Originally posted by Brian Pfleuger:
I would certainly need to see proof of a huge number of 3 year old spikes being taken.
Even with proof, a huge number of 3 1/2 year old spikes would indicate a problem with herd health, not genetics. While a 1 1/2 year old spike may or may not be an indication of genetics and the culling of spikes and other inferior racked animals can improve the odds of producing Trophy racks with a given area, producing true trophy racks are not the goal of mandatory ARs. Their goals are to increase herd health by creating better buck/doe ratios, improving hunt quality by making buck sightings more prevalent to the average hunter that hunts public land and by increasing the size and maturity of the average buck taken. The other options to this are generally shorter seasons or less public land access permits which equals less opportunities to hunt for the average Joe. This is unlike voluntary ARs on private property where animals are regularly observed and culled to leave those animals with the most potential. Not only are the size of the animal restricted, but so are hunter numbers. Whereas on a 1000 acres of private land there may be 10 hunters allowed to harvest a deer. No chance of decimating the buck population. On public land that size, with unlimited access, there may be 100 or more that show up on opening day. One way to control the amount of bucks shot is by restrictions on antler size. It's not perfect, but it's generally the best tool the state has to work with. Otherwise you're looking at a lottery system for access permits/buck tags or restricted to certain time periods. Which is most desirable?