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Spike Deer

Old 01-09-2003, 06:52 PM
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Does anyone have a definitive answer on 'spikes'? I have been hunting in Somerset County, PA For the last 15 years. There always seems to be an over abundance of 'spike' bucks. Small, big, short and long, Spikes, and deer of many various sizes. I have been reading many conflicting reports, Penn State, Pa Game Commission, etc. No one seems to agree. Is it diet, are they yearlings, food, genetics? Before teh antler restriction this year, we've always seen ad taken these deer, and rarely killed larger racks, but in all fairness, even the 4-6 and 8 pointers were raghorns. Nothing nice at all. I have a 7 point that had 4 points off one long spike and 3 off the other. I think it's mostly bad genetics with poor food. What does everyone elde think? Anyone recommend any books?
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Old 01-09-2003, 07:12 PM
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I think the most important factor is genetics. Without good genetics a buck will take years longer to develop a nice rack when compared to one with good genetics.
Look at it this way. Take two humans who decide to increase their muscle mass by lifting weights. When put on the same diet and same workout one is likely to put muscle on much quicker than the other. The reason being GOOD GENETICS. Even if you load the smaller guy up with protein he will have a tough time catching up to the guy with the good genetics.

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Old 01-09-2003, 07:20 PM
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Yeah, thanks. I think I'm more inclined to believe that. Mostly because it's year after year after year. This year there was no food, little water, but tons of small doe all over the place. I htink teh mast crop was teh worst ever. Add that to poor genetics and we ended up with horrible looking deer! We always see lots, just never big trophy racks--we scout all year from trout season right up to big-game.
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Old 01-09-2003, 07:42 PM
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i think its great genetics and just young immature age which causes small racks with alot of points...come one there are 1 1/2 year old bucks out there with as many as 8 pts on the norm..my friend killed a 10pt that looked like a 1 1/2 year old deer and they live on the farm and theyve never seen the buck the year before so it was more than likely a yearling last year...to me thats great genes just to young to produce the mass and tine legnth and anything like that to make a nice rack...and somerset co PA and no food doesnt belong in the same sentance! i drove through it going to NC and go skiing there like i will be doing thursday next week and it was nothing but fields! that is deer food! sure alot of the nuts were bad this year but both deer i took from an area that doesnt have a stand of hardwoods within 1/2 mile maybe more were both FAT the doe was a very old one with only a few front bottomw teeth left and i think if i would missed she would died of a heart attack from the noise and the running because he heart head fat all around it and her steaks are fat...them deer were eating great for not having fields or nuts too eat..its called a thicket...i read that unless the grown trees produce nuts deer rarely spend time in that area because its useless..no concelment/shelter and no food...the nut trees fields and the sappling thickets is what they live on...all the parts of the tree the deer eat can be reached in a sappling thicket..but not on grown trees...and PA must have been near treeless abotu 15 yrs ago because everywhere i go i can find nice sapling thickets...we have the food and the genes here in PA....we dont have the age...most deer die before they reach 2!..the ARs wont work to their fullest because small basket racks are still fair game...now if we had a spread requirerment................
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Old 01-09-2003, 08:06 PM
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Default RE: Spike Deer

Yeah I agree with most of what you said...but..the mast crop that was nonexistant under the snow can't help them. I really think this has alot to do to carry them over the winter. The doe I took was a typical one--@100lbs--nice fat pads--good abdominal fat--but even now, Alt's program is killing the bigger doe. The area I hunt is mostly mountainous--few small fields, but still everything was brown and contained little nourishment. There is definitel good thickets, and even small creeks. The area is over-browsed, and the herd did need thinning. The game commission even pointed this out. (We always get checked there)(Never paid a fine!) But, overallI agree with what you said,as I know alot of deer do not get old. I always hunt my uncle's private farm up in Montour county, Pa and things are different there. It is only hunted by me, my brother and his son. I have a couple of 20"ers from up there on our walls!,but missed one on the last Saturday this year. He didn't get that big by being stupid. Later.
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Old 01-09-2003, 09:39 PM
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Default RE: Spike Deer

I hunt Somerset Co too and although I do see some spikes,I see alot more rack buck.I missed a fantastic 8pt this rifle season.Here's a couple that I've taken already out there.
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Old 01-10-2003, 06:40 AM
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At our club we have a VA game biologist come in every year and talk about our kills from the year before. The question seems to always come up with new biologist and they all say a spike is not always a spike. It is just a deer with inferior genetics but may still grow to be a decent deer. On the other hand a "cow horn" is an older deer with long spikes say 10 inches or more, this is a deer that needs to be taken to get the genetics out of the area. It will probibly not be anything more then a "cow horn" deer.

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Old 01-10-2003, 06:44 AM
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By the way, nice deer!!!! I killed an 8 point last year that is almost identical to the deer on the right, I thought I was looking at my den. Nice deer JimPic.

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Old 01-10-2003, 08:52 AM
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Default RE: Spike Deer

I'm gonna say age and nutrition, before genetics. The majority of the spikes folks see are young deer. Add to that poor nutrition, like you said...there will probably be more spikes. Genetics don't really come into play as much until they reach a few years old. Obviously there are exceptions anywhere...but this is generally the case.

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Old 01-10-2003, 04:47 PM
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I just read a book on spikes. It seems that if you want alot of "ok" deer, you should let the spikes grow up. Not every deer (even with alright genetics) will grow to be even a legal buck. Legal for my area is 4 points on one side or better. Most antler restictions do not alow for culling out inferior bucks, like the "cow horns" or the ones that are so old they loose points. If you want a slightly smaller yet better quality population of bucks you should shoot the spikes. This is what I've read anyway. Like I said, in my area we have antler restrictions and it seems to be working in reverse. While the larger deer with better genetics get shot because they are the only legal ones, the spikes and funkyhorns get to grow old and breed becuase it is illegal to cull them out. By this I see many deer with small and "messy" racks and almost no legal deer.

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