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We’re 5 seasons into the Antler Restrictions

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  • Florida BullfrogFlorida Bullfrog Posts: 3,163 Captain
    wayvis said:
    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.
    What was the percentage of 1 1/2 year old bucks that were legal under the old 5” rule? Roughly all of them?
  • osprey11osprey11 Posts: 1,172 Officer
    Until they replace Florida's  loamy sand with some rich northern soil not gonna make a huge difference.  


  • wayviswayvis FloridaPosts: 137 Deckhand
    wayvis said:
    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.
    What was the percentage of 1 1/2 year old bucks that were legal under the old 5” rule? Roughly all of them?
    Yes, most of them. I think FWC said about 95% where legal at 11/2 under the 5" rule. But don't quote me on that.
  • wayviswayvis FloridaPosts: 137 Deckhand
    osprey11 said:
    Until they replace Florida's  loamy sand with some rich northern soil not gonna make a huge difference.  
    I would guess your talking about big racked bucks. Yes we will never see many 180 class deer in Florida, but that's not what the changes was about. It was to increase the age of bucks for hunter satisfaction and have a more natural  balanced age structure.
  • Florida BullfrogFlorida Bullfrog Posts: 3,163 Captain
    wayvis said:
    wayvis said:
    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.
    What was the percentage of 1 1/2 year old bucks that were legal under the old 5” rule? Roughly all of them?
    Yes, most of them. I think FWC said about 95% where legal at 11/2 under the 5" rule. But don't quote me on that.
    That’s where I’m having a hard time not being skeptical. If roughly 80% of an age class of bucks that previously weren’t being protected are now so protected, and we’re 5 deer generations into that plan, there ought to be roughly 80% more 5-6 points or cowhorn spikes running around (we’ll call those deer “racked” bucks). 

    Even if there were only 50% more legal, racked bucks in the woods instead of 80%, that should be a noticeable increase. None of us who put the time in should be scratching our heads wondering if the ARs are having an effect or not. It should be ridiculously self-evident. 

    If my logic is wrong, what am I missing? Mind that I’m not talking about having a massive increase of mature bucks or a massive increase in harvesting. I just mean in terms of what’s out there. Why wouldn’t 5 years of protecting 80% of the yearling bucks be yielding indisputably large increases of 5-6 points? 
  • OGBOHICAOGBOHICA floridaPosts: 210 Deckhand
      It should be ridiculously self-evident. 



  • gritsnhuntin1gritsnhuntin1 Posts: 1,180 Officer
    OGBOHICA said:
      It should be ridiculously self-evident. 



    Maybe FWC will hire Stevie Wonder to do night surveys. This will get the counts they are "looking" for.
  • gators1422gators1422 Posts: 10 Greenhorn
    I hunt private land only so I have no idea when it comes to WMAs. I have only shot 3.5 year old and up deer for the last 10 years or so. Around me there seems to be more smaller bucks,(small rack 4-8points)the last couple of years. I would think that’s because they are getting through that first set of antlers. Where the state could really improve is allow 4 does a year to be harvested at any time and give out tags for the does. That would allow the meat hunters to pass up those bucks since they don’t care about horns and allow folks to get meat at anytime. Everyone should be happy, it allows small bucks to grow and meat hunters to fill the freezer and the tags would help regulate. 
  • N. CookN. Cook Posts: 2,165 Captain
    Gators...that may well be true in some areas....north of Florida...but, we know it takes five does to produce one legal. three point on a side, buck in most of Florida....all the peninsula.....that is why the DMUs are in place, and with the Tag and Report data, the doe take can be adjusted to meet the local situations...
  • zimmy4209zimmy4209 Ocala FloridaPosts: 969 Officer
    this is first picture I have of any daytime movement since thanksgiving. Come up on biggest bear I've ever seen before also within 30 yards he was well over 400 lbs and took off like he was shot out of a cannon. No matter how big brush was in front of him he went through it never around anything. Incredible thing to witness. 
  • Florida BullfrogFlorida Bullfrog Posts: 3,163 Captain
    N. Cook said:
    we know it takes five does to produce one legal. three point on a side, buck in most of Florida....all the peninsula.....
    That’s highly problematic in itself.  Could it not be the reason it takes so many does to raise one deer to maturity is because the does have their fawning season spread out unnaturally long because there’s too many does and not enough bucks to breed them, making the fawns more susceptible to predators?  
  • joelunchbucketjoelunchbucket Posts: 452 Deckhand
    Unless you have too many deer for the habitat (not the case in very many areas of FL), the way to make the sex ratio better is not to harvest more does. In that scenario, the way to improve the sex ratio is to allow the bucks to get another year older before they are harvested. That’s what you are seeing in the FWC’s approach with antler restrictions. It works where followed. Where it isn’t, due to excessive poaching/ground checking/etc. the results after 5 years will be negligible, if any, from what was seen with the 5 inch rule. That’s not a failing of the approach. It’s a local problem that can only be solved with LE and/or cultural change. 
  • meateatermeateater south flaPosts: 515 Officer
    might as well make it 6 points per side or 20 inch main beam here in south florida with all the cougars,pythons,bears,coyotes and all the water they pump from up north i might add all antler restrictions gonna change down here is the number of hunters.
  • Big MakBig Mak Posts: 3,367 Captain
    meateater said:
    might as well make it 6 points per side or 20 inch main beam here in south florida with all the cougars,pythons,bears,coyotes and all the water they pump from up north i might add all antler restrictions gonna change down here is the number of hunters.
    I agree 100%
  • OGBOHICAOGBOHICA floridaPosts: 210 Deckhand
  • wayviswayvis FloridaPosts: 137 Deckhand
    edited December 2019 #47
    wayvis said:
    wayvis said:
    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.
    What was the percentage of 1 1/2 year old bucks that were legal under the old 5” rule? Roughly all of them?
    Yes, most of them. I think FWC said about 95% where legal at 11/2 under the 5" rule. But don't quote me on that.
    That’s where I’m having a hard time not being skeptical. If roughly 80% of an age class of bucks that previously weren’t being protected are now so protected, and we’re 5 deer generations into that plan, there ought to be roughly 80% more 5-6 points or cowhorn spikes running around (we’ll call those deer “racked” bucks). 

    Even if there were only 50% more legal, racked bucks in the woods instead of 80%, that should be a noticeable increase. None of us who put the time in should be scratching our heads wondering if the ARs are having an effect or not. It should be ridiculously self-evident. 

    If my logic is wrong, what am I missing? Mind that I’m not talking about having a massive increase of mature bucks or a massive increase in harvesting. I just mean in terms of what’s out there. Why wouldn’t 5 years of protecting 80% of the yearling bucks be yielding indisputably large increases of 5-6 points? 
    I think your logic is right in a perfect world. The problem is that a lot of areas of Florida only has 10 to 20 deer per square mile. So at 15 deer a square mile (640 acres) you most likely only have 5 bucks (that's 2 does per buck) Now if all 10 does have twins that would give you 10 new bucks and 10 does. Lets say 50% (5 bucks) make it to 1.5 years of age, some of these my be legal to shoot under the current rules and some my die of other causes. So you may get only a few to make it to 2.5 years of age. The point is when you start of with low deer numbers it take a long time to build up the herd.
    The club I hunt was shoot down when we got it 6 years ago. We have not shot any does in those 6 years and are just now starting to see a little difference. Of course habitat and poaching can makes a lot of difference. I think that's way some guys say they have seen a difference and some have not.
  • Big MakBig Mak Posts: 3,367 Captain
    Talk about perfect world theories!
  • HollywoodcorollaHollywoodcorolla Posts: 474 Deckhand
    The places public I usually hunt were already 3pt a side and see no difference. 
    The ones that were changed I don’t see much. 
    It’s all about the food source abundance that will see more animals that keeps them in a area.   Natural balance 
  • james 14james 14 Posts: 3,065 Moderator
    N. Cook said:
    we know it takes five does to produce one legal. three point on a side, buck in most of Florida....all the peninsula.....
    That’s highly problematic in itself.  Could it not be the reason it takes so many does to raise one deer to maturity is because the does have their fawning season spread out unnaturally long because there’s too many does and not enough bucks to breed them, making the fawns more susceptible to predators?  
    That was the main reason for the antler restrictions. Putting more bucks in the woods tightens up the rut window and increases fawn recruitment.
  • james 14james 14 Posts: 3,065 Moderator
    I have seen dramatic results where I hunt.

    Year 1 - No change obviously.
    Year 2 - Slight increase in buck activity and more activity earlier and later in season.
    Year 3 - Even more buck activity. Approx. 20 buck sightings on public lands.
    Year 4 - Major increase in buck activity. I saw a buck literally every single day I hunted. Over 25 sightings.
    Year 5 - Covered up in bucks all year. 31 sightings to this point.

    What I haven't seen is an increase in big bucks. But if I wanted to I could've filled two limits the last two seasons.
  • zimmy4209zimmy4209 Ocala FloridaPosts: 969 Officer
    edited December 2019 #52
    james 14 said:
    I have seen dramatic results where I hunt.

    Year 1 - No change obviously.
    Year 2 - Slight increase in buck activity and more activity earlier and later in season.
    Year 3 - Even more buck activity. Approx. 20 buck sightings on public lands.
    Year 4 - Major increase in buck activity. I saw a buck literally every single day I hunted. Over 25 sightings.
    Year 5 - Covered up in bucks all year. 31 sightings to this point.

    What I haven't seen is an increase in big bucks. But if I wanted to I could've filled two limits the last two seasons.
    Reading this is perfect. No matter if your hunting for sport the meat or both I dont see any reason why everybody wouldnt be pleased with these scenarios.  
  • Florida BullfrogFlorida Bullfrog Posts: 3,163 Captain
    james 14 said:
    I have seen dramatic results where I hunt.

    Year 1 - No change obviously.
    Year 2 - Slight increase in buck activity and more activity earlier and later in season.
    Year 3 - Even more buck activity. Approx. 20 buck sightings on public lands.
    Year 4 - Major increase in buck activity. I saw a buck literally every single day I hunted. Over 25 sightings.
    Year 5 - Covered up in bucks all year. 31 sightings to this point.

    What I haven't seen is an increase in big bucks. But if I wanted to I could've filled two limits the last two seasons.
    Do you know or can you speculate what factors may have contributed to the success of ARs in your locality?
  • OGBOHICAOGBOHICA floridaPosts: 210 Deckhand
    james 14 said:
    N. Cook said:
    we know it takes five does to produce one legal. three point on a side, buck in most of Florida....all the peninsula.....
    That’s highly problematic in itself.  Could it not be the reason it takes so many does to raise one deer to maturity is because the does have their fawning season spread out unnaturally long because there’s too many does and not enough bucks to breed them, making the fawns more susceptible to predators?  
    That was the main reason for the antler restrictions. Putting more bucks in the woods tightens up the rut window and increases fawn recruitment.

    Having followed the entire process I have never seen or heard mention as this being the reason for AR's, not one time
  • OGBOHICAOGBOHICA floridaPosts: 210 Deckhand
    What you are saying here James is that mother nature has not done a good job at keeping the deer density accordingly to the amount of deer the entire state of florida's woods can carry. And some Biologist new to Florida developed this plan after carefully analyzing each and every DMU

    Fawn recruitment has only been studied in a few areas of Florida and has never been an issue.

    What good does fawn recruitment do if predator numbers are significantly rising? I guess nature may be keeping up with that up to a certain point where until it crashes like it did in S Florida.

    Do not kid yourself the reason for AR's were exactly as the acronym says all about antlers.

    And having hunted some of the best woods in FLorida, Wisc, Ga, Mich, Tx and you have seen 31 separate bucks wherever you are hunting is simply amazing! Never heard of such a pc of land 
  • joelunchbucketjoelunchbucket Posts: 452 Deckhand
    Guess you missed it.... every time! Go figure. 
  • hunterjwhunterjw Posts: 419 Deckhand
    They should revise to fork horn or better and get rid of the 10" main beam or 3 points at 1".

    Not everyone looks at a deer through a scope and judging on the hoof during bow season and/or in front of dogs is near impossible on a 2.5 year old deer.
    "He who hoots with the owls at night will not soar with the eagles at dawn"

  • HollywoodcorollaHollywoodcorolla Posts: 474 Deckhand
    james 14 said:
    I have seen dramatic results where I hunt.

    Year 1 - No change obviously.
    Year 2 - Slight increase in buck activity and more activity earlier and later in season.
    Year 3 - Even more buck activity. Approx. 20 buck sightings on public lands.
    Year 4 - Major increase in buck activity. I saw a buck literally every single day I hunted. Over 25 sightings.
    Year 5 - Covered up in bucks all year. 31 sightings to this point.

    What I haven't seen is an increase in big bucks. But if I wanted to I could've filled two limits the last two seasons.
    James. 
    As much I want to believe you I almost want to pull the bs flag.

    its sounds to good to be true. 
    All the parks I hunt (many) I haven’t been much of an increase yet to brag about it. 
  • Big MakBig Mak Posts: 3,367 Captain
    hunterjw said:
    They should revise to fork horn or better and get rid of the 10" main beam or 3 points at 1".

    Not everyone looks at a deer through a scope and judging on the hoof during bow season and/or in front of dogs is near impossible on a 2.5 year old deer.
    Ahhh, a refreshing voice of reason... Scaling back regulations is a great idea; a step in the right direction, especially in this instance.
  • meateatermeateater south flaPosts: 515 Officer
        if your on a lease or private property your running feeders or putting in food plots with 10% of the hunting pressure most wma,s get so if big racks are important to you have at it.   most weekend hunters or newbies hunting south of 60 have a hard time seeing a deer never mind a mature buck. i think forked horn or 10 inch beam at these areas would suffice and save a few deer from being left in the woods cause the 6 point some guy shot turned out to be a 4 point with no browtines.   QDM was started by rich guys with small tools who only cared about the size of the antlers. there are many other factors on improving the deer herd and antler restrictions is not in the top three.
  • zimmy4209zimmy4209 Ocala FloridaPosts: 969 Officer
    james 14 said:
    I have seen dramatic results where I hunt.

    Year 1 - No change obviously.
    Year 2 - Slight increase in buck activity and more activity earlier and later in season.
    Year 3 - Even more buck activity. Approx. 20 buck sightings on public lands.
    Year 4 - Major increase in buck activity. I saw a buck literally every single day I hunted. Over 25 sightings.
    Year 5 - Covered up in bucks all year. 31 sightings to this point.

    What I haven't seen is an increase in big bucks. But if I wanted to I could've filled two limits the last two seasons.
    James. 
    As much I want to believe you I almost want to pull the bs flag.

    its sounds to good to be true. 
    All the parks I hunt (many) I haven’t been much of an increase yet to brag about it. 
    More than likely a few of his sightings are same buck already saw before but in a area with low to no poaching going on totally buy into the seeing a buck every sit. What I find confusing as _ell in my area is ocala hasn't allowed doe hunting since 80's I think and amount of time I spend in woods together with multiple locations with a camera I get alot more bucks than doe at every location. Easily for every doe picture I get theres atleast 2 different buck pictures. In last 1.5 years I've covered probably 10 or 15 thousand acres each camera at 1 spot for 10-14 days. Why is this area not completely overrun with does?
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