You certainly CAN separate ARs and herd reduction. Maybe most places don't, maybe your place doesn't but the two are not synonymous.
There are freak antlered deer everywhere. Almost anyone with trail cameras sees the bucks that only grew a spike on one side and has 4 on the other, or has one that's a bent over half grown fork or something.
The key is definitively tying an increase/proliferation of these animals to the implementation of an AR. I don't see any scientific evidence that does that. All I see is anecdotes, most of which come from people who opposed ARs before they were implemented and will use ARs to blame for anything they can find that's bad.
Most, if not all, scientific studies that I've seen suggest that ARs improve the average size of bucks.
I'm not saying you're lying or even necessarily wrong, I'm saying that "You should see..." has no meaning without historical context and data sets larger than rumors.
Still happily answering to the call-sign Peetza.
The problem, as you so eloquently put it, is choice.
He is no fool who gives what he can not keep to gain what he can not lose.
-Jim Eliott, paraphrasing Philip Henry.