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Age, Genetics and Antler Restrictions

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Age, Genetics and Antler Restrictions

Old 12-11-2002, 11:00 AM
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Default Age, Genetics and Antler Restrictions

One point (no pun intended) that I haven't seen mentioned is what will the age and genetic potential of the legal bucks in PA be? They say that most of the deer shot in PA are 1.5 years old. They also say that a 1.5 year old buck can have 8 or more points. I would think that a lot of the legal bucks, 3 by 1's up through small 8-pointers, would be 1.5 year old bucks. The yearling 8-pointer would have superior genetics to the yearling spike or 4 pointer but he would be wiped out and the spikes, 3-points and forks would do the breeding. Is this possible? It seems likely. I must add, though, that I don't have a better way to field judge a deers age.

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Old 12-11-2002, 11:35 AM
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Default RE: Age, Genetics and Antler Restrictions

Barnes, I would say your correct those 1.5 year old bucks that produce the basket racks, may indeed being taken before their genetics can work for the herd. But as you stated how can you accurately tell the masses to hold off certain deer or ages...it ain't possible. thus antler or sex restriction are the common use...some of those spikes or forks may indeed have good genetics as well. All in all I thing it is a way to have more balanced buck to doe ratio, by protecting some of the young. Is it good for genetics, who knows and your example I would say probably not.

How i judge here, is mature vs. immature. I look at rack size, but more posture, markings, face, nose drop and body size.

Rack size will sometimes tell the story on the deers maturity level...but not always. Poor genetics, down slide, stress levels & food sources can play a part in the deers rack. Also the way the deer carries himself can tell you where he is in the cycle of life. All bucks exhibit that holier than though look, but the mature bucks carry themselves even higher. They know their stuff don't stink and dare to to tell them otherwise. However this can be confused with dominance as well, so i would still refer to the bottom ways as well.

Posture is probably my number one way. If a deer has the sagging back and belly...much like a saddle horse, then I know he is mature. If he has more of a straight back and that stomach is firm I know he is immature.

Our older deer often show signs in the face of age. White marks in the snot, etc. Immature deer often have that prodominant white eye spots and more black and browns on the face. Again this can change based on area they inhabitat and genetics...but as a guideline with the posture it can help determine maturity levels.
If you are able to be close enough, the older deer will often exhibit a noticable nose drop. Were their face on a side profile will look more rounded. Immature bucks will tend to look more pointed. Some say gravity (much like a woman breasts), while other say years of battles causes this to occur. In any instance it can be a way but obviously if viewing a deer at 200 yards it isn't going to be easily assessed.

The final way is Body size. While another shot in the dark way, often the mature bucks tend to be bigger in size as well. One area I have really noticed a difference between mature and immature is the neck size. Most mature animals exhibit the 5 gallon pail look, while the immature are more symetrical in appearance. I attribute that to the need to work the rubs and hone the neck muscles for the upcoming mating season. If you know you have a chance at the title, your going to hit the gym, idea. While if your just going to look the part, you may skip a work out or two and take your chances.

These aren't all scientific but I look at them as another way other than rack to try and determine maturity levels. I guess what I look at is the whole package or the deers story he is telling to try assess age or maturity. Although I have shot the odd buck that was 3-4 and the only reason was he carried impressive head gear and thats where i was sold. So sometimes the rack wins over the age, even with my other methods...LOL.





Edited by - skeeter 7mm on 12/11/2002 12:43:36
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Old 12-11-2002, 12:11 PM
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Default RE: Age, Genetics and Antler Restrictions

I would say the damage that's been done by PA hunters over the past century, shoottng 90% or more of yearling bucks, causing a buck to doe ratio so out of whack that any buck, small, crippled, retarded, whatever, could breed any time he wants with as many does as he wanted to, etc, well, if that hasn't "genetically altered" the herd, nothing will. I don't think there'll be much negative effects, by lowering the doe herd, and assuring many more bucks make it to 2.5, at least you'll have some competition for the does, so the better bucks will breed. The rifle season is after the rut anyway, so any breeding that's been done will have already occured anyway. Sure some dandy 1.5 year old ddeer will breed, but at the moment, there's so many does, a large percennatge of them come into estrus late, so all the fawns born to them will have spikes or 4pts, even if they have the genetics for the next state record.



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Old 12-11-2002, 12:39 PM
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Default RE: Age, Genetics and Antler Restrictions

Skeeter that was some very interesting (and in-depth) reading.

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Old 12-11-2002, 12:43 PM
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Old 03-07-2017, 08:51 AM
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After 15 years, I think I have this figured out.
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Old 03-07-2017, 02:24 PM
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Pulling up at 15 year old thread...why??????
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Old 03-07-2017, 07:26 PM
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And, what have you figured out? This was definitely a concern back then. And I know I've seen allot of young 8s shot. But I think, at least when we are talking about antler size, that the Restrictions have worked. Me personally would rather not have them. As I don't care if I'm shooting a doe. a spike, or a nice 8. But I have seen more and more big bucks as the Restrictions have been in place.
-Jake
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Old 03-10-2017, 06:03 AM
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Pulling up at 15 year old thread...why??????
It's interesting to go back in time and see what the thoughts and feelings were back then and how they have evolved over time. I wish there were posts from the 1970s and 1980s. That would be really interesting.
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Old 03-10-2017, 07:06 AM
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If you were reading posts from the time period of when antler restrictions and herd reduction was put into effect, I can tell you what the posts would be, they would be gloom and doom and moaning that it is the end of deer hunting in PA, the herd is decimated and all sorts of other assorted nonsense. So far as the hunters in the 70s, they were the ones who fought against taking more doe when our deer herd was severely over populated. They fought the PGC at every turn in the road when they tried to get the herd under control for the health of the herd and the habitat. Once the deer numbers were reduced to a point where you could notice it they really came unglued, they couldn't go sit on the same tree stump they had been sitting on for decades and kill a deer quickly anymore. It got to the point where the deer biologist and his wife wore body armor when they were out of the house due to the threats against their lives. I don't have to guess what the posts would be, I was there and it was a sad sorry commentary on hunters.
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