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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Very few places have this same age structure for the buck population. Typical buck populations include a high percentage (60-80%) of yearlings, a small percentage (10-30%) of 2.5yr olds, an even smaller percentage (5-10%) of 3.5yr olds and almost no 4.5+yr olds. This young age structure is a direct result of harvest pressure by hunters. In the not-too-distant past most hunters focused intense pressure on yearling bucks and Many hunters unfamiliar with Quality Deer Management (QDM) incorrectly assume QDM is only about large-racked bucks. Many also feel antler point restrictions (APRs) are synonymous with QDM. Pieces from both of these beliefs can be parts of QDM programs but QDM is about much more than just antlers or APRs.
In simplest terms QDM involves balancing the deer herd with the habitat and having deer - bucks and does - in multiple age classes. Determining and achieving the right number of deer for the habitat is a topic for another discussion and this article will focus on multiple age classes of deer. Most areas have a good age structure for the doe population as it is common for hunters to harvest does 1.5-6.5+yrs. This age structure exists because of traditional deer management practices where hunters focused much of their harvest pressure on bucks and allowed does to survive and fill multiple age classes.
removed the majority of that age class. In historical Pennsylvania for example, hunters routinely removed over 80% of the yearling age class on an annual basis! With that removal rate, less than 1% of Pennsylvania’s bucks ever reached maturity.
Quality Deer Management helps correct this imbalance by protecting young bucks and allowing them to survive into the older age classes. Quality Deer Management isn’t about protecting bucks until they are 5.5yrs old - that’s trophy management. Quality Deer Management, in simplest terms is about protecting yearling bucks. Yearling bucks are the easiest adult deer to harvest, but if hunters pass them and allow them to reach 2.5yrs, they become a little smarter and some will avoid hunters and reach 3.5yrs. Some of those will then avoid hunters and reach 4.5yrs, etc. Pretty soon you end up with a deer population that has bucks in multiple age classes even while allowing bucks 2.5yrs and older to be harvested. A complete age structure is good for deer and great for hunters.
The big question then is what is the best way to protect yearling bucks? There are several techniques to protect yearlings and they all have advantages and disadvantages. Antler point restrictions are a common technique and they involve establishing a minimum number of points a buck must possess to be eligible for harvest. This minimum number should be established with the aid of a biologist and with local harvest data. Advantages of APRs include they are simple and are easy for state agencies to enforce. The disadvantage of APRs is the number of antler points is a poor predictor of animal age. Yearling bucks can have a rack ranging from short spikes to 10+ points. Therefore it can be difficult with APRs to protect the majority of the yearling age class while still making other age classes available for harvest. Managers may unintentionally focus harvest pressure on yearlings with larger racks or protect older age classes. However, because of APRs simplicity and enforceability, they are the most common buck harvest restriction discussed and implemented by state agencies.
Antler width restrictions are another technique and they involve establishing a minimum width of antler spread a buck possess have to be eligible for harvest. Again, this width should be established with the aid of a biologist and from local harvest data. The premise of a width restriction is few yearling bucks attain an outside antler spread of more than 15-16 inches. Hunters can estimate a buck’s antler spread by viewing where the antlers are in relation to an animal’s forward pointed ears. Ear tip to tip distance is approximately 15-16 inches for northern deer and slightly less for southern deer. Therefore, if a buck’s antlers are as wide as or wider than his ears, there is a good chance he is at least 2.5yrs. The advantage of a width restriction is it is a much better predictor of whether a buck is 1.5 or 2.5+yrs and therefore can do a better job protecting yearlings. The disadvantage of a width restriction is it is slightly more difficult to determine the legal status of a buck in the wild (vs. APR) and it can be more difficult for state agencies to enforce. A width restriction is more biologically sound than an APR and therefore is commonly used on private lands where managers have more control over the deer management program.
A third technique is age restrictions based on body characteristics. This technique involves establishing the age classes available for harvest (2.5+yrs for this discussion), and hunters then use body â€" not antler â€" characteristics to determine eligible bucks. Distinguishable body changes occur as deer progress through age classes and this technique requires hunters to be skilled in identifying those changes. The advantage of this technique is it is an excellent predictor of animal age and therefore you can either target or protect multiple age classes of bucks. The disadvantage of this technique is it requires time and practice for hunters to learn the body characteristics of each age class and be able to accurately estimate the age of live bucks in the wild. This technique is currently practiced on some of the most intensively managed properties throughout the country and is the future of deer management for many hunters. This technique is a lot of fun and is very rewarding for true whitetail enthusiasts. Age restrictions are by far the most biologically sound approach and are therefore used for the majority of intensive management programs. Due to the skill involved and practice required by hunters this approach is most commonly used by private land managers and unfortunately is rarely even discussed by state agencies.
Two final techniques are “earn-a-buck†programs and buck harvest quotas. Both of these programs restrict the number of bucks that get harvested rather than the age of bucks that get harvested. Earn-a-buck programs are typically used in areas of high deer density where managers must force hunters to remove additional antlerless deer. The premise of this technique is a hunter must harvest an antlerless deer to receive (or validate) his/her buck tag. A hunter that doesn’t help the management program by harvesting a doe is not permitted to shoot a buck. This technique protects some bucks because not all hunters will have the opportunity to harvest a buck after harvesting an antlerless deer. Buck harvest quotas are similar to what most states currently use to limit the antlerless harvest. With this technique, managers issue a limited number of buck tags and thus some bucks are protected because not all hunters receive a tag.
There are many ways to protect numbers or specific age classes of bucks. No technique is perfect but they all have advantages. The challenge is to educate hunters on the benefits and limitations of each and achieve broad-based support for the selected technique. Hunter support is crucial and it can take a management program to the next level or dump it in the gutter. In general, the most biologically sound techniques provide the most benefits but all of the techniques can improve a deer management program when applied correctly.
So, is QDM just about large-racked bucks and are APRs synonymous with QDM? The first answer is obviously “noâ€. Quality Deer Management is about balancing the deer herd with the habitat and having bucks and does in multiple age classes. You end up with larger bucks because they are a byproduct of good deer management. The second answer is also “noâ€; APRs are merely one technique to get bucks into multiple age classes. Antler point restrictions are not the most biologically sound approach, but as Pennsylvania and other states have shown, they can be effective when applied correctly.

Kip’s Korner is written by Kip P. Adams, a certified wildlife biologist and the Northeast regional director for the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA). The QDMA is a non-profit wildlife conservation organization dedicated to promoting sustainable, high-quality, white-tailed deer populations, wildlife habitats and ethical hunting experiences through education, research, and management in partnership with hunters, landowners, natural resource professionals, and the public. The QDMA can be reached at 1-800-209-DEER or www.QDMA.com.
 

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He has still failed to answer the one question, that alot of anti apr deer hunters need to hear to change sides.

Why is a higher percentage of older bucks in the herd "good for the deer".

:cheers::cheers:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I thought he answered that with

"Pretty soon you end up with a deer population that has bucks in multiple age classes even while allowing bucks 2.5yrs and older to be harvested. A complete age structure is good for deer and great for hunters."

I am guessing a complete age structure is good for the deer by allowing a heirarchy of ages to return deer to normal stages of dominance.
 

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"Pretty soon you end up with a deer population that has bucks in multiple age classes even while allowing bucks 2.5yrs and older to be harvested. A complete age structure is good for deer and great for hunters."
He just says it is good for deer with no explanation. The states with 60 to 80 percent of their 1 1/2 year old bucks killed every year have had there deer populations explode with very healthy deer. The natural stages of dominance are still in place, because the bucks that are still there are dominateing by size and strength. The heirarchy is'nt influenced by antler restrictions,,,,,,,,,,,,,just the number of bucks participating in it.

:cheers::cheers:
 

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why take the fun out of deer hunting, several people i know just want to shoot a deer. after all you cant eat antler

many of the past deer seasons have been only one chance at one deer... you can pass that chance, but more than likely not recieve another opprotunity....

most of the deer i shot would have been illegal under APRs, making my deer seasons nothing but dry runs at an attempt to shoot a deer.

besides, what about the older and younger folks here that just want to shoot a deer?

APRs are taking the fun out of the hunt....

sorry guys, but i aint with ya on this one:cheers:
 

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Same here JB. I don't like it, and I've never seen anything to convince me that's it's not about making it easier to get big antlers on the wall or in a book.

They always say it's about the herd having a healthy buck/doe ratio, giving the best bucks a chance to pass along their genes, and "just knowing they're out there". :roll2:
If any of that were true, they'd push to outlaw taking large antlered deer.

A true trophy has to be elusive, and require some degree of chance/skill/work, rather than the result of forcing others to make your dream come true.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
jbman, I understand about having few chances to harvest a deer, but how much do you really hunt?? What kind of habitat improvements have you done? How many deer do you see throughout the season? Do you bowhunt or take advantage of the muzzleloader season? Older folks are much harder to teach than young ones, our youth understand rules and don't have experience in shooting alot of deer. They take to new rules much better than you and I. I would like to see if people could just pass on a few spikes and get their overall age characteristics better...that's all.

Gogop, so taking an 1 year old buck during the rut is an elusive trophy?? If you have interest or want to learn more about your deer and how you can help your deer thru land management, nutrition enhancements, or just how people can hunt their own properties better, then QDM has information for you...

if you just want to complain....then traditional management is for you...
 

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Originally posted by Thayer
if you just want to complain....then traditional management is for you...
The folks who enjoy and enjoyed our deer season before people started trying to fix something that was'nt broken were'nt complaining then. As a matter of fact they could probably teach you and I alot about enjoying the sport of deer hunting. And if a 1 1/2 year old buck is a trophy to someone they could probably teach qdma something about enjoying their deer. The statement "so taking an 1 year old buck during the rut is an elusive trophy?? " just lends creedance to the thought that qdma is about bigger bucks.

:cheers::cheers:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The folks who enjoy and enjoyed our deer season before people started trying to fix something that was'nt broken were'nt complaining then. As a matter of fact they could probably teach you and I alot about enjoying the sport of deer hunting. And if a 1 1/2 year old buck is a trophy to someone they could probably teach qdma something about enjoying their deer. The statement "so taking an 1 year old buck during the rut is an elusive trophy?? " just lends creedance to the thought that qdma is about bigger bucks.

:cheers::cheers: [/quote]+

Fixing something that wasn't broken...please define your stance....an overpopulation of does started many years ago due to taking only bucks from the herd. Insurance companies, farmers, hunters, and nonhunters all complained about the unmanaged portion of does...hence a doe season...why aren't you screaming about that being QDM, because it turned out to be a good idea.

I agree about learning something from older hunters everyday...don't misconstrue what I was saying...these rules don't aggravate the younger generation like it does the older generation...plain and simple...

Yes, a 1 1/2 year old is a trophy to someone who has limited time to hunt, little land, or a terrible habitat...we can work with the latter to make it more hospitible to the deer thru education...as far as time and land...you will have to decide how to change that.

How does a 1 year old buck equal an elusive trophy when the young buck's are like a 16 year old with a six pack in a strip bar...they just are not as smart as the older fella's! My point is...a 1 1/2 is not a very elusive trophy, in most circumstances.:wink4:
 

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Fixing something that wasn't broken...please define your stance....an overpopulation of does started many years ago due to taking only bucks from the herd. Insurance companies, farmers, hunters, and nonhunters all complained about the unmanaged portion of does...hence a doe season...why aren't you screaming about that being QDM, because it turned out to be a good idea.
Thats simple enough to do. The guys who are not in favor of apr's because they are not trophy hunters, had the best of both worlds. Multiple doe tags and the option to shoot any antlered buck they saw. The increase in doe harvest and doe only season have been around along time,,,,,,,,alot longer than the more recent qdm label thats being used. How does that apply to scoffing at someone who enjoys harvesting any buck????

And I'm not screaming about anything except those who look down their nose at fellow hunters who don't shoot the type of deer that they feel is a trophy.

:cheers::cheers:
 

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APR"S personally wouldn't bother me because I primarly trophy hunt, but, I'm completley against any mandated apr's as it would hurt new hunter recruitment, and quite frankly it would take some of the fun out of deer hunting for many people. Not everyone can or wants to put the time and effort into trophy hunting, and they shouldn't have to abide apr's just because I choose to. And yes there are a lot of doe's to shoot, but many hunters still would like to shoot a buck, even a small one. I know that when my son started deer hunting, if he had to wait for a 4 point or better, he probably would've given up hunting. Now several years later he also lets the little one's go.
Just my .02 cents worth
 

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I personally practice AR's whether or not it is mandated. That is my choice. It has produced more "nice" bucks on the properties that I hunt. I like it for ME.

I don't profess to know everything about QDM as it is marketed. But what I DO know is that the "con" arguement always leads back to the idea that QDM is only trying to make bigger bucks easier to kill. I wouldn't say that I resent this but I don't agree with it. The biologists and wildlife experts are PROFESSIONALS. They know their stuff! Now, that doesn't mean that they know the specific herd dynamics in every corner of every county in the state, but it does mean that there is as reason for what they do. You could argue their motivation. Is it the insurance lobby? The agriculture lobby? Maybe. Probably, at least partially. After all, the conclusions of the studies WILL reflect who paid for the study if it's not a "double blind" setup. I'll give you that. But even if this was the case (as it very well may be) farmers and insurance companies don't care about the size of the antlers, or even the existence of antlers, on the head of the deer. They're concerned about population. QDM, as stated on their website, is just an effective tool to deal with the population while trying to sustain a healthy herd dynamic.

There may be, and probably is, a lobby for the horn-hunting population. Namely, the Dept of Econ. Development and probably the Dept. of Revenue (among others) as the reputation of a trophy state brings in tax dollars from out of state. But I would venture to say that this economic effect on the economy pales in comparison to the insurance and agriculture industries. Thus, thier lobbying influence is probably considerably less effective.

What I'm trying to say (albeit, long-windedly) is we need to give the biologists a chance to do their job. We've only had AR's for a couple years now. If you want to whine and moan about deer populations then blame the doe harvest that started LONG before AR's were implemented, as Henry mentioned above. Or, better yet, the absence of micro-management. I'll agree with you whole-heartedly if you want to take that stance. The MDC made the first step toward micro-management by moving from the units to the counties a few years ago. That, in effect, gives them a smaller unit to manage. What we need to push for is an in-depth study COUNTY BY COUNTY and not region by region.

But, as a wise friend reminded me this weekend, the MDC can not and will never be "all things to all people." Noone will be happy with their decisions 100% of the time. But let's give them a chance. If we want to start a grass roots effort, let's push for micro-management and not the immediate abolition of antler restrictions.

All of this is only my $.02 worth. :cheers:
 

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“A bit of QDM explanation†is a well written editorial. Thanks for sharing. I agree with the thought that we need to improve the age structure of our deer herds. I have yet to talk to a biologist who would argue for the need for improvement. I also know introducing change is a very arduous feat.

Not only am I an avid deer hunter, but I also dabble with walleye fishing. As I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, the mind set for walleye fishing was to “catch your limit.†It didn’t matter what size the fish was; the bigger the better. In the middle 80’s, biologist were talking about the benefits of “slot limits.†(only keeping fish of a certain age structure). These slot limits met all kinds of resistance. Especially from the older generation. Slot limits have been placed on most lakes in Canada and the Dakota’s with astounding results. We have better fishing now than what my grandfather had when he was a kid.

The point I’m trying to make is that biologist are urging us to improve our deer herd. They are the people who study deer in a particular environment and their behavior, development, and history. I think if we can except some change, we will be exultant with the results.
 

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:rotfl::rotfl:Brad, my wife just said, "Great, you're encouraging him!" :dancin:
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The increase in doe harvest and doe only season have been around along time,,,,,,,,alot longer than the more recent qdm label thats being used. How does that apply to scoffing at someone who enjoys harvesting any buck????

And I'm not screaming about anything except those who look down their nose at fellow hunters who don't shoot the type of deer that they feel is a trophy.

:cheers::cheers: [/quote]

The doe harvests really came into effect in the early '80s...as per the MDC website, history of deer hunting.
QDM started in Texas also in the early '80s. I am not saying that QDM is the cause of doe harvests in Missouri, but our deer hunting has gotten considerably better since a few biologists and scientists have taken a closer look into deer herd dynamics.

The only time that I will look down my nose at your harvest is when it is either unethical or illegal. Otherwise, they are all trophies!:cheers:
 

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Originally posted by Thayer

The doe harvests really came into effect in the early '80s...as per the MDC website, history of deer hunting.
QDM started in Texas also in the early '80s. I am not saying that QDM is the cause of doe harvests in Missouri, but our deer hunting has gotten considerably better since a few biologists and scientists have taken a closer look into deer herd dynamics.

The only time that I will look down my nose at your harvest is when it is either unethical or illegal. Otherwise, they are all trophies!:cheers:
Gogop, so taking an 1 year old buck during the rut is an elusive trophy??
This speaks for itself.

As far as herd dynamics go,,let me explain myself. I work year round on our place to improve habitat and food sources for our deer. We shoot only 2 1/2 or older bucks. Our goal is 3 1/2 or older, but we are still making mistakes from time to time. We harvest 3 times as many doe as bucks. This is all done for one reason,,,,,,,,,,to improve mature buck numbers . I too talk to biologists and read alot about the subject. I still can't find anyone who has answered the question I posed to the original post. "Why is a higher percentage of older bucks in the herd "good for the deer". " I try to achieve it because it is what I think is good for my type of deer hunting. History has proven that a buck to doe ratio of 1 buck to 15 doe, will still see the doe bred and dropping fawn in the spring. The theory of reducing the pressure on bucks as a means of increasing doe harvest is at least an explanation of sorts to justify apr's. But no one has yet to explain why more bucks is "good for the deer". Fewer doe is "good for the deer" in areas they are a threat to over populate their habitat, because they actually produce the finished product that makes a larger herd. You could reduce the deer numbers in these threatened areas, and maintain the same 1 to 15 buck to doe ratio and the herd would still be able to maintain reproduction. So I seriously would still like to see an explination as to why higher buck percentages and more mature bucks are "good for the herd". Where I hunt, they are just good for me and my fellow hunters who share the same goals as me.

I can't remember the term qdm being used in publications etc until the mid 90's. The way they manage deer on texas ranches is not practical or legal in most public applications. We can't cull multiple bucks that don't meet our specs, or import better genetics from better deer hunting states, or slaughter doe in large numbers any time of the year, or hunt almost exclusivley over bait. It seems that qdm is a label that has been applied to what Texas ranches were doing in the 80's.

Now , don't get me wrong. I am not anti QDMa or Qdm. I think that most of the knowledge and support they share is something more hunters should take advantage of. Better habitat and more deer specific food sources will allow more deer to live in harmony with agriculture and everyone else for that matter. And more deer of all kinds is definately good for all hunters. I am simply asking for the explanation mentioned above.

:cheers::cheers:

:cheers::cheers:
 
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