Trad Talk Forums banner
1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
592 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Bob's comment on the thread about his very nice buck got me to thinking.

Bob said they had a lot of nice pretty bucks in his area, approx. 50/50 buck doe ratios, and low hunting pressure.

Deer that nice happen from time to time here in Missouri ( I live in the southern half) but they are rare.

We have a lot of deer and our populations have grown like rabbits since I was a kid. When I was a kid you could buy a buck tag and had to enter a drawing for a doe tag. Today you buy a deer tag and can buy I think up to four bonus tags which are antlerless only (dont' quote me on that, things change from year to year here). We have some counties with 75 deer per square mile which is three times what is ideal according to the MDC. These are high count counties not state wide but the state wide numbers are high as well. Our deer counts are so high mountain lions have moved in from other places to help us thin them out.

We have hunting pressure but apparently it is not enough to keep up with the deer reproduction.

We seem to have many more does than bucks based on conversations with friends and family about what they have spotted this year.

Small six and eight pointers (10"-12" spans) are pretty common but not the nice ones like Bob's.

You guys have any ideas on why we don't have the nice bucks even though we have deer coming out our ears? Are people shooting bucks before they get big? Do high populations reduce quality? Whats the deal? :sbrug:

Ray
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,460 Posts
Ray...We don't have anywhere the numbers per mile that you guys do, on a all day hunt you might see six or eight deer. But a lot of the bucks are pretty big, with such low hunting pressure I think they just keep getting older and die of old age or cougar bites. Most of the ones the rifle hunters get are also are pretty nice bucks but you have to get off the dirt roads and out of the truck to get where the big ones are, to many out the truck window hunters. and they take anything that walks. The country here is so huge that the deer are next to impossible to pattern so tree stands don't work very well, you have to use your boots and wits or be like me and just hang out with some hot does, they are a pretty good buck magnet if you can get close to them and be very careful...warf
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
248 Posts
Ray,

I have a couple buddy that use to hunt Missouri and to the man felt that the reason for the not so big bucks was the fact that you could use rifles and hunting with guns during the rut. That may have changed I dont know. All of the guys I know have moved just across the state line to Iowa for their hunting. Shotguns, short gun season etc. Plus I know its hard to beleive but I think the majority of hunter only want a buck and refuse/dont want to mess with does or multiple deer, thus the high population and out of balance buck/doe ratio. That scenario plays out in alot of states with high deer/people populations. Bob is "lucky" he's got tooth and fang as well as winter kills to keep his population in check :) JMHO :cheers:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
533 Posts
Any place that has a lot of hunting pressure,lots of hunters and long hunting seasons has fewer big deer.It is simply because they can not live long enough to get big.At least 90% of all bucks taken will be 1 1/2 year old deer.That is just the way it works.Unless you have a big enough piece of property to control what is killed or not killed on the big ones are flukes.I have been hunting over 20 years around here.I have seen exactly one deer over 3 1/2 years old killed in all that time. Maybe 2 dozen of the 3 1/2 and maybe 100 2 1/2 year olds.I have seen thousands of the young bucks taken.
The way the population and development has grown there is nothing we can do about it in this area.There simply is not a big enough area of land that can be had outside of maybe putting up a fenced and patroled ranch. :) It sucks but that is just the way of things.A buck like Bob killed is a once in a lifetime thing around here and would be damn lucky then.It does not mean we are lousy hunters it just means you do the best you can with what you got to work with. :) To kill big deer you have to hunt where they are.
When I see guys new to hunting starting down the path of only trophy hunting around the places I can hunt, I feel for them because it is like going bass fishing in a swimming pool. :sbrug:
 

·
John Conaway
Joined
·
1,646 Posts
Seen it both ways!

Here in Pennsylvania we now have a program in effect to reduce the size of the deer herd and to get a quality deer managment program going. Both are working to some degree. There have been large numbers of does removed and bucks now need to have at least 4 points on one side to be legal in most areas. Seems like if a buck makes it thru its first antlered year they get smarter and bigger. My buck this year was 4 1/2 years old. I have seen more adult bucks in the last two years than in the 20 before it.
The program has a lot of problems. Anywhere there is access the deer numbers are well below ideal capacity. Some traditional areas now are almost devoid of deer! Alot of people are now posting property and guarding their deer like treasures. Cant blame them!
The deer are now in high population urban areas. The suburban areas of Allegheny county has a huge problem with deer. Pittsburgh suburbs now produce some of the nicest trophys in the country! I really dont like hunting in back yards. To me it is more about the hunt than the size of the trophy. A stand on someones porch just doesnt seem right to me.
There are no easy answers when you deal with a state that still has nearly a million hunters. Especially when 9 of 10 only hunt a couple days a year and expect to see deer. I was lucky enough to have been born in a hunting family and am thankful for the farm I am still able to hunt on. Growing up we had to go th the Big Woods to see deer. Forty five years later there are almost no deer in the mountains and we have a good population on the farm.
I also hunt in Cattaragus county in New York and there the program is a little different. They have had very liberal tags in the last few years without the antler restrictions. There populations are way down without the increase in big bucks that Pa. has seen.
Both Pa. and New York hunters are very near the revolt stage. My take is that they should take a look in the mirror. Seems like the guys who cry the loudest are the same who brag about how many deer they killed! I have several tags in my pocket and they will probably stay there. I might like to have a little doe in the freezer but would rather have a few more deer in a couple years. We need to harvest (kill) deer when the numbers are out of control. We need to let them walk when the numbers are below carrying capacity. :2cents: John
 

·
Is it October yet ???
Joined
·
468 Posts
The rut here is mostly during rifle season as well. But our rut last for a few weeks. We have lots of hunting pressure throughout the state. Most all here are on a management program. Our 4 point rule has decreased the size of the older bucks antlers and allowed more younger bucks to live and thus possibly do more breeding. We have had this 4 point rule implemented for 10 years. It hasn't helped grow bigger bucks as they had though. I say shoot all spikes with less then 4" spikes and 8 point 16" spread or bigger. That should hopefully increase the genetics over the next few years and put a better pool in the herd. We have way too many does in this state too. They are talking about going out at night and spotlighting a ton of them to reduce the herds and donate the meat to charitys. Wouldn't hurt.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
508 Posts
Ray,

Here in PA, we had exactly what you are experiencing now. However, no longer. If you have read my thread or journal, you will see that I had some nice bucks in bow range and even got a shot a deer that would easily have gone Pope and Young. And I don't think that my skills are any better than the average hunter.

However, in PA, you better believe that we have guys COMPLAINING about the lower deer populations now.

It's funny, every year in the newspaper, I read that Pennsylvania still had the highest number of car / deer collisions every year, even more than Michigan.

Solution: Get Gary Alt, PA's past deer biologist to pay a visit to Missouri. I think his management program works, and works well.

I prefer fewer deer and more big bucks! And a 50/50 buck to doe ratio is NATURAL in the wild and should be preserved in my opinion. I am proud that the PA game commission has stayed with the program after Gary Alt left. I don't know the exact reason he left, but I believe it may be because he got a lot of complaints by hunters who "didn't get their's" and so he left for safer and higher ground. Last I heard, he booked it up to Alaska. Too bad for us down here in Pennsylvania, but we are still reaping the rewards because of his efforts.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top