MDC says antler restrictions producing mature bucks.

User avatar
ranwin33
 
Posts: 2110
Joined: Sun May 04, 2008 2:12 pm
Location: Kansas and Missouri

MDC says antler restrictions producing mature bucks.

Postby ranwin33 » Wed Sep 02, 2009 8:12 am

Archers will find more mature bucks this year
 
Antler-point restrictions, now in their sixth year in some areas, are having a noticeable effect on the size of deer antlers.
 
JEFFERSON CITY–Missouri's top deer biologist says hunters can expect to find more mature bucks when archery deer season opens Sept. 15.

Archers enjoy a long season, Sept. 15 through Nov. 13 and Nov. 25 through Jan. 15. Furthermore, resident hunters can buy and fill as many archery antlerless deer permits ($7 each) as they want in all but 13 southeast Missouri counties.

For many archers, however, filling the freezer is not the point. The challenge of matching wits with a mature buck is what keeps these die-hards in tree stands for hundreds of hours each fall. A set of large antlers is not so much a trophy as an affirmation of their woodscraft.

Resource Scientist Lonnie Hansen says these hunters have more chances to pursue mature bucks in much of the state, thanks to a regulation that went into effect in 2004. That is when the Missouri Department of Conservation implemented the "four-point rule."

Under the regulation, hunters in 29 counties in northwest and central Missouri have not been allowed to take antlered deer unless they have at least four points measuring 1 inch or larger on one side of their antlers. Few deer achieve this degree of antler development before they are 2.5 years old. In effect, the antler-point restriction is a minimum age limit, giving bucks time to mature and grow larger antlers. They also gain experience, making them more wary and challenging to hunt.

Long-term studies show that white-tailed deer bucks' antlers attain only 25 to 35 percent of their maximum size when they are 1.5 years old. The figure increases to 60 percent for 2.5-year-olds. Three and one-half-year-old bucks' antlers are 75 to 80 percent of maximum size, while those 4.5 years old grow antlers that are 90 to 95 percent as large as they ever will grow.

"Our primary goal with the antler-point restriction was to shift harvest pressure onto does," says Hansen. "Shooting bucks doesn't contribute much to controlling deer numbers, and we were looking for a way to get hunters to shoot more antlerless deer."

The idea, said Hansen, was that if hunters had to pass up shots at young bucks, there was a good chance the next deer to come along would be a doe, and they would shoot it. Letting more bucks survive was only an incidental effect, but it is one that many hunters are happy about.

Hansen points to the ages of deer taken by hunters in counties with the antler-point restriction four years after the rule went into effect. The number of 2.5-year-old deer was up 20 percent compared to counties without the restriction. The number of 3.5-year-old deer was 62 percent greater in antler-point restriction counties, and the number of 4.5-year-old deer was up an astonishing 202 percent.

"You have to be a bit cautious about the big differences in 3.5- and 4.5-year-olds," said Hansen. "The number of deer that hunters take in those age classes is small, so even a modest difference in the absolute number of deer shot translates into a big percentage difference. Nevertheless, a significant difference is attributable to the antler-point restriction."

Not surprisingly, hunters who focus on mature bucks have been enthusiastic promoters of the four-point rule. This popular support has encouraged the Conservation Department to expand the regulation to 65 counties and parts of three more.

Hansen said archers need to know that the antler-point restriction has been extended to Ste. Genevieve County and portions of Cass and Jefferson counties. The portion of Franklin County in the St. Louis urban deer zone no longer is under the antler-point restriction.

Details of the four-point rule and other archery deer hunting regulations are contained in the 2009 Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet, available wherever hunting permits are sold. The same information is available at www.mdc.mo.gov/13924.

-Jim Low-

To receive future Conservation Department press releases via RSS news feed, visit: mdc.mo.gov/news/out/news.xml.
To receive releases via listserv, visit www.mdc.mo.gov/news.
Conservation Department press release archives also are available at www.mdc.mo.gov/news.
A hunting/fishing season calendar is available at www.mdc.mo.gov/seasons/
“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

User avatar
ranwin33
 
Posts: 2110
Joined: Sun May 04, 2008 2:12 pm
Location: Kansas and Missouri

RE: MDC says antler restrictions are working.

Postby ranwin33 » Wed Sep 02, 2009 8:19 am

While he mentions the reason for the restrictions was to improve doe harvest, he doesn't mention whether or not that has been successful.  The last report I saw indicated more does were harvested in the central counties, but not in the northwest counties.
 
Either way, I'm a supporter of the program.  Since it's been in place, we have seen many more bucks and older bucks on our property.  Some of that may be due to our own conservation efforts, but I have no doubt some of it is also due to the AR's. 
 
Hopefully I will be filling a buck tag on 9/16 - the first day I can get away from work to hunt. 
“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

scentfreak85
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2009 6:30 am

RE: MDC says antler restrictions are working.

Postby scentfreak85 » Wed Sep 02, 2009 9:02 am

Minnesota needs to utilize this program. Now, this is just my opinion, but I think MN has some of the best deer hunting land in the midwest. We have basically 3 different areas (prairie, bluffs, deep northwoods). If this program was implemented in MN, there would be immediate results state-wide.

I know there is a trial area down in the SE portion of the state to see if this program would work. I have 120 acres and I practice the program of taking a 140 class or larger, which is generally going to be at least 8 points. Am I seeing more bucks and bigger bucks? Of course I am. It doesnt take a rocket scientist to say that this program would be successful.

As always you will have people that disagree with the program and think that they should be able to shoot what they want when it comes to the size of a buck, but if they have a ten and a 6 pointer standing out in front of them, which one do you think they will shoot? I did hear that MO had this problem of people disagreeing with it and strongly against it, but obviously their views have changed.

User avatar
ranwin33
 
Posts: 2110
Joined: Sun May 04, 2008 2:12 pm
Location: Kansas and Missouri

RE: MDC says antler restrictions are working.

Postby ranwin33 » Thu Sep 03, 2009 4:23 am

In Missouri, at least as I understood it being reported was that people who were in the counties where the program was started were very supportive of it, the lack of support came from people in counties where the AR's were not yet in place.
 
When they first came out I was against them, because we had never seen a deer with four points on one side so I pretty much figured we would never shoot a buck.  Two years into the program we shot our first eight pointer, then a couple of years later I took an 11 and 13 pointer, and have seen many more mature deer.  So it made a believer out of me.
 
“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


Return to Missouri

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests