To all you PA hunters, give me your opinion on the "3" and "4" point rules that where established by the DNR. Do you think it has made hunting better or worse in your area? What do you think could make it better? Thanks in advance
I know years ago in my state there were deer everywhere! If I didn't see 50 deer in a day I thought something was wrong. The DNR absolutely would not let us kill the does. Well back in the march of '93 we had a bad blizzard which decimated the herd. Now the DNR has gone crazy in issuing doe tags, it's to the point now that if I see 5 deer in a day, then it's a good day. Also, the bucks are getting less and less each year. I figure that in a couple more years the hunting will be completely ruined. People don't realize around here that if you kill 10 does you are really hurting the herd for years to come.
I personally like the antler restriction. It lets the bucks mature into stronger animals with larger racks. I'd rather shoot a larger rack buck than a small spike or fork horn. Antler restrictions are not the cause of low deer numbers. It is the taking of too many antlerless deer. Let's face it, The PA Game Commission is using the "Doe" license as a revenue producer, not a management tool. You want more deer - knock off the doe seasons. Simple. GBR
If you now want to see deer in western PA in the regular firearms season, you have a couple of choices.
Option 1. Spend an awful lot of time walking in the woods and looking for a tail running off into the brush. If you don't feel like walking, you can sit in one spot and still see almost the same number of deer. That is one or maybe two if you are really lucky.
Option 2. This becomes more effective if you do it using a spot light and starting maybe an hour or two after full darkness. Just remember, this style of deer slaughter is frowned on by both sportsmen and legal authorities. It is most effective in the areas listed in Option 3 below.
Option 3. drive through the suburbs of the more populated areas, especially at evening time, and watch both the side of the road, and more importantly, the road in front of you. Deer are getting to be quite common in those areas. If you are not sure if you are in the right areas, just look for the signs. They generally say "NO HUNTING" or "NO TRESPASSING". My daughter tells me frequently of the deer that come into her backyard (about a 25 foot by 50 foot area) that is surrounded by houses. This is maybe three miles from Heinz Field and the Three Rivers.
Option 4. Do your hunting in the seasons that precede the Regular Firearms season. These are called, Archery, Early Muzzleloader, Youth and Senior Citizen seasons. Here you have the option of actually seeing a deer and then deciding if you want to take out that 10 or 12 point so the spindle antlered three pointer (or less) can have some fun with the does later in the year.
In my area, I used to see deer a lot of the times I went out squirrel hunting or otherwise taking my shotgun out for a walk in the woods. Nowadays, the only deer I see are either on the golf course (after hours) or, and I mean this literally, in peoples back yards within a couple hundred yards of the main roads. I saw a total of one deer, a small buck, in the field next to my house all this year. In the past, it was not uncommon to see six or seven deer (two does with family) in that same field a number of times during the summer and early fall. And, before you ask, the use of the field for crops did not change from the rotation that was followed for several years.
Jim Silinsky, an outdoors writer from eastern PA, has written several articles about the decline of deer hunting caused by the instance of DER forcing the PA Game Commission to change the entire concept of deer management in PA. This change was NOT FOR THE ADVANTAGE OF THE HUNTERS OR THE DEER!
Don't know about PA, but here in WA it is ruinning our herds of mule deer. I know alot of game wardens who want the practice stopped but our game commission who set the rules, refuse to listen to them. They only want to hear what the biologist have to say because they have a "degree"!
The game wardens are out in the field just about every day and see with their "eyes" whats going on. Where as the biologist, sitting in a office most of the time writing papers! Who knows best??????????
What has been happening over time now is spikes and little two points are doing most of the breeding. Culls will only produce culls and it is showing up more and more.
Our game commission is made up of nine people of which only one claims to hunt, the rest are fishers, and they are allowed to set the rules!! Give me a break!!!!!!!!!!!1
I know the same thing that happened to the deer in my state happened to the turkeys as well. When there where a lot of turkeys the DNR wouldn't allow a fall season now all of sudden they are allowing it, of course no turkeys to be found.
Yes antler restrictions have been a good thing. The expanded doe seasons were also a good thing. Time to adjust the current number of doe tags being issued is upon us.
Being an old-timer I remember the days when seeing fifty to a hundred deer in a day was not a challenge. Seeing even a spike buck among them was a near impossibility. Good bucks were few and far between. A really good buck was nearly non-existent and was news in the papers.
Pa hunters, think about your trips to the deer processor ten years ago and the small number of good to excellent bucks that were there. Compare that to what you see there now. There are trophy bucks stacked like cordwood.
Having some 400 acres in the northern tier I can tell you the difference lowering the numbers of deer in the woods has made. We now have oak seedlings and saplings that never got beyond sprouts ten years ago. Many other species of preferred browse and mast are also re-establishing themselves in the woods, never got the chance before. That is a good thing and will eventually result in the woods being able to support larger populations again. There's no food in woods that look like parkland. Bad thing it will be fifteen years before those oaks begin producing mast and it will most likely be beyond my hunting career. Not a bad investment for my sons and grandchildren though.
PA hunting has changed. Whether it is for the better or not is a matter of opinion. As I get older I wish the hunting was becoming easier instead of requiring more time and effort into putting meat on the table. The quality of the hunt and the opportunity to harvest a true trophy has certainly improved. Taking a deer is no longer an easy proposition but the feeling of accomplishment in taking your deer is much greater.
I have noticed that a number of hunters that complain to me about the number of doe tags issued seem to have multiple tags every year and do their best to fill each one of them, as well as take a buck also. In the next breath there's no deer left and it's all the fault of the game commission. If you can't eat five deer, don't shoot five deer.
As far as the passing of the genes those young little four points are carrying the genes of their eight point fathers. Want to assure the big boys are breeding the does. Lay off the bucks in archery season. Fewer does means more competition between the bucks. The big boys win the prize. Higher doe ratios reduce competition, the little guys get the chance to breed, and the bucks do not need to grow bigger antlers to compete. No easy answers to any of this.
Fifteen years ago this would have been a deer of a lifetime. Can tell you there are at least three others running around the farm right now that equal or better this and at least one that puts him to shame.
Rod you are correct, in Indiana. State Farm Insurance just had an article in the newspaper that stated there were 16,225 vehicle-deer accidents in 2009. With many personal injury, and millions of dollars in claims. Indiana Farm Bureau Ins. also did a study a few years ago on how many bushels of corn are destroyed by deer each year. They will lobby the IDNR for more doe tags.
I just got a short e-mail from a friend in PA. A PA game warden was shot to death last night while investigating a jack-lighting complaint. It happened in Freedom Township, Adams County. I'm looking for more information right now. When the slobs responsible are apprehended, tried, and convicted, the death penalty should apply.
Antler restrictions have become the deer biologists Holy Grail lately. If you just want to create a trophy herd, some form of antler restriction makes sense. However, it can backfire if left in place too long. I have hunted several places with antler restrictions in place for far too long, and what you end up with is a herd which may have huge deer, but because of a 4 points on at least one side restriction, the herd is overloaded with bucks which are genetically predispositioned to only grow 2 or 3 points. Huge bucks, big massive racks, only 2 or 3 per side. By removing the 4 points on a side bucks for too many years, you ruin your trophy herd.
If your buck/doe ratios get out of balance, ie:too many does for the number of bucks to breed them, your herd suffers. Around here, for years we were allowed two bucks, and everyone took their two. Eventually, the ratio got skewed by everyone shooting two bucks and no does, and the does were being bred by young, inferior bucks. The bucks were having to service way too many does, so by the end of the rut the bucks were just skin and bone, and unable to put on the fat required to make it through the winter, which resulted in a big winterkill of bucks, and left even fewer to provide breeding service to the does the next season.
Combine this with no slash burning in the logged off areas to provide optimum forage, an explosion of wolves, cougars, and bears, and our hunting has sucked bigtime for years. Now the does are being thinned out through hunting, getting the ratios back in order, and the population is increasing again. A local boy took a blacktail buck recently that dressed 192 pounds, which is the biggest I have heard of in years.
If you have a doe season, it isn't just a revenue generator, but a legitimate conservation management tool. The biologists have to be right on the ball when the time comes that the buck/doe ratios get to where they should be, and reduce the doe season so as to avoid the impact of having a too few does/ too many bucks scenario, which can be just as bad as the other way round.
I suppose the situation is very different in different regions. In the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, the Deer population would be better off if every hunter was required to shoot three does to be eligible to shoot a buck. Our woods are so full of young does that they have had to move into the towns. In many subdivisions, a hunter can get his rifle and a cup of coffee, walk out on his back deck and shoot a couple of does before his coffee gets cold.
Both deer and Canadian Geese are very close to getting moved from being classified as game animals to pests. The best deer hunting is in backyards. A loaf of bread and a long stick is the best way to hunt Canadian Geese.
Pat you have it right for South Georgia too. Our regular season legal take is 12 deer, two of which must be bucks, one of which must have at least four points on one side. I keep several game camera's out and enjoy seeing the pictures. I was surprised at some of the pictures though. Two does with twins and out of the four fawns one was a doe. I had one picture of a really good buck, for my area anyway. There were many smaller buck too. As for as the geese is concerned, they have become pests at some ponds and small lakes. Jackie B.
I live in Upstate NY about 1 hr from PA. We don't have any antler programs up here and until very recently we could only hunt with shotgun during the regular season. I have seen the decline in population of the deer herd from years prior and we don't have the programs. Yes, the insurance companies lobby for increase doe tags and that may play a part.
I think a lot of it has to do with coyotes. There aren't as many game birds etc. around either but plenty of yotes.
They should move the doe season back to a 3 day season. The antler restriction is good with me but I agree money is the route of all this evil. I personally dont think the Pa. Game Commission could effectively run a hot dog stand.
In Oregon, a general deer tag is good only for a deer having at least one horn that's forked. If both horns are spikes only, the tag does not apply.
Then in problem areas, limited numbers of tags for does, spikes, or "any deer" are issued. These are issued via an application and drawing process. I've put in for them from time to time when I know I'll be hunting a unit where these tags apply.
One quirk (and there always seems to be a quirk with game laws) is that if you fill your general tag before your additional deer tag, you're done. This is because you cannot hunt without a general deer tag in possession. We definitely need this corny rule modified in the case of additional deer tags.
As far as whether I want a big deer with a huge rack, who doesn't? But I'll settle for anything legal that I can stuff in the freezer.
Brian- You stated "I want a big deer with a huge rack, who doesn't?'. Well, I don't. In the past when I have shot a big deer, it took all day to drag it out, gut it, butcher the thing and get it wrapped and in the freezer. Then I had to spend a lot of time finding friends to give the frozen and wrapped meat to. My last deer was a very small fawn that I could drag with one hand and get into the freezer in an hour or so. Not a whole lot of meat, but I ate all of it and it was really good. If I hunt deer again, I want a another small yearling and will pass on anything I can't drag/carry with one hand. I am just too old and lazy to work all day cutting up a deer.
We try to promote deer management on the lands that our family owns. (Ontario County, NY) We ask that anyone try not to shoot anything that does not have antlers at least as wide as the ears. This does not pertain to the younger hunters for their first deer. They can shoot anything for their first deer, such as spike, fawn, etc. We have a lot of deer in our area and I think we are seeing more big racks now. Our family members have about 20 doe permits (antlerless deer). We may use 2 or 3. That is our way of making sure all the does don't get shot. Archers in this area are a big problem as they stay in their stands until hours after legal time and then kill an "extra" trophy buck and use a friend's tags. I don't think our DEC gives a crap about deer hunters. Gun season starts in 6 days Can't wait!! Larry Evans