The Percentage Principle

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Goose
 
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The Percentage Principle

Postby Goose » Sun Nov 01, 2009 2:33 pm

What did you think of the article written by Charles Alsheimer in which he described the percentage principle way of buck hunting?
 
With all of the recent discussions on QDM, region to region differences, and inches of bone--I thought this article did a good job of describing a management plan that could fit everyone who wanted to take it to that next level.
This, in my opinion, is a great management plan that offers both the challenge of taking the older bigger deer and still gives you realistic goals that can easily be figured out on a property by property basis.
 
What say you?
Jake

Genesis 27:3 Take your bow and quiver full of arrows out into the open country, and hunt some wild game.....

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RE: The Percentage Principle

Postby Everyday Hunter » Sun Nov 01, 2009 3:49 pm

I agree -- the percentage principle is an equalizer. Who's to say a 110" buck in an area where the top end is 120" isn't as good as a 150" buck in an area where 175" bucks are top end?

I've been wrestling for years with the area behind my house. Today I had a friend from Ohio visit. (He used to live in PA and killed a 190" NT buck in Forest County, PA in 2005.) He is getting lots of trail camera photos of 140"-160" bucks at home, and there are 175" bucks there, too.

We went for a hike in the area behind my house because I wanted his opinion on my stand sites, and I wanted to show him photos of the bucks that have been in front of my trail cam. The biggest buck is an 8-point no more than 115" and is likely less than 110". At the end of the day after we looked for bedding areas, food sources and stand sites, considering terrain and prevailing winds, he said I had chosen the best stand sites available, and that based on the rubs we saw the area probably doesn't have bucks any bigger than what I have seen on my trail cams. There is also a corn field which we looked at before going into the woods, and he was amazed that it wasn't being hit harder. At first he thought there must be lots of food in the woods, but we hiked about 2 miles and didn't see any acorns or other mast foods, except for a very few grapes. Based on little sign and little food, he said he thought the deer population was low.

I can't enhance the land with food plots because I don't own the land. It's private property, but open to anyone who wants to hunt it. It's flat in the valley with very steep sides, lots of rocks, timbered with hemlocks, red oaks, maples, and a few other mixed hardwoods. There are a few brush-choked ravines, where people have permanent elevated stands overlooking them. There are a few treestands placed in strategic spots.

So, I either look for a better area with more and bigger deer, or stay here and hope for a chance to kill a buck over 100". My friend agreed that I can't hold out for a 125" buck here, when the likelihood that one exists is virtually zero.

We've had two consecutive years with little food. Operating on the percentage principle is the only way to hunt and not be discouraged, but it may be difficult to find a legal buck that's not a yearling.

Charlie's way of expressing it might be new, but I don't think the idea is new. I can think of several photos I've seen here of bucks both alive and dead than probably meet that top 10% in the area where they came from. They're not huge. They're not "world class," but they're bucks to be admired and the hunters had to work hard to get them.

Steve
When the Everyday Hunter isn't hunting, he's thinking about hunting, talking about hunting, dreaming about hunting, writing about hunting, or wishing he were hunting.
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ranwin33
 
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RE: The Percentage Principle

Postby ranwin33 » Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:27 am

In theory it's a great idea.  But I just don't see it being all that workable in a real world situation, maybe high fence or enclosure, but not on a small to mid-size property with no ability to keep deer at the location.
 
Here are some of the thoughts that came to mind as I was reading the article. 
[ul][*]Most hunters cannot age deer accurately, and those that can do it are for the most part are only good on deer 3.5 years of age or younger.  So if we're only shooting the top 10-15% of deer by age class, that means if it's 3.5 then it's down because beyond that our aging skills aren't accurate.  And if you're taking any 3.5 year old, then you may be getting beyond the top 10-15% of deer if you have a well managed property.
[*]Who among us has a truly accurate idea of how many and what age deer we have on our land, and even if we can get close to an idea, once deer start traveling in October and November, everything we know about the makeup of the herd on our property might go out the window.  So how can I decide which deer is in the top 10-15% by age class, if they may have moved on when hunting season rolls around.
[*]Using our 100 acre property as an example, we usually capture 6-7 different bucks on game cameras during the summer, maybe up to 10 in a good year, but only a few of these make our place home.  Of these deer, most are 1.5 year olds with a few 2.5's and maybe one or two 3.5's or older.  So that doesn't leave much in the top 10-15% age class.
[*]If APR's were not in force in our area of Missouri, history indicates that nearly all the deer on our property would be 1.5's or maybe small racked 2.5's, so does taking the top 10-15% by age class have any real many in that type of situation?
[*]Saying we're going after older, mature deer makes QDM more palatable to some then saying we're going after deer with big antlers, but the two tend to go hand-in-hand.  After all age is needed to get to big antlers.  So are we just trying to fool ourselves by saying age is what we're basing our shooting choices on, when in fact it still comes down to what's considered big antlered for our area.  [/ul]
Again, I think it's a great idea if you can control the herd on your property, but if you can't then I just don't think it's all that feasible.
 
 
 
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DeanoZ
 
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RE: The Percentage Principle

Postby DeanoZ » Tue Nov 03, 2009 5:31 pm

I enjoyed the article as well, and as Everyday said, it takes a lot of the guess work out of the equation.  Not all properties/habitats are equal so this is a somewhat foolproof approach to QDM.  I guess my only is if you have a property that sports nothing more than 1.5 yr old deer because its heavily hunted are you really ever goign to get there with the Percentage Principal, without at least making a concerted effort to let a lot of them walk?

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RE: The Percentage Principle

Postby 69Viking » Wed Nov 04, 2009 3:50 am

I finally got my December issue of D&DH yesterday and read the Percentage Principle article and found it very interesting. I believe it is a good principle overall and even believe it can be used on small properties. Where I hunt in Alabama it's nothing but woods, no farm land and a lot of pine plantations with some food plots. I have never seen an 8 point or better buck live or on camera for the past 3 years we've had cameras out. The bucks here don't sport big racks so we have learned we need to age the deer and I have made it a point to take nothing under 2.5 years of age unless my son is hunting and trying to get his first deer.

I have shot a 3 point buck (1st deer) that I would guess was 2.5 to 3 years old and a 6 point buck that was a thick 4 year old. Both had short thick stubby antlers very common for the area we hunt. I feel comfortable in knowing I shot deer that for our area were considered mature and if I go with the percentage principle I would say they were in the top 20-25% of the age class for bucks in our particular area.

For the past 6 years we have been working hard to provide quality food plots to better the bucks but we know they'll wonder on to other properties and be shot just as often as we'll get a chance at them. Last year I only shot a doe so it's been two years since I shot that 6 point, I'm hoping to better that this year knowing via trail camera pictures that there are better deer in the area now then there was 2 years ago. My goal will be to try and take one of those bucks in the top 20% of our age class, I expanded the percentage principle for our particular 110 acre property to give us a better opportunity to be successful before those bucks get shot on neighboring properties.

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RE: The Percentage Principle

Postby Goose » Wed Nov 04, 2009 5:05 am

ORIGINAL: ranwin33 
[ul][*]Most hunters cannot age deer accurately, and those that can do it are for the most part are only good on deer 3.5 years of age or younger.  So if we're only shooting the top 10-15% of deer by age class, that means if it's 3.5 then it's down because beyond that our aging skills aren't accurate.  And if you're taking any 3.5 year old, then you may be getting beyond the top 10-15% of deer if you have a well managed property.
[*]Who among us has a truly accurate idea of how many and what age deer we have on our land, and even if we can get close to an idea, once deer start traveling in October and November, everything we know about the makeup of the herd on our property might go out the window.  So how can I decide which deer is in the top 10-15% by age class, if they may have moved on when hunting season rolls around.
[*]Using our 100 acre property as an example, we usually capture 6-7 different bucks on game cameras during the summer, maybe up to 10 in a good year, but only a few of these make our place home.  Of these deer, most are 1.5 year olds with a few 2.5's and maybe one or two 3.5's or older.  So that doesn't leave much in the top 10-15% age class.
[*]If APR's were not in force in our area of Missouri, history indicates that nearly all the deer on our property would be 1.5's or maybe small racked 2.5's, so does taking the top 10-15% by age class have any real many in that type of situation?
[*]Saying we're going after older, mature deer makes QDM more palatable to some then saying we're going after deer with big antlers, but the two tend to go hand-in-hand.  After all age is needed to get to big antlers.  So are we just trying to fool ourselves by saying age is what we're basing our shooting choices on, when in fact it still comes down to what's considered big antlered for our area.  [/ul]

Again, I think it's a great idea if you can control the herd on your property, but if you can't then I just don't think it's all that feasible.




 
 
You have some interesting and valid points, but I will counter you.
[ul][*]As you stated, most people into the management end of it can age deer out to 3.5. I don't think many people have the luxury of managing beyond that, and if they do, they should be able to separate a 3.5 from a 4.5. Also, I feel that if you do have the problem you described, you are in a different league than the average hunter, who I believe, this is meant for.
[*]I know I could tell you with confidence what we have for bucks in the area before the season starts. Going off of this principle I would take the top 10-15% and set my goal at that. Obviously during the rut you are going to lose some bucks and gain others but, you can still use the same goal and not disrupt the herd. If you get a stranger thats a 5.5, I would think he meets your goal, so go ahead and take him.If you do your homework, I feel that you can get a pretty good hold on whats out there. No, it wont be a 100% but I don't think any program is a 100%.
[*]I think constant monitoring will give you a general idea of whats in the area and what the top 10-15% age class is. I have to believe that you know what the top 10-15% is on your property.
[*]If all you have on your property is 1.5's and some 2.5's, your top 10-15% would be 2.5's. By setting the 2.5's as your goal, you would be letting 1.5's go which would help start your older age structure, as time goes by I think you will see your top 10-15% goals rise as far as age.
[*]I think this one applies to all management practices, so I will not counter you because I agree with you.[/ul]
 
I think this plan works best for the average hunter who is hunting smaller properties and public land. Yet it can still be used by the people who have more land to hunt and manage. Its a feasible practice and one that I think will fit most people who want to set an achievable goal. No matter what area you hunt, if you do your homework and get a general idea of what is in the area, then go after and get a deer that is in the top 10-15%, you did good IMO.
 
Jake

Genesis 27:3 Take your bow and quiver full of arrows out into the open country, and hunt some wild game.....

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RE: The Percentage Principle

Postby ranwin33 » Wed Nov 04, 2009 5:31 am

ORIGINAL: Goose

... No matter what area you hunt, if you do your homework and get a general idea of what is in the area, then go after and get a deer that is in the top 10-15%, you did good IMO.


Agreed.
 
But I'd also add that if you choose top 10-15% by either age or antler size for your particular property, the end results will be very similar.  You will in most instances be taking more mature deer, and antler size is easier to judge than age, so why not use that as the measurement tool? 
“There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.”
Aldo Leopold

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Goose
 
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RE: The Percentage Principle

Postby Goose » Wed Nov 04, 2009 5:41 am

I think if I am honest with myself, I do it that way more often than not, and just age them as a side note.
 
Didn't somebody do a study that showed gross antler score was the best way to age a deer for the most consistent results? Obviously there are exceptions but if you were to take 100 bucks of all ages, you would probably be more accurate on your estimates by using the gross inches scale vs body size and development.
As always, I could be wrong.
Jake

Genesis 27:3 Take your bow and quiver full of arrows out into the open country, and hunt some wild game.....

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ranwin33
 
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RE: The Percentage Principle

Postby ranwin33 » Wed Nov 04, 2009 6:01 am

I don't know about the study, but I know it's easier for me to look at a deer and say those antlers are bigger than that other set over there, than it is for me to say that big bodied 1.5 year old isn't as old as that small bodied 2.5 year old.  And if we start talking about 3, 4, and 5 years olds, I'll be real honest and say I probably couldn't tell them apart.  So shooting the top 10-15% by antler size is probably a more accurate way for me to determine a deer's maturity than trying to judge the age by other physical characteristics.
 
Either way, if we try to live by the Percentage Principle and take only the top 10-15%, by either age or antler size, I think we'll be benefiting the herd, as well as giving ourselves something to shoot at.  I'm just not sure that most small properties have enough range in ages to do 10-15%.  I think that the 10-15% is really closer to 25-30% of the deer when sampled by age given that most small properties will have an age structure consisting primarily of 1.5 to 3.5 year olds.
“There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.”
Aldo Leopold


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