texashuntingforum.com logo
Main Menu
Advertisement
Affiliates
Advertisement
Newest Members
cedarcove, Corb2005, BullseyeSS, Misty97, Doneit
66342 Registered Users
Top Posters(All Time)
dogcatcher 97,294
bill oxner 63,211
stxranchman 55,458
SnakeWrangler 50,554
RKHarm24 44,585
rifleman 44,446
BMD 41,033
Big Orn 37,484
Facebook
Forum Statistics
Forums45
Topics447,414
Posts6,491,281
Members66,342
Most Online19,184
Feb 5th, 2020
Print Thread
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3
Antler Restriction Ponderings #7687135 12/12/19 07:41 PM
Joined: Aug 2016
Posts: 1,435
D
Dalroo Online Content OP
Pro Tracker
OP Online Content
Pro Tracker
D
Joined: Aug 2016
Posts: 1,435
As I was sitting in the stand watching rutting bucks last weekend, I was thinking about the AR rules, and curious if others might share their experiences/thoughts.

1) We have a lot of bucks that are close, but I tend to err on the side of caution, and went several years without shooting at a buck for this reason. Outside the ears is a good indicator of being legal, but how "true" is it? Any other rules of thumb others here use to gauge inside spread? Especially in low light situations?

2) Say you see a buck that you gauge to be legal and shoot, only to find once it is down that it is just shy of 13" - maybe 12 3/4, 7/8, etc. What should you do? Or better yet, what would you do?

3) Say you shoot a "just shy of legal" buck in an AR County. Any latitude from TP&W? Seems like there should be, but also see how they can't make exceptions for some and not others. Curious if anyone here has ever had that conversation with a warden?

4) I passed on a very mature 8 point a week ago. Big bodied deer, roman nose, and lots of mass on his antlers, but not an especially tall rack and not outside ears. When I was glassing him, based on his body and antler mass, I was close to shooting, but really think he might have been sub-13" To me, at that age, he had pretty much maxed out on just how wide his antlers will ever grow, and may never be legal. Am I wrong?

5) Conversely, neighbor shot a much younger 8 pt with very little mass, but it measured 14" inside and given another few years, I think it would have grown into a very nice buck. Not faulting him for shooting, just pointing out that the small 8 pt he shot would have ultimately become a better breeder in the herd than the mature 8 pt I passed. Am I wrong?

Not trying to debate the law, I understand why it is needed, but would appreciate other's opinion and experiences.


Dalroo
Deep in the Heart of Texas
Moslah Shrine Temple - 2B1 ASK1
Re: Antler Restriction Ponderings [Re: Dalroo] #7687151 12/12/19 08:01 PM
Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 3,689
U
unclebubba Online Content
Extreme Tracker
Online Content
Extreme Tracker
U
Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 3,689
1. you have to remember that the rule of thumb is outside the ears when in an alert posture. So, if the deer is relaxed, then outside the ears may actually be 15 or 16 inches. Also, a large bodied Buck may have bigger ears than a smaller Buck. I think a lot of mature Bucks that some people pass on are well past the 13" rule, but people are afraid to shoot and break that law.
2. I have not had that issue pop up yet. If it did, I probably would not go report myself, much like I would not go report myself for running a red light.
3. If it were truly a mature buck, I would hop that there would be some latitude. If not, I would argue it in court for sure.
4. refer to answer 1. Are you sure he wasn't legal?
5. Yep, this is part of what is wrong with ARs. But how else would we be able to get more bucks growing older before getting shot? Just saying you can't shoot a buck until it is 3.5 or 4.5 years old would be unenforceable.


Originally Posted by txhuntingguide
If I choose to hunt in a coon tail hat, a pink tootoo and hip waders that is my fine...
Re: Antler Restriction Ponderings [Re: Dalroo] #7687174 12/12/19 08:41 PM
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 11,454
Q
QuitShootinYoungBucks Online Content
THF Celebrity
Online Content
THF Celebrity
Q
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 11,454
1. On most older bucks, ear wide is wider than legal and sometimes by a good margin. There are some bucks out there that are 15" between the ears. I would think it is almost always true. The question becomes 'how good a look do you have, and where do you think 'outside' is? When in doubt, let 'em walk. I've seen a lot of ground shrinkage on deer killed right at the end of legal light.

2. I try to target mature bucks. In 40 years I have never seen one at our place in Mills County that wasn't at least 13" wide. IMO the law is not trying to protect antler size so much as it is age. If I shot a 5.5+yr old buck that was 12 1/2" wide I'm going to tag him and mark the 13" box on my license. At the point I encounter the warden we can have a conversation about it. However, we have a lot of deer and it would have to be both mature and pretty spectacular in points and mass for me to say 'He's either legal or close enough' and pull the trigger.

3. It's going to depend on the age of the deer and the mood of the warden but I think there would be some latitude, such as driving 78 in a 75 with DPS. I have not had that discussion with a warden, though. I suspect there are a lot of wardens with a black/white attitude, and some with a gray attitude. Judges too, you may get some leniency there that the officer didn't give.

4. I've seen some bucks add 1-2" in width in a given year; I've also seen them lose that much. It's hard to say if your buck would add or not. Given that age and description I wouldn't bet on it, but if he's 12.25" now he could easily be 13.125 next year.

5. I have no problem with a person shooting a legal deer that they are happy with. I will applaud the harvest, help load him, take a picture, and be happy for the hunter. However, it grinds my gears when someone shoots a young buck like that and then talks out the other side of their mouth about 'We don't have any big bucks where I hunt'. Yeah, and you never will if you keep killing immature deer.


[Linked Image]

https://web.archive.org/web/20170223065011/http:/www.rrdvegas.com/silencer-cleaning.html
Re: Antler Restriction Ponderings [Re: Dalroo] #7687221 12/12/19 09:36 PM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 32,946
R
redchevy Online Content
THF Celebrity
Online Content
THF Celebrity
R
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 32,946
I enjoy running trail cams and believe they can help you prepare for making AR decisions. If I was in an AR county I would hang a ruler/yardstick etc. on my feeder leg, feed pen fence etc. for reference in judging deer pre season and it would help recognize deer on the run etc.

I would try and get a good idea of the ear tip spread in the area.

If I shot one that was under, I wouldn't be happy about it, but I don't turn myself in when my speedometer creeps up to 85 mph or when I roll through a stop sign either. We home process our deer from start to finish.

If I was to get checked id fess up to it and be at the wardens mercy.


It's hell eatin em live
Re: Antler Restriction Ponderings [Re: Dalroo] #7687264 12/12/19 10:31 PM
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 2,000
F
flintknapper Offline
Veteran Tracker
Offline
Veteran Tracker
F
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 2,000
Since the TPWD handbook recommends using the 'Alert Ears' method to help determine inside spread...any Warden/Judge/JP should be willing to consider all aspects of the situation.

Of course, the wording leaves 'wiggle room' for the prosecution ...since the 'Alert Ears' method is presented only as a 'guide' and not the 'standard'.

We can only hope that most Wardens would exercise their discretion in cases where the inside spread is very close. But I can say with every confidence... IF it goes to court...a Judge/JP is going to side with LEO nearly every time.

From the TPWD handbook:
Quote
[b]Determining Inside Spread[/b]
To determine if a buck has an inside spread measurement of at least 13 inches, look at the distance from ear-tip to ear-tip on a buck with ears in the "alert" position.
The distance from the tip of one ear to the tip of the other ear, when the ears are in the “alert” position may be used as a guide to help estimate the inside spread. If the inside spread extends past the ears, it is likely to be at least 13 inches.



[Linked Image]

Attached Files AR1.jpg
Last edited by flintknapper; 12/12/19 10:34 PM.

Spartans ask not...how many, but where!
Re: Antler Restriction Ponderings [Re: Dalroo] #7687272 12/12/19 10:46 PM
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 1,725
R
RattlesnakeDan Online Content
Pro Tracker
Online Content
Pro Tracker
R
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 1,725
Pelosi would tell you that you have to shoot it in order to see how wide it is.


Just like Jesus, sometimes you gotta kill some hogs.
Custom Mesquite Wood Work
RattleSnake Dan's Shredding Service
Re: Antler Restriction Ponderings [Re: Dalroo] #7687274 12/12/19 10:48 PM
Joined: Jan 2019
Posts: 56
N
NOCOOLNAMETOO Offline
Outdoorsman
Offline
Outdoorsman
N
Joined: Jan 2019
Posts: 56
I have a friend that grew up in Lufkin & moved back about 12 years ago. He will tell you the AR have made a change for the positive for the most part. There are some flat out hosses coming out of east Texas the past few years.Think the brown it's down mentality is slowly losing speed.. I imagine there is more than few older deer pushing 13" taken every year but its nice to see them getting some age on them.

Re: Antler Restriction Ponderings [Re: Dalroo] #7687565 12/13/19 06:28 AM
Joined: Sep 2018
Posts: 331
O
Old Shakie Online Content
Bird Dog
Online Content
Bird Dog
O
Joined: Sep 2018
Posts: 331
IMHO I would recommend "If in doubt...... let him walk. There is good chance he will be bigger next year.

Also, I truly believe in " ground shrinkage " .....how many of us have seen horns , get excited, take the shot and when we get to it it is not the monster we thought?

My general opinion of AR is that is a good thing. I have owned my place 39 years and before AR I seldom saw bucks 13+. Since this county has become AR I started seeing bigger and more bucks. They seem to get bigger every year. This year I have seen 4 nice bucks. Also seeing lots of border line bucks. I have reached a point in life where I won't be shooting anything unless it is a personal best or close.



Last edited by Old Shakie; 12/13/19 06:28 AM.
Re: Antler Restriction Ponderings [Re: Dalroo] #7687671 12/13/19 01:40 PM
Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 16,367
T
Texas Dan Online Content
THF Celebrity
Online Content
THF Celebrity
T
Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 16,367
They're not perfect (but what is) but have definitely increased hunter opportunities for taking nicer bucks.


Dan

Re: Antler Restriction Ponderings [Re: RattlesnakeDan] #7687687 12/13/19 01:59 PM
Joined: Aug 2016
Posts: 1,214
T
TKandMike Online Content
Pro Tracker
Online Content
Pro Tracker
T
Joined: Aug 2016
Posts: 1,214
Originally Posted by RattlesnakeDan
Pelosi would tell you that you have to shoot it in order to see how wide it is.

hah

Re: Antler Restriction Ponderings [Re: Dalroo] #7687847 12/13/19 03:49 PM
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 125
L
lzybear75 Offline
Woodsman
Offline
Woodsman
L
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 125
While i understand the 13+ rule and the thought behind it in letting the buck mature. What gets me is the spike tag. My preference would be instead of 2 buck tags only have 1 tag to use on any deer i choose to tag.

Re: Antler Restriction Ponderings [Re: Dalroo] #7687881 12/13/19 04:21 PM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 5,799
J
Jimbo Online Content
THF Trophy Hunter
Online Content
THF Trophy Hunter
J
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 5,799
I've hunted AR counties for several years, probably over 10 yrs to be exact and I've seen that where I hunted they work in increasing the number of deer and a bonus of allowing bucks to get some age on them rather than having their productive years cut short.
There are three camps on this.
The first are those that have gotten on a lease for a year or two, and feel that AR's are unfair and that they have spent good money to hunt and shoot the deer they feel entitled to shoot, and go to wringing their hands on possibly passing on a buck they felt would have, or would have not made it, and missing "their" chance at filling a tag.
Then you have those who swear AR's have not helped and have caused many narrow racked bucks to breed and pass on their narrow buck trait.
Those that feel that way should apply for MLD tags and AR's are only part of their problems with their deer herd.
Others, me included, have seen the long term effect AR's have had, and the positive results over a long period of time.
There are those who will never be convinced and they can make good arguments to back up their case, but I can only speak for myself, and I say AR's are not the cure all, and more thought of where and how AR's are applied, and with more flexibility by TPWD would go a long way to improve the concept.
I for one don't think TPWD wants to change anything, and I'm sure they don't want to open that can of worms.

Re: Antler Restriction Ponderings [Re: lzybear75] #7687884 12/13/19 04:29 PM
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 11,454
Q
QuitShootinYoungBucks Online Content
THF Celebrity
Online Content
THF Celebrity
Q
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 11,454
Originally Posted by lzybear75
While i understand the 13+ rule and the thought behind it in letting the buck mature. What gets me is the spike tag. My preference would be instead of 2 buck tags only have 1 tag to use on any deer i choose to tag.


You'd see a lot of people going back to shooting young bucks if that was the case. Yes, they'd only be able to shoot one, but I bet there are some people out there now that aren't getting a buck every year because they're too lazy to hunt enough to kill a 13" deer. We're slowly getting over 'it's brown, it's down' and 'gotta get a buck'. 1 any-deer tag would take us right back there.


[Linked Image]

https://web.archive.org/web/20170223065011/http:/www.rrdvegas.com/silencer-cleaning.html
Re: Antler Restriction Ponderings [Re: Dalroo] #7687942 12/13/19 05:35 PM
Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 16,367
T
Texas Dan Online Content
THF Celebrity
Online Content
THF Celebrity
T
Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 16,367
The fact that some deer will never develop a wide rack has been the biggest learning point for me. Saw a buck once a hunter shot that fell 1/2 inch below the minimum. He shot it because he couldn't believe a buck that big and with so much mass in its antlers could not make the 13-inch minimum. I saw the buck myself and the diameter of the antlers at their bases must have close to two inches.


Dan

Re: Antler Restriction Ponderings [Re: Texas Dan] #7688042 12/13/19 07:50 PM
Joined: Aug 2016
Posts: 1,435
D
Dalroo Online Content OP
Pro Tracker
OP Online Content
Pro Tracker
D
Joined: Aug 2016
Posts: 1,435
Originally Posted by Texas Dan
The fact that some deer will never develop a wide rack has been the biggest learning point for me. Saw a buck once a hunter shot that fell 1/2 inch below the minimum. He shot it because he couldn't believe a buck that big and with so much mass in its antlers could not make the 13-inch minimum. I saw the buck myself and the diameter of the antlers at their bases must have close to two inches.


That was my point in the original comment about the buck I passed. He had very good mass at the bases, but just just not much length or width. I may have been pleasantly surprised, but feel confident he would have been shy of legal. Either way, someone else may get a shot and take it or maybe he grows just a bit wider between now and next season. Not in a hurry on my end, and more about the hunt than the shot.


Dalroo
Deep in the Heart of Texas
Moslah Shrine Temple - 2B1 ASK1
Re: Antler Restriction Ponderings [Re: Dalroo] #7688057 12/13/19 08:09 PM
Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 16,367
T
Texas Dan Online Content
THF Celebrity
Online Content
THF Celebrity
T
Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 16,367
Originally Posted by Dalroo
Originally Posted by Texas Dan
The fact that some deer will never develop a wide rack has been the biggest learning point for me. Saw a buck once a hunter shot that fell 1/2 inch below the minimum. He shot it because he couldn't believe a buck that big and with so much mass in its antlers could not make the 13-inch minimum. I saw the buck myself and the diameter of the antlers at their bases must have close to two inches.


That was my point in the original comment about the buck I passed. He had very good mass at the bases, but just just not much length or width. I may have been pleasantly surprised, but feel confident he would have been shy of legal. Either way, someone else may get a shot and take it or maybe he grows just a bit wider between now and next season. Not in a hurry on my end, and more about the hunt than the shot.


The "spirit" of the AR's has always been to allow the bucks with good potential to live at least to their third year. Unfortunately, the TPWD hasn't found a way that allows hunters to take bucks that have reached that age without having to judge the width of their rack.

As it stands now, a hunter who takes a buck that has reached that age or older but has rack that's less than 13-inches wide is taking an illegal deer.

Last edited by Texas Dan; 12/13/19 08:11 PM.

Dan

Re: Antler Restriction Ponderings [Re: Dalroo] #7694071 12/20/19 05:41 PM
Joined: Feb 2018
Posts: 295
P
PoppinPiggies Online Content
Bird Dog
Online Content
Bird Dog
P
Joined: Feb 2018
Posts: 295
We have found that ear tip to ear tip on most the bucks we have shot is around 15" but we still always look to be outside the ears to follow the "better safe than sorry" logic. That being said we are now MLD for the first time this year and though we now have an established quota of deer to kill we can shoot whatever we want. Overall I like the AR rules it definitely saves younger bucks and increases the odds of seeing a big one. It does make bucks like this frustrating though lol. [Linked Image]


Check out my Instagram page @Poppin.Piggies
Re: Antler Restriction Ponderings [Re: Dalroo] #7694092 12/20/19 05:56 PM
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 25,847
T
txtrophy85 Online Content
THF Celebrity
Online Content
THF Celebrity
T
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 25,847
people always focus on the 1 mature deer that doesent make AR's and ignore the hundreds that do make maturity because of AR's

Re: Antler Restriction Ponderings [Re: txtrophy85] #7694120 12/20/19 06:13 PM
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 50,554
S
SnakeWrangler Online Content
THF Celebrity
Online Content
THF Celebrity
S
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 50,554
Originally Posted by txtrophy85
people always focus on the 1 mature deer that doesent make AR's and ignore the hundreds that do make maturity because of AR's


The ones that do will be hunted while the ones that don't will stay in the gene pool....


Originally Posted by beaversnipe
Actually, BBC is pretty damn good

Originally Posted by skinnerback
Milf does the trick.

"You Cannot Simultaneously Be Politically Correct And Intellectually Honest!"
Re: Antler Restriction Ponderings [Re: SnakeWrangler] #7694152 12/20/19 06:36 PM
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 25,847
T
txtrophy85 Online Content
THF Celebrity
Online Content
THF Celebrity
T
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 25,847
Originally Posted by SnakeWrangler
Originally Posted by txtrophy85
people always focus on the 1 mature deer that doesent make AR's and ignore the hundreds that do make maturity because of AR's


The ones that do will be hunted while the ones that don't will stay in the gene pool....


and does carry 50% of the genetics so that’s the wild card.

So your saying we should go back to a 90% yearling buck harvest, because that was the right way to manage?

That buck that is hunted and harvested at 4 bred for 3 years. It’s not like he didn’t get a chance to spread his seed.



Re: Antler Restriction Ponderings [Re: txtrophy85] #7694157 12/20/19 06:38 PM
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 50,554
S
SnakeWrangler Online Content
THF Celebrity
Online Content
THF Celebrity
S
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 50,554
Originally Posted by txtrophy85
Originally Posted by SnakeWrangler
Originally Posted by txtrophy85
people always focus on the 1 mature deer that doesent make AR's and ignore the hundreds that do make maturity because of AR's


The ones that do will be hunted while the ones that don't will stay in the gene pool....


and does carry 50% of the genetics so that’s the wild card.

So your saying we should go back to a 90% yearling buck harvest, because that was the right way to manage?

That buck that is hunted and harvested at 4 bred for 3 years. It’s not like he didn’t get a chance to spread his seed.




Not saying that at all....but I think there should be a way to cull clearly mature bucks that have oddball racks....


Originally Posted by beaversnipe
Actually, BBC is pretty damn good

Originally Posted by skinnerback
Milf does the trick.

"You Cannot Simultaneously Be Politically Correct And Intellectually Honest!"
Re: Antler Restriction Ponderings [Re: Dalroo] #7694190 12/20/19 06:58 PM
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 25,847
T
txtrophy85 Online Content
THF Celebrity
Online Content
THF Celebrity
T
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 25,847
Unfortunately joe hunter has a hard time aging deer and antler restrictions is the most basic catch all that most hunters can understand abide by.

It’s proven that culling for quality is pretty ineffective on most low fence places so leaving the minority buck that will never make AR’s is pretty much a drop in the bucket in regards to gene pools anyway.

It’s not like these places are going to be overrun with 12” wide mature bucks of things continue to go the way they are going

Deer that will make AR’s can and do breed prior to being 13” wide thus ensuring the appropriate amount of their genetics are spread.

Deer do the majority of breeding at 3 & 4 years of age

Re: Antler Restriction Ponderings [Re: Dalroo] #7694192 12/20/19 07:03 PM
Joined: Jan 2019
Posts: 1,181
L
laid over Online Content
Pro Tracker
Online Content
Pro Tracker
L
Joined: Jan 2019
Posts: 1,181
I think the antler restrictions are awesome. As long as there are biologists managing the herd and changing them as needed.

I would expect a few years of minimum width restrictions followed by a few years of first tag required a spike or forkhorn, and regionally managed vs statewide.

I believe that TPWD has been progressive in their thinking but change is slow because everything in government is hampered by some type of arbitrary, beurocratic process.


-Bryan

Yep, formerly regularguy11B
Re: Antler Restriction Ponderings [Re: Dalroo] #7694193 12/20/19 07:06 PM
Joined: Jan 2019
Posts: 1,181
L
laid over Online Content
Pro Tracker
Online Content
Pro Tracker
L
Joined: Jan 2019
Posts: 1,181
Also, you probably well know, without antler restrictions most bucks won't see 2 years of age in most regions. Antler restrictions are necessary and should be cyclic


-Bryan

Yep, formerly regularguy11B
Re: Antler Restriction Ponderings [Re: SnakeWrangler] #7694207 12/20/19 07:14 PM
Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 3,689
U
unclebubba Online Content
Extreme Tracker
Online Content
Extreme Tracker
U
Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 3,689
Originally Posted by SnakeWrangler
Originally Posted by txtrophy85
Originally Posted by SnakeWrangler
Originally Posted by txtrophy85
people always focus on the 1 mature deer that doesent make AR's and ignore the hundreds that do make maturity because of AR's


The ones that do will be hunted while the ones that don't will stay in the gene pool....


and does carry 50% of the genetics so that’s the wild card.

So your saying we should go back to a 90% yearling buck harvest, because that was the right way to manage?

That buck that is hunted and harvested at 4 bred for 3 years. It’s not like he didn’t get a chance to spread his seed.




Not saying that at all....but I think there should be a way to cull clearly mature bucks that have oddball racks....

How would you write that into law that would make the law clear?


Originally Posted by txhuntingguide
If I choose to hunt in a coon tail hat, a pink tootoo and hip waders that is my fine...
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3
Previous Thread
Index
Next Thread

© 2004-2019 OUTDOOR SITES NETWORK all rights reserved USA and Worldwide
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.3