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We’re 5 seasons into the Antler Restrictions

Have we significantly increased the number and age of bucks running around? Wouldn’t 5 years in be a reasonable time to demand dramatic and noticeable results to test the validity of the program?

Are you seeing a dramatic increase in the number and maturity of bucks during shooting hours? 

If not, why? 
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Replies

  • joelunchbucketjoelunchbucket Posts: 452 Deckhand
    The antler restrictions were meant to protect most yearling bucks from being harvested. Not sure I would call it a dramatic change but its a change from what we had before that. Myself and others have been seeing more yearling bucks throughout the season over the past few years at the WMA I frequent. Seems to be working there at least.
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 11,429 AG
    it's not geared to help us private land hunters either.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • Big MakBig Mak Posts: 3,373 Captain
    edited December 2019 #6
    Posts 2 and 3 sum it up for me. I am not seeing anything dramatically or superficially better.

    The only SIGNIFICANT things that have changed for me on year 5 of this program is rather than CHOOSING to let a few bucks walk because of my evolution as a hunter, I was FORCED to let them walk because the law says I had to. I also couldn't kill a couple more does that I probably would have during doe weekend and archery hunts.

    I have also heard that ground truthing and backstrapping in the field was more rampant than usual but cannot confirm.
  • OGBOHICAOGBOHICA floridaPosts: 211 Deckhand
    Ask Chuck, oooh ya he dont come on here anymore :)
  • Sixth GenerationSixth Generation Posts: 340 Deckhand
    I haven’t seen any improvement and have to also limit my doe take after shooting two in archery.  I have then passed numerous 1-2 year old bucks that don’t meet the 3 points on a side or 10” main beam requirements.  There have been several mature deer killed by my neighbors so they are there, but the new requirements have done nothing in my opinion but restrict my harvest as I would have shot at least 2 of those young bucks because their body size met my normal standard for harvest.  I don’t care about antler size.  Big antlers are just a bonus.  I am in C5 zone and we had 3 antlerless weekends after archery which I had to sit out and only buck hunt.  I probably passed 30 mature does on those 3 weekends...
  • gottheitch22gottheitch22 fort Meade FLPosts: 4,353 Captain
    I have seen more young bucks the past couple years then i use to 
    living life as i like
  • bottom feederbottom feeder Posts: 1,262 Officer
    I can't comment on Florida as I don't deer hunt here.  They started about ten years ago in Missouri and within three years everybody seemed to agree that they were seeing more big bucks.  Most of my friends were meat hunters that killed the first legal deer they saw.  I'm looking at the stuff these guys are killing now, incredible, even their kids are killing nice bucks.  It's a lot easier to wait on a big one when you know they are around.  It does work in some places.

    Leaving Florida... take a developer with you!

  • MCSHunterMCSHunter Posts: 557 Officer
    If, like me, you do not agree with the doe restrictions I urge you to send emails to all the Commissioners and not to the Deer Management Coordinator, Corey Morea, who can choose to bury your complaint. At the very least the Commissioners may take notice and realize things need to be tweaked a bit before sending it down to Morea. I have received some very interesting responses from Mr. Morea most of which are orchestrated and rehearsed.
    Step 1---open my fwc.com
    Step 2--- Type email all Comissioners in search box
    Step 3--- Click contact all Commissioners
    Step4--- fill out form and click "I am not a robot" box
    Thanks All
  • zimmy4209zimmy4209 Ocala FloridaPosts: 971 Officer
    Apparently I'm unqualified to call myself a hunter in florida but in 2 years my cameras have been in woods where I go twiddle my thumbs hoping and praying I've got a heck of alot more yearling bucks this year as opposed to last year on film. May just be coincidence or my guess is there is substantially less deer dog hunters in onf permit numbers back that up. I will give thumbs up to fwc looks like they're opening up silver spring forest next year(almost 5,000 acres) to a select few through quota and I've seen 2 of the biggest bucks dead on road uve seen here in Florida. The one I helped a feller who owns a wildlife rehab facility in area load it in back of his pickup as nd literally couldn't fit my hand around his antlers. He was a good one  
  • GeetchGeetch St. Pete and JasperPosts: 228 Deckhand
    In my unscientific and anecdotal opinion, we need a ton more for days. Not antlerless but true slick head doe days. 
  • GeetchGeetch St. Pete and JasperPosts: 228 Deckhand
    edited December 2019 #14
  • meateatermeateater south flaPosts: 517 Officer
    no changes here      and i hunt more than most     ask my wife        100 lb 4 point or a 150 lb 8 point makes no difference to me        when i decide to only kill a deer for the size of its antlers i will quit hunting and go vegan.  
  • meateatermeateater south flaPosts: 517 Officer
    no changes here      and i hunt more than most     ask my wife        100 lb 4 point or a 150 lb 8 point makes no difference to me        when i decide to only kill a deer for the size of its antlers i will quit hunting and go vegan.  
  • GRIZZLGRIZZL Posts: 830 Officer
    More on camera (better quality), more seen, More buck sign....working
  • fldoghuntetfldoghuntet The flatwoodsPosts: 6 Greenhorn
    There were already plenty of bucks getting by without me/us letting them go. The first year of the horn restrictions, I let 3 bucks go. 2 of them got killed (one turned out to be legal, one turned out to be a quarter inch short). The third probably wasn't 5" and I wouldn't have shot him anyway. I would imagine that is probably a pretty good summary of what's going on everywhere.

    I have noticed no difference at all, just more aggravation. 
  • swampdogswampdog Central FloridaPosts: 1,066 Officer
    We’re seeing an improvement. More small not quite legal bucks and some really good older class bucks. The new harvest restrictions are still more lenient than most private land leases. Been Florida lands hunting since 1961 and have seen great improvement with a couple of hiccups (Citrus over harvesting of does & bucks & too many cats down south). I’m happy with a couple of deer a year for the freezer and love WMAs. I believe Mr. Morea is doing a great job and overall the Florida deer heard seems to be thriving. If the elected officials will get more of the state lands opened for hunting-that would be the best improvement at this time. 
  • gottheitch22gottheitch22 fort Meade FLPosts: 4,353 Captain
    Love it when a meat hunter says they are ok with shooting young bucks when you get way more meat off older deer 
    living life as i like
  • Florida BullfrogFlorida Bullfrog Posts: 3,166 Captain
    I think its obvious that I am skeptical of the restrictions making a difference, for the reason that I suspect many around here don’t follow them in the privacy of their own leases and backyards.

    However, I can’t draw any concrete conclusions from my own observations, except that if the ARs do make a difference, its a small difference not a dramatic difference. I’m only three years into living on my farm where I do my hunting these days and the first year I barely hunted. I can’t say what things looked like for this specific area prior. Poaching is high in the area around me, primarily because my farm is a draw for the deer for miles around and the one road that borders my farm is a high crossing area for them. Its easy and common for locals to creep down the road at dark looking for deer to pick off. Locals and LEOs know it as the blueberry road for that purpose. I figure that’s been going on for decades and will always be a primary factor on what the deer herd looks like here. I do believe that if I was sitting on a large private parcel with a self-contained herd that only law abiding hunters had access to, 5 years into a 3 point on-one-side rule would yield dramatic, not slight, results. 

    I am seeing more nubbings and small spikes this year. Which doesn’t necessarily reflect on the ARs because they count as anterless under the regs. I can say that I’ve heard very few shots around me this year. Far less than previous years. Doe weekend was nearly silent.  Usually I hear about a dozen separate hunting shots a day during the doe days. Makes me wonder if at least some people are good enough to follow the bag limits on their honor. I’m hearing almost no shots now.
  • Sixth GenerationSixth Generation Posts: 340 Deckhand
    The buck I described killing was a 2 1/2 year old 8 point that had a good sized body, which is why I shot him.  I was barely able to get his **** off the ground and over my tailgate.  That buck would get shot as soon as he left my property as well.  I agree that he would have had an even larger body next year, but I am not going to pass a deer like that where I hunt.  I don't care if someone only shoots trophy 5 1/2 year old deer on their property either.  That is their decision.  With 4 deer in the freezer this year (2 nanner heads in Archery and my wife also got 1) we have enough meat.  While I will still be hunting, it would have to be a good one for me to feel the need to shoot.  Luckily I have just found a new spot and have a buck coming through that qualifies as a good one in my book!  Forecast tomorrow is the perfect wind direction for this stand.  Good thing is this is an area that doesn't have any pressure on it.  I have committed to only hunting it on the right wind so I don't educate him...  good luck to everyone this weekend.
  • PinmanPinman Posts: 2,650 Captain
    Chongg said:
    you get way more meat off a younger deer than an unpunched tag.

    Somewhere, I have heard this before.....
  • drgibbydrgibby Posts: 1,463 Officer
    All Mr. Morrea and company are going to accomplish with their new antlerless program is to fix a system that was not broken. 
    Seems to be working, have already seen more road kill this year than ever before.

    Let`s significantly increase the population so it will be ripe for a disease outbreak that will decimate it.
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 11,429 AG
    I agree.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • Big MakBig Mak Posts: 3,373 Captain
  • wayviswayvis FloridaPosts: 137 Deckhand
    Have we significantly increased the number and age of bucks running around? Wouldn’t 5 years in be a reasonable time to demand dramatic and noticeable results to test the validity of the program?

    Are you seeing a dramatic increase in the number and maturity of bucks during shooting hours? 

    If not, why? 
    Five year is not long enough to see dramatic results. It may be long enough to see some results. The antler restrictions were put in place to protect about 80% of 11/2 yeat old bucks. So once the 11/2 reach 21/2 most are legal; which is what most hunters will now be harvesting. So your biggest age increase will be from 11/2 to 2/12, but many 21/2 will be harvested each season. This program was not implemented to produce a lot of trophy bucks it was to recruit 11/2 year old bucks to 21/2. Yes over time a few will reach 41/2 and up.
  • bottom feederbottom feeder Posts: 1,262 Officer
    Keep in mind too that deer get much smarter every season they survive.

    Leaving Florida... take a developer with you!

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