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Antler Restrictions Change #8917420 09/14/23 10:45 PM
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I know there have been several threads on antler restrictions. Do you think we’ll ever see a change in AR management with TPWD? I personally don’t really see the benefits that it’s supposed to yield. Honestly I don’t think the number of deer we take is going to really yield a different class of deer. What are y’all’s thoughts?

Re: Antler Restrictions Change [Re: Augustus1994] #8917435 09/14/23 11:14 PM
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I will say, I've seen a hell of a difference for the better in Eastland County.


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Re: Antler Restrictions Change [Re: Augustus1994] #8917443 09/14/23 11:28 PM
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My only issue is, it's suppose to protect younger bucks. But what if you have a mature buck that's not legal that needs taken out of the herd. My GW said sign up for MLD, which I did, but that may not be an option for everyone.


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Re: Antler Restrictions Change [Re: Augustus1994] #8917448 09/14/23 11:44 PM
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I hunt for meat and try to take a couple of does for meat and don't really care about antlers. But I have seen numerous posts on this site about a buck someone would like to take but cannot legally do so for one reason or another. It seems reasonable to me for the state to allow an additional "cull tag" to be purchased. They could make it pricey, say $50+ to buy so it isn't used just to shoot a small buck. They could even make it so someone could only get such a tag every 3 years or so to give a buck the chance to grow and require deer taken on the tag to be checked and documented.

This would give a hunter an option they currently do not have, removes deer that they want to remove and generate some $$$ for the state. This seems logical to me.


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Re: Antler Restrictions Change [Re: Augustus1994] #8917455 09/15/23 12:05 AM
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Antler restrictions has helped in Young county for sure. There’s always some deer that will fall through the cracks but all in all it has helped.

Re: Antler Restrictions Change [Re: Augustus1994] #8917458 09/15/23 12:13 AM
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Made a big difference here in central texas. Havent harvested a buck in 4 or so years, i just let those freaks and small
basket horns go. Did take about 7 yrs ago a Bullwinkle type buck, 21 points, really all messed up. Wish now i mounted
him, but he made good sausage, very odd palmated horns. Have one now on cameras with 3 G2's about 14" long, never can
get a good look at him! all in due time.

Yes, over all decision of TPWD having the 13" min antler spread did make a change here in this area.


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Re: Antler Restrictions Change [Re: Augustus1994] #8917743 09/15/23 05:35 PM
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My take is their main purpose is to create a portion of the buck population that is off limits. Otherwise many densely populated areas with lots of land segmentation that still get hunted all the bucks get shot. After the bucks are gone they will shoot the does.


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Re: Antler Restrictions Change [Re: Augustus1994] #8917749 09/15/23 05:45 PM
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They have worked here. In the past around here, many lease hunters had the mindset of "I paid my money, I'm killing something with antlers". Now antler restrictions have stopped that and very few places lease anymore because of the old mindset.

Re: Antler Restrictions Change [Re: ntxtrapper] #8917758 09/15/23 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by ntxtrapper
They have worked here. In the past around here, many lease hunters had the mindset of "I paid my money, I'm killing something with antlers". Now antler restrictions have stopped that and very few places lease anymore because of the old mindset.


Yeah, I know too many older guys with that attitude, and also 'I gotta get my buck!' No, you don't. Take a few does and let those guys age a little. Hopefully younger guys under AR are seeing results and developing better mindsets.

Last edited by QuitShootinYoungBucks; 09/15/23 06:17 PM.

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Re: Antler Restrictions Change [Re: Hogflyer] #8917764 09/15/23 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Hogflyer
Made a big difference here in central texas. Havent harvested a buck in 4 or so years, i just let those freaks and small
basket horns go. Did take about 7 yrs ago a Bullwinkle type buck, 21 points, really all messed up. Wish now i mounted
him, but he made good sausage, very odd palmated horns. Have one now on cameras with 3 G2's about 14" long, never can
get a good look at him! all in due time.

Yes, over all decision of TPWD having the 13" min antler spread did make a change here in this area.


Whereabouts do you hunt? I used to have a place out near Manor in Travis County, where you were ONLY allowed to shoot bucks, no does.

Last edited by Mistereeee; 09/15/23 06:34 PM.
Re: Antler Restrictions Change [Re: Augustus1994] #8917804 09/15/23 08:16 PM
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Some areas need to implement the "you must tag a doe before you can tag a buck " rule. Better to shoot them and eat them than to see them laying on the side of the road having been hit by cars. I don't care for the ARs but the bucks in general do get bigger because of them and as a meat hunter I shoot more does because of them.

Re: Antler Restrictions Change [Re: Pope&Young] #8917822 09/15/23 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Pope&Young
I will say, I've seen a hell of a difference for the better in Eastland County.


I hunt Stephens county (next to Eastland county) and see the same positive change.Is it perfect no... but there are definitely WAY more mature deer walking the woods now than there were pre-AR.

Re: Antler Restrictions Change [Re: Augustus1994] #8917835 09/15/23 09:09 PM
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My argument for removing the AR is around the fact that most of Texas hunting is on private land where hunters have multiple hunts to fill their tags. I doubt the AR really keeps that many hunters from shooting the younger deer and ultimately you end up taking the same number of deer or more does as a result. I would love if any wardens or wildlife biologist could share some of their field data on the results.

Re: Antler Restrictions Change [Re: Augustus1994] #8917866 09/15/23 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Augustus1994
My argument for removing the AR is around the fact that most of Texas hunting is on private land where hunters have multiple hunts to fill their tags. I doubt the AR really keeps that many hunters from shooting the younger deer and ultimately you end up taking the same number of deer or more does as a result. I would love if any wardens or wildlife biologist could share some of their field data on the results.



In the original AR counties 90% of the buck harvest pre-AR’s were yearling deer.

The goal was to balance the Age structure of the herd and AR’s was the most effective way possible to do that.

Nothing is perfect but imo when dealing with Joe Public, it’s the best route to go vs. a minimum point per side rule.


For it is not the quarry that we truly seek, but the adventure.
Re: Antler Restrictions Change [Re: Augustus1994] #8917878 09/15/23 10:15 PM
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Has there been 100% a study of a given property or properties, that the AR' turned a basket rack into a stud, or is it more to let a buck turn 3 years old before someone decides to shoot it? In my personal opinion it's just about letting the bucks get older to see what they do. How can the TPWD justify a buck that is past his prime and on the down hill slide to the dirt nap, and that will NEVER get wider than 13 inches, and will never pass on big horn genetics with a wide spread be ok to not take?

Re: Antler Restrictions Change [Re: Augustus1994] #8917937 09/16/23 12:07 AM
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I would like to see the regulation removed for youth season.
It's hard to keep a young hunter interested when they can't shoot anything.
That would help eliminate some of the older inferior bucks.

Re: Antler Restrictions Change [Re: Augustus1994] #8917941 09/16/23 12:10 AM
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It’s made a world of difference where I hunt for the positive

I hope they never go away

Re: Antler Restrictions Change [Re: kphilli66] #8917968 09/16/23 01:05 AM
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Originally Posted by kphilli66
Has there been 100% a study of a given property or properties, that the AR' turned a basket rack into a stud, or is it more to let a buck turn 3 years old before someone decides to shoot it? In my personal opinion it's just about letting the bucks get older to see what they do. How can the TPWD justify a buck that is past his prime and on the down hill slide to the dirt nap, and that will NEVER get wider than 13 inches, and will never pass on big horn genetics with a wide spread be ok to not take?



Its goal was not to have basket reached bucks turn into studs, it was to increase the age of the buck population. Those deer that are mature and less than 13” wide represent a small percentage of the overall population. It’s like a bell curve, at say 5cyears of age 90% of bucks will have a rack spread of 13” or greater. 10% less and 10% much greater


For it is not the quarry that we truly seek, but the adventure.
Re: Antler Restrictions Change [Re: txtrophy85] #8918042 09/16/23 03:58 AM
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Originally Posted by txtrophy85
Originally Posted by kphilli66
Has there been 100% a study of a given property or properties, that the AR' turned a basket rack into a stud, or is it more to let a buck turn 3 years old before someone decides to shoot it? In my personal opinion it's just about letting the bucks get older to see what they do. How can the TPWD justify a buck that is past his prime and on the down hill slide to the dirt nap, and that will NEVER get wider than 13 inches, and will never pass on big horn genetics with a wide spread be ok to not take?



Its goal was not to have basket reached bucks turn into studs, it was to increase the age of the buck population. Those deer that are mature and less than 13” wide represent a small percentage of the overall population. It’s like a bell curve, at say 5cyears of age 90% of bucks will have a rack spread of 13” or greater. 10% less and 10% much greater


Shouldn’t that be the responsibility of the hunters to manage for whatever genetics they would like to see? From the conservation perspective, a 2 year old buck and a 3 year old buck is still one more mouth to feed and will breed.

Re: Antler Restrictions Change [Re: Augustus1994] #8918931 09/18/23 12:05 AM
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All the hunters did on their own accord was kill everything with antlers.


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Re: Antler Restrictions Change [Re: Pope&Young] #8918960 09/18/23 12:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Pope&Young
I will say, I've seen a hell of a difference for the better in Eastland County.


Agree 100%


lf the saying "Liar, Liar your pants on fire" were true
Mainstream news might be fun to watch
Re: Antler Restrictions Change [Re: Augustus1994] #8919008 09/18/23 01:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Augustus1994
My argument for removing the AR is around the fact that most of Texas hunting is on private land where hunters have multiple hunts to fill their tags. I doubt the AR really keeps that many hunters from shooting the younger deer and ultimately you end up taking the same number of deer or more does as a result. I would love if any wardens or wildlife biologist could share some of their field data on the results.


You must hang out with a bunch of outlaw hunters. I have hunted in Eastland County for about 15 years so it has always had AR in the time that I was hunting there.I have spoken to hundreds of hunters over the last 15 years and at times most of them complain...usually about a mature 8 point that they think will never make AR or wanting to shoot two bucks...but VERY few of them are really interested in shooting young deer.When push comes to shove anyone who has hunting more than one or two years understand that they are able to see more bucks and shot larger bucks under AR in the North Central Plains. I hunting 25 years in the Hill Country and shot lots of deer but nothing over 3.5 years of age....simply because so many hunters in the area shot every 8 point they saw. I have only shot one 3.5 year old deer in the past 15 years and that was becuase I had three that were the same age, with similar racks and this one had almost non-existent brows so I took him on the last day of the season less than 30 minutes before the end of the season as my one branched horn deer. The next year, I had two really nice 4.5 year old 8 points with really nice brows.

Re: Antler Restrictions Change [Re: Augustus1994] #8919049 09/18/23 02:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Augustus1994
Originally Posted by txtrophy85
Originally Posted by kphilli66
Has there been 100% a study of a given property or properties, that the AR' turned a basket rack into a stud, or is it more to let a buck turn 3 years old before someone decides to shoot it? In my personal opinion it's just about letting the bucks get older to see what they do. How can the TPWD justify a buck that is past his prime and on the down hill slide to the dirt nap, and that will NEVER get wider than 13 inches, and will never pass on big horn genetics with a wide spread be ok to not take?



Its goal was not to have basket reached bucks turn into studs, it was to increase the age of the buck population. Those deer that are mature and less than 13” wide represent a small percentage of the overall population. It’s like a bell curve, at say 5cyears of age 90% of bucks will have a rack spread of 13” or greater. 10% less and 10% much greater


Shouldn’t that be the responsibility of the hunters to manage for whatever genetics they would like to see? From the conservation perspective, a 2 year old buck and a 3 year old buck is still one more mouth to feed and will breed.


I’m not understanding the “one more mouth to feed” comment in regards to two different age class bucks, but Joe Hunter isn’t managing for much of anything other than their ice chest. Most can’t age a deer and don’t have any real understanding of how genetics work. That’s why 90% of the buck harvest in the original AR counties were yearling bucks. It’s all about a “gotta get mine” mentality.

In a nutshell, the average hunter in those counties were not responsible enough to harvest the correct deer so daddy government had to step in and make up some playtime rules to keep the buck populations from being decimated.

What’s ethical and what’s legal are often two different things, but a lot of folks will skirt by ethics and fall back on the “well it was legal” mentality, so laws were changed to better align the two.


For it is not the quarry that we truly seek, but the adventure.
Re: Antler Restrictions Change [Re: killabooner] #8919054 09/18/23 02:33 AM
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Originally Posted by killabooner
I would like to see the regulation removed for youth season.
It's hard to keep a young hunter interested when they can't shoot anything.
That would help eliminate some of the older inferior bucks.


Let’s say they removed it for under 17 hunters.

You really think they are all gonna shoot old mature basket racked bucks? All it would accomplish is a bunch of young deer getting shot.

Youth hunters need to abide by the same rules as everyone else.


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Re: Antler Restrictions Change [Re: Augustus1994] #8919066 09/18/23 02:59 AM
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I don't see where it has harmed anything where I hunt in Freestone county. I won't credit AR's for everything, but I do know that the bucks frequenting our little chunk of land have definitely improved in both age and horn size significantly over the last 10yrs or so. We've implemented a feeding program that has no doubt helped, on our 6th year of that now, but getting age on the deer has been probably the biggest factor.

I've hunted this property all my life, and remember back when opening morning sounded like a war zone, and we didn't have pigs back then. Over the last ten years the amount of shots I hear have reduced greatly, down to usually about a handful each hunt on opening weekend and the average lowers as the season wears on. And we have pigs now, so how many of those shots are for them? We see more deer now than we ever have, and game cameras are showing me this year is probably the best year of horns ever on our place.

I think we're experiencing a number of factors coming together at once, but antler restrictions haven't hurt.

On the whole "inferior/narrow buck" thing, I'll throw a monkey wrench in here to see what people think. We base certain hunting methods on competition among bucks for breeding rights, correct? It's natural selection/nature across almost all species right? Well, how many of those inferior bucks actually get to breed if they can't compete and win with the older and/or bigger bucks? Here's where keeping the doe population in check becomes a factor. Keep the ratios close and the bucks have to compete, and nature takes care of the rest. In the past the rules in a lot of these counties were any 1 buck and barely any doe permits. The competition to breed was much less, allowing younger and/or inferior bucks to breed, leaving little option except for it to happen. Our county relaxed limits on doe a few years back, my personal feelings on its impact in our immediate area are mixed. We're seeing a lot more bucks than doe now, I think they need to do something about it, but the competition among bucks to breed has gotten to the point that we regularly see bucks brawling now, see a lot more broken tines as a result.


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