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Old 11-29-2011, 10:42 AM
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I oppose the implentation of most AR's. The goal of an AR being to promote bucks to a higher age class, thus larger antlers. But what does a point restriction really do? It makes the genetically good buck legal at an early age. Quite simply, a genetically superior buck with good nutrition may easily be an 8-point at 18-months. Is that the buck we want to kill?

Number of points is a poor managment system. Inside spread is better as it protects 75% of the deer under 2.5. However it is hard to implement and hard to enforce. Let's examine just what an AR does. I managed a piece of property for several years that required both 8-points and a minimum of 16" spread. The fine for making a mistake was hefty. But that was private property.

An AR may to some degree, help advance young deer to the age of 2.5 at which point they get killed. If the goal is to manage for antlers, then you pass everything under 3.5 years. After that age, few bucks need protection from hunters. But how do you get to look at their teeth? Few hunters on a statewide basis can age a deer on the hoof.

If the goal is to balance age strata, then by far, the second best method is to reduce the male bag limit and count all male deer, regardless of antler development, as a buck. I.e. a button buck would require a buck tag. This also improves sex ratios and sometimes requires an increase in doe kill.

Unfortunately, the goal of most AR's is to produce more antler and that goal is short circuited at age 2.5. a poor age to stop development if antlers are the goal.

The bst method of all, no matter what the goal, is hunter education. Unless there is a severe biological need. I oppose all AR's. If herd health is sound and ecologically secure, states should not regulate what ahunter can or cannot kill based on the desire of a minority for larger antlers. That should be done on private land or selected management areas.

Just my opinion.
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