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ridgetop
07-05-2011, 07:25 PM
I know what the so called deer experts say regarding buck antler and body size potential in certain regions within the whitetail deer range. But with more landowners/leasees practicing QDM (planting food plots, improving habitat), are these old benchmarks still accurate?

In western Wisconsin I'd say the average mature buck would grow around 150-170 inches of antler and weight about 210 lbs. But I have noticed that these numbers are increasing over the past few years hence the question.

If you were able to achieve a balanced age structure which allowed you the opportunity to harvest a mature buck, I'm talking 5.5-6.5 years old, what would your average mature buck grow in antlers and body size in your hunting area?

Whitetail Jiu-Jitsu
07-05-2011, 07:49 PM
150-170 is a pretty big range over the entire bell shaped curve. Personally, I think that is high for a 5.5 year old even in the prime habitat of western WI, maybe 140. In my area, I would guess the average 5.5 year old would be around 130. Honestly though that might be high.

Remember, for every 180 class mature buck there is one that score 110, or less. Even with proper management I find a hard to believe a free ranging deer is going to get that much bigger than what is currently out there.

ridgetop
07-05-2011, 08:13 PM
I would have said 140inches 10 years ago but I'm placing these numbers on the deer that were harvested in the past few years and the sheds that we have picked up. I agree that not every deer will get above 130 and some will make 180+ that's why I said average. 170 might be on the high end so I'll revise that limit to 165.

I would also like to add that I feel blessed with the hunting land that I hunt and the management practices of most of the neighbors. It really opens your eye at the true potential that can be achieved;)

MDuffy
07-05-2011, 08:15 PM
I tell my prospective hunters that our average 5 year old buck is going to score 140-160.

I always tell them that we have a few smaller than that and a few bigger than that. But, if they are looking for a 170....they need to call someone else. I don't want anyone going home disappointed without a 170.

We are going into our 5th year of serious trail cam censuses and over that time period we have had 2 5+ year old bucks that I know of that scored below 140". Both were big 6 points and both were in the 125" range without broken tines.

Over that same timeframe, we have also photo'd a couple 5+ year olds that grossed over 160". However a VERY LARGE percentage of our 5+ bucks are in that 140-160 range.

gbtrooper
07-05-2011, 08:24 PM
with Matt on his assesmnet of sizes on our Illinois properties. Where I live in NC, we have very few deer live longer than 3 1/2. A 3 1/2 year old deer here will be in the 115-130 range. A majority of deer killed in my area are 2 1/2 and score in the 110-120 range. Sadly, a 2 1/2 year old is a good deer around here.

Don Higgins
07-05-2011, 08:34 PM
I tell my prospective hunters that our average 5 year old buck is going to score 140-160.

I always tell them that we have a few smaller than that and a few bigger than that. But, if they are looking for a 170....they need to call someone else. I don't want anyone going home disappointed without a 170.

We are going into our 5th year of serious trail cam censuses and over that time period we have had 2 5+ year old bucks that I know of that scored below 140". Both were big 6 points and both were in the 125" range without broken tines.

Over that same timeframe, we have also photo'd a couple 5+ year olds that grossed over 160". However a VERY LARGE percentage of our 5+ bucks are in that 140-160 range.

I would say this is pretty accurate. I am a bit further north and I might bump those numbers up a tad, say 150-170. I know of 3 bucks in my hunting areas last year that were 4 yr olds. I found both sheds off of 2 of them and held and measured a single shed from the other one (found by a farmer). They scored approximately 175, 170 and 160. I realize these numbers are higher than what I would say is "Average" around here, at least the bigger two anyway. The real question is how big will they be this year as 5 yr olds???

Geo
07-05-2011, 08:37 PM
You better be carefull what you say ridgetop or all of the tv stars will leave my area for yours.

Here I would say 140-150.

One of my regulars, Chubby, is 5yrs and maybe 115".

G

gus
07-05-2011, 08:46 PM
As you know, most Texas white-tail are a different subspecies than you have, but the true honest average mature Texas whitetail (native free range, no supplemental feed) is only about 120, maybe 130 tops. People talk about the 150's which are still relatively rare statewide, but they don't talk about the more common 8 point with 4 inch bases, 17 inch beams and longest tine of 8 inches. Average live body weight of mature buck here is about 160, perhaps 150. Regional averages will vary from this but I think this is a representative picture statewide. Our average buck is very "average", but there are still thousands of dedicated hunters who enjoy the hunting experience and spending time outdoors with family and friends and who are happy hunters even if they only kill one 150 inch buck in their life.

TrademarkTexan
07-05-2011, 08:49 PM
In my part of Texas a 5 year old deer will average 130 to 150 and 200-210 lbs.

ridgetop
07-05-2011, 08:58 PM
You better be carefull what you say ridgetop or all of the tv stars will leave my area for yours.

Here I would say 140-150.

One of my regulars, Chubby, is 5yrs and maybe 115".

G

Nah, they drive by us on their way to hunt those buffalo county bucks.

deerlover
07-05-2011, 09:13 PM
I would rather have Tv stars hunting near my land just do to the fact that most of them hold out for mature deer therefore saving my three year olds. (I said most):D

MDuffy
07-05-2011, 09:19 PM
I would rather have Tv stars hunting near my land just do to the fact that most of them hold out for mature deer therefore saving my three year olds. (I said most):D

I think you have a bad misconception of what "most" TV hunters will hold out for.;)

crimson n' camo
07-05-2011, 09:20 PM
Average mature buck in Alabama I say would be around 120-130 probably closer to 120 if we're honest......body weight around 190-200lbs. Now there are plenty killed bigger than 120-130 but we have many more that aren't.

Send the T.V. stars south and we'll make honest hunters out of them. ;)

letemgrow
07-05-2011, 09:55 PM
I would say the average 5.5 year old buck for my area is going to go 140-150.

skillet
07-05-2011, 09:57 PM
In pa :rolleyes: 110". With 650,000 hunters in pa no deer make it 5 years old. No big boys around here. I would go west.

wildfire
07-05-2011, 10:22 PM
Are you asking about live weight? In my area, central Mn. average 120-130. Dressed weight 190 lbs. Lots of people say they shot a 200+ dressed weight, would have trouble making 185. Only way to tell is to use an accurate scale.

gus
07-05-2011, 11:12 PM
Trademark,
I don't want to start an arguement with a fellow Texas. We gotta stick together on this forum since we are a minority. But I've looked at many thousands of deer harvest records over the past 30 years ranging from South Texas (Webb County) to the Hill Country to west central Tex. These records represent well over a hundred ranches large and small. I only wish that the average mature buck was in the 130 to 150 range. What some ranches and leases do is to kick out the so called cull bucks or management bucks from their average and include only the trophies in their average. But if you truely average all mature bucks together, I'd insist that it is much lower than you indicate. You may have a hidden treasure of a honeyhole. If you hunt there you better keep it secret.

I think there is a good bit of published data from Caesar Kleburg Wildlife Research Institute in Kingsville on a large sampling of known age bucks. The antler size follows the classic bell shaped curve. If I am not mistaken, even in renown South Texas mature bucks average 130. Other regions within the state would be less.

FloridaBoy
07-06-2011, 07:17 AM
Florida has a wide range of sizes, but in Central FL, an average 5 yr old would score 110-115, and weigh 160-180 (live).

Any TV stars that come to Florida to hunt deer, are looking at a pretty short career. :p


.

TrademarkTexan
07-06-2011, 09:34 AM
Trademark,
I don't want to start an arguement with a fellow Texas. We gotta stick together on this forum since we are a minority. But I've looked at many thousands of deer harvest records over the past 30 years ranging from South Texas (Webb County) to the Hill Country to west central Tex. These records represent well over a hundred ranches large and small. I only wish that the average mature buck was in the 130 to 150 range. What some ranches and leases do is to kick out the so called cull bucks or management bucks from their average and include only the trophies in their average. But if you truely average all mature bucks together, I'd insist that it is much lower than you indicate. You may have a hidden treasure of a honeyhole. If you hunt there you better keep it secret.

I think there is a good bit of published data from Caesar Kleburg Wildlife Research Institute in Kingsville on a large sampling of known age bucks. The antler size follows the classic bell shaped curve. If I am not mistaken, even in renown South Texas mature bucks average 130. Other regions within the state would be less.

Could be, Gus, I can only go by my observations for my very small part of the world. I don't have cull or mgmt bucks, because any 5 year old buck is a trophy to me. I probably have 20,000 pictures of bucks alone from the last 6 years, and of that I've had about 10-12 5 year old or older bucks. Every one would score 130 or over, with one exception, which is an old bruiser that starts each year as a 6 pt with massive bases and beams, but by the end of the rut is a slick cow-horn "spike." He'd probably still score 110, just from enourmous mass and long main beams.

I do agree though that people tend to compartmentalize their memories and forget about the real outlyers on the bottom end.

Here's a picture of that big 6, he'd be a real trophy if I could ever get the drop on him.

http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d198/trademarktexan/Deer%20Cam%20Pics/IM000555.jpg

Gator
07-06-2011, 09:44 AM
I hunt a military base that is fenced on two sides with rivers on the other two so we are isolated I'll call it. Our deer average in the 130's dressed weight and somewhere in the 110s inches of antler.

Highest scoring deer I've seen in 7 years was the double droptine buck I shot two years ago that scored 123 with over 15 inches of drop (he was aged at 6 1/2).

blumsden
07-06-2011, 10:12 AM
Average mature buck in Alabama I say would be around 120-130 probably closer to 120 if we're honest......body weight around 190-200lbs. Now there are plenty killed bigger than 120-130 but we have many more that aren't.

Send the T.V. stars south and we'll make honest hunters out of them. ;)

I think this is pretty accurate. Yea, i'd like to bring some of those tv stars down here and give em a week to pattern our deer. Show em a 300 acre pine plantation and tell em here is the bedding area and here is the food source and be pointing in the same direction.:D

Don Higgins
07-06-2011, 11:50 AM
I think you have a bad misconception of what "most" TV hunters will hold out for.;)

gotta agree with that one!!!:)

Sweet November
07-06-2011, 12:38 PM
The belt of western Shawano County and northern Waupaca counties in north central WI has a good reputation of putting out 140-170" bucks every year and it seems lately; several deer over 180". A lot more QDM in the last 10 years sure has helped.

That being said, it's pretty hard to compete with the racks on the bucks from SW/W Wisconsin, SE Minnesota, Iowa, W Illinois, Kansas, or parts of Ohio. Those areas seem to stick out to me as having the deer that put on the most headgear.

Starting to get the itch seeing some of the big guys in velvet... :D

All the best, Craig

RockChucker30
07-06-2011, 12:48 PM
Middle Tennessee - 115-125"

I took a 119 gross 5+ year old in 2005, a 115" 3.5 year old in 2006, a 126" gross 4.5 year old in 2007, and a 141" gross 4-5 year old in 2010.

The 141 was an outlier on the top end.

Average body weights are probably 180-200 live weight.

John Paul
07-06-2011, 01:06 PM
In our part of Northern Virginia I would say we are above average from most of the state but on average a mature buck will be between 120-135". Live weight in the 170-200# size as well.

We shot five mature bucks last year on our farm that averaged 141" gross.

Dogwood
07-06-2011, 01:17 PM
I think you have a bad misconception of what "most" TV hunters will hold out for.;)
Well, their more than likely not going to let the air out of a yearling, for the camera, so they would be fine neighbors, by most QDMers standards...

UGUIDE
07-06-2011, 02:55 PM
You better be carefull what you say ridgetop or all of the tv stars will leave my area for yours.

Here I would say 140-150.

One of my regulars, Chubby, is 5yrs and maybe 115".

G

You can keep the big wigs GEO. Ridgetop and I are neighbors and we like things just the way they are.

Ridgetop, I agree with some of the others in that I think it is rare to see a deer get past 2.5 to 3.5 years of age. Without a lot of 5-6 year old deer out there hard to tell just how big they can get.

I think more people are letting them pass and that is helping to see more of the potential.

In SD I have a joint property with neighbors we are doing QDM on. I also have a section of ground that is hard to hunt with no trees and I am using that as a test bed to just wait until I see that 150+ deer and then start hunting that farm which is 6 miles to the W of the other one.

ridgetop
07-06-2011, 06:52 PM
You can keep the big wigs GEO. Ridgetop and I are neighbors and we like things just the way they are.

Ridgetop, I agree with some of the others in that I think it is rare to see a deer get past 2.5 to 3.5 years of age. Without a lot of 5-6 year old deer out there hard to tell just how big they can get.

I think more people are letting them pass and that is helping to see more of the potential.

In SD I have a joint property with neighbors we are doing QDM on. I also have a section of ground that is hard to hunt with no trees and I am using that as a test bed to just wait until I see that 150+ deer and then start hunting that farm which is 6 miles to the W of the other one.


I totally agree UGUIDE. 10-15 years ago everyone shot 1.5-3.5 year old bucks around us. There were many years I hunted knowing my odds weren't very good at even seeing a mature buck and I can understand the frustration. But the hunt is what should be important and not the horn. I enjoyed every one of those days sitting in the stand and doing my part of passing young bucks for the future. Thankfully things have changed for the better around us and I can see the results.

BC Buck
07-07-2011, 10:29 PM
I do some taxidermy for some of my Friends who are obsessed with big whitetails. The states I get deer from are North MO,N IL,S IA ,and E KS. This is the second year I send teeth into deerage.com and throw my piles of jaw bones in the trash. I can post my results when I receive them of some ages in relation to inches from 2010. In prier years we always figured the average 2.5 year at 115",3.5 at 140s",4.5 year in 160s"5.5 year in 180s" and never have seen teeth from anything older from these parts. The field dress weights from 3.5+ deer average 200 to 245LB.

MDuffy
07-07-2011, 10:38 PM
I do some taxidermy for some of my Friends who are obsessed with big whitetails. The states I get deer from are North MO,N IL,S IA ,and E KS. This is the second year I send teeth into deerage.com and throw my piles of jaw bones in the trash. I can post my results when I receive them of some ages in relation to inches from 2010. In prier years we always figured the average 2.5 year at 115",3.5 at 140s",4.5 year in 160s"5.5 year in 180s" and never have seen teeth from anything older from these parts. The field dress weights from 3.5+ deer average 200 to 245LB.

That's heavily skewed data though. That is only based off of deer that are viewed as "harvestable". That doesn't take into consideration the 3.5's etc they are letting walk because they aren't a "shooter".

dahusker
07-07-2011, 10:39 PM
I'd have to say right about 150 for mature deer. Here are the 5 bucks we've taken since starting QDM management practices 6 years ago.

5.5 167
4.5 150
4.5 140
6.5 158
5.5 160
5.5 173

The average comes out a little higher but we definitely have some around that need to be taken that are mature but just don't have as much bone on top. Score certainly doesn't matter at all but I love to see what they can blow up into from year to year. Regardless if it is a good heavy 4 point all the way up to a gnarly high scoring 6X6.

MDuffy
07-07-2011, 10:42 PM
I'd have to say right about 150 for mature deer. Here are the 5 bucks we've taken since starting QDM management practices 6 years ago.

5.5 167
4.5 150
4.5 140
6.5 158
5.5 160
5.5 173

The average comes out a little higher but we definitely have some around that need to be taken that are mature but just don't have as much bone on top. Score certainly doesn't matter at all but I love to see what they can blow up into from year to year. Regardless if it is a good heavy 4 point all the way up to a gnarly high scoring 6X6.

Pretty stinking amazing data, but again, now we are talking about average score of harvested bucks vs average score of bucks. BIG difference unless of course you have the genetics and food that those numbers really are accurate. But, that would be very unlikely in a free ranging herd.

dahusker
07-07-2011, 10:56 PM
I had them all sent off to cementum annuli analysis just this past winter. I also stated the average of those 5 are NOT going to be the true average and I guess it at about 150 for 5.5 yr old bucks. I have older bucks and some younger ones that are all in the same range. It's a free range situation with lots of great food plots I put out every year. Check out the next issue of Quality Whitetails.

BC Buck
07-08-2011, 07:25 AM
That's heavily skewed data though. That is only based off of deer that are viewed as "harvestable". That doesn't take into consideration the 3.5's etc they are letting walk because they aren't a "shooter".

I agree with your statement 100% MDuffy. This is only a guess and I found out long ago deer in agricultural parts don't get much tooth ware to use as a aging aid.

MDuffy
07-08-2011, 08:55 AM
I had them all sent off to cementum annuli analysis just this past winter. I also stated the average of those 5 are NOT going to be the true average and I guess it at about 150 for 5.5 yr old bucks. I have older bucks and some younger ones that are all in the same range. It's a free range situation with lots of great food plots I put out every year. Check out the next issue of Quality Whitetails.

Sorry, you misunderstood my resonse. I wasn't questioning the age of your bucks. I was pointing out that the 110" 8 points that are 4.5 are probably not being harvested so it makes the "average" look higher than what it really is.

BSK_
07-08-2011, 09:56 AM
MDuffy is correct. Do NOT use harvested buck antler scores when looking for AVERAGE antler development. Hunters heavily skew the harvest data by targeting the largest antlered bucks of each age-class. Harvested averages often exceed actual averages by more than 20 gross inches.

Below is a graph depicting average gross antler scores from three locations. Two are in TX (Faith and King Ranches) and one from a three-county area of west-central TN (Humphreys-Hickman-Perry). The two TX Ranch data sets are from bucks randomly captured (helicopter net-gun) and actually hands-on measured. The TN data is from evaluated trail-cam pictures, which introduces some error (so far, picture-measured scores have fallen within 5 gross inches of actual hands-on scores of the same bucks at harvest).

None of these averages per age-class are anywhere near as high as the hunters in the area believed they would be. In fact, in the vast majority of cases I know of (where some good data is available), hunters seriously over-estimate the average antler size per age-class in their area. This is because of hunter-harvest antler bias. Hunters shoot large antlered bucks then age the buck while passing up small antlered bucks that never get aged, and some of those small antlered bucks are older to mature.

What I've found to be the most interesting is the massive range of scores that will be displayed per age-class, even on a single property. For every age-class of buck 2 1/2 or older, the RANGE of scores found exceeds 100 gross inches. This means there is massive overlap between all age-classes, and quite often, the largest 2 1/2s will be considerably larger than the smallest mature bucks.

http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/ee175/BSK_04/data/GrossScores2.jpg

letemgrow
07-08-2011, 09:59 AM
The average comes out a little higher but we definitely have some around that need to be taken that are mature but just don't have as much bone on top. Score certainly doesn't matter at all but I love to see what they can blow up into from year to year. Regardless if it is a good heavy 4 point all the way up to a gnarly high scoring 6X6.

Do you all pass those older mature bucks with less headgear, or shoot based on age first?? If judging a "shooter" is by antler size at all, those numbers can be skewed. A 160 5.5 walks out, he is toast, a 130 5.5 walks out is he passed??

Whitetail Jiu-Jitsu
07-08-2011, 10:05 AM
That's heavily skewed data though. That is only based off of deer that are viewed as "harvestable". That doesn't take into consideration the 3.5's etc they are letting walk because they aren't a "shooter".

Agreed. On top of that I am of the belief that a number of individuals will claim a buck is younger than it actually is because it doesn't have as large of rack. No offense, but I believe people do it on this forum on a semi regular basis when aging trail cam photos.

I believe Lary Weisman wrote an article on this subject when he was hunting in TX with a group of guys. A number of hunters were passing on bucks they thought were 'too young' because their antlers were not as large as they hoped. He told the guys they were passing on mature bucks and stated that if he was allowed to select the buck for them to shoot and was wrong about the age, he would pay for the hunt. All of the bucks he chose were bucks the hunters that were 'too young' because of smaller racks but all were aged to be mature.

bioactive
07-08-2011, 11:05 AM
MDuffy is correct. Do NOT use harvested buck antler scores when looking for AVERAGE antler development. Hunters heavily skew the harvest data by targeting the largest antlered bucks of each age-class. Harvested averages often exceed actual averages by more than 20 gross inches.

Below is a graph depicting average gross antler scores from three locations. Two are in TX (Faith and King Ranches) and one from a three-county area of west-central TN (Humphreys-Hickman-Perry). The two TX Ranch data sets are from bucks randomly captured (helicopter net-gun) and actually hands-on measured. The TN data is from evaluated trail-cam pictures, which introduces some error (so far, picture-measured scores have fallen within 5 gross inches of actual hands-on scores of the same bucks at harvest).

None of these averages per age-class are anywhere near as high as the hunters in the area believed they would be. In fact, in the vast majority of cases I know of (where some good data is available), hunters seriously over-estimate the average antler size per age-class in their area. This is because of hunter-harvest antler bias. Hunters shoot large antlered bucks then age the buck while passing up small antlered bucks that never get aged, and some of those small antlered bucks are older to mature.

What I've found to be the most interesting is the massive range of scores that will be displayed per age-class, even on a single property. For every age-class of buck 2 1/2 or older, the RANGE of scores found exceeds 100 gross inches. This means there is massive overlap between all age-classes, and quite often, the largest 2 1/2s will be considerably larger than the smallest mature bucks.


Great post. This illustrates why the QDMA encourages hunters to use age characteristics rather than antler characteristics to choose shooters.

QW has an "Age This!" piece in every issue. This illustrates two things. First, the importance the organization puts on aging, but second, and more important, the difficulty of aging. Almost invariably, there is a 1-2 year difference in the estimates from several professionals.

If the professionals have a hard time doing it, it is virtually impossible to accomplish among amateurs on a property, hunt club, or . This is why QDMA describes several different methods for members to select for buck harvest. For the most part, these methods, such as point restrictions and spread restrictions, in areas with good soils, will prevent the harvest of most 1.5 year olds and some 2.5 year olds, but beyond that, it requires a high degree of skill to age a deer that is older than 2.5 to plus or minus 2 years. This is where the bias comes from that BSK speaks of.

dahusker
07-08-2011, 11:38 AM
I stated the average of the harvested bucks was HIGHER than what I believe our average is for those mature deer. The original question (if you'll look) was talking about fully mature 5.5 year old bucks. Now we have issue with folks who think 5.5 is mature, 4.5 is mature and 3.5 is mature. I'm not arguing that point I was simply answering the original question.

Absolutely we have 3.5 and 4.5 year old bucks that have LESS bone on their heads. I harvest on AGE and I listed the scores and age correlation of those harvested. I NEVER said that was the average of all of our bucks I said I felt the average of our 5.5 year olds was about 150 or slightly less.

Each year I take inventory of our known mature deer for the hit list and of those 3-6 fully mature bucks I'm shooting the first of the OLDEST bucks that give me the chance. We do have one buck in particular that is a 4X3 at 2.5 and again at 3.5 and possibly again at 4.5. I didn't shoot him last year because we still had a few older bucks but I do know he won't score 135 but I will certainly shoot him or let someone else shoot him because he is MATURE.

I agree with just about everything said on the last page. I'm not arguing those points, just trying to straighten out some perceived mis-representation or mis-interpretation of what I had stated. We might have one 5.5 year old that gross scores 135 and one that gross scores 175 but as I stated I believe our average is right at or just short of 150 gross inches. I love to watch them grow up and I hunt all the bucks that are the OLDEST based on that fact alone.

BSK_
07-08-2011, 01:34 PM
dahusker,

My comments were not directed at you, just all hunters in general. Just a warning not to use HARVESTED buck scores as measures of average antler development per age-class.

And by the way, despite what hunters want to believe, BIOLOGICALLY deer have always been considered mature at 4 1/2 and older. This is based on behavioral and body condition/structure parameters.

dahusker
07-08-2011, 02:08 PM
BSK,

We totally agree and thanks for the very interesting data you posted. I always love to see and learn from studies of herds in diverse areas from real biologists. I'm just an "amateur biologist" so I appreciate the hard data from real professionals who teach all of us how to better our own little areas of the country.

Don Higgins
07-08-2011, 02:41 PM
What I've found to be the most interesting is the massive range of scores that will be displayed per age-class, even on a single property. For every age-class of buck 2 1/2 or older, the RANGE of scores found exceeds 100 gross inches. This means there is massive overlap between all age-classes, and quite often, the largest 2 1/2s will be considerably larger than the smallest mature bucks.

http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/ee175/BSK_04/data/GrossScores2.jpg


WOW! Talk about interesting! Do you have any more details? I am particularly interested in the 100" range in scores on 2 1/2 yr old bucks. What was the biggest and what was the smallest?

Don Higgins
07-08-2011, 02:45 PM
Agreed. On top of that I am of the belief that a number of individuals will claim a buck is younger than it actually is because it doesn't have as large of rack. No offense, but I believe people do it on this forum on a semi regular basis when aging trail cam photos.

I believe Lary Weisman wrote an article on this subject when he was hunting in TX with a group of guys. A number of hunters were passing on bucks they thought were 'too young' because their antlers were not as large as they hoped. He told the guys they were passing on mature bucks and stated that if he was allowed to select the buck for them to shoot and was wrong about the age, he would pay for the hunt. All of the bucks he chose were bucks the hunters that were 'too young' because of smaller racks but all were aged to be mature.

I would say that you are correct, especially in areas such as Texas as mentioned ... BUT there are also plenty of hunters who over-estimate the age of their bucks. This is especially true in the Midwest where a 2 1/2 yr old buck has a large body and can have a rack as good as the "average" 4 1/2 yr old buck. Everyone wants to think they killed an "old buck" and we have all seen plenty of 2 1/2 yr olds passed off as "mature". In fact you can see it on TV every day!

BSK_
07-08-2011, 02:50 PM
Don,

For the TX numbers, I would need to have the raw data in my hands, which I don't. But for the TN data, photo-censused 2 1/2 year-olds have run the gambit from around 20 gross (cow-horned spikes) to 125 gross 11-pointers. Although I know of some larger 2 1/2s that have been killed in the area (near 130).

On my own small property, even from the small data set we have for harvested 4 1/2 year-olds, we've killed 4 1/2 year-old bucks that ranged from 50 gross to near 160 gross, and harvested bucks will show a smaller range than what exists in the wild (because of hunter selection skewed towards the upper end of the bell curve).

BSK_
07-08-2011, 02:52 PM
I would say that you are correct, especially in areas such as Texas as mentioned ...

...also add the South to that or anywhere where nutrition is limited.


BUT there are also plenty of hunters who over-estimate the age of their bucks. This is especially true in the Midwest where a 2 1/2 yr old buck has a large body and can have a rack as good as the "average" 4 1/2 yr old buck.

Agreed.

MDuffy
07-08-2011, 03:00 PM
http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/ee175/BSK_04/data/GrossScores2.jpg

If I was going to carry a "deer education" folder around with me, this chart would be on page 1.

BSK_
07-08-2011, 03:04 PM
Great post. This illustrates why the QDMA encourages hunters to use age characteristics rather than antler characteristics to choose shooters.

QW has an "Age This!" piece in every issue. This illustrates two things. First, the importance the organization puts on aging, but second, and more important, the difficulty of aging. Almost invariably, there is a 1-2 year difference in the estimates from several professionals.

If the professionals have a hard time doing it, it is virtually impossible to accomplish among amateurs on a property, hunt club, or . This is why QDMA describes several different methods for members to select for buck harvest. For the most part, these methods, such as point restrictions and spread restrictions, in areas with good soils, will prevent the harvest of most 1.5 year olds and some 2.5 year olds, but beyond that, it requires a high degree of skill to age a deer that is older than 2.5 to plus or minus 2 years. This is where the bias comes from that BSK speaks of.

Very much agreed bioactive. Field-judging age is certainly more art than science and takes much experience to be proficient in. HOWEVER, I think some of the differences seen in the "Age This!" section of Quality Whitetails is due to judgers being asked to judge deer from outside their geographic region of expertice. Working so much in the MidSouth, I know that I have a decent accuracy rate for deer in that geographic region, but once I start trying to judge bucks from the North, Deep South coastal regions, or Texas, my accuracy rate falls considerably. Each geographic region has unique body characteristics matched to each age-class.

If hunters will just focus on bucks in their area (especially comparing local trail-cam pictures of bucks that were later harvested and aged), they should be able to develop a working knowledge. Although that said, I prefer to see hunters group bucks into the easiest to distinguish groups: yearlings, middle-aged, and mature, and then manage around that. In fact, from what I'm seeing of better regional herd and harvest data, the more convinced I am that we hunters/managers place FAR too much emphasis on the exact age of bucks killed.

BSK_
07-08-2011, 03:08 PM
If I was going to carry a "deer education" folder around with me, this chart would be on page 1.

Just remember that each region will have its own averages, and some areas (especially the agricultural Midwest) will have higher numbers than other regions. Local habitat type and soils are powerful players. Even for my TN data, move just a couple of counties East, into the Nashville Basin with its notoriously better soils and much greater distribution of agriculture, and the TN numbers would easily jump more than 10 inches per age-class.

MDuffy
07-08-2011, 03:51 PM
Just remember that each region will have its own averages, and some areas (especially the agricultural Midwest) will have higher numbers than other regions. Local habitat type and soils are powerful players. Even for my TN data, move just a couple of counties East, into the Nashville Basin with its notoriously better soils and much greater distribution of agriculture, and the TN numbers would easily jump more than 10 inches per age-class.

Understand completely. Too bad nobody in IL has done any studies like this.

BSK_
07-08-2011, 04:18 PM
Understand completely. Too bad nobody in IL has done any studies like this.

I sure wish they would. I would love to see those numbers. I'm highly dubious of the estimates I hear.

UGUIDE
07-09-2011, 07:05 AM
BSK, NICE CHART!!!

My first impression would say the emphasis needs to be on how to identify a deer in the 4.5 - 5.5 age range.

I look at deer in western WI and Central SD. Shouldn't be too hard to come up with 4-5 metrics that a novice hunter could ID that age range by right?

Example: Big gut, skinny rear, beefed up shoulders, rough antlers vs. smooth, graying muzzle, fat face, etc.

Care to take a stab at a top 5 list for what that age range might best be ID'd by?

I always thought this would be an important decision point to have for novice QDM'rs in order to cull a buck that is say 130, 4-5 years old and your area potential/average is 150+.

BSK_
07-09-2011, 08:44 AM
BSK, NICE CHART!!!

My first impression would say the emphasis needs to be on how to identify a deer in the 4.5 - 5.5 age range.

I look at deer in western WI and Central SD. Shouldn't be too hard to come up with 4-5 metrics that a novice hunter could ID that age range by right?

Example: Big gut, skinny rear, beefed up shoulders, rough antlers vs. smooth, graying muzzle, fat face, etc.

Care to take a stab at a top 5 list for what that age range might best be ID'd by?

I always thought this would be an important decision point to have for novice QDM'rs in order to cull a buck that is say 130, 4-5 years old and your area potential/average is 150+.

Unfortunately UGUIDE, I'm not an "expert" in judging deer in those locations. My expertize is in the MidSouth (that horizontal stripe of geography bounded by around 33 to 37 degrees North Latitude). For that geographic region, the body conformation I teach hunters to look for that best match age are neck size (near peak rut) and the depth of the chest in comparison to the relative length of the front leg (the older a buck gets, the shorter his front legs look in comparison to the vertical depth of his chest/shoulder). Ham developed (how large and rounded the hams are) can also be used, but that body conformation displays a lot of variability with age.

But what I stress to hunters everywhere is never use antler size/shape for judging age. Antler size is so variable, with such a massive range for each age-class (and so much overlap between ages), that antlers are the feature that will produce the MOST error when used as an age criterion.

And by the way, culling bucks by antler size from a free-ranging population has no place in a QDM program. It has no biological merit (it does nothing good for the local herd, and may actually be harmful).

John Brown Jr.
07-09-2011, 08:58 AM
And now for the one that will make the rest of you want to pack up and come running to South Carolina. Piedmont........ 115" 155ibs. :eek:

UGUIDE
07-09-2011, 11:55 AM
And by the way, culling bucks by antler size from a free-ranging population has no place in a QDM program. It has no biological merit (it does nothing good for the local herd, and may actually be harmful).

Really? Even if properly aged? I though i see this all the time at the big texas whitetail ranches like Tecomate....Is there such thing as managing genetics in a free ranging population?

letemgrow
07-09-2011, 12:06 PM
And now for the one that will make the rest of you want to pack up and come running to South Carolina. Piedmont........ 115" 155ibs. :eek:

Its crazy the difference in terrain/soils can do. A 115" 155 buck is an okay 2.5 year old where I hunt.

Steiny
07-09-2011, 02:22 PM
I think the average sport tends to over-exagerrate deer sizes, especially the younger guys who watch a lot of the deer TV. They throw around the numbers 150's & 160's like they grow on trees.

Central Indiana produces pretty darned good deer, and it takes a 140" net typical to make the Hoosier record book. Although the quality is probably better now than ever, not very many of the guys that throw around those numbers actually have a "book" deer.

Getting back to the question, I'd say a good mature 3.5 - 5.5 year old buck around here will average around 130-140" and dress out around 180-190#, and unless your a real hard core deer nut, that is a pretty darned good buck wherever you go.

Grant it bigger bucks are out there, but they are few and far between. B&C 170 Inch deer are the equivellent of 7' tall people. They are freaks of nature, and there just aren't very many. For most serious deer hunters, if you kill a 150-160" buck in this area its probably a once in a lifetime buck, a booner is like hitting the lottery.

letemgrow
07-09-2011, 03:16 PM
Here are 4 videos for bucks I consider 2.5 in my area. These are not uncommon by any stretch and more the norm IMO. I video every buck thats older than a yearling forkhorn and all the bucks I video are this big. Would venture to guess almost all of these bucks will easily surpass 140 if they get to 5.5.


http://i327.photobucket.com/albums/k445/pes1979/Stark%20Farm%20Deer/th_007.jpg (http://s327.photobucket.com/albums/k445/pes1979/Stark%20Farm%20Deer/?action=view&current=007.mp4)

http://i327.photobucket.com/albums/k445/pes1979/Stark%20Farm%20Deer/th_009.jpg (http://s327.photobucket.com/albums/k445/pes1979/Stark%20Farm%20Deer/?action=view&current=009.mp4)

http://i327.photobucket.com/albums/k445/pes1979/Stark%20Farm%20Deer/th_DeerVideos003.jpg (http://s327.photobucket.com/albums/k445/pes1979/Stark%20Farm%20Deer/?action=view&current=DeerVideos003.mp4)

http://i327.photobucket.com/albums/k445/pes1979/Stark%20Farm%20Deer/th_DeerVideos004.jpg (http://s327.photobucket.com/albums/k445/pes1979/Stark%20Farm%20Deer/?action=view&current=DeerVideos004.mp4)

letemgrow
07-09-2011, 03:21 PM
http://i327.photobucket.com/albums/k445/pes1979/Stark%20Farm%20Deer/PhilsPics1.jpg

http://i327.photobucket.com/albums/k445/pes1979/Stark%20Farm%20Deer/TrailCamBucks001.jpg

http://i327.photobucket.com/albums/k445/pes1979/Stark%20Farm%20Deer/25yearold10.jpg

http://i327.photobucket.com/albums/k445/pes1979/Stark%20Farm%20Deer/Awesome10.jpg

letemgrow
07-09-2011, 03:22 PM
I consider these 2.5 year old and the middle one is no longer with us :D

http://i327.photobucket.com/albums/k445/pes1979/Stark%20Farm%20Deer/25yearold10-1.jpg

http://i327.photobucket.com/albums/k445/pes1979/Stark%20Farm%20Deer/HUNT00341.jpg

http://i327.photobucket.com/albums/k445/pes1979/Stark%20Farm%20Deer/25yearold101.jpg

UGUIDE
07-09-2011, 04:38 PM
Can we please have a moment of silence for the middle one:D

Alpha Doe
07-09-2011, 05:38 PM
Our average buck...I'm guessing him at 2.5. :D Kidding, I'm kidding again! He is below average. :D :D

http://i633.photobucket.com/albums/uu51/Imatreehugger/2007buckpicture-2.jpg

letemgrow
07-09-2011, 07:06 PM
Our average buck...I'm guessing him at 2.5. :D Kidding, I'm kidding again! He is below average. :D :D



You all have such tiny deer over there :p

BSK_
07-10-2011, 08:27 AM
And by the way, culling bucks by antler size from a free-ranging population has no place in a QDM program. It has no biological merit (it does nothing good for the local herd, and may actually be harmful).
Really? Even if properly aged? I though i see this all the time at the big texas whitetail ranches like Tecomate.

What you see being practiced in Texas is Trophy Deer Management (TDM). TDM is NOT Quality Deer Management (QDM). TDM and QDM are different management strategies with different goals and practices. TDM's goal is to produce the largest antlers possible. QDMs goal is to produce a balanced deer herd--balanced with the local environment, sexually balanced, and with a balanced buck age structure.

Now a well-designed and implemented QDM program often does produce larger antlers, as the older bucks that exist in a balanced buck age structure--on average--produce larger antlers than young bucks, and a herd in balance with the local environment will be healthier and grow larger antlers than an unbalanced, less healthy herd. But large antlers is not the goal of QDM (although they certainly can be a pleasing side-benefit!).

Is there such thing as managing genetics in a free ranging population?

Inside a high-fence, it's possible. But in a wild, free-ranging herd, no.

gus
07-10-2011, 04:04 PM
Be careful not to generalize and stereotype Texas deer management as if it is all geared toward maximum trophy production. There are many different kinds of deer management being practiced here ranging from some of the very best to the very worst. Most Texas deer management is just as much about healthy habitat, and balanced deer herds, as it is about large antlers.

Besides, if QDM is not about antler size, they how come so many on this forum talk so much about GBC scores? Antler size DOES matter to most deer managers and hunters. No point in denying that. But you can have it all - good antlers and healthy herds and habitat - they all go together; so why separate antler size from the equation.

UGUIDE
07-10-2011, 11:55 PM
BSK, thanks for the clarification between TDM and QDM. That makes sense.

GUS, well said. I can remember when "if it's brown it's down" was pretty exciting times in deer hunting.

My passion is habitat and I would say I'm in it for the RACK! TDM all the way for me. I would also have to say that people i give QDMA subscriptions to are also interested in managing whitetails for the rack and not the herd. Just sayin'.

ridgetop
07-11-2011, 06:02 PM
I kind of think QDM and TDM go hand in hand. If you practice QDM and are successful achieving your goals then you will have more healthier mature deer with big racks=TDM. They can't reach maturity if they are in the back of a truck at 2.5.

Also any mature "cull buck" is still a trophy in my eyes.

UGUIDE
07-11-2011, 07:47 PM
I kind of think QDM and TDM go hand in hand. If you practice QDM and are successful achieving your goals then you will have more healthier mature deer with big racks=TDM. They can't reach maturity if they are in the back of a truck at 2.5.

Also any mature "cull buck" is still a trophy in my eyes.

Amen! See you on bow opener Chad. Bring the old man down for some brewskies after the hunt. I just put another plot in last week. Dry. Looks like a good rain over last couple days?

VA Bowhunter
07-12-2011, 12:13 PM
Rarely do bucks in my part of VA get to 5 or even 6 years old. I can tell you the majority of bucks killed are 1.5 - 2.5 years old and the majority of mounted bucks in my area are the larger 2.5 year olds (110 inches) however there are some nice 3.5 year olds killed. Remember we have a lot of hunting pressure and deer hunting with dogs is prevalent.

I would say if a buck was able to live until 5 or 6 years old, he would be in the neighborhood of 140-160 inches but only weigh 180 lbs live weight....our deer don't get big bodies. That's not to say bigger bucks won't be seen if allowed to age....I saw a 185 inch 4.5 year old last year and there seems to be a few of those killed around my place every year.

UGUIDE
07-12-2011, 08:01 PM
OK, age and size this bad boy.

He walked by my stand at 30 yards the day after I was shown this picture. I did not have an earn a buck sticker yet so could not take him. I hadn't checked any ranges yet either which was a rookie mistake. How big, how old?

http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c1/uguide/Thetwintinebuck2.jpg

letemgrow
07-12-2011, 08:06 PM
OK, age and size this bad boy.

He walked by my stand at 30 yards the day after I was shown this picture. I did not have an earn a buck sticker yet so could not take him. I hadn't checked any ranges yet either which was a rookie mistake. How big, how old?

http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c1/uguide/Thetwintinebuck2.jpg

5.5+ and plenty big to shoot!! Guessing 160+ as he has a ton of mass and good beams.

ridgetop
07-12-2011, 08:41 PM
I know the answer to this question Chris. That buck is 6.5 years old in that picture. 2819728198
I don't know what he would score that year but I can tell you for certainty that one of his 5.5 old sheds scored 82inches with about 4 inches missing cause of squirrel damage.

I have pictures of him as a 4.5 and 5.5 but those where before I had a digital camera, I could scan them though for proof. This buck grew a hook at the base every other year and at 7.5yrs old he started to decline in antler size going from a main framed 10 to a main framed 8.28199

This was the last year I every had pictures of this monarch. I don't think he was ever harvested.

Bigd7400
07-12-2011, 08:49 PM
10 years ago in my part of VA I would have said the average buck was 60-80 inches and 125lbs, cause a lot of the places I hunt are in "If its brown its down" territory. It seems that this is a LITTLE different now, not much but a little, and on average 115-125 is probably about right. I'm probably way off :rolleyes:

Gutter
07-12-2011, 08:56 PM
I have to back ridgetop up on his statictics of that buck. It was a lot of fun watching that buck grow up over the years, but what a ghost. Too bad we never learned the end to his story.

UGUIDE
07-12-2011, 10:59 PM
Ridgetop and Gutter, WOW, I was wondering if you had any contacts with this animal and it was very fun to see that you were watching him grow.

Ridge, that velvet pic is AMAZING!!!!

I will say this......he looks bigger in the pictures than on the hoof.

30 yards broadside and no go. He was a ghost!

That my friends is why we hunt.

That will be a deer I will always remember (the ones that get away).

BSK_
07-13-2011, 10:49 AM
Be careful not to generalize and stereotype Texas deer management as if it is all geared toward maximum trophy production. There are many different kinds of deer management being practiced here ranging from some of the very best to the very worst. Most Texas deer management is just as much about healthy habitat, and balanced deer herds, as it is about large antlers.

gus,

I didn't mean to paint all of TX as Trophy Management. But if "culling" is part of the management practice, you're practicing more Trophy Management than Quality Management.


Besides, if QDM is not about antler size, they how come so many on this forum talk so much about GBC scores?

Do you want to know the painful truth? There are many deer managers/hunters that still don't understand the difference between TDM and QDM, and I blame much of that confusion on TV hunting shows that provide confusing and often false management information (as well as glorify antler worship). And unfortunately, there are some hunters/managers that DO know the difference between TDM and QDM, but purposefully "muddy the management waters" to hide TDM practices behind the cloak of QDM.


...why separate antler size from the equation.

It is simply focus and practice. Sure, everybody loves large antlers. We, as a species, always have. However, TDM practices are designed specifically to produce the largest antlers possible. Herd structure and biology are of secondary consideration. QDM places herd structure and biology first and foremost, with larger antlers a wonderful side-benefit. When it comes to the buck segment of the deer population, TDM is an antler score-based management system. QDM is an age-based system, and the buck segement of the herd is only one part of a three-tiered population system (age structure, sex ratio, population density). In addition, TDM often strives for very unnatural herd structures to maximize buck production, while the entire philosophy of QDM is producing a more natural herd structure.

BSK_
07-13-2011, 10:53 AM
My passion is habitat and I would say I'm in it for the RACK! TDM all the way for me. I would also have to say that people i give QDMA subscriptions to are also interested in managing whitetails for the rack and not the herd. Just sayin'.

I hate to say this UGUIDE, if Trophy Deer Management is what you want, then QDM and the QDMA may not be for you. These are two different management practices with sometimes conflicting strategies and goals.

NorthJeff
07-13-2011, 10:56 AM
I know what the so called deer experts say regarding buck antler and body size potential in certain regions within the whitetail deer range. But with more landowners/leasees practicing QDM (planting food plots, improving habitat), are these old benchmarks still accurate?

In western Wisconsin I'd say the average mature buck would grow around 150-170 inches of antler and weight about 210 lbs. But I have noticed that these numbers are increasing over the past few years hence the question.

If you were able to achieve a balanced age structure which allowed you the opportunity to harvest a mature buck, I'm talking 5.5-6.5 years old, what would your average mature buck grow in antlers and body size in your hunting area?

I mainly hunt southeast of LaCrosse and that's the same I'm seeing there too. The one difference would possibly be body weights of more in the 180-200 dressed weight.

fiveyear
07-13-2011, 12:02 PM
In the Keys and everglades they are very small body and antlers. under 100 inches. The middle part it depends if you are on farm land or what the land offers the deer. Can go to 120 plus. The northern part of the state can get to 140-150 on good land.

BSK_
07-13-2011, 12:02 PM
I kind of think QDM and TDM go hand in hand. If you practice QDM and are successful achieving your goals then you will have more healthier mature deer with big racks=TDM.

TDM is much more than just mature bucks. TDM practices focus on producing the largest antlered mature bucks possible, and place little value on mature bucks just because they are mature. QDM places value on ALL mature bucks (and healthy bucks of all ages for that matter).


They can't reach maturity if they are in the back of a truck at 2.5.

In addition, QDM isn't specifically about producing biologically mature (4 1/2+ year-old) bucks. In many areas, producing fully mature bucks is not realistic, due to hunting/harvest pressure in the local area. QDM simply promotes the voluntary restraint the harvest of yearling and some 2 1/2 year-old bucks. However, many QDM practitioners take those limits even farther, passing up all 2 1/2 or even 3 1/2 year-old bucks, if that is the desired result and those practices are realistic for the area. But harvest goals that allow the harvest of some 2 1/2 year-old bucks is still QDM.

ridgetop
07-13-2011, 08:18 PM
BSK
TDM is much more than just mature bucks. TDM practices focus on producing the largest antlered mature bucks possible, and place little value on mature bucks just because they are mature. QDM places value on ALL mature bucks (and healthy bucks of all ages for that matter).

This has got me confused. So are you saying that only the biggest mature bucks are treated with a tender hand and all other mature bucks are kicked off the ranch? How does one achieve this? How can you focus producing the larges antlered buck possible without every other deer on the property benefiting from it also. Is there some kind of exclusive BIGGEST buck food plot mix? Or certain soft mast trees that only the BIGGEST bucks like?

If you are improving your habitat and providing the best possible food source for a healthy deer herd then all deer benefit, not just the BIGGEST buck. As far as I'm concerned, I practice QDM. Have been for a very long time. If that produces the Biggest bucks possible in my area then I have achieved my goal. For me it's all about age, giving a buck the chance to reach his full potential. Maybe 1 out of 100 achieve that but at least I did my part. And yes I would harvest a huge 3.5 year old too.

In addition, TDM often strives for very unnatural herd structures to maximize buck production,

There is no way that this will ever be possible to skew the buck population like you have stated in the state of WI. That could only be possible if you owned a continuous tract of 10,000s of acres. Not very realistic.

In addition, QDM isn't specifically about producing biologically mature (4 1/2+ year-old) bucks. In many areas, producing fully mature bucks is not realistic, due to hunting/harvest pressure in the local area. QDM simply promotes the voluntary restraint the harvest of yearling and some 2 1/2 year-old bucks. However, many QDM practitioners take those limits even farther, passing up all 2 1/2 or even 3 1/2 year-old bucks, if that is the desired result and those practices are realistic for the area. But harvest goals that allow the harvest of some 2 1/2 year-old bucks is still QDM.

I totally realize this and agree. I was just stating that you will never realize your herds potential without it ever having a chance to reach it. Wasn't long ago that 2.5 year old buck harvest was very common were I hunt. But this has improved because of talking QDM with others.

BSK_
07-14-2011, 07:47 AM
TDM is much more than just mature bucks. TDM practices focus on producing the largest antlered mature bucks possible, and place little value on mature bucks just because they are mature. QDM places value on ALL mature bucks (and healthy bucks of all ages for that matter).

BSK
This has got me confused. So are you saying that only the biggest mature bucks are treated with a tender hand and all other mature bucks are kicked off the ranch? How does one achieve this?

By killing them. What do you think a "cull" buck is? It is a buck that doesn't display "desireable" antlers hence is shot to get him out of the herd.


How can you focus producing the larges antlered buck possible without every other deer on the property benefiting from it also.

Sometimes the other deer benefit in some ways but not others. That all depends on the practices followed. Some TDM practices are far more extreme than others. But the point of TDM is producing antlers, and in this system antler inches are the only value system on which management decisions are made.


If you are improving your habitat and providing the best possible food source for a healthy deer herd then all deer benefit...

That depends on the type of food provided. Does it come out of a bag, fed to deer in troughs? Or does it grow out of the ground and is it naturally sustainable?


As far as I'm concerned, I practice QDM. Have been for a very long time. If that produces the Biggest bucks possible in my area then I have achieved my goal. For me it's all about age, giving a buck the chance to reach his full potential.

So which is it, producing "the Biggest bucks possible in my area," or "it's all about age?" If you produce mature bucks but they DON'T grow large antlers, are you still successful? What are your criteria for "success?"



There is no way that this will ever be possible to skew the buck population like you have stated in the state of WI. That could only be possible if you owned a continuous tract of 10,000s of acres. Not very realistic.

Practicing TDM in high hunter density and small land-ownership pattern areas would be virtually impossible without a high-fence. However, it isn't just the actual practice of TDM I'm concerned about (and people should be free to practice TDM if they want; just don't call it QDM). I'm concerned about the growing trend in the "trophyist" mindset, where the only value placed on deer is in the inches of antler grown. In my opinion, this is a disturbing trend.


I totally realize this and agree. I was just stating that you will never realize your herds potential without it ever having a chance to reach it. Wasn't long ago that 2.5 year old buck harvest was very common were I hunt. But this has improved because of talking QDM with others.

Just remember the basic buck harvest goals of QDM are only the restraint in harvest of yearling bucks and some 2 1/2 year-olds. The harvest of some 2 1/2 year-olds is still QDM. When you say, "...this has improved because of talking QDM with others," what is being said, that no 2 1/2 year-old bucks should be killed? If so, that isn't a QDM principle.

lone cedar farm
07-14-2011, 12:54 PM
Unlike many other parts of the country, a 3.5 year 8 point dressed out around #135 is a good buck here. My largest dressed out at 150, i considerd it a trophy for here, double throat patch 8 pointer with 18" spread.

dahusker
07-14-2011, 01:23 PM
I think a lot of times we get way too deep into the weeds and have too much granularity in these types of discussions. I practice what I consider to be my brand of QDM goals and management practices. We all do or we wouldn't be on here. We wouldn't be working so hard and putting so much time energy and resources into helping maximize the habitat and potential of our local herds.

Whether it's called QDM, TDM or whatever I don't really care personally. The bottom line to me is that I help the herd and take care of my habitat and family's property much better now than before QDM or any type of management style was used on our property. Whether someone pushes to pass all 1.5, 2.5 or even 3.5 and 4.5 really probably depends more on how many acres and what type of neighbors they have than anything IMO. If all of our neighbors and the laws allowed for everything to be taken around me I'd probably be happy with taking any 3.5 yr old every year. Because I have a better situation and can push deer to 5.5 on most occasions (I'm lucky) I still consider myself to be practicing QDM. I just don't tell folks not to shoot 3.5 or 4.5, I say heck they are good fairly mature or mature deer go ahead.

Bottom line is that we are all helping make things better IMO.

BSK_
07-14-2011, 02:25 PM
I think a lot of times we get way too deep into the weeds and have too much granularity in these types of discussions. I practice what I consider to be my brand of QDM goals and management practices. We all do or we wouldn't be on here.

Whether it's called QDM, TDM or whatever I don't really care personally.

I fully understand what you're saying dahusker. And I don't want to come across sounding like I'm saying "you shouldn't want this" or "you shouldn't practice this." To each, their own. As long as people are within the law, everyone should be allowed their own management and hunting goals.



Bottom line is that we are all helping make things better IMO.

But that's the potential rub. When "whatever you want" is presented as QDM, is that helping QDM's reputation?

One of the disquieting trends I see in the hunting world is the growing opposition--even hatred--of QDM by an increasingly vocal number of hunters. When I get the chance to really talk to these anti-QDMers, I'm disheartened to find that their opposition to QDM often stems simply from incorrect information they've received concerning what QDM is. And most often, that incorrect information is coming from "Big Buck" magazines, TV hunting shows, and internet talk forums like this one. In fact, the very aspects of QDM they're beginning to hate are the aspects of Trophy Management that are being sold as QDM. Once the real philosophies and practices of QDM are explained to them, they often have no problem with these concepts and practices.

And that is my point of so strongly and constantly differentiating between what is and is not QDM. The reputation of QDM and the QDMA are being damaged by misrepresentation of what QDM really is. When a hunter says "I only shoot bucks that score 'X'," that's fine with me. More power to them. But please don't call that QDM. It is not. QDM is a very specific form of management with very specific biological goals. If management practices are going to promoted and advertised as QDM, they better actually be QDM.

As I've said a million times, QDM is not for everybody. I doubt it will ever become the predominant form of hunting/management in the deer hunting world. And it should always be voluntary. But if hunters decide they don't like QDM and speak out against it. I want to ensure they are actually opposed to the real ideas behind QDM, and not a hodge-podge of other management practices accidentally or purposeful hidden behind the cloak of QDM.

There are many QDM advocates that have spent too many years and untold effort traveling across the country advocating, teaching and promoting QDM and the QDMA to see the practice and organization's reputations ruined by misinformation.

dahusker
07-14-2011, 02:35 PM
I hear what you are saying and I know you are speaking the truth. There has and can be a QDM backlash by people "forcing" their opinions down others throats. That's why I don't do it or at least try not to come off like that anyway. I encourage people to pass 1 and 2 yr olds and take the "apropriate" amount of does for that area.

I don't and nobody should ever degrade or berate another for what they consider to be a worthy animal (so long as it's legal). That's why our personal choices are our own. In my style of "promoting" QDM I "encourage" people by showing what the animal "could" be if it was allowed to live maybe just another year or two. But so long as it's legal it's all up to the tag holder.

We agree BSK and I understand your point of contention about not calling TDM QDM in order to keep QDM principles from being frowned upon. Those who might be more serious or have different types of opportunities that others might not can (at times) leave a bad taste in the mouths of the masses.

ridgetop
07-14-2011, 02:38 PM
BSK
By killing them. What do you think a "cull" buck is? It is a buck that doesn't display "desireable" antlers hence is shot to get him out of the herd.


If he's mature and that is the largest set of antlers he will achieve then no better time then now to take that trophy. If someone wants to label it a cull buck that's fine with me.

That depends on the type of food provided. Does it come out of a bag, fed to deer in troughs? Or does it grow out of the ground and is it naturally sustainable?

Feeder are illegal to use in WI so I was talking about planting food plots, warm and cold season. I also don't have any issues what so ever with people that use feeder where allowed. To each his own.

So which is it, producing "the Biggest bucks possible in my area," or "it's all about age?" If you produce mature bucks but they DON'T grow large antlers, are you still successful? What are your criteria for "success?"

Easy question, They go hand in hand. MOST of the time the largest bucks are the oldest. Success for me is giving any individual buck the opportunity to reach maturity.

dahusker
Whether it's called QDM, TDM or whatever I don't really care personally. The bottom line to me is that I help the herd and take care of my habitat and family's property much better now than before QDM or any type of management style was used on our property. Whether someone pushes to pass all 1.5, 2.5 or even 3.5 and 4.5 really probably depends more on how many acres and what type of neighbors they have than anything IMO. If all of our neighbors and the laws allowed for everything to be taken around me I'd probably be happy with taking any 3.5 yr old every year. Because I have a better situation and can push deer to 5.5 on most occasions (I'm lucky) I still consider myself to be practicing QDM. I just don't tell folks not to shoot 3.5 or 4.5, I say heck they are good fairly mature or mature deer go ahead.

Bottom line is that we are all helping make things better IMO.

Couldn't have said it any better +1

tmoenhunter
07-16-2011, 02:15 PM
alot of young bucks are shot here. I'd say most 2.5 yr olds are around the 110 inch mark give 5 in. or take 10 :) a 3.5 is around the 120-125 inches. not too many get to be older than that.

BSK_
07-16-2011, 03:56 PM
By killing them. What do you think a "cull" buck is? It is a buck that doesn't display "desireable" antlers hence is shot to get him out of the herd.

If he's mature and that is the largest set of antlers he will achieve then no better time then now to take that trophy. If someone wants to label it a cull buck that's fine with me.

Labeling that buck a "cull" is NOT fine with me. Per the dictionary and common use definitions, "culling usually implies the killing of animals with undesirable characteristics." When it comes to the term "cull buck"--a small-antlered mature buck--that implies the only "desireable characteristic" of a buck is his antler. The fact he is mature plays no role in his desireability.

If hunters-managers are "culling" mature bucks with small antlers, then they believe a mature buck has no value other than his antlers. However, one of the primary QDM principles of an advanced buck age structure is that mature bucks play a critical role in the social dynamics of a deer herd. Having mature bucks in a herd plays an important biological role, regardless of their antler size. So when hunters-managers recommend culling to others, are they accurately promoting QDM?

Munsterlndr
07-16-2011, 06:02 PM
"However, it isn't just the actual practice of TDM I'm concerned about (and people should be free to practice TDM if they want; just don't call it QDM). I'm concerned about the growing trend in the "trophyist" mindset, where the only value placed on deer is in the inches of antler grown. In my opinion, this is a disturbing trend."

+1
Amen!

UGUIDE
07-16-2011, 11:50 PM
I hate to say it BSK but without the T in TDM there might now be much of a QDMA today.

There's alot of interest in the T. I love to watch the ourdoor channels and am watching one right now. Quess what they are talking about? Yep.....Big Deer. BBD means what? Big Buck Down.

The nice thing about this is that if you sell the T you get the Q as is evidenced by the great habitat forums on this site.

I sell pheasant hunts for 9 landowners in SD that control 25,000 acres in total. This year I will buy them QDMA memberships. Why? Because the T in TDM is bigger than the C in cockbird. These landowners have an interest in harvesting trophy whitetails on their property and don't care if they ever shoot a pheasant. How do you get them to create more habitat for pheasants? By doing it for deer for the big "T" in TDM. Then we get QDM and QPM (Quality Pheasant Management).

If you are truly passionate about QDM, never loose site of the carrot that drives the passion for hunters to buy land and augment it for their passion and obsession.

Private landowners that are interested in adding habitat for the purpose of TDM, QDM or QDP are all AOK with me.

Side Hill Growler
07-17-2011, 07:36 AM
I would have to say that here in Maine a mature buck is usually over 200 lbs field dressed, if the habitat is sufficient. More people are starting to get interested in antler scores, but it's not a dominant factor.

BSK_
07-18-2011, 10:36 AM
I hate to say it BSK but without the T in TDM there might now be much of a QDMA today.

There's alot of interest in the T. I love to watch the ourdoor channels and am watching one right now. Quess what they are talking about? Yep.....Big Deer. BBD means what? Big Buck Down.

The nice thing about this is that if you sell the T you get the Q as is evidenced by the great habitat forums on this site.

I sell pheasant hunts for 9 landowners in SD that control 25,000 acres in total. This year I will buy them QDMA memberships. Why? Because the T in TDM is bigger than the C in cockbird. These landowners have an interest in harvesting trophy whitetails on their property and don't care if they ever shoot a pheasant. How do you get them to create more habitat for pheasants? By doing it for deer for the big "T" in TDM. Then we get QDM and QPM (Quality Pheasant Management).

If you are truly passionate about QDM, never loose site of the carrot that drives the passion for hunters to buy land and augment it for their passion and obsession.

Private landowners that are interested in adding habitat for the purpose of TDM, QDM or QDP are all AOK with me.

All valid arguments UGUIDE. Many withing the QDMA leadership make the same arguments. Basically: 1) Great interest exists in trophy hunting; 2) Trophy hunting is "where the money is;" 3) If we want to constantly grow the size and influence of the organization, we need to embrace the trophy movement; and 4) By embracing the trophy movement, the organization attracts the financial support of many of the large hunting equipment manufacturers, TV hunting shows, and trophy hunting organizations, all of which can broaden awareness of QDM concepts and the QDMA organization. Again, all valid arguments, and probably very accurate IF the QDMA is going to continue to expand in membership.

However, I have a different view, that I'm sure will be VERY unpopular. Perhaps continuously growing the QDMA organization isn't a good thing IF that requires dilution of the message. From my perspective, the power of the QDM concept and the QDMA organization was that they were so biologically and ethically defensible. The QDM concept and the QDMA organization were conceived, created and run by wildlife scientists. The organization was developed as an educational organization, for the purpose of teaching and sharing information on biologically sound deer management to hunters and wildlife professionals alike. And that's why I've spent so much time and energy promoting, teaching, and defending QDM over the last 16 or so years.

Yet if the organization makes the decision to chase membership/money by embracing trophyism, isn't that "selling out" there original intent? Although those persuing trophy bucks can still use and promote some good management principles, trophyism still comes down to a value system based on antler inches. Doing whatever is necessary to produce the largest antlers possible is what trophy management is all about. The "measure of success" for a trophy management program is not healthy, balanced deer herds in balance with their environment (the goal of a QDM program). The measure of success for a trophy management program is inches of antler grown.

This may seem like a very subtle difference. But to this wildlife professional, it is a HUGE and very distinct difference. As I mentioned earlier, I've been such a staunch advocate of QDM because it is biologically and ethical defensible. However, I personally do not find the main tennants of trophy management to be biologically or ethically defensible. If "embracing" trophy concepts is the route the QDMA goes to increase membership, it would no longer be an organization I could support and advocate.

Side Hill Growler
07-18-2011, 11:44 AM
All valid arguments UGUIDE. Many withing the QDMA leadership make the same arguments. Basically: 1) Great interest exists in trophy hunting; 2) Trophy hunting is "where the money is;" 3) If we want to constantly grow the size and influence of the organization, we need to embrace the trophy movement; and 4) By embracing the trophy movement, the organization attracts the financial support of many of the large hunting equipment manufacturers, TV hunting shows, and trophy hunting organizations, all of which can broaden awareness of QDM concepts and the QDMA organization. Again, all valid arguments, and probably very accurate IF the QDMA is going to continue to expand in membership.

However, I have a different view, that I'm sure will be VERY unpopular. Perhaps continuously growing the QDMA organization isn't a good thing IF that requires dilution of the message. From my perspective, the power of the QDM concept and the QDMA organization was that they were so biologically and ethically defensible. The QDM concept and the QDMA organization were conceived, created and run by wildlife scientists. The organization was developed as an educational organization, for the purpose of teaching and sharing information on biologically sound deer management to hunters and wildlife professionals alike. And that's why I've spent so much time and energy promoting, teaching, and defending QDM over the last 16 or so years.

Yet if the organization makes the decision to chase membership/money by embracing trophyism, isn't that "selling out" there original intent? Although those persuing trophy bucks can still use and promote some good management principles, trophyism still comes down to a value system based on antler inches. Doing whatever is necessary to produce the largest antlers possible is what trophy management is all about. The "measure of success" for a trophy management program is not healthy, balanced deer herds in balance with their environment (the goal of a QDM program). The measure of success for a trophy management program is inches of antler grown.

This may seem like a very subtle difference. But to this wildlife professional, it is a HUGE and very distinct difference. As I mentioned earlier, I've been such a staunch advocate of QDM because it is biologically and ethical defensible. However, I personally do not find the main tennants of trophy management to be biologically or ethically defensible. If "embracing" trophy concepts is the route the QDMA goes to increase membership, it would no longer be an organization I could support and advocate.

My feelings also.

BSK_
07-18-2011, 02:57 PM
A perfect example of an "average" mature buck from my area. He grosses in the low 120s.

http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/ee175/BSK_04/buck0924e.jpg

MDuffy
07-18-2011, 04:34 PM
A perfect example of an "average" mature buck from my area. He grosses in the low 120s.

http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/ee175/BSK_04/buck0924e.jpg

3.5?

Is so, I would agree as to that being a very average 3 year old around here as well. Based on all of your posts I just assumed a 3.5 like that would be a giant in your area.

BSK_
07-18-2011, 04:48 PM
3.5?

Is so, I would agree as to that being a very average 3 year old around here as well. Based on all of your posts I just assumed a 3.5 like that would be a giant in your area.

Nope, 4 1/2. Goes to show the difference in body conformation from one geographic region to the next. That would be a good example (body conformation-wise) of a 3 1/2 from the North.

Our 3 1/2s only average gross around 105.

MDuffy
07-18-2011, 05:07 PM
Nope, 4 1/2. Goes to show the difference in body conformation from one geographic region to the next. That would be a good example (body conformation-wise) of a 3 1/2 from the North.

Our 3 1/2s only average gross around 105.

As an IL deer, neck said 4.5, but rump screamed 3.5.

PS I know we have had this discussion before, but I'm not that far north of you...;)

BSK_
07-18-2011, 05:40 PM
As an IL deer, neck said 4.5, but rump screamed 3.5.

That's another wierd one down here. Hams are HIGHLY variable--one of the most variable body conformation criteria. This is not the case in other regions. I use those last as a judgement for this geographic region. Neck-size and the front leg length to chest depth ratio will be the two most consistent rules to follow in this area.

PS I know we have had this discussion before, but I'm not that far north of you...;)

Distance-wise true, but deer body shape, worlds apart. We see some major differences in body conformation just moving from westcentral TN to westcentral KY. In that move you're crossing the Ultisol to Alfisol soil type line,which makes a big difference.

BSK_
07-18-2011, 05:43 PM
By the way MDuffy, that is one of the first bucks I've seen put on a monster jump in antler size from 4 1/2 to 5 1/2. Normally the increase is only a few inches. But that guy made a pretty big jump. Here he is last year at 5 1/2. Look at the tine length increase:

http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/ee175/BSK_04/live%20deer/buck1029b.jpg

MDuffy
07-18-2011, 05:48 PM
By the way MDuffy, that is one of the first bucks I've seen put on a monster jump in antler size from 4 1/2 to 5 1/2. Normally the increase is only a few inches. But that guy made a pretty big jump. Here he is last year at 5 1/2. Look at the tine length increase:

http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/ee175/BSK_04/live%20deer/buck1029b.jpg

I'm more impressed by the mass he put on.:eek: :eek:

We typically see the biggest jump in mass from 4-5. But some deer just never put it on.

BSK_
07-18-2011, 05:52 PM
I'm more impressed by the mass he put on.:eek: :eek:

Yeah, that's a darn good buck for the ridges-and-hollers of western Middle TN. The sad part is, one of my stands is 12 yards to his right in that picture and I decided not to hunt that stand that morning... I'm still kicking myself...


We typically see the biggest jump in mass from 4-5. But some deer just never put it on.

Here too. Big jump in mass from 4 to 5, but often not tine or beam length.

UGUIDE
07-18-2011, 06:03 PM
However, I have a different view, that I'm sure will be VERY unpopular.

BSK, I will always respect the person that is willing to be unpopular for the right reasons. I too enjoy the value of healthy conflict for the purpose of change for the better.

Without the principles and foundation of the QDM movement the TDM movement would not exist or be as prevalent and exciting as it is today.

I am not a fan of selling out or even being out of balance in life for the sake of deer management.

I will however try to dangle a little TDM carrot for the benefit of wild pheasants (and deer too) and that seems to be a good thing to do with conservation in mind.

Nice Buck! That is what my neighbor in WI would call a "Dandy!" (Ridgetop, not you....Matt W.)