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Old November 26, 2009, 10:28 AM   #33
Art Eatman
Staff Lead
Join Date: November 13, 1998
Location: Terlingua, TX; Thomasville, GA
Posts: 24,128
Seems to me that the health of the herd, the health of the species is more important than the satisfaction of the hunter--for all that I've always been an avid hunter.

A lot of the impetus for shooting bucks and not shooting does is a holdover from those years when the deer herds had declined in dramatic fashion all over the country. Shooting a doe was spending capital; shooting a buck was spending the interest returned from the capital. Hunters as a group created the game laws and the resurgence of deer populations is history.

There is a natural weeding-out process among bucks which eventually leads to the best genetics for survival being passed along in breeding. Shooting young bucks can cut off some of the better bloodlines from full maturity. That's part of the reasoning for restrictions against shooting the younger bucks.

Older, bigger-horned deer have already passed their genes into the pool, and taking them as a hunter's satisfaction for a bragging trophy doesn't hurt the overal health of the herd.

Given the population dynamics of deer, does must be shot for the good of the habitat. Else, the carrying capacity of the land is exceeded and the average size of all deer becomes smaller.

As far as today's regulations? Today's society is heavily urbanized, and the average hunter may not be conversant with all the various aspects of wildlife population dynamics. The agency people must accommodate both the hunters' capabilities and desires, and the biological realities--and those can easily be in opposition.
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