Minnesota Hunters (which would you choose)?

bwoods11

5 year old buck +
The MDDI did a great job addressing the deer population in MN. Now if another step were to take place, and for some reason the DNR came out and said we are going to get feedback from hunters and they must choose (1) of the following to help get the buck population up and possibly increase age structure as well. Which one would you choose(?) and none of the above is not an option....this is strictly hypothetical.

A) Antler Point Restrictions
B) Move the gun season back two weeks
C) Buck Tags that will allow 80% of applicants to draw
D) Cut back Gun/Muzzy/Bow season by 40%

Explain why if you would....

Just for fun, thanks guys!
 

Riggsgwp->

5 year old buck +
I choose B. The main reason I picked this is because having the gun season during the rut has conditioned deer in our state to go completely nocturnal once the peak rut approaches. I saw some of the arguing back and forth regarding this topic and my thought is that deer in Mn need a break from the slaughter during peak breeding. Possibly from all hunters to break their conditioned response.
 

Steve Bartylla

5 year old buck +
B, as it would make more of a positive difference than A, C & D combined. Get gun season out of the rut and everyone can hunt whatever they want for as long as they want and they won't kill as many bucks as when you can shoot 300 yards during peak rut. Also, I can never get past the fact that APRs promote killing the best young bucks, while protecting the worst of the lot. Heck, I know of more than a few bucks that lived to 4.5+ that would have never had to fear hunting if APRs were in place. It goes against everything Mother Nature is built on, by targeting the superior animals, while protecting the inferior. This is a case that I don't care how many piles of research one can come up with saying it isn't an issue, simple common sense dictates that you kill the best and allow the worst to thrive and the population suffers in the long run.

Bill Winke and I had a long email conversation about this several years ago. He firmly believes that the reason his area of IA isn't pumping out the monsters it did when he first started hunting there is due to year after year, the best young bucks getting killed (keep in mind, we're talking 150+ 2.5 & 3.5s), while the lesser racked bucks have been getting a pass. Many of the lesser racked bucks end up dying of old age/fighting, as "I'm not wasting my tag on that" is a common theme. I think he's dead on. You fight the system Mother Nature has designed and she'll kick you in the teeth for it every time. Sure, the buck is only half the equation, but it only makes basic common sense that having a 2.5 yr old 10, scoring 150+ breeding does is better for rack characteristics than that 4.5 year old morphed fork or the 4.5 with 16" spikes.
 

Ben.MN/WI

5 year old buck +
I like option A - APR's. I'm lucky since that's what we have here in SE MN. Moving back the season may be the best way to allow the maximum number of bucks to get older, but in several of my hunting areas of SE MN the deer typically migrate completely out of the area by late November. That would be great for the guys that hunt the wintering areas, but not so good for the guys who hunt the summer/fall areas.
 

McLovin

5 year old buck +
I'll take B but eliminating party hunting should be part of an option or an option by itself. D is a close second in my opinion. Too many seasons and they're all too long.
 

Freeborn

5 year old buck +
Thanks bwoods11 for posting the question, it’s very timely.

If I had to choose just one I would chose B and push back the season. I chose this as I believe it would have the most benefit (quantity/quality) for the overall herd. I also think we should make decisions based on the health of the herd and not for bigger bucks as it will get broader support.

If there is one additional thing I would do it is get rid of party hunting.
 

phil@thesidehill

5 year old buck +
i know this is about MN and not PA...but let me just add some insight. PA has the highest hunter density in the nation, we consistently harvest around 400,000 deer a year, currently 50% of our buck harvest is made up of yearlings. We have APR's state wide (3 points to a side through most of the state and 4 points to a side in others), and our rifle season is post rut for the most part....the monday after thanksgiving is our rifle opener. Some years it is in November and others it is in December, that said the bulk of the rut related craziness is over when our orange army hits the woods with rifles. Just based on this experience alone....choices A and B alone or in tandem are not going to be a magic bullet. You can't really legislate out cultural underpinnings. When APR's were brought on and the doe tag allocations went up dramatically, it was like the PGC has just gone through the state slaughtering the first born child of every hunting household! Even with APR's in place, we still harvest a TON of our yearlings. I will say though that before APR's we were killing up to 80% of yearlings...and yes APR's made a big difference in the number of 2 yr olds that were available and some of those 2 yr old became 3yr olds and so on. So in some ways APR's have helped us to get bucks into the next age classes. But as Steve pointed out....lots of the best antlered 1.5 yr olds get killed. APR's really serve to meet the lowest common denominator of legislative trigger control.....in short the vast majority of hunters can count, most can't estimate spread accurately or estimate gross B&C score, or age deer on the hoof based on body characteristics...so the only way a state can protect a segment of the buck population is with point restrictions. In states with large hunter numbers its probably the only way.
 

kabic

5 year old buck +
I didn't know what Minnesota's season was like, except I knew the gun hunt was during the rut. So I decided to compare them to Wisconsin's:

Archery (WI 4 days longer)
======
MN Sept. 13 ‐ Dec. 31
WI Sept. 13 - Jan. 4, 2015

Firearm (MN 100 series area 7 days longer, rest of MN same as WI)
=======
MN (100 series areas) Nov.8–23 (200 or 300 series areas) Nov. 8 ‐ 16
WI Nov. 22 - 30

Youth Gun (MN 2 days longer )
========
MN Oct. 16 ‐ 19
WI Oct. 11 - 12

Antlerless (Same)
=============
MN Early Antlerless Season Oct 16- Oct 19th Is this statewide?
WI Central Forest and Central Farmland Zone antlerless hunt Dec. 11 - 14

Other hunts where Bucks are also legal, both only in part of the state (Same )
==========================
WI Southern Farmland Zone holiday hunt Dec. 24 - Jan. 1, 2015
MN Late Season SE only Nov 22-30


Muzzleloader ( MN 6 days longer )
==========
MN Nov. 29 ‐ Dec. 14
WI Dec 1 -Dec 10



The length of the Minnesota's seasons seem very similar to Wisconsin except for the 100 series areas and the Muzzleloader season. It seems strange that the most of the Northern areas (100's series) area seem to have the longest season.

So if I was in MN I think I would vote for B
 

phil@thesidehill

5 year old buck +
It goes against everything Mother Nature is built on, by targeting the superior animals, while protecting the inferior. This is a case that I don't care how many piles of research one can come up with saying it isn't an issue, simple common sense dictates that you kill the best and allow the worst to thrive and the population suffers in the long run.

[QUOTE="Sure, the buck is only half the equation, but it only makes basic common sense that having a 2.5 yr old 10, scoring 150+ breeding does is better for rack characteristics than that 4.5 year old morphed fork or the 4.5 with 16" spikes.[/QUOTE]

Just playing devil's advocate here Steve....but i find your choice of words interesting. I'm not a huge proponent of APR's, but i also don't hate them with my entire being either...not saying you do...just want to give a picture of where my head is at on this.

First quote above you use superior to describe high scoring immature bucks and inferior to describe low scoring mature bucks. Not in those exact words, but I believe that is what you were attempting to convey. I'm not aware of anything that indicates antler size and/or score as making a buck superior or inferior with in the population of a deer herd. Some 5.5 yr old 6 point (a "bully buck") may be the best survivor, best fighter, and most prolific breeder....which is what its all about in mother nature's game....passing the genes on down through progeny. those traits make him the superior individual over a 150's 2 yr old that hasn't been tested by the rigors of life in mother nature.....also the 150's 2 yr old may not be a good survivor, fighter or a prolific breeder as 5.5 yr old....making him inferior within that population. So i am not sure how killing a 150's 2 yr old instead of mature low scoring deer hurts the population in the long run.

I may be completely misreading your post and maybe you are only referring to superior and inferior in the context of antler characteristics and not in the context of their existence within the herd and their ability to survive and pass genes down? which is why i included the second quote from your post.

I'm also not advocating the killing of a monster 2.5 yr old....I would do everything in my power to protect a high potential youngster if i could.

Let me also just share this personal anecdote......
a few years ago some of my buddies and i were out spot lighting when we saw a HUGE bodied deer in the back corner of the field with a few does. I got my glasses up and immediately thought to myself...that is the biggest 4 point i have ever seen....he had the body of a fully mature...5+ yr old deer...and he had 2 HUGE fork horns. The beams were easily 22-24" long, he was easily 20" wide, his tines were at least 9", and the mass was impressive....but they were only two points per side making this deer not legal to kill in PA due to the APR's of 3 points to a side. We watched this buck tend a doe in that corner. he kept her in the corner, and he would not allow ANY other deer to get between himself and her. All of a sudden we saw him bristle up, lay his ears back and start to walk stiff legged toward the left...when we shined the spot light over to the left we saw a stud of an 8 point....looked to be at least a 3 yr old. The big old 4 point side saddled his way over to the intruder....lowered his head and gave a charge...the 8 point turned and ran out of the field. the big old 4 point walked back over to his doe and continued to guard her.
 

Ben.MN/WI

5 year old buck +
I think option B would require shutting down all deer hunting during the rut time frame to ever have a chance of being passed in MN
I agree with that. Any major changes will need approval from the average gun hunters and they won't want to give up their traditional rut hunt just to let the bowhunters take their place in the field during that time. I still think getting B approved would be a longshot even with that rule, but you never know.
 

Steve Bartylla

5 year old buck +
[EMAIL said:
phil@thesidehill, post: 25144, member: 5[/EMAIL]]
APR's really serve to meet the lowest common denominator of legislative trigger control.....in short the vast majority of hunters can count, most can't estimate spread accurately or estimate gross B&C score, or age deer on the hoof based on body characteristics...so the only way a state can protect a segment of the buck population is with point restrictions. In states with large hunter numbers its probably the only way.

I agree APRs is the only way to legislate it. I do get that and that APRs do indeed help increase the age structure for bucks. I just don't like them from a management standpoint and don't believe those of us that are into antler porn (and I'm definitely including myself in that group) have the right to try to dictate our desires on everyone else. I always think back to the uncle whose farm I hunted as a kid. He truly did feed those deer all year long with the farm crops he planted and paid to grow. He would hunt firearms season hard, sitting in the AMs and PMs, making deer drives during the day, every day for all of our 9 day season. He wasn't the best hunter I've ever seen, but he was in the upper half somewhere and he busted his a...tail to try to fill his buck tag. As many years as not, he didn't. When he did, it was almost always with a 1.5, and he was as giddy as a plain school girl that just got asked to prom by the captain of the FB team every time he did. Every time I feel the urge to push my antler porn desires on others, I think of him and ask myself how in the world would have I had the right to tell him he can't shoot that fork that he truly did raise and struggled so hard to kill?! I'm NOT trying to project that on anyone else. Everyone has the right to decide on their own what they will support and what they won't. I'm just explaining the other half of why I just can't get myself behind APRs (poor management practice + forcing my desires for more big bucks to hunt on others)

That's one of the bigger issues I have with QDMA. They pretend that they want everything to be voluntary, yet financially support APR agendas and do nothing to dissuade their members from shaming those that don't follow their agenda. In fact, one can make the argument that by encouraging their members to "educate" their neighbors, as well as form cooperatives that set and enforce standards, that they actively encourage members to shame others into compliance. I don't have the strong feelings against QDMA that many here do, and I believe they have done some to help hunting. That said, they do and say some things that get under my skin, as well, and that's one of the big ones. I'm a firm believer in truly voluntary compliance to achieve antler porn goals.
 

bwoods11

5 year old buck +
I think option B would require shutting down all deer hunting during the rut time frame to ever have a chance of being passed in MN

Just to answer my own question....I would pick B too, and if it meant putting weapons away (during the rut) for a few years to build the buck numbers up that would be fine.
 

Freeborn

5 year old buck +
Does anybody know where I could find a list of changes in chronological order of the Minnesota deer hunting regulations? Obviously I am looking for the large events that caused significant impact to Minnesota deer hunting.
 

Ben.MN/WI

5 year old buck +
B, as it would make more of a positive difference than A, C & D combined. Get gun season out of the rut and everyone can hunt whatever they want for as long as they want and they won't kill as many bucks as when you can shoot 300 yards during peak rut. Also, I can never get past the fact that APRs promote killing the best young bucks, while protecting the worst of the lot. Heck, I know of more than a few bucks that lived to 4.5+ that would have never had to fear hunting if APRs were in place. It goes against everything Mother Nature is built on, by targeting the superior animals, while protecting the inferior. This is a case that I don't care how many piles of research one can come up with saying it isn't an issue, simple common sense dictates that you kill the best and allow the worst to thrive and the population suffers in the long run.

Bill Winke and I had a long email conversation about this several years ago. He firmly believes that the reason his area of IA isn't pumping out the monsters it did when he first started hunting there is due to year after year, the best young bucks getting killed (keep in mind, we're talking 150+ 2.5 & 3.5s), while the lesser racked bucks have been getting a pass. Many of the lesser racked bucks end up dying of old age/fighting, as "I'm not wasting my tag on that" is a common theme. I think he's dead on. You fight the system Mother Nature has designed and she'll kick you in the teeth for it every time. Sure, the buck is only half the equation, but it only makes basic common sense that having a 2.5 yr old 10, scoring 150+ breeding does is better for rack characteristics than that 4.5 year old morphed fork or the 4.5 with 16" spikes.

Steve - Have either you or Bill Winke or any other hunters ever actually identified a large 150" class buck definitively as a 2.5 year old buck? I'm not trying to be argumentative, only curious. This is kind of going off on a tangent off the original thread topic, but I'm interested in your answer as it would be related to the high grading that is a concern with different methods used to protect bucks. I've been sending in ages of bucks shot in NW WI and SE MN for quite a few years and in most cases the bucks have came back from aging as older than I assumed. Based on what I've seen, I believe that it's far more likely that the deer someone identifies as a 125"-150" 2.5 year old is actually an older buck that was mis-aged as a 2.5 year old. Have you ever had any pictures on any of your farms of a fawn with odd facial markings/scratches/etc. that could clearly identify it as a fawn during one year and then in 2 years it turns into a 125"+ buck?
 

kabic

5 year old buck +

phil@thesidehill

5 year old buck +
I agree APRs is the only way to legislate it. I do get that and that APRs do indeed help increase the age structure for bucks. I just don't like them from a management standpoint and don't believe those of us that are into antler porn (and I'm definitely including myself in that group) have the right to try to dictate our desires on everyone else. I always think back to the uncle whose farm I hunted as a kid. He truly did feed those deer all year long with the farm crops he planted and paid to grow. He would hunt firearms season hard, sitting in the AMs and PMs, making deer drives during the day, every day for all of our 9 day season. He wasn't the best hunter I've ever seen, but he was in the upper half somewhere and he busted his a...tail to try to fill his buck tag. As many years as not, he didn't. When he did, it was almost always with a 1.5, and he was as giddy as a plain school girl that just got asked to prom by the captain of the FB team every time he did. Every time I feel the urge to push my antler porn desires on others, I think of him and ask myself how in the world would have I had the right to tell him he can't shoot that fork that he truly did raise and struggled so hard to kill?! I'm NOT trying to project that on anyone else. Everyone has the right to decide on their own what they will support and what they won't. I'm just explaining the other half of why I just can't get myself behind APRs (poor management practice + forcing my desires for more big bucks to hunt on others)

That's one of the bigger issues I have with QDMA. They pretend that they want everything to be voluntary, yet financially support APR agendas and do nothing to dissuade their members from shaming those that don't follow their agenda. In fact, one can make the argument that by encouraging their members to "educate" their neighbors, as well as form cooperatives that set and enforce standards, that they actively encourage members to shame others into compliance. I don't have the strong feelings against QDMA that many here do, and I believe they have done some to help hunting. That said, they do and say some things that get under my skin, as well, and that's one of the big ones. I'm a firm believer in truly voluntary compliance to achieve antler porn goals.

I think we are on the same page Steve. When talking the need/want to legislatively move more bucks up an age class....APR's are probably the only option that still includes a fair amount of hunter satisfaction across all segments. And i definitely hear you loud and clear on the QDMA issue....whats good for the goose is good for the gander in my opinion.
 

Steve Bartylla

5 year old buck +
Phil,

First, though I know I'm coming off as hating APRs, I don't. A more accurate description would be that I'm torn on them, leaning harder to being against than for. So few on management type forums talk about what they don't like about APRs, while explaining potential benefits, that I tend to focus on just the negatives.

You make some very fair points. Antler characteristics don't define superior or inferior health, in and of themselves. That said, one tends to see a lot higher % of mutant racked bucks being less than physically top notch than those sporting primo racks. How many 120+ have you seen with runt bodies or something that indicates they were born with less than good genes? I've seen a few, but I'd say less than 5% for sure. On those mutant racks, that number for me reaches closer to 40-50%.

still, what I was really getting at more than that was well timed fawning to healthy mothers. For a 1.5 to meet APR criteria in most settings, their birth had to occur in the prime spring window and to a healthy mother. There's more to it than just that, but pitifully few bucks will exceed minimum APRs if they were born late or their mother wasn't healthy. So, APRs punish some of those that followed Mother Nature's rules for survival (well timed births from healthy mothers) and rewards those that Mother Nature punishes (late births or fawns born to unhealthy mothers). That's what I'm really getting at when referring to health/superior.

the part about Bill has nothing directly to do with APRs. I just included it to help explain why I don't buy the research that states our buck harvest practices have no impact on future deer herds. that's often used as a counter to my point that killing the healthiest 1.5s isn't a great idea in the long run. After all, "research shows you can't impact genetics by killing or passing bucks with specific traits." Because of yearling buck dispersal, I believe that to a great extent, as it applies to a specific property. When looking at a larger area, I just don't buy it for a second. When enough hunters focus on killing bucks with specific traits (in this case, 1.5s born at the right time to healthy mothers) in a large enough area, our actions will have consequences over the long haul. I really don't believe one can debate that they won't. In my mind, the debate should be over if it's worth it. That's a legit debate for both sides, IMO
 

phil@thesidehill

5 year old buck +
Phil,

First, though I know I'm coming off as hating APRs, I don't. A more accurate description would be that I'm torn on them, leaning harder to being against than for. So few on management type forums talk about what they don't like about APRs, while explaining potential benefits, that I tend to focus on just the negatives.

You make some very fair points. Antler characteristics don't define superior or inferior health, in and of themselves. That said, one tends to see a lot higher % of mutant racked bucks being less than physically top notch than those sporting primo racks. How many 120+ have you seen with runt bodies or something that indicates they were born with less than good genes? I've seen a few, but I'd say less than 5% for sure. On those mutant racks, that number for me reaches closer to 40-50%.

still, what I was really getting at more than that was well timed fawning to healthy mothers. For a 1.5 to meet APR criteria in most settings, their birth had to occur in the prime spring window and to a healthy mother. There's more to it than just that, but pitifully few bucks will exceed minimum APRs if they were born late or their mother wasn't healthy. So, APRs punish some of those that followed Mother Nature's rules for survival (well timed births from healthy mothers) and rewards those that Mother Nature punishes (late births or fawns born to unhealthy mothers). That's what I'm really getting at when referring to health/superior.

the part about Bill has nothing directly to do with APRs. I just included it to help explain why I don't buy the research that states our buck harvest practices have no impact on future deer herds. that's often used as a counter to my point that killing the healthiest 1.5s isn't a great idea in the long run. After all, "research shows you can't impact genetics by killing or passing bucks with specific traits." Because of yearling buck dispersal, I believe that to a great extent, as it applies to a specific property. When looking at a larger area, I just don't buy it for a second. When enough hunters focus on killing bucks with specific traits (in this case, 1.5s born at the right time to healthy mothers) in a large enough area, our actions will have consequences over the long haul. I really don't believe one can debate that they won't. In my mind, the debate should be over if it's worth it. That's a legit debate for both sides, IMO

thanks for the clarification on that Steve, I see what you are saying now. Most of the mutant racked bucks i have seen, seem to be injury related, but i do see a fair number of "sub par" racked bucks for their age class....scrubby short tined 5, 6, 7, and 8 point that are 70-90" 3 yr olds. In my area there seems to be a "no brow tine" gene. Every year i have bucks that have only one or no brow tines...never really thought of it as a potential indicator of overall herd health dynamics...such as late born fawns (breeding timing), or does in poor health begetting buck fawns that start life behind the curve. I always chalked them up to genetics or poor health within their own generation...not the preceding generations.
 

Steve Bartylla

5 year old buck +
Steve - Have either you or Bill Winke or any other hunters ever actually identified a large 150" class buck definitively as a 2.5 year old buck? I'm not trying to be argumentative, only curious. This is kind of going off on a tangent off the original thread topic, but I'm interested in your answer as it would be related to the high grading that is a concern with different methods used to protect bucks. I've been sending in ages of bucks shot in NW WI and SE MN for quite a few years and in most cases the bucks have came back from aging as older than I assumed. Based on what I've seen, I believe that it's far more likely that the deer someone identifies as a 125"-150" 2.5 year old is actually an older buck that was mis-aged as a 2.5 year old. Have you ever had any pictures on any of your farms of a fawn with odd facial markings/scratches/etc. that could clearly identify it as a fawn during one year and then in 2 years it turns into a 125"+ buck?

I can't speak for Bill. I know he sends in teeth, but whether he has ever done so on one that fits that description, I can't say either way.

personally, I never have sent teeth in. For 12-15 years, I've inspected the teeth on every buck I or anyone hunting with me has killed, as well as a good share of the neighbor's. I've had a couple biologists help teach me over the years. Also, one of my buddies manages a large high fence (all natural genetics, with no artificial feeding or mineral program) and pulls the jaws from every buck kill. He literally has trail cam records from every buck on the place from 1.5 on. it's his job to know the age of each buck. Every year we get together, talk smart while acting stupid and I age all the jaws. I'm NOT perfect at it, but 1.5s, 2.5s and 3.5+s are really easy.

What I've noticed is that there is the strong tendency for bucks in the northern states to tend to be under aged and bucks living just 1 or more states south to be over aged by hunters.

I don't have any that I have as a buck fawn that had a clearly identifiable marking (yearling buck dispersal makes doing that tough), but I can dig up at least one 1.5 that did (he's on a external drive, and I'll try to remember to dig him out some time....remind me if I forget). He was solid upper 130s as a 2.5 and 160 if he was an inch at 3.5. I can show you way more that I've tracked from 1.5 that I 100% believe was the same buck that went 150+ at 3.5. Now, one can play devils advocate on those and say I made a mistake tracking them, and it's possible I did, but I have enough of those that I'm confident a good number of those are correct. Toss in the ones aged by the jaw and the one with clearly IDable features and I feel very confident that I can show you 3.5s that go 150-mid 160s and 2.5s in the 130-140 range.

That said, we're talking IL & IA on those bucks, NOT WI, MN or MI. I can't think of a 3.5 I've ever had in any of those states that broke mid 140s. The better ones in those states tend to come in the 130-140 range, at 3.5. SE MN and S WI there are no doubt some exceptions to that, but I can't think of any (and I've never done any long term management work in S WI)
 
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