproduct!

That being said... im not supporting APR's. I AM saying the presence of bigger bucks very much has something to do with herd health!

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