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Old 11-30-2017, 09:38 AM   #1
MagicBlade
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Default Antler Restriction Question

Most of the bucks on our lease are under 13" even older bucks.
Although a lot are young, the question came up this last week as to what is the purpose of the Antler Restriction rule.

Is it to improve quantity or quality of the deer herd?

If an older deer is under 13" and continues to breed, won't the genetics continue to be under 13"??????
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Old 11-30-2017, 09:43 AM   #2
Sleepy
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You wont ever change your genetics. Got pics of these older bucks? AR restrictions are for giving a buck the chance to age another year or two than he would normally get.
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Old 11-30-2017, 09:43 AM   #3
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Just be thankful you are seeing older deer, due to the antler restrictions
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Old 11-30-2017, 10:08 AM   #4
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As Sleepy said, it's to improve the age structure of the bucks. I won't lie and give you a percentage based on memory but I believe when TPWD first came out with the restrictions, a majority of the bucks that were 13" or less were 1.5-2.5 years old. It is too difficult to get the general public to learn how to age a deer on the hoof and this was their remedy.
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Old 11-30-2017, 10:25 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Sleepy View Post
You wont ever change your genetics. Got pics of these older bucks? AR restrictions are for giving a buck the chance to age another year or two than he would normally get.
The quality of the bucks here in Guadalupe County has gone up substantially on the place I hunt since ARs were enacted. What used to be a parade of spikes and little cabbage racks is no more--
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Old 11-30-2017, 10:28 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by dustoffer View Post
The quality of the bucks here in Guadalupe County has gone up substantially on the place I hunt since ARs were enacted. What used to be a parade of spikes and little cabbage racks is no more--
100% agree in the two counties I hunt. Not only am I seeing older bucks, but I’m seeing more bucks. AR was a saving grace for people who want to kill older deer and not just the first thing that walks out.
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Old 11-30-2017, 12:22 PM   #7
lovemylegacy
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Originally Posted by MagicBlade View Post
Most of the bucks on our lease are under 13" even older bucks.
Although a lot are young, the question came up this last week as to what is the purpose of the Antler Restriction rule.

Is it to improve quantity or quality of the deer herd?

If an older deer is under 13" and continues to breed, won't the genetics continue to be under 13"??????
The purpose is getting bucks to 4 years or older
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Old 11-30-2017, 12:23 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by dustoffer View Post
The quality of the bucks here in Guadalupe County has gone up substantially on the place I hunt since ARs were enacted. What used to be a parade of spikes and little cabbage racks is no more--
Same in McLennan and Bosque on the grounds I have.

Rwc
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Old 11-30-2017, 12:36 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Sleepy View Post
100% agree in the two counties I hunt. Not only am I seeing older bucks, but I’m seeing more bucks. AR was a saving grace for people who want to kill older deer and not just the first thing that walks out.
I took a guy from Baton Rouge out hunting on a nice place in south Texas once. We had a 3 year old 10 point mid 140's deer come out about halfway through the evening hunt. I asked him, "If I wasn't here, would you shoot that deer?" His reply "Nope, I never woulda seen that deer, I woulda shot that 6 point an hour ago"
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Old 11-30-2017, 12:39 PM   #10
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I guess ARs are helping to produce more mature deer, but I wish they would add another option of legality, such as: 13" inside spread OR at least 6 scorable points. I think it's unreasonable for -- especially bow hunters -- to be able to get a deer to look right at them, alerted and at close range, to somehow judge whether antlers are outside of ears and then to get drawn on that same deer in bow range. Counting points would be much more do-able and should help many deer get beyond juvenile age.

Some will say that there's plenty of opportunity to judge bucks with trailcams, but this doesn't work on public land. And in woody terrain, there's little chance to get a look -- much less a shot -- before he's gone. And, by the way, there's no baiting on public land -- no hand corn for them to get comfortable munching while you're getting good long looks at their antler spread.
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Old 11-30-2017, 04:13 PM   #11
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Anyone doubting the difficulty of determining legal bucks in real time need only look at how many "Does he make 13-inches?" threads appear on here by experienced, conscientious hunters.
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Old 11-30-2017, 04:31 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by tradtiger View Post
I guess ARs are helping to produce more mature deer, but I wish they would add another option of legality, such as: 13" inside spread OR at least 6 scorable points. I think it's unreasonable for -- especially bow hunters -- to be able to get a deer to look right at them, alerted and at close range, to somehow judge whether antlers are outside of ears and then to get drawn on that same deer in bow range. Counting points would be much more do-able and should help many deer get beyond juvenile age.

Some will say that there's plenty of opportunity to judge bucks with trailcams, but this doesn't work on public land. And in woody terrain, there's little chance to get a look -- much less a shot -- before he's gone. And, by the way, there's no baiting on public land -- no hand corn for them to get comfortable munching while you're getting good long looks at their antler spread.
AR laws have definitely helped in my area. I am seeing much bigger deer than I ever have in my entire 33 years. Just in the last 5 years or so the quality of deer that would be considered "a decent buck" is way more than it was. I have the proof hanging on my wall. Granted, I don't have anything huge in my living room, but considering that 5 yeas ago harvesting a 13" deer on my 160 acre lease was a feat, and now I am getting to pick which one I am going after.

That being said, I don't think that AR laws are a perfect solution. As long as there is a rule, there is someone upset because it adversely affects them. I wish there was a legal way to harvest those older bucks that are never gonna reach 13", without having to be on MLD land. Its tough for someone on a small private lease, or like your case on public land, to be able to manage the way you need to for MLD requirements, so its impossible to take out those old culls. All you can do is hope that either the neighbor has less moral character than I do or hope he gets whacked by a car or something. Otherwise, his genetics will continue to circulate.
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Old 11-30-2017, 06:40 PM   #13
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Is it that antler restrictions have helped you see better deer or that you are spending more time in the stand cause you didn't shoot the first thing that walked out?
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Old 11-30-2017, 06:56 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Doe Doe Spike View Post
Is it that antler restrictions have helped you see better deer or that you are spending more time in the stand cause you didn't shoot the first thing that walked out?
We see a lot of 1.5’s and 2.5’s now. But I think it has actually caused a lack of older bucks in my area.
Some of these hunters would have killed the first young dumb one, thereby taking that hunter out of the game. Allowing the older bucks a better chance to survive. Anything 13” or close is down.
We are surrounded by leases. Three times in the past 32 years have I seen a 5 year old. And I have seen a lot of bucks year around in those years.
But I would be ok with the law if they would eliminate the spike tag. 2 bucks is 1 too many with the numbers of hunters per acre in Leon co.
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Old 11-30-2017, 07:25 PM   #15
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Well, I am a meat hunter and will take a doe or spike any day over a wore out old azz buck. Even better if I can kill it out of rut. To me a 2/3 year old is prime. Old enough to have some weight but young enough for eating.
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Old 11-30-2017, 07:30 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by dustoffer View Post
The quality of the bucks here in Guadalupe County has gone up substantially on the place I hunt since ARs were enacted. What used to be a parade of spikes and little cabbage racks is no more--
same in Gonzales county, and feeding year round doesn't hurt either.
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Old 11-30-2017, 10:09 PM   #17
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In my area, buck quality has declined since AR took over. That and surrounding pressure puts too much emphasis on the 13"+ class. I think 95% of those deer get shot around me. I think our situation is unique and I'm overall in favor of the rule, just not in my area of the county. It is what I consider broken cover and the deer sooner or later have to become visible moving from cover to cover. It's like running the gauntlet. We have lots of sub 13" poor genetic animals that we cannot harvest. It's very frustrating.
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Old 12-01-2017, 09:31 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Bucksaw View Post
AR laws have definitely helped in my area. I am seeing much bigger deer than I ever have in my entire 33 years. Just in the last 5 years or so the quality of deer that would be considered "a decent buck" is way more than it was. I have the proof hanging on my wall. Granted, I don't have anything huge in my living room, but considering that 5 yeas ago harvesting a 13" deer on my 160 acre lease was a feat, and now I am getting to pick which one I am going after.

That being said, I don't think that AR laws are a perfect solution. As long as there is a rule, there is someone upset because it adversely affects them. I wish there was a legal way to harvest those older bucks that are never gonna reach 13", without having to be on MLD land. Its tough for someone on a small private lease, or like your case on public land, to be able to manage the way you need to for MLD requirements, so its impossible to take out those old culls. All you can do is hope that either the neighbor has less moral character than I do or hope he gets whacked by a car or something. Otherwise, his genetics will continue to circulate.
I was told while in Sonora this weekend by a lontime wildlife biologist that when the AR was first introduced to to Texas that there were 3 restriction options that were proposed. 1) 13" inside spread 2) an unbranched antler 3)If the deer had at least 8pts then the 13" rule did not apply; but he said for some reason Texas chose not to add the 3rd option to the regs. I dont know how true that is, but the guy has been a wildlife biologist for 25+ years and a guide for the last 10+ so he really seemed to know his stuff. Anyone ever heard this or something similar?
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Old 12-01-2017, 10:13 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by TeamChampion12 View Post
I was told while in Sonora this weekend by a lontime wildlife biologist that when the AR was first introduced to to Texas that there were 3 restriction options that were proposed. 1) 13" inside spread 2) an unbranched antler 3)If the deer had at least 8pts then the 13" rule did not apply; but he said for some reason Texas chose not to add the 3rd option to the regs. I dont know how true that is, but the guy has been a wildlife biologist for 25+ years and a guide for the last 10+ so he really seemed to know his stuff. Anyone ever heard this or something similar?
The 3rd rule you mention would have defeated the purpose of the first two. Th
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Old 12-01-2017, 10:17 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by MagicBlade View Post

Is it to improve quantity or quality of the deer herd?
both.. and it works
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Old 12-01-2017, 10:20 AM   #21
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Well, I am a meat hunter and will take a doe or spike any day over a wore out old azz buck. Even better if I can kill it out of rut. To me a 2/3 year old is prime. Old enough to have some weight but young enough for eating.
doe populations are sky high in all parts of Texas. If it's meat you are after there is no case you can make to take a buck. Many counties allow 5 doe per year and even have late extended doe seasons.

in other words you can argue all day that you do it for the meat, but that doesn't hold up against AR restrictions or letting bucks walk for the good of the herd.
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Old 12-01-2017, 10:20 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Sleepy View Post
100% agree in the two counties I hunt. Not only am I seeing older bucks, but I’m seeing more bucks. AR was a saving grace for people who want to kill older deer and not just the first thing that walks out.
We are seeing the same results here in Walker/Grimes County. When i first started hunting out here, we were lucky to see one shooter a year back in 2011. Every year since has been better and better.
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Old 12-01-2017, 10:39 AM   #23
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doe populations are sky high in all parts of Texas. If it's meat you are after there is no case you can make to take a buck. Many counties allow 5 doe per year and even have late extended doe seasons.

in other words you can argue all day that you do it for the meat, but that doesn't hold up against AR restrictions or letting bucks walk for the good of the herd.
So funny
You're right I have not one argument, I will harvest as I see fit.
In Navarro county I get 2 antler less 1 spike and one 13+. So tell me again about all the meat I can get.
Since I hunt my small property only, I limit myself to 2 deer per season. If I don't think there are enough doe then I will leave them alone and the young bucks will take the slack. I try to keep a 1 to 1 ratio of doe to buck as per QDMA.
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Old 12-01-2017, 10:42 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dustoffer View Post
The quality of the bucks here in Guadalupe County has gone up substantially on the place I hunt since ARs were enacted. What used to be a parade of spikes and little cabbage racks is no more--
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rwc View Post
Same in McLennan and Bosque on the grounds I have.

Rwc
Ditto in all the counties I hunt... all AR now.

Last edited by bossbowman; 12-01-2017 at 10:47 AM..
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Old 12-01-2017, 10:47 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MagicBlade View Post
Most of the bucks on our lease are under 13" even older bucks.
Although a lot are young, the question came up this last week as to what is the purpose of the Antler Restriction rule.

Is it to improve quantity or quality of the deer herd?

If an older deer is under 13" and continues to breed, won't the genetics continue to be under 13"??????
I'm guessing these bucks you think are older really aren't. Its to improve the age structure and buck doe ratio and from what I've seen its working, big racks are just an occassional by product because deer get a chance to get some age on them. The genetics changing is just not going to happen low fence, remember does carry half the genetics too
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Old 12-01-2017, 10:59 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by TeamChampion12 View Post
I was told while in Sonora this weekend by a lontime wildlife biologist that when the AR was first introduced to to Texas that there were 3 restriction options that were proposed. 1) 13" inside spread 2) an unbranched antler 3)If the deer had at least 8pts then the 13" rule did not apply; but he said for some reason Texas chose not to add the 3rd option to the regs. I dont know how true that is, but the guy has been a wildlife biologist for 25+ years and a guide for the last 10+ so he really seemed to know his stuff. Anyone ever heard this or something similar?
Rule #3 was if the deer had at least 6 points on one antler the 13" rule did not apply and this was a criteria in the first 6 experimental counties that had the rule from 2002-2004

Quote:
The Experiment6 Counties With the Antler-Restriction Regulation

Landowners and hunters in Austin, Colorado, Fayette, Lavaca, Lee, and Washington counties requested a hunting regulation that would offer more protection to immature bucks. As is the case in many of the 147 one-buck counties in Texas, hunting pressure on bucks was extremely high in this particular area, and very few bucks were allowed to reach maturity. Poor age structure within a buck herd has many adverse effects, including poor hunter satisfaction. Research results indicate that poor age structure among bucks results in longer breeding seasons, and therefore, longer fawning seasons - which is a factor contributing to poor fawn production.

In response to an overwhelming request for a change, the TPW Commission adopted an experimental antler-restriction regulation in 2002 which read as follows:

A legal buck deer is defined as having a hardened antler protruding through the skin AND:
At least one unbranched antler; or
An inside spread measurement between main beams of 13 inches or greater; or
Six points or more on one antler.


later explanation of why the 3rd criterion was removed from reguation

Quote:
the criterion for 6 points on an antler was removed in an effort to simplify the regulation. Three years of harvest data indicate that less than 2% of all bucks harvested were legal based on that criterion alone (see table below). In other words, most bucks with 6 points on one antler also have an inside spread of 13 inches or greater. There was no biological reason for maintaining that as a criterion for a legal buck;

Last edited by bossbowman; 12-01-2017 at 11:12 AM..
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Old 12-01-2017, 11:19 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by tbgascorer View Post
In my area, buck quality has declined since AR took over. That and surrounding pressure puts too much emphasis on the 13"+ class. I think 95% of those deer get shot around me. I think our situation is unique and I'm overall in favor of the rule, just not in my area of the county. It is what I consider broken cover and the deer sooner or later have to become visible moving from cover to cover. It's like running the gauntlet. We have lots of sub 13" poor genetic animals that we cannot harvest. It's very frustrating.
You hit the nail on the head. Ive seen a bad decline in quality as well. To many hunters in our area taking young studs and letting older inferior deer walk. Im not specifically talking about deer less than 13" but only having 1 tag for a deer wider than 13. Why would anyone want to shoot a 5 year old 6 point thats 15 wide before the rut when they pay big money to hunt. This rule forces people to pick between the 2. All that I see being killed now are very nice framed deer instead of the old ugly racks. In other words the good looking deer are being slaughtered and the inferior deer are all getting passes.
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Old 12-01-2017, 11:27 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by RutnBuk View Post
You hit the nail on the head. Ive seen a bad decline in quality as well. To many hunters in our area taking young studs and letting older inferior deer walk. Im not specifically talking about deer less than 13" but only having 1 tag for a deer wider than 13. Why would anyone want to shoot a 5 year old 6 point thats 15 wide before the rut when they pay big money to hunt. This rule forces people to pick between the 2. All that I see being killed now are very nice framed deer instead of the old ugly racks. In other words the good looking deer are being slaughtered and the inferior deer are all getting passes.
But wouldn’t most people wait to kill the big mainframe deer anyways. How does antler restrictions effect that. If there were no AR, how would that help.
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Old 12-01-2017, 11:29 AM   #29
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In a low fence environment it doesn't matter, the point is to get some age on bucks. Plus does carry half the genetics and whether she carries big buck genetics or not you'll never know...

Last edited by bossbowman; 12-01-2017 at 11:31 AM..
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Old 12-01-2017, 11:30 AM   #30
Traxx
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But wouldn’t most people wait to kill the big mainframe deer anyways. How does antler restrictions effect that. If there were no AR, how would that help.
If I read it right, since only 1 13+ is allowed then why waste it on a older buck with a ugly rack. If more than 1 13+ is allowed then the older buck can be culled.
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Old 12-01-2017, 11:35 AM   #31
RutnBuk
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If I read it right, since only 1 13+ is allowed then why waste it on a older buck with a ugly rack. If more than 1 13+ is allowed then the older buck can be culled.
Exaclty this.
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Old 12-01-2017, 11:39 AM   #32
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I've always been perplexed by the meat hunters who admit to gladly passing a doe and happily shoot a young buck.

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If I read it right, since only 1 13+ is allowed then why waste it on a older buck with a ugly rack. If more than 1 13+ is allowed then the older buck can be culled.
A lot of guys I know would rather shoot an ugly mature buck than a younger one with a better rack. Personally I'm glad it's just one buck 13"+ that's allowed. Otherwise you'd have too many guys taking liberties with deer they ought not to.
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Old 12-01-2017, 11:40 AM   #33
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If I read it right, since only 1 13+ is allowed then why waste it on a older buck with a ugly rack. If more than 1 13+ is allowed then the older buck can be culled.
That’s true. I was commenting to the post where all the big deer are being killed. Being able to take 2 deer would not keep the big deer from being shot.
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Old 12-01-2017, 11:41 AM   #34
Traxx
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I've always been perplexed by the meat hunters who admit to gladly passing a doe and happily shoot a young buck.
To keep the balance or a 1 to 1 ratio. 3 does and 4 bucks then shoot a buck. 4 does and 3 bucks then shoot a doe.
On the other foot I am always perplexed by the need to shoot a deer for a large rack and then leave the rest of it lay. Not saying that any of you do it, however I have come across a deer missing the head and nothing else.

Last edited by Traxx; 12-01-2017 at 11:51 AM..
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Old 12-01-2017, 11:50 AM   #35
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Well, I am a meat hunter and will take a doe or spike any day over a wore out old azz buck. Even better if I can kill it out of rut. To me a 2/3 year old is prime. Old enough to have some weight but young enough for eating.
chicken is cheap.......
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Old 12-01-2017, 11:52 AM   #36
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chicken is cheap.......
So is beef.
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Old 12-01-2017, 11:55 AM   #37
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however I have come across a deer missing the head and nothing else.
Game wardens do this often on road killed deer, bucks and does, heads are sent in for CWD testing.
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Old 12-01-2017, 11:59 AM   #38
Traxx
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Game wardens do this often on road killed deer, bucks and does, heads are sent in for CWD testing.
I would hate to have that job.
Not found on the road though. It has been a few years since I don't hunt outside of my own place. Public land in La.is where I saw this happen.

Last edited by Traxx; 12-01-2017 at 12:23 PM.. Reason: clarity
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Old 12-01-2017, 12:03 PM   #39
MASTERS
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So is beef.
Prolly not lean enough.....
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Old 12-01-2017, 12:06 PM   #40
Traxx
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Location: Ft Worth
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Originally Posted by MASTERS View Post
Prolly not lean enough.....


Sure it is. A little fat never hurt anyone


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Old 12-01-2017, 12:36 PM   #41
tradtiger
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Location: Austin
Hunt In: Lee Co., Granger
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Regarding shooting a doe: where I hunt, does are only legal during archery season. I would gladly shoot a doe (almost did opening weekend, but she wouldn't stand broadside.)



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Old 12-01-2017, 12:44 PM   #42
tbgascorer
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Location: Tomball, TX
Hunt In: Mills County
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You hit the nail on the head. Ive seen a bad decline in quality as well. To many hunters in our area taking young studs and letting older inferior deer walk. Im not specifically talking about deer less than 13" but only having 1 tag for a deer wider than 13. Why would anyone want to shoot a 5 year old 6 point thats 15 wide before the rut when they pay big money to hunt. This rule forces people to pick between the 2. All that I see being killed now are very nice framed deer instead of the old ugly racks. In other words the good looking deer are being slaughtered and the inferior deer are all getting passes.
Hate to hear this, but at least I am not crazy. Before, folks could and would shoot just any buck and that spread the harvest over many age classes. Yes, you'd lose some small bucks because guys couldn't hold their pee, but that would let another decent buck walk that would be shot otherwise. Again, I am in favor of the rule in most places, just not my place now.
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Old 12-01-2017, 01:00 PM   #43
bossbowman
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Hunt In: Bosque Freestone Hill McLennan Navarro Counties
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tradtiger View Post
Regarding shooting a doe: where I hunt, does are only legal during archery season. I would gladly shoot a doe (almost did opening weekend, but she wouldn't stand broadside.)



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Get on MLD
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Old 12-01-2017, 03:32 PM   #44
Blackmouth
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Get on MLD
That's what I was fixing to post until you did. I'm not sure how the new MLD system works but yes, once you get into the higher level MLD's, 13" rule doesn't apply and you can get those older, narrow bucks that slipped through the cracks.
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Old 12-02-2017, 11:55 AM   #45
SAC
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Ask anyone in the original 6 counties if AR has worked. Even the hardest headed Bohemians have seen the light.
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Old 12-02-2017, 12:02 PM   #46
tl1197
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Hunt In: Travis & Atascosa County
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Quality and quantity are both benefits of AR. I've seen great results where I hunt.


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Old 12-02-2017, 12:03 PM   #47
em1_crew
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Hunt In: Hearne, Jefferson, halletsville and nuevo laredo
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I just wish the people across the street obeyed the AR seems like they shoot anything they see but the game warden always seems to come to our camp
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Old 12-02-2017, 02:35 PM   #48
Etxbuckman
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Ask anyone in the original 6 counties if AR has worked. Even the hardest headed Bohemians have seen the light.
My in-laws have a ranch and one of the original six counties. They’re “Bohemians“ and I can vouch for this statement.
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Old 12-02-2017, 03:04 PM   #49
IkemanTX
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Hunt In: Caddo
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In the counties I hunt in (Cooke, Grayson, Fannin) AR’s have worked wonders. (Grayson excluded, that county has always produced good bucks due to the archery only season and “haggerman effect”)

Fannin County has had the most dramatic shift I could have ever imagined. Deer numbers have always been VERY low in the county, and anything with antler was always shot. Now, it isn’t uncommon for a good hunter to be able to shoot a 130” buck every year or two on decent ground. I have eaten tag soup 3 years in a row on public land due to AR’s. I had at least one or two opportunities on bucks that were very close to qualifying, but didn’t. Had it not been for AR’s I would have shot them.

Even having missed out on harvesting a buck for 3 seasons now, I am a big fan of the restrictions.


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Old 12-03-2017, 09:19 AM   #50
BolilloLoco
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Location: Cypress
Hunt In: Old Mexico, Washington County & Harris County
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Id like to see another inch added to the law myself. 14" minimum would be great for my areas.
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