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Of Mandated Points and Spreads (Page 2)

Antler-point restrictions are turning out to be useful game-management tools—sometimes. .

The increase in the number of adult bucks harvested in Missouri’s antler-restriction counties between 2003 (the year prior to implementation of antler restriction) and 2007 (the fourth year of antler restrictions) was 982 for 3½-year-olds, a 30 percent increase, and 1,415 for 4½-year-olds, a 128 percent increase, according to Lonnie Hansen, a resource scientist with the Missouri Department of Conservation (DOC).

Hansen says, “In the control counties without the antler restriction, during the same time periods, there was a 20 percent reduction in 3½-year-olds and a 16 percent increase in 4½-year-olds.”

The restrictions have proven so popular with hunters that the DOC increased the antler-restriction counties from 29 to 65 for the 2008 season.

So overall, antler-point restrictions are turning out to be useful game-management tools—sometimes. 

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4 Responses to Of Mandated Points and Spreads (Page 2)

Rich Davenport wrote:
September 24, 2010

Interesting article, but it is awfully depressing to not touch on the true driver of mature bucks - HABITAT. NYS does not need a mandated AR. We need significant habitat management. Our forests are overly mature, and these areas lack food for the browsers and cover due to lack of understory. Further, everywhere in the USA, hunters are losing access to hunting grounds that offer good habitat. Land leasing is contributing mightily to elevate the costs of hunting, which is resulting in the declines we see today. When hunters have to make over $50,000/ yr to afford to get in the woods, according to USF&W reports, and seeing the trends in HH income levels (compare 1996, 2001 and 2006) and the answer is clear. Coupled with natural succession and the "politics of trees", and we see why deer hunting is in the state it is in. The more quality habitat you have, the more mature bucks you will have. Lower hunters means lower pressure. Food plots are NOT habitat management. These, too, drive costs up, encouraging leasing. So, too, does property tax increases. Until we realize what is truly happening, and see the big picture, these initiatives serve only as a band aid on an amputation. Let's get back to the concepts of conservation spelled out in the North American Wildlife Conservation Model. Over 100 years of success cannot be wrong.

Kevin Benner wrote:
September 05, 2010

I think you did a good job of laying out the situation without taking sides. In Pa, where I live, there are regualtions about number of points etc. The idea is to "improve" the herd and deer hunting. The real question is, "Why do we deer hunt?" I grew up hunting to put food in the freezer and be part of the cycle of life. If you got a large rack in the process-that was a bonus. Now it is all about the rack. These new regulations have effectively taken me out of the field for deer hunting, along with my sons. With Game Mangement Areas that cross county lines and are hard to distinguish and point spread reqirements that make shooting near first & last night a recipe for a citation, we simply quit. In the end, I believe that is really one of the effects that the game managemnet people desire. I belong to a gun club in Md & one in Pa. The Md club is chock full of deer hunters and the Pa club has fewer deer hunters every year. I have been hunting for more than 40 years and have taken many animals. I have some photos of them and even a few feathers and tusks, but not one trophy mount. This does not make me more of a hunter or less, just different from what you write about. Meat hunters, like me, are still out there, we just aren't considered to be very important anymore.

Dan Toothman wrote:
August 28, 2010

Virginia still allows dog hunting of deer, a sport steeped in tradion dating back to Colonial times, in most of the state and in most of that area it seems there is an overpopulation of deer as evidenced by the liberal anterless harvest regulations. If a deer being chased by dogs has antlers, it will be shot at if it runs in front of a hunter. The clubs are allowed to self-check the deer they shoot and they are usually processed (slaughtered) at the club at the end of the hunting day, so Point/Spread regulations are not workable for most of the state. Unless hunting attitudes and management undergo tremendous changes, Virginia will NEVER be a QUALITY trophy Whitetail hunting state. I don't see it happening in my lifetime. Personally, I don't hunt as much as I used to, because the areas I have access to are surrounded by dogging leases, and when I do go hunting I prefer does because they are better eating.

Steve Evernham wrote:
August 26, 2010

I really appreciate this article as I have been using a 4 point rule on my ranch and have seen a nice improvement of more muture bucks and better racks. I do want to point out an error in this article. You state under the "Looking for Answers" paragragh, that West Virginia uses a "anti-spread restriction" and requires an outside spread of 14 inches. All West Virginia currently requires is "Only deer having one or both antlers more than 3 inches in length above the hairline are legal during the buck season". This is what it states in the 2010-2011 current hunting regulations and has always been that way as far as I know. Thanks again for a great article.