PA

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Everyday Hunter
 
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RE: PA

Postby Everyday Hunter » Sat Apr 11, 2009 4:25 am

ORIGINAL: JOEL
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[/size][size="2"][/size] [size="2"]just read an article not sure where but it said basicly that aprs are really no good for the herd as it eliminates the best genes from the herd cuz your only killing fully mature dominate males. Not my opinion just what i read,so dont jump all over me

If you remember where you read that or come across it again, let us know. Not jumping all over you, but here are my thoughts. (Sorry, this is going to be long....)

My guess is that you were reading someone who believes APR results in "high-grading" the bucks -- the theory that antler point restrictions select for the survival of inferior genetics and let bucks with inferior antler genetics be the breeders. Many of these people believe APR is designed to improve the antler genetics of a herd, but they say it will have the opposite effect. They say that APR will result in a bunch of scrub bucks. There is not much (if any) evidence that such a thing happens, so biologists do not believe APR has any effect on antler genetics. It's only a way to allow a higher percentage of bucks to reach maturity. [/size]
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[size="2"]Here in Pennsylvania before APR, we were killing mostly yearling bucks, and the 3" spike rule meant we were killing bucks with good antler genetics as well as poor antler genetics. With APR, we're still killing bucks with good antler genetics and poor antler genetics -- it's just that we're killing them at 2½ or 3½ years old, instead of 1½. Besides that, it's not just the buck's father that passes on his genes. Every buck has a mother, too, and gets half of his genes from her.

Implicit in the statement that an APR policy "eliminates the best genes from the herd because your're only killing fully mature dominate males" is the idea that antler genetics are related to maturity and dominance. But antler genetics are related to neither maturity nor dominance, so it does not follow that killing fully mature dominant bucks will eliminate the best genes. [/size]
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[size="2"]Let's consider maturity and dominance separately. A fully mature buck might have poor antler genetics, even if his antlers meet the antler restriction rules. That's because genes are established at conception, and do not improve as the buck matures. So one buck by virtue of being mature does not have better genes than an immature buck. A 1½ year old spike might have great antler genetics or poor antler genetics, and by permitting him to live to 3½ or more, he gets the opportunity to exhibit his antler potential -- whatever it is.

It's also not true that a dominant buck will have good antler genetics. Dominance is a behavioral trait, not an antler trait. A dominant buck might have great antler genetics or poor antler genetics; same with a sub-dominant buck. In fact, sometimes giant bucks with great antler genetics are not aggressive and do very little breeding -- they get big and old by taking fewer risks. When push comes to antler battles in the deer woods, a big buck with a non-aggressive personality might avoid a fight and go look for a doe he doesn't have to compete for, and let the little guys with a Napoleon complex do more of the fighting and breeding. 

It is a misconception that APR[/size][size="2"] (or QDM for that matter) is designed to do anything at all to the genetics of the herd. Of the three primary things that affect antler size in a wild deer herd (age, nutrition, and genetics), we can influence age the most, and nutrition second. We can influence genetics almost not at all because we have no control over what bucks do the breeding, and which does they breed. When discussions turn to influencing genetics, we're no longer talking about antler point restrictions or quality deer management. We've begun talking about trophy deer management, and oftenl we're not even talking about free ranging deer.

In a wild deer herd we cannot control what genes get passed on -- let alone the ones that produce big antlers. Human examples for comparison: My father is a big, strong man who bore four sons, none of whom approach his size or strength. In his prime he was 6'2". His sons range from 6' down to 5'8". All but one are smaller boned and only one had his physique. Another example: My son used to play ball with a kid who was a phenom -- a head taller than the rest with greater natural ability, and dominant in every way. The kid was adopted and no one ever saw his father. One guy, [/size][size="2"]thinking that the kid's natural father must have been an impressive athlete, [/size][size="2"]said, "I'd like to have see his father." The kid turned out to be just an early bloomer. A few years later, he was a little smaller than most of his peers.

I know there is someone out there who may be tempted to "jump all over me" now, and say I'm trying to sound like a "pro" here. The fact is, I'm not saying anything new. Aside from the human examples, I'm not saying anything that has not been covered in D&DH magazine and other places. (Sorry this is so long.)

Steve[/size]
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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JOEL
 
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RE: PA

Postby JOEL » Sat Apr 11, 2009 5:10 am

i think it was in NY outdoor news ,.the writer refrenced a D7DH article but i dont remember such an article.for the record its not my opinion just something i read.while im not a big fan of restrictions im on the fence ,waiting for the biologist reports
"Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the wildlife you hunt and for the forest and fields in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoor experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person." - Fred Bear

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Everyday Hunter
 
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RE: PA

Postby Everyday Hunter » Sat Apr 11, 2009 10:13 am

Joel:
I know you were not expressing your own opinion.

I am personally in favor of antler restrictions. As I see it, AR is not perfect, but it is a far cry better than killing the overwhelming majority of bucks at 1½ years old. Counting points is probably the only method of AR that will work in PA.

Most people used to think that PA bucks were small -- either for nutritional reasons or due to genetics. Years ago Charlie Alsheimer (who is from NY but not far from PA) found that deer native to the area would develop impressive antlers if they had the nutrition they needed and the opportunity to put onna little age. They became far more impressive than the dinky six pointers we thought we were stuck with. The key, his evidence showed, is age. And that's what the AR policy in PA is showing too.

Many years ago I noticed that bucks in the southern tier of NY seemed generally bigger than our deer in PA. I also noticed that deer from Maryland and Virginia and Ohio were also bigger. I began to realize that our PA deer were not so much small -- they were simply young. Many people were happy to shoot "their buck" on opening day (as they had for umpteen years), even if it was a yearling. The hunting culture in PA has been tough to change, but now, more and more hunters are asking the question, "How old was it?" rather than "How big (antlers) was it?" I think that's a good thing.

Steve
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JOEL
 
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RE: PA

Postby JOEL » Sat Apr 11, 2009 4:19 pm

do they hand out doe permits?
"Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the wildlife you hunt and for the forest and fields in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoor experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person." - Fred Bear

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Everyday Hunter
 
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RE: PA

Postby Everyday Hunter » Sat Apr 11, 2009 4:42 pm

ORIGINAL: JOEL

do they hand out doe permits?

Yes. Before the new deer program, doe permits were allocated on a county-by-county basis. However, counties are not delineated by topographical, geological, or agricultural features and boundaries. So, at the same time the PGC implemented AR, they also implemented a herd reduction strategy in order to bring back overbrowsed forests. They set up new WMUs, which are more in line with land use and terrain features (agricultural, forested, semi-urban, etc.). The PGC now allocates antlerless permits by these WMUs in order to control the deer population. Most people can get an antlerless tag, and some people can get more than one. In urban areas where limited land is available for hunting, they usually do not end up distributing all the tags.

HR (herd reduction) was supposed to regulate the doe population until the number of deer is in balance with the habitat. Then the strategy shifts to herd maintenance. AR (antler restrictions) saves young bucks and results in a balanced age structure in the herd. At least that's the theory, but it's also the reality up to a point. What I mean is that deer cannot be managed to an absolute in population numbers according to any theory, so perhaps this theory works itself out best in practice. In my view, the HR policy might have gone a little further than it needed to -- meaning I think our land can support a few more deer than the target goal. I say that partly because I'd personally like to see a few more deer, and partly because from what I've heard the habitat is returning to health faster than the biologists expected. So, perhaps we could support a few more deer.

Even if the current system has flaws (and I will not say it is above criticism), I think it is working.

Steve
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JOEL
 
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RE: PA

Postby JOEL » Sun Apr 12, 2009 4:04 am

thats good its a lot easier to pass up a buck when you have a doe in the freezer[;)]
"Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the wildlife you hunt and for the forest and fields in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoor experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person." - Fred Bear

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dtrain56
 
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RE: PA

Postby dtrain56 » Sun Apr 12, 2009 5:02 am

Yes the current system is working....also passing on genes is not a problem for PA as there is not season during the primary rut....bow season ends just before the run and gun season is after the primary rut so plenty of genetics are passed on....
 
the reason for small antlers in the past was...  to many deer and not enough age class...the AR and HR have helped ..though the PGC has backed off the HR portion of the program a bit since inseption...
 
still like to see herds reduced a bit more and AR go to four points on a side.....
 
 
 

mhouck06
 
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RE: PA

Postby mhouck06 » Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:58 pm

i agree with you dtrain! i wish the whole state would go to 4 points on a side. I hunt archery near johnstown where i live, 3 points on a side, and you can def tell its helped, but when rifle season roles around I pack up and head 45 mins down the road to indiana, 4 points on a side, and the difference is even greater. ive had to pass up a lot of bucks out in indiana, but when you see the results.. you cant beat it.. even the difference in body size is greater.. now i know it has to do with other factors than just letting them age, but you can def tell more bucks are more mature out there.

Bowtechian
 
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RE: PA

Postby Bowtechian » Sun May 10, 2009 2:07 am

I was just on the PA Game Commission website & saw there were changes made to the PA license system. License sales for the 2009/2010 season go on sale June 15. Applications for doe permits are being accepted July 13, which is three weeks earlier than in the past. You can also report your "harvest" (sorry, but that's what they call it ) online this year instead of sending in a report card. Sounds like the license will be smaller, about the size of a fishing license, & the carcass tag will be different as well.
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RE: PA

Postby Jdbllung » Mon May 25, 2009 1:46 am

I'm very happy to see the on-line reporting coming into existence, hopefully this will give the PGC a more accurate count on the deer being harvested. Too many people don't bother to send in the report cards for whatever reasons and this system will make this process easier.
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