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Old August 7, 2013, 08:31 PM   #203
Senior Member
Join Date: December 28, 2006
Posts: 3,436
Originally posted by Gunplummer:
The PGC is not a government entity. They constantly pad the figures and lie.

Now why would they do that? What possible advantage would that give them? Since they are open in justification for deer numbers on their web-site, there is no reason for lies and excuses.

Nice section there called "Ask a deer biologist". Here's a coupla things he answers that have come up on this thread. Most interesting was the fact that the majority of hunters in PA support ARs and that those numbers are increasing.

Do you think hunters buy hunting licenses to see deer, or to watch tree’s grow? I do not need a license to watch trees grow. We are losing hunters every day due to the low deer numbers in Wildlife Management Unit 4A and 4D.

The argument that hunter numbers are declining because of reduced deer populations is not true. Hunter numbers have declined since 1983 at a consistent rate regardless of fluctuations in deer abundance. Recently an article addressing this was published in Game News. Fewer Deer & Fewer Hunters: Are They Related looks at the relationship between deer numbers and license sales.

With regard to deer and trees, the PGC’s deer management program includes a goal to manage deer for healthy and sustainable forest habitat for a number of reasons. First, this goal was unanimously selected by a group of statewide stakeholders – including the PA Federation of Sportsmen Clubs, Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania, PA Deer Association, Quality Deer Management Association, United Bowhunters of Pennsylvania, and National Wild Turkey Federation. Second, the PGC’s constitutional and legal mandates require us to manage deer in the context of what is best for deer, wildlife, and habitat for now and into the future. Forests are a critical habitat for most wildlife in Pennsylvania. Third, it is well documented that deer can negatively impact forest regeneration when not managed properly. Finally, deer rely on seedlings and saplings (i.e., regeneration) for browse. Therefore, our goal of considering forest sustainability and regeneration as part of the deer management program is appropriate and responsible.

Further information on the PGC’s deer management program and the role of forests in deer management can also be found in What is a healthy forest?

Antler restrictions are killing our best genetics by harvesting 6 & 8 pointers 1.5 year olds. What do you think?

Antler restrictions have been a positive for Pennsylvania’s deer management program. Since antler restrictions started in 2002, yearling buck survival has increased (from 15% to 52%), harvest of adult bucks has increased (from ~20% to ~50% of total buck harvest), and hunter support has increased (from 57% to 63%). However, there are still criticisms, many of which center around genetics. The argument that we are removing our “best” yearling bucks from the population, which in turn is affecting population genetics, is common. However, when we take a closer look, with the help of new technology and research, the genetics concern is unfounded.

First, deer are wild animals in an uncontrolled environment. Unlike a bull in a pasture full of cows that can’t run away, a buck’s world is full of competition. Bucks compete with each other and must compete for receptive does. Genetics research has shown that yearling males are participating in breeding even in populations with 50% of males being 3.5 years old and older. Since most of Pennsylvania’s bucks are harvested during the gun season and AFTER the breeding season, a yearling buck that is removed has likely already had the opportunity to breed and pass on his genes.

Second, recent research has shown that the amount of growth in the first set of antlers in white-tailed males is a poor predictor of antler growth at maturity. A study conducted over 10 years which followed hundreds of wild, free-ranging white-tailed bucks from their first set of antlers found that by the time bucks reached maturity (4.5 years old), there was no difference in antler measurements between those that had spikes or 3 points as yearlings compared to those that had 4 or more points as yearlings. This suggests that spike and 3-point yearlings can grow the same size antlers as yearling bucks with 4 or more points. All have the capability to produce large antlers at maturity.

Third, let us not forget that all deer receive genes from both their parents. To date, no one has classified the genetic contribution of a doe to her male fawn’s antler growth. And in Pennsylvania, there is no harvest selection on adult does. Their removal is “genetically” random.

Even if we wanted to alter the genetics of Pennsylvania’s deer herd, it would be extremely difficult to do.
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