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#5443951 - 11/26/14 06:47 AM More on spikes and AR's
Texas Dan Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 07/28/08
Posts: 11241
As a strong supporter of Antler Restrictions in East Texas, I've seen for myself, and noticed the many photos shared here, of the great deer that are being taken in the region. However, I also share the concern of those who say the restrictions are creating what I have been calling "antelope bucks". These are 3-1/2 and older bucks with tall, narrow racks that cannot be taken because they don't meet the 13-inch minimum. As I understand it, the concern is that we are high-grading the herd by taking out the wide-racked bucks while being forced to allow these antelope bucks to survive and continue breeding.

If you speak with a TPWD biologist about the issue, you'll probably be told that you've got to take these deer as spikes, before they get two forked antlers and fall under the protection of the AR's. However, most of those who have been following the AR discussions around here know how this is an issue of debate. And I myself, being one of those who once had trouble pulling the trigger on doe, have been reluctant to shoot spikes. However, after seeing more bucks during this season than ever before, I've become stronger in my agreement with the biologist and decided to take my first spike since the AR's were started many years ago.

Having seen an equal size six with perfect symmetry the day before, I took this buck yesterday evening on the basis that his lagging rack had the appearance of being one of those future antelope-racked bucks. And IMO, if you look at his antlers closely, you can see how the antlers, even though they are small, carry the same "height over width" appearance of the older bucks that so many complain about now being able to harvest.

So until I see or hear of evidence that says otherwise, I'm going to continue following the guidance of the TPWD and take spikes like this one every season, while seeing the progress of the better 2-1/2 and 3-1/2 bucks the AR's were designed to protect.

BTW - For those interested, it was a high shoulder shot with my Winchester Model 70, 25-06 that evidently shocked the spine on impact and cratered him at about 75 yards. It was the second buck that I've taken with it using plain old vanilla Remington CoreLokt, 120 grain bullets. A photo of that buck is also shown below.



Photo of the first buck taken with my Winchester 25-06, a round that has impressed me to say the least.

_________________________
Dan,

Spring, Texas

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#5444098 - 11/26/14 08:10 AM Re: More on spikes and AR's [Re: Texas Dan]
Jimbo Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 4410
Loc: The last LF ranch in S. Texas
Congrats on a couple of nice deer! up

I know where this thread is going, so I will say that I'm a firm believer in AR's.
I've hunted before AR's and most hunters during that time would hardly ever pass on a buck as long as it had horns, and most of the deer barely had a chance to reach 3 1/2 years old.
Now I pass up shooter bucks, those that are several inches wider than 13" and I've become more selective.
AR's if allowed to work change a mindset to "I'm holding off and passing on this deer because I know there is something better!" So if you believe it's about the horns, then you would be right if looking at it like that.
I shoot spikes and don't blink an eye! Every year we see at least three or four and a lot of bucks their same size that have forked horns and multiple points. I've seen maybe three bucks this year with tall narrow racks but they were young deer in the 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 year old range.
I've seen on buck in the last five years that was a swayed back pot bellied, larger than the average buck that had a borderline heavy, high, narrow rack and I let him walk.
Yes, they need to tweak the regs, maybe dropping AR's all together for at least two seasons in some of those longer running AR counties to weed out those narrow racks and then go back to AR's for three of four years and alternate.
AR's have proven to me that they work, but TPWD only got it half right, and a better job needs to be done to regulate their use in my opinion.


Edited by Jimbo (11/26/14 08:31 AM)

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#5444148 - 11/26/14 08:42 AM Re: More on spikes and AR's [Re: Texas Dan]
bossbowman Offline
Tracker

Registered: 12/24/06
Posts: 626
Loc: Hill county
They definitely work, is it perfect no, but its so much better than what we had in our one buck counties pre 2002, 2006, 2009.


Edited by bossbowman (11/26/14 08:44 AM)

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#5444268 - 11/26/14 09:42 AM Re: More on spikes and AR's [Re: Texas Dan]
dogcatcher Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 07/17/06
Posts: 77377
Loc: Abilene or on the road...
AR creates more animosity between hunters and supports the trophy hunters. Trophy hunting will eventually price a lot of hunters out of hunting.
_________________________
Combat Infantryman, the ultimate hunter where the prey shoots back.
"Illegitimus non carborundum est"

_______ Old style calls for today's outdoorsman_________

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#5444277 - 11/26/14 09:48 AM Re: More on spikes and AR's [Re: Texas Dan]
BOBO the Clown Online   content
decoy

Registered: 04/19/07
Posts: 41086
Loc: Metroplex
Congrats on the deer

But you shouldn't need justification to kill a deer you want. You sure that 9pt/bump 10 wasn't a spike at 1.5? Nor can you predict a bucks spread from 1.5 years old to what he will be at 6.5

Regardless congrats on filling your tags

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#5444322 - 11/26/14 10:15 AM Re: More on spikes and AR's [Re: Texas Dan]
ryorgensen Offline
Tracker

Registered: 09/29/12
Posts: 980
Loc: Grapeland,Texas
Good job on some nice bucks, love those split brows! I'm surprised that he didn't tell you that studies have shown most Spikes are just running behind horn wise because they were born late the previous yr .I've seen 250 in breeder buck that was a spike@1.
Just putting info out there......
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Robert

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#5444382 - 11/26/14 10:55 AM Re: More on spikes and AR's [Re: ryorgensen]
Texas Dan Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 07/28/08
Posts: 11241
Originally Posted By: ryorgensen
Good job on some nice bucks, love those split brows! I'm surprised that he didn't tell you that studies have shown most Spikes are just running behind horn wise because they were born late the previous yr .I've seen 250 in breeder buck that was a spike@1.
Just putting info out there......


That would have been my opinion years ago before AR's taught us how some bucks just grow up to develop narrow racks. Some might say, "So what's the problem with older bucks with narrow racks?" Nothing, unless you're high grading the herd so that it becomes the majority of the bucks you find running through the woods.

Of course, there are those who take the position that AR's will never alter the appearance of a free-ranging herd no matter how hard you try. IMO, the jury is still out on that one.

In the meantime, I'll just continue to address the increased sightings of antelope bucks by taking the spikes the TP WD recommends and encourage others to do the same.
_________________________
Dan,

Spring, Texas

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#5444398 - 11/26/14 11:04 AM Re: More on spikes and AR's [Re: BOBO the Clown]
Texas Dan Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 07/28/08
Posts: 11241
Originally Posted By: BOBO the Clown
Congrats on the deer

But you shouldn't need justification to kill a deer you want. You sure that 9pt/bump 10 wasn't a spike at 1.5? Nor can you predict a bucks spread from 1.5 years old to what he will be at 6.5

Regardless congrats on filling your tags


I've been giving that one some thought as well and begin to see evidence that the pedicles of deer are set at birth to grow antlers at a specific angle or form that doesn't change throughout its life. With each set of antlers, this form becomes more apparent.

Simply put, perhaps it is the direction of the pedicles that determines if a buck will develop narrow or wide racks as he ages.
_________________________
Dan,

Spring, Texas

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#5444400 - 11/26/14 11:04 AM Re: More on spikes and AR's [Re: ryorgensen]
stxranchman Offline
Obie Juan Kenobi

Registered: 08/04/10
Posts: 52092
Originally Posted By: ryorgensen
Good job on some nice bucks, love those split brows! I'm surprised that he didn't tell you that studies have shown most Spikes are just running behind horn wise because they were born late the previous yr .I've seen 250 in breeder buck that was a spike@1.
Just putting info out there......

I have seen spikes that were born in late April and all the way into July on the same ranch. When he was born has nothing to do with his genetics. Comparing wild deer to pen deer is not what most people are dealing with on their land. You could not give me a buck from a deer pen that was a spike as a fawn or was sired by a buck that was a spike as a yearling.
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#5444420 - 11/26/14 11:12 AM Re: More on spikes and AR's [Re: Texas Dan]
Texas Dan Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 07/28/08
Posts: 11241
I could be wrong, but something tells me you will never see a tall-racked 3-1/2 with a 12-inch spread, become an 18-inch buck the following season.

Did I mention how much I like shooting a 25-06?
_________________________
Dan,

Spring, Texas

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#5444446 - 11/26/14 11:25 AM Re: More on spikes and AR's [Re: Texas Dan]
BowSlayer Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 2465
Loc: Right behind you
I agree that ARs force people to high-grade but there is no way to know how wide a yearling spike's rack will be in the future. Kill them all or let them all walk, I don't care either way. But to say you are being proactive by killing yearling spikes doesn't make much sense to me. I have seen LOTS of yearling spikes grow up over the years on my properties and can't think of any that didn't eventually get wider than 13". Then again I have seen some yearling 4 and 6 points that never broke 13" at maturity. Like I said, makes me no difference what you do, just enjoy yourself. On most of my properties I have the luxury of letting them grow up and killing them regardless of antler width if I want to. MLD is a management plan.... AR is not. If ARs were a viable management strategy all the game ranches would be using them. No ranch that manages game allows hunters to kill or not kill a deer based on the width of his antlers alone. It's counter-productive.

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#5444455 - 11/26/14 11:31 AM Re: More on spikes and AR's [Re: BowSlayer]
Texas Dan Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 07/28/08
Posts: 11241
Originally Posted By: BowSlayer
I agree that ARs force people to high-grade but there is no way to know how wide a yearling spike's rack will be in the future. Kill them all or let them all walk, I don't care either way. But to say you are being proactive by killing yearling spikes doesn't make much sense to me. I have seen LOTS of yearling spikes grow up over the years on my properties and can't think of any that didn't eventually get wider than 13". Then again I have seen some yearling 4 and 6 points that never broke 13" at maturity. Like I said, makes me no difference what you do, just enjoy yourself. On most of my properties I have the luxury of letting them grow up and killing them regardless of antler width if I want to. MLD is a management plan.... AR is not. If ARs were a viable management strategy all the game ranches would be using them. No ranch that manages game allows hunters to kill or not kill a deer based on the width of his antlers alone. It's counter-productive.


It's the relative observations that got me to drink the TPWD cool aid. Again, the day before taking this spike, I watched a six point of the same size with its symmetrical rack and 10 or 11-inch spread. So when the spike showed up and appeared to be the same age, I took him and notched it on my license.
_________________________
Dan,

Spring, Texas

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#5444460 - 11/26/14 11:35 AM Re: More on spikes and AR's [Re: Texas Dan]
BowSlayer Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 2465
Loc: Right behind you
Originally Posted By: Texas Dan
Originally Posted By: BowSlayer
I agree that ARs force people to high-grade but there is no way to know how wide a yearling spike's rack will be in the future. Kill them all or let them all walk, I don't care either way. But to say you are being proactive by killing yearling spikes doesn't make much sense to me. I have seen LOTS of yearling spikes grow up over the years on my properties and can't think of any that didn't eventually get wider than 13". Then again I have seen some yearling 4 and 6 points that never broke 13" at maturity. Like I said, makes me no difference what you do, just enjoy yourself. On most of my properties I have the luxury of letting them grow up and killing them regardless of antler width if I want to. MLD is a management plan.... AR is not. If ARs were a viable management strategy all the game ranches would be using them. No ranch that manages game allows hunters to kill or not kill a deer based on the width of his antlers alone. It's counter-productive.


It's the relative observations that got me to drink the TPWD cool aid. Again, the day before taking this spike, I watched a six point of the same size with its symmetrical rack and 10 or 11-inch spread. So when the spike showed up and appeared to be the same age, I took him and notched it on my license.


I was not saying you should not have shot him. Like I said, it makes me no difference if you shoot every yearling spike you see. I just said that shooting yearling spikes because you don't want narrow racked mature bucks is counter-productive. When the 6 point you saw reaches 4 years old he might be 140". The spike you killed could reach 140" but it would likely take him to age 5 to get there. As long as you are enjoying yourself that's all that matters anyway..

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#5444508 - 11/26/14 12:18 PM Re: More on spikes and AR's [Re: BowSlayer]
bossbowman Offline
Tracker

Registered: 12/24/06
Posts: 626
Loc: Hill county
Originally Posted By: BowSlayer
As long as you are enjoying yourself that's all that matters anyway..
I enjoy seeing more deer and more bucks in particular. The AR's have definitely produced that by protecting a portion of the buck population to make it to the next season. I would much rather watch deer I can't legally shoot rather than SEE NOTHING AT ALL, and thats how it was before the rules, I remember some brutal years were I saw only 2 or 3 bucks all season... and that because everyone shot the first antlered deer they saw because if you didn't the guy next door would... it was counter productive.

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#5444571 - 11/26/14 01:06 PM Re: More on spikes and AR's [Re: Texas Dan]
603Country Online   content
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 07/03/12
Posts: 4868
Loc: Central Texas
From decades of hunting the same ground back in Louisiana, I absolutely and positively believe that antler size and shape comes from the parent buck. Not shooting that nice 10 point some years back, on my Texas place, has already paid dividends. Kill the coll bucks and get them out of the local gene pool or they will breed more poor racks.

I have seen several nice bucks that are young clones of the buck I didn't shoot. I can see it in the shape of the racks. Just yesterday my wife and I were watching a nice buck, and the wife said "we have a lot of nice racked bucks now". I can tell you it wasn't that way when we bought this place 11 years ago.

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