Antler-point restrictions are among the topics to be discussed. You can tell conservation officials about it at a series of meetings set for two parts of the state in January.
The Missouri Department of Conservation will hold six public forums focusing on deer and turkey management in southeast and south-central Missouri. Half of each two-hour meeting will be allocated for discussing turkey management, and half will be set aside for talking about deer management.
One item on the agenda is the possibility of expanding the four-point rule now in effect in 29 counties to seven counties in west-central Missouri and eight in the southeastern part of the state. The rule is an experimental attempt to shift more of the harvest to female deer, providing more effective control of deer numbers.
Counties where the Conservation Department is considering expanding the experimental antler restriction are Bates, Benton, Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, Cedar, Henry, Hickory, Madison, Perry, St. Clair, Ste. Genevieve, Scott, Stoddard, Vernon and Wayne.
Each of the meetings will be from 7 to 9 p.m. and begin with a
presentation by Hansen, who leads the Conservation Department's deer management program, and turkey program leader Jeff Beringer. The meetings are set for the following locations.
*Piedmont, Jan. 9 at the Clearwater Youth Center, Highway 34, adjacent to Clearwater High School.
*Marble Hill, Jan. 10 at the Methodist Church, Highway 34 East.
*Perryville, Jan. 12 at the Perryville Community Center, corner of Spring and St. Joseph streets. For more information call (573) 290-5730.
*Cape Girardeau, Jan. 18 at Conservation Campus Nature Center, North Cape County Park.
*El Dorado Springs, Jan. 23 at the American Legion building on Broadway, one block east of Main Street.
*Clinton, Jan. 24 at the K-BLE building, 1606 N. Water St. For more information call (660) 885-6981.
Missouri has been TRADITIONAL DEER MANAGEMENT which means we have protected the does and have unlimited harvest of bucks in all age class.
The younger bucks have taken the majority of harvest by Missouri Hunters.
Here are a few of the suggestion I am making.
1. Disabled hunter hunting season/weekend is implemented state wide and is the same weekend as the youth spring turkey season and fall youth deer season.
2. Youth Season for Spring Turkey is an all day event.(DO NOT change 1/2 day regular season)
3. Two Weeks is added to the END of Spring Turkey season and is an Archery Method Only.
Here is a little more information to help you make an informed decision.
What does this mean to the deer population and you? Well let's take a look in areas that have been study, that have been TRADITIONAL DEER MANAGEMENT over the years.
DOES = 85% of the deer population
BUCKS 2 1?2 years old or less = 10% of the deer population. BUCKS 2 1?2 years old to 4 1?2 years old = 5% of the deer population. BUCKS 4 1?2 years old and up = 1% of the deer population.
Remember it takes around 3 1?2 years old before a Buck is even consider a mature whitetail. Also when a buck reaches 3 1?2 years of age with the correct nutrition the buck has reached 80% potential of its antler growth compared to a 1 1?2 year old only has 10% of its antler growth. If a buck reaches 4 1?2 years of age it has reached 90% of its potential antler growth. The traditional deer population is considered un-natural since does have been protected.
When a shift is made and does are no longer protected then the quality of the entire herd benefits but the bucks end up with the biggestbenefit.
Study's that have what is called QUALITY DEER MANAGEMENT the population changes for the better.
DOES = 50% of the deer population BUCKS 2 1?2 years old or less = 12.5 % of the deer population BUCKS 2 1?2 years old to 4 1?2 years old = 25% of the deer population BUCKS 4 1?2 years old and up = 12.5 % of the deer population If you look at the numbers you have a 1 to 1 ratio between bucks and does and you can then see a visible rut and now have a more natural deer population.
Missouri for the first time two years ago is headed in that direction when more does where harvested than bucks.
TAKE MORE DOES AND TAKE THEM EARLY.
Here are 5 main reasons to take more does off your property and why each bow hunter should take as many doe as possible. Plus with even more reasons inside of each main reason to take more does.
Like in my area I still have a limit of two deer with my bow. But the first tag will be for a doe the very first time she pops her head out.
The other tag will be for a Trophy Class buck if one presents it self.
If I could buy more bow tags early in my area I would just to take more does.
To balance out the buck to doe ratio, if you take a doe early in the season by the time the rut comes around there are less doe deer in the woods and that makes the big boys want to roam more and you have the chance to see the trophy deer.
If you don't then the big bucks don't have to roam as far when they have a harem of does. Also remember this year fawn doe will be able to breed and have one fawn next year. So this year fawn doe harvest will make a difference. But the mature doe harvest will even do more. In captivity it has been found that a mature doe of 17 1?2 years was still having twins. So just because a doe is old it is not barren.
Basically you can start to get a visible rut in which everyone wants to see. Plus you will see more competition between bucks if fewer does are available in which case the dominate genetics which is what nature wants will be passed. Plus if you are going to harvest a doe late in the season all you have done is waste the buck's energy in chasing does that will no longer exists. So if taken early then the bucks will get his breeding done on time and save energy, which is weight and health, and start the next year even better.
Also when breeding season gets here you don't have young bucks breeding does. Because to many are available. It has been found that 30% of twin fawns have different fathers.
When great habitat is available like Missouri the deer population runs around 20 to 25 deer per square mile and population controls are intact like hunting there are very few problems. By the way deer population will double in size in less than 3 years if the habitat exist.
To protect the young bucks is a big reason. By late in the season a button buck can be close to the size of an adult doe. So by taking a doe early you cut out the chance of killing it by mistake in the late season.
The adult does will run the young bucks out of the area, to the point of near 80% to over 5 miles away. In areas a large adult doe harvest occurs that drops to around 50%. So you save 30% of your buck population from leaving your property.
Also the old shoot theory behind shooting a spike is completely out the window, they are not longer what some consider cull bucks. Studies have show that rainfall that second year of antler growth can change the complete average of bucks with 3 points or less by over 50%.
Also studies have found that, if the young spike bucks are allowed to mature that under the Boone & Crockett Scoring system that a spike buck compared to a 4 point buck in it's second year of antler growth some consider the spike a cull buck. But when the spike bucks are allowed to live, when both those bucks reached maturity that only 6 inches difference has been found.
To stabilize the doe reproductive rates in the area, when high population of does the "RUT or estrous cycle of each do
In areas with a lower doe population study shows the majority of fawns born at the same time frame.
Which means the rut or estrous in the doe population is occurring at the same time. Again back to a visible rut.
To increase the food source for the bucks of all ages, and for the deer population that will be left that you want to feed.
By taking a doe early you save in your food plots the following.
Deer eat around 6 to 10 lbs a day of specific forage a day. But lets knock it down to 5 lbs for easy number to work with.
So if your hunting part of lets say 5 bowhunters take one doe each in October.
5 Does X 5 lbs of forage day = 25 lbs of forage a day saved. 25 lbs of forage X 30 days = 750 lbs of forage.
3000 lbs of forage in 1 to 2 acre food plot/ 750 lbs of forage = 4 months you have save an entire 1 to 2 acre food plot just in time for winter when the bucks need it and the does that are breed need it.
When population is in check the deer weight increased by 15 lbs. Does that are healthier have fawns with higher birth weights and buck have stored energy to grow their potential genetics.
If you wait then late in the season, you may not hunt as much because you have a buck in the freezer already, it is the holiday/family season, weather not as nice. Apathy
Plus if you wait late in the season, there is more of a chance that a larger buck is following. This will not be the case early in the season.
So after reading my opinions do you agree or disagree? If so why?
I attended a QUALITY DEER MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION short course in Columbia, Mo. This entire program brought common sense approach to management and this is where I have noted a lot of the above information. Plus if you ever get a chance to attend a QDMA seminar do so you won't regret it. If you would like to read more about QUALITY DEER MANAGEMENT approach to your land check out www.qdma.com
Hope to see you in the woods. Horntagger