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Antler regulations....Someone splain this....

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  • WildManWildMan Posts: 302 Deckhand
    edited September 2021 #92
    4WARD said:
    I get the 1/1 ratio thing.
     I still have a hard time understanding how adding 1 - 1 1/2 year olds to the herd in order to achieve that is very beneficial?
    Seems like a numbers game to me.
    Every 2-3 year old has a target on its back(legally). So you end up with the same old smart ones and a bunch of dodo birds.
    A dead deer is a dead deer. I just don’t see the overall benefit to the health of the herd or the rut mumbo jumbo.
    Typically, a 1:1 ratio is difficult to attain and not the target except on trophy managed properties.  When you do attain it, the rut becomes pretty intense with lots of buck injury and mortality.  I suspect many states would be happy with a 1:2 or 1:3, rather than a 1:5 or higher that you typically see with a max sustainable yield model (what FL had prior to APRs).  Also, as you balance the sex ratio, more of the sexually mature does are bred during the initial rut, so you don't see as extended of a rut. 

    As you indicate, protecting 1.5 year old's will result in more 2.5 year old's the following year which will then make up the bulk of the harvest.  The difference is that these 2.5 year old's are all sexually mature so are able to breed during initial rut, thus shortening the rut and allowing for more competition, which then results in more rutting behavior.  Also, a 2.5 yo is typically smarter than a 1.5 yo so I suspect there are fewer dodo birds and they at least survive a little longer during the season resulting in more bucks available for breeding.

    Correct, a "dead deer is a dead deer", but the age and sex of those dead deer result in differences in the overall population dynamics of the herd.
  • mattb78mattb78 Posts: 279 Deckhand
    4WARD said:
     I just don’t see the overall benefit to the health of the herd or the rut mumbo jumbo.
    Deer science isn't for everyone. I don't understand exactly why a redfish after 27 inches produces 10x more eggs than a 22 incher.. but I accept the science and the law and release the larger redfish.

    There is plenty of research that explains how a very unbalanced buck age structure negatively impacts a deer herd. And that is the main goal of antler restrictions, to take a very unbalanced buck age structure (that we created by allowing yearling bucks to get shot without restriction) and graduate these bucks to an older age class.
  • 4WARD4WARD Cross Creek,FLPosts: 2,618 Captain
    I don't have some agenda here fellas, I'm simply asking questions.
    Wanting to have a better understanding of the science and the law does not mean I don't accept either one.
    "I hate graveyards and old pawn shops
    For they always bring me tears
    I can't forgive the way they rob me
    Of my childhood souvenirs"... John Prine
  • meateatermeateater south flaPosts: 955 Officer
    put your mask on    get 3 or 4 vaccines and shut up       follow the science and trust everything fwc and dr falsey say.  
  • OGBOHICAOGBOHICA floridaPosts: 708 Officer
    I should re explain my concerns about the new season changes designed specifically to kill more mature bucks by being aligned with the Rutt.

    So what science was used to determine weather or not this would benefit the herd or hurt the herd? PRIOR to being implemented?
  • WildManWildMan Posts: 302 Deckhand
    OGBOHICA said:
    I should re explain my concerns about the new season changes designed specifically to kill more mature bucks by being aligned with the Rutt.

    So what science was used to determine weather or not this would benefit the herd or hurt the herd? PRIOR to being implemented?

    Not aware of exactly what science was used, other than most states time their season with the rut.  I suspect this has more to do with hunter satisfaction and when folks prefer to hunt, rather than biology alone.  Prior to these changes in FL, seasons were aligned with the rut in some areas and not in others.  I'm guessing since there weren't issue's in those where they were aligned could have been part of the reasoning. I believe where you are more likely to see negatives is if you had high buck harvest prior to the rut, such that there are not enough bucks to breed the does once the rut rolls around.
  • WildManWildMan Posts: 302 Deckhand
    Another point I somewhat alluded to in the prior post is that buck:doe ratios are not static through the year.  While it depends on your season structure and buck vs doe harvest goals, the ratios tend to be most balanced just prior to the season.  Then as bucks are harvested during the season it begins to become more skewed.  The exception would be when doe harvest equals or exceeds buck harvest, which would be done to stabilize or decrease overall population growth. So season timing and when the majority of bucks are harvested can be important in allowing for an adequate number of bucks for breeding.

    As mentioned earlier, I'm primarily a meat hunter (in FL anyway).  So while I'm not a big proponent of the new rules, I at least understand the reasoning.  I have just adapted to the rules and am still able to put meat in the freezer, albeit the bucks are slightly older.


  • swampdogswampdog Central FloridaPosts: 3,351 Captain
    A lot of hunters simply want to hunt “rutting” bucks. During the rut deer do move more. 

    I remember when Florida made hunting over feeders legal. It obviously wasn’t to protect more deer. It did keep a lot of folks hunting and still hunting today. 

    I guess we’ll just keep adapting and rolling with the new regs, the constant pressure from growth and social media. The deer appear to be doing fine in spite of us. 
  • 4WARD4WARD Cross Creek,FLPosts: 2,618 Captain
    edited September 2021 #100
    mattb78 said:

     I just don’t see the overall benefit to the health of the herd or the rut mumbo jumbo.
    Deer science isn't for everyone. I don't understand exactly why a redfish after 27 inches produces 10x more eggs than a 22 incher.. but I accept the science and the law and release the larger redfish.

    I spent many hours looking at redfish data back when they made the last changes.
    While I follow the law, there was certainly no following of the science by the FWC.
    But redfish science isn’t for everyone 😉.
    And here we are.

    Thanks for your input WildMan.
    "I hate graveyards and old pawn shops
    For they always bring me tears
    I can't forgive the way they rob me
    Of my childhood souvenirs"... John Prine
  • OGBOHICAOGBOHICA floridaPosts: 708 Officer
    swampdog said:
    A lot of hunters simply want to hunt “rutting” bucks. During the rut deer do move more. 

    I remember when Florida made hunting over feeders legal. It obviously wasn’t to protect more deer. It did keep a lot of folks hunting and still hunting today. 

    I guess we’ll just keep adapting and rolling with the new regs, the constant pressure from growth and social media. The deer appear to be doing fine in spite of us. 

    Lots of feedback on how gators are being overharvested (big bull gators) on certain lakes. BECAUSE waa waa said we need to hunt more daylight hrs to hang a bait on a slide of a 12 ft gator plus.. Guess what expect less and less gator tags on some lakes. Ooh ya, its happening now!

    PS? Have we rec'd more or less ( as promised more) hunting deer Opportunities since AR's have been implemented? Asking for a friend  
  • joelunchbucketjoelunchbucket Posts: 826 Officer
    edited September 2021 #102
    You keep swingin’ & you keep missin’.

    Take the blindfold off and you might have better luck. 
  • mattb78mattb78 Posts: 279 Deckhand
    edited September 2021 #103
    4WARD said:
    Wanting to have a better understanding of the science and the law does not mean I don't accept either one.
    4WARD, Looking at my last response the tone was a bit harsh. It wasn't meant in a negative way but reading it later I can see how it came across.

    Balancing the buck age structure (having more mature bucks in the herd) benefits the herd because more does are going to come into estrus at the same time in a given area. Mature bucks signpost and give off pheremones that contribute to triggering estrus in does.   When more does come into estrus in a tighter time window, more fawns are then born in a tighter time window.

    From a predation standpoint, if you have 20 fawns drop in a square mile in a week period, a coyote can only eat so many (they get full just like us and don't seek food after a big meal). But if you take this same group of fawns and spread the births out over 3 weeks instead of 1, that coyote is going to eat alot more fawns.  Its like if you sent 12 pizzas to my house at one time maybe I would eat 1 and leave 11, but send me one pizza a week and I will eat every single one.

    Arkansas is a great example. They implemented a hard 3 point rule (no exceptions for youth-no buck of choice like GA).  Consequently they have one of the most balanced buck age herd structures in the US. And their harvest data proves it. And what happened in Arkansas is over time they had to increase the doe harvest numbers because more and more fawns were surviving and their doe populations increased.


  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 12,517 AG
    mattb78 said:
    4WARD said:
     I just don’t see the overall benefit to the health of the herd or the rut mumbo jumbo.
    Deer science isn't for everyone. I don't understand exactly why a redfish after 27 inches produces 10x more eggs than a 22 incher.. but I accept the science and the law and release the larger redfish.

    There is plenty of research that explains how a very unbalanced buck age structure negatively impacts a deer herd. And that is the main goal of antler restrictions, to take a very unbalanced buck age structure (that we created by allowing yearling bucks to get shot without restriction) and graduate these bucks to an older age class.
    using that logic, let's allow harvest of a redfish after the 1st spawing cycle.
    when it's a decent eating size and not crabbait.

    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.
  • mattb78mattb78 Posts: 279 Deckhand
    ANUMBER1 said:
    using that logic, let's allow harvest of a redfish after the 1st spawing cycle.
    when it's a decent eating size and not crabbait.
    Can we gillnet whitetails yet?
  • Florida BullfrogFlorida Bullfrog Posts: 4,743 Captain
    mattb78 said:
    4WARD said:
    Wanting to have a better understanding of the science and the law does not mean I don't accept either one.
    4WARD, Looking at my last response the tone was a bit harsh. It wasn't meant in a negative way but reading it later I can see how it came across.

    Balancing the buck age structure (having more mature bucks in the herd) benefits the herd because more does are going to come into estrus at the same time in a given area. Mature bucks signpost and give off pheremones that contribute to triggering estrus in does.   When more does come into estrus in a tighter time window, more fawns are then born in a tighter time window.

    From a predation standpoint, if you have 20 fawns drop in a square mile in a week period, a coyote can only eat so many (they get full just like us and don't seek food after a big meal). But if you take this same group of fawns and spread the births out over 3 weeks instead of 1, that coyote is going to eat alot more fawns.  Its like if you sent 12 pizzas to my house at one time maybe I would eat 1 and leave 11, but send me one pizza a week and I will eat every single one.

    Arkansas is a great example. They implemented a hard 3 point rule (no exceptions for youth-no buck of choice like GA).  Consequently they have one of the most balanced buck age herd structures in the US. And their harvest data proves it. And what happened in Arkansas is over time they had to increase the doe harvest numbers because more and more fawns were surviving and their doe populations increased.


    I 100% agree with your point concerning out of balance buck to doe ratios, extended ruts, and predation. However, in Florida specifically, our out of balance buck to doe ratio has a lot more to do with over protection of does than under protection of yearlings. 

    Some biologists say that the reason we need to over protect does in Florida is due to a lower fawn recruitment rate. But the reason we have a lower fawn recruitment rate is because we have too many does. The high number if does causes the rut to last for months and makes fawns easy for predators to pick off. 
  • WildManWildMan Posts: 302 Deckhand
    mattb78 said:
    4WARD said:
    Wanting to have a better understanding of the science and the law does not mean I don't accept either one.
    4WARD, Looking at my last response the tone was a bit harsh. It wasn't meant in a negative way but reading it later I can see how it came across.

    Balancing the buck age structure (having more mature bucks in the herd) benefits the herd because more does are going to come into estrus at the same time in a given area. Mature bucks signpost and give off pheremones that contribute to triggering estrus in does.   When more does come into estrus in a tighter time window, more fawns are then born in a tighter time window.

    From a predation standpoint, if you have 20 fawns drop in a square mile in a week period, a coyote can only eat so many (they get full just like us and don't seek food after a big meal). But if you take this same group of fawns and spread the births out over 3 weeks instead of 1, that coyote is going to eat alot more fawns.  Its like if you sent 12 pizzas to my house at one time maybe I would eat 1 and leave 11, but send me one pizza a week and I will eat every single one.

    Arkansas is a great example. They implemented a hard 3 point rule (no exceptions for youth-no buck of choice like GA).  Consequently they have one of the most balanced buck age herd structures in the US. And their harvest data proves it. And what happened in Arkansas is over time they had to increase the doe harvest numbers because more and more fawns were surviving and their doe populations increased.


    I 100% agree with your point concerning out of balance buck to doe ratios, extended ruts, and predation. However, in Florida specifically, our out of balance buck to doe ratio has a lot more to do with over protection of does than under protection of yearlings. 

    Some biologists say that the reason we need to over protect does in Florida is due to a lower fawn recruitment rate. But the reason we have a lower fawn recruitment rate is because we have too many does. The high number if does causes the rut to last for months and makes fawns easy for predators to pick off. 
    As I've indicated, the buck to doe ratio is like a see-saw.  Skewed sex ratio can be from too few bucks or too many does.  Which way you try to balance the ratio depends on what your population goal is.  In simple terms, if you want to stabilize or decrease populations, then you decrease the number of does (increase doe harvest) while keeping number of bucks similar.  If you want populations to increase, then you increase the number of bucks while keeping doe numbers similar.

    While FL does have a lower recruitment rate (# added to population) which would be influenced by increased fawn mortality due to extended ruts, the fawning rate (# of births) for FL is also lower which translates to lower reproductive potential.  The decreased fawning rate is primarily attributable to poor soil quality.  Sandy soils don't hold many nutrients as they leech through fairly quick.  This then leads to forage with lower nutritional quality.  If you look at far N & NW FL where there is a lot more clay in the soil which holds a lot more nutrients, you see a higher fawning rate as a result. Similarly you see a similar trend if you examine timber productivity indexes.
  • joelunchbucketjoelunchbucket Posts: 826 Officer
    edited September 2021 #108
    Wildman, could you share what you would consider to be a low/good/high fawn recruitment rate?

  • Florida BullfrogFlorida Bullfrog Posts: 4,743 Captain
    WildMan said:
    mattb78 said:
    4WARD said:
    Wanting to have a better understanding of the science and the law does not mean I don't accept either one.
    4WARD, Looking at my last response the tone was a bit harsh. It wasn't meant in a negative way but reading it later I can see how it came across.

    Balancing the buck age structure (having more mature bucks in the herd) benefits the herd because more does are going to come into estrus at the same time in a given area. Mature bucks signpost and give off pheremones that contribute to triggering estrus in does.   When more does come into estrus in a tighter time window, more fawns are then born in a tighter time window.

    From a predation standpoint, if you have 20 fawns drop in a square mile in a week period, a coyote can only eat so many (they get full just like us and don't seek food after a big meal). But if you take this same group of fawns and spread the births out over 3 weeks instead of 1, that coyote is going to eat alot more fawns.  Its like if you sent 12 pizzas to my house at one time maybe I would eat 1 and leave 11, but send me one pizza a week and I will eat every single one.

    Arkansas is a great example. They implemented a hard 3 point rule (no exceptions for youth-no buck of choice like GA).  Consequently they have one of the most balanced buck age herd structures in the US. And their harvest data proves it. And what happened in Arkansas is over time they had to increase the doe harvest numbers because more and more fawns were surviving and their doe populations increased.


    I 100% agree with your point concerning out of balance buck to doe ratios, extended ruts, and predation. However, in Florida specifically, our out of balance buck to doe ratio has a lot more to do with over protection of does than under protection of yearlings. 

    Some biologists say that the reason we need to over protect does in Florida is due to a lower fawn recruitment rate. But the reason we have a lower fawn recruitment rate is because we have too many does. The high number if does causes the rut to last for months and makes fawns easy for predators to pick off. 
    As I've indicated, the buck to doe ratio is like a see-saw.  Skewed sex ratio can be from too few bucks or too many does.  Which way you try to balance the ratio depends on what your population goal is.  In simple terms, if you want to stabilize or decrease populations, then you decrease the number of does (increase doe harvest) while keeping number of bucks similar.  If you want populations to increase, then you increase the number of bucks while keeping doe numbers similar.

    While FL does have a lower recruitment rate (# added to population) which would be influenced by increased fawn mortality due to extended ruts, the fawning rate (# of births) for FL is also lower which translates to lower reproductive potential.  The decreased fawning rate is primarily attributable to poor soil quality.  Sandy soils don't hold many nutrients as they leech through fairly quick.  This then leads to forage with lower nutritional quality.  If you look at far N & NW FL where there is a lot more clay in the soil which holds a lot more nutrients, you see a higher fawning rate as a result. Similarly you see a similar trend if you examine timber productivity indexes.
    North and Northwest Florida are two separate habitats. North Florida (the north peninsula) is extremely poor soil. Worse than south Florida. I know because I farm in it. There’s no clay in this soil except in pockets. This is nothing but sand. Southeast Georgia is a part of the same habitat belt. Yet the Georgia side has a higher fawn recruitment rate and lacks the staggered rut. The difference is they harvest a huge amount of does to the tune of 10 per hunter. 

    NW Florida, the west panhandle, yes that soil is superior to anywhere else in Florida except a belt in Marion county. By habitat that area really isn’t Florida, its Alabama.  
  • joelunchbucketjoelunchbucket Posts: 826 Officer
    If you have pockets of clay soils, your soils are not worse than SFL. SFL has muck and sand.  The muck is either flooded or farmed. 
  • WildManWildMan Posts: 302 Deckhand
    edited September 2021 #111
    WildMan said:
    mattb78 said:
    4WARD said:
    Wanting to have a better understanding of the science and the law does not mean I don't accept either one.
    4WARD, Looking at my last response the tone was a bit harsh. It wasn't meant in a negative way but reading it later I can see how it came across.

    Balancing the buck age structure (having more mature bucks in the herd) benefits the herd because more does are going to come into estrus at the same time in a given area. Mature bucks signpost and give off pheremones that contribute to triggering estrus in does.   When more does come into estrus in a tighter time window, more fawns are then born in a tighter time window.

    From a predation standpoint, if you have 20 fawns drop in a square mile in a week period, a coyote can only eat so many (they get full just like us and don't seek food after a big meal). But if you take this same group of fawns and spread the births out over 3 weeks instead of 1, that coyote is going to eat alot more fawns.  Its like if you sent 12 pizzas to my house at one time maybe I would eat 1 and leave 11, but send me one pizza a week and I will eat every single one.

    Arkansas is a great example. They implemented a hard 3 point rule (no exceptions for youth-no buck of choice like GA).  Consequently they have one of the most balanced buck age herd structures in the US. And their harvest data proves it. And what happened in Arkansas is over time they had to increase the doe harvest numbers because more and more fawns were surviving and their doe populations increased.


    I 100% agree with your point concerning out of balance buck to doe ratios, extended ruts, and predation. However, in Florida specifically, our out of balance buck to doe ratio has a lot more to do with over protection of does than under protection of yearlings. 

    Some biologists say that the reason we need to over protect does in Florida is due to a lower fawn recruitment rate. But the reason we have a lower fawn recruitment rate is because we have too many does. The high number if does causes the rut to last for months and makes fawns easy for predators to pick off. 
    As I've indicated, the buck to doe ratio is like a see-saw.  Skewed sex ratio can be from too few bucks or too many does.  Which way you try to balance the ratio depends on what your population goal is.  In simple terms, if you want to stabilize or decrease populations, then you decrease the number of does (increase doe harvest) while keeping number of bucks similar.  If you want populations to increase, then you increase the number of bucks while keeping doe numbers similar.

    While FL does have a lower recruitment rate (# added to population) which would be influenced by increased fawn mortality due to extended ruts, the fawning rate (# of births) for FL is also lower which translates to lower reproductive potential.  The decreased fawning rate is primarily attributable to poor soil quality.  Sandy soils don't hold many nutrients as they leech through fairly quick.  This then leads to forage with lower nutritional quality.  If you look at far N & NW FL where there is a lot more clay in the soil which holds a lot more nutrients, you see a higher fawning rate as a result. Similarly you see a similar trend if you examine timber productivity indexes.
    North and Northwest Florida are two separate habitats. North Florida (the north peninsula) is extremely poor soil. Worse than south Florida. I know because I farm in it. There’s no clay in this soil except in pockets. This is nothing but sand. Southeast Georgia is a part of the same habitat belt. Yet the Georgia side has a higher fawn recruitment rate and lacks the staggered rut. The difference is they harvest a huge amount of does to the tune of 10 per hunter. 

    NW Florida, the west panhandle, yes that soil is superior to anywhere else in Florida except a belt in Marion county. By habitat that area really isn’t Florida, its Alabama.  
    I should have mentioned that my reference to higher quality soils in N FL was primarily referring to Gadsden, Leon, Jefferson, and Madison Co. (north of I10).  Much of this area is referred to as the Red Hills (reference to the high amount of red clay).  Once you get E of Madison, then soil quality decreases as you begin to transition into more flatwoods.  Some data also suggests even in areas of low quality soils, productivity can differ between areas based on certain trace minerals.

    Would be curious to see the fawn recruitment data between N FL and S GA, as well as the fawning rate.  I suspect there are a lot of factors besides just fawn recruitment that allow the more liberal doe harvest in S GA, compared to N FL (e.g., past deer mgmt/regulations, illegal kill, amount of crop depredation harvest, etc.).  I also suspect there are different management goals between the two as well.

    I do agree the more balanced buck:doe ratio resulting from more liberal doe harvest will narrow the rut which helps to decrease predation and thus increase recruitment.  However, the question is whether you want to better balance the sex ratio in N FL through increased doe harvest (stabilize/decrease overall population) or by increasing the number of bucks (reduce buck harvest; could be through decreased bag limit, protection of certain age classes, or other means) which allows for further population increase. 
  • WildManWildMan Posts: 302 Deckhand
    Wildman, could you share what you would consider to be a low/good/high fawn recruitment rate?

    This is somewhat hard to define as there are a lot of factors involved and it would differ from area to area.  If I was to put numbers on fawn recruitment as a whole, I would guesstimate <0.6 = Low, 0.6 - 1.2 = Good, and >1.2 = High.

    Note that recruitment reflects a combination of pregnancy rate, # fetuses per doe, number of fawns actually born and fawn survival.  When talking soil quality and the difference between FL and other states, you need to look at the number of fawns born.  Most of the data from FL I have seen is from doe collections looking at number of fetuses so wouldn't necessarily reflect # of fawns born, as you will have some still births and possible reabsorption of a fetus due to very poor condition of the doe so numbers born would be somewhat less.  Data I have seen from FL indicates about 90% of adult does are pregnant which is similar to other states.  The primary difference is the number of fetuses per doe, which in FL is about 1.15 and many other states you see numbers closer to 2 or even above. This basically indicates most does in FL only have a single fawn, whereas in states with better soils you see a majority having twins and even triplets. So when you factor in fawn deaths as a result of predation, natural causes, etc., recruitment will be quite a bit less than these numbers.  As you can see, given FL has a low number of fawns to begin with, you would need to be more conservative with doe harvest than other states to allow for enough fawns to allow for population growth or even a stable population.
  • OGBOHICAOGBOHICA floridaPosts: 708 Officer
    Wildman, could you share what you would consider to be a low/good/high fawn recruitment rate?

    Im still waiting to hear the answer to what nature intended 
  • mattb78mattb78 Posts: 279 Deckhand
    But the reason we have a lower fawn recruitment rate is because we have too many does. The high number if does causes the rut to last for months and makes fawns easy for predators to pick off. 
    I respectfully disagree because you cannot say you have "too many does" when the land is not at or near carrying capacity.  If Florida has room for say 30% more deer then we don't have too many does, we just have a skewed sex ratio that we need to work on.  And you don't do this by increasing doe harvest, because yes your ratio improves, but then you just have less deer period which is not good management.

    Georgia has 2x (close to 1.3 million) the number of deer Florida has... they aren't managing to increase population, they are at carrying capacity and hence you see a higher doe harvest.  Florida is not there yet.

  • WildManWildMan Posts: 302 Deckhand
    OGBOHICA said:
    OGBOHICA said:
    What's mother nature's intentions?

    No answer I guess..

     FWC biologists need to listen to us. ... correct. I mean ALL the changes are currently do to the waaa waa nation and not some scientific data from MYFWCC so you are right!
    While I somewhat understand what mattb78 was referring to with APRs resulting in a more balanced sex ratio & buck age structure being "mother nature's intention," I would offer some other food for thought.  "Nature's intention" would involve natural selection whereby the fittest individuals survive to pass on their genes. This would ultimately increase the overall fitness of the herd over time.  However, if we assume antler size (e.g., # points, beam length) is an indicator of buck fitness, then APRs could potentially go against that, whereby harvest is targeted at those younger bucks with larger antlers.  Contrary to that, natures intention would be that those bucks survive to pass on their genes. This is somewhat similar to the term "high grading" in forestry whereby you take out the best trees and leave the inferior trees. However, I will admit that the APRs do get you closer to nature's intention than the past regulations did.  In all honesty it would be difficult to manage a deer population to "natures intention" with hunter harvest, except through very intense management and highly stringent regulations, which would never be possible on a statewide or regional scale.

    Now to BOHICA's last comment.  In reference to the "FWC Biologists need to listen to us..." I guess it depends on who "us" is referring to and are they the majority?  If they in fact make up the majority and what they want is biologically sustainable, then yes they should listen.  Also, as I mentioned before, there is not necessarily a singular way to manage a deer herd based on data alone.  It largely depends on what the goal is, which is mostly based on what the majority of hunters want (and the public, given wildlife are owned by the people).  Then you use available data to determine how best to accomplish that goal.  From my experience, most hunters feel that their beliefs reflect the majority opinion regardless of what any hunter survey data says.  Also, hunters tend to want various things that may be conflicting (e.g., want more liberal doe harvest, but then want more deer; are happy with current seasons but then want to see more bucks and harvest larger bucks which would require regulation changes; etc.).  
  • altuckaltuck TallahasseePosts: 830 Officer
    Back when FWC started the DMU meetings, we were told that this would lead to more localized planning, rules, regulations etc. based on different conditions in DMU's. I don't think we have gotten there yet.

    Also, as I was told frequently, FWC does not propose regulation changes unless they have over 50 percent of public support. I do think however that some "public support voices" are listened to more than others. 
  • WildManWildMan Posts: 302 Deckhand
    altuck said:
    Back when FWC started the DMU meetings, we were told that this would lead to more localized planning, rules, regulations etc. based on different conditions in DMU's. I don't think we have gotten there yet.

    Also, as I was told frequently, FWC does not propose regulation changes unless they have over 50 percent of public support. I do think however that some "public support voices" are listened to more than others. 
    Would be curious to know what the current status of DMU specific planning is.  Seems with the harvest reporting there should be some data now to help inform changes at the DMU level, but then what do I know...

    From what I've seen, it seems FWC staff tend not to propose any regulations unless there is majority support. However, FWC Commissioners who have to approve those proposals are also influenced by those that show up and speak at the Commission meetings (more so by those individuals/groups that routinely show up and build a relationship with the Commissioners).  
  • WildManWildMan Posts: 302 Deckhand
    edited September 2021 #118
    OGBOHICA said:
    Wildman, could you share what you would consider to be a low/good/high fawn recruitment rate?

    Im still waiting to hear the answer to what nature intended 
    Not exactly sure what mattb78's thoughts were, but Ill throw my $0.02 in...

    I'm not sure "nature's intention" is the correct wording, but more so what would deer populations look like if you mostly removed man's influence.  I already mentioned natural selection above, which would have a much different influence on population structure than hunter harvest.  Population levels would be controlled by predation, disease, and food availability, rather than by hunters.  You would see much larger fluctuations in population levels, given as deer populations increase, food availability would decrease, disease would increase, and predator populations would increase given more prey. Ultimately populations would exceed carrying capacity and then you would see a significant decline from starvation, predation, and/or disease outbreaks.  When deer populations decline then food will increase again, disease will decrease, and predator numbers will decline due to less prey.  This cycle will keep repeating.... 

    All these factors would result in different population dynamics and herd structure from what we see today.  All of this to say, it is impossible to go back to this, but you can make season adjustments to better balance sex ratios, age structure, food availability/quality, etc. to be more similar to how they would have been naturally. 
  • altuckaltuck TallahasseePosts: 830 Officer
    Totally agree Wildman, although I do not think the biologist feel like  two years of reporting sets a trend.
    They do tend to be on the conservative side.

    But you are right. Go meetings, go to meetings, go to meetings.
  • joelunchbucketjoelunchbucket Posts: 826 Officer
    OGBOHICA said:
    Wildman, could you share what you would consider to be a low/good/high fawn recruitment rate?

    Im still waiting to hear the answer to what nature intended 
    Why?

    Nature intends for different rates , depending on the habitat. Nobody can answer your question for a state or even a county. 

    Your question isn’t a very good one, short of someone actually seeing the site that you’re asking about. 
  • joelunchbucketjoelunchbucket Posts: 826 Officer

    Wildman, I’m sure you’re already familiar with this, but recruitment is measured as the number of fawns that make it into the fall population (the number of fawns per 100 adult does as measured right before the start of hunting season is a common way yo look at it).

    Conception rate, fetuses per pregnant doe, and birth rate all influence the number of fawns born. From there, an estimate of fawn survival will get you to actual fawn recruitment.

    Having 90% conception and 1.15 fetuses per pregnant doe = an average of just over one fetus produced per doe. Almost all of these will be carried to term. If you had an average of one fawn born for every 1.5+ yr old doe and about 50% fawn survival into the fall, you would end up with about 50 fawns produced per 100 does.

    Would you consider 50 fawns produced per 100 adult does to be a low, average, or good recruitment rate?
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