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Antlerless Harvest and the OBR

Discussion in 'Indiana Whitetail Hunting' started by November Sunrise, Aug 15, 2006.

  1. For the past 6-7 years in southern MI the DNR has made a focused attempt to address a significant overpopulation challenge with the whitetail herd. Their solutions have included "unlimited" antlerless tags in many areas (from 2003-2005 a tag per day could be purchased until the allotment ran out, and in many areas thousands of tags still went unsold), an extended antlerless only deer season during the final 10-12 days of December into very early January, extending the muzzleloader season for all deer from 10 to 17 days, etc.

    This past winter state biologists prepared written reports for each management unit, and in the majority of S MI units they indicated that the populations were still well over the goal, thus leading to overbrowsing of plant life, an unnacceptably number of car/deer accidents, crop damage concerns, etc.

    Despite all of these efforts, the overpopulation challenges exist, and over the past two seasons in southern MI only 51% of the total harvest has consisted of antlerless deer.

    What's the issue? In my estimation, it boils down to the fact that hunters in MI can tag two antlered deer per year on a "combo tag". A combo tag permits the hunter to harvest two antlered bucks during any combination of seasons. One of the tags does have a minimum antler restriction requirement. What we've found in MI is that the focus on pursuing multiple antlered bucks minimizes the attention which is needed and merited for keeping the population in control through an appropriate doe harvest.

    What does this have to do with Indiana?

    As you're involved in spreading the good news about the success of the OBR in terms of increasing record book entries & the number of bucks 2.5 years or older that are being harvested, don't lose sight of the fact that the antlerless deer harvest has also increased appreciably in recent years, in direct correlation to the implementation of the OBR. Anyone who believes that the increase in antlerless harvest is attributable just to the fact that more tags have become available needs only to look at the example in MI to understand that an abundance of tags doesn't automatically translate to increased harvest. The persistent struggles that the state of WI is also experiencing in keeping their population line provides further evidence of that fact.

    In 2001 the antlerless harvest in IN was 53.8% of the total harvest. In 2005 it was 58.2%. This is an increase of 4.4 points, or 8.2%. The number of antlerless deer harvested jumped from 54,806 in 2001 to 73,038 in 2005, which is a 33% jump.

    Looking at another one buck state, Ohio, their most recent available information is from 2004. Their antlerless harvest was 130,989 (60.5%) of their total harvest of 216,443.

    One of the least discussed facts about a one buck limit is how integral it is to achieving an adequate antlerless harvest. It seems to me that you'll greatly benefit if you keep this fact at the forefront of your efforts to educate others about the success of the OBR. While everyone loves having more big bucks around, much of the future of hunting will be tied into the public's understanding that a hunter's role is to be a good steward of the resource. Regulations that serve to maintain the population in harmony with the social and biological carrying capacity of the habitat are a win from any perspective. Better than any other alternative, a OBR accomplishes that.

  2. The problem with that "direct correlation" is that a significant increase didn't occur until 2004(antlerless quotas were increased and herd reduction counties created) and 2005 (bonus antlerless permits were allowed in the early archery season for the first time). It seems the correlation is more directly related to those rule changes than the OBR.

  3. Deerdemon, You Just Wont Give Up Trying To Stir The Pot On This Issue , The Points Made In This Thread Are Very Valid, Your Opinions Are Fine ,but Seems To Me You Enjoy Getting People Worked Up!!!!
  4. As a percentage of total harvest, the antlerless kill has steadily increased since the 3 year period of 99-01:

    99-01 antlerless harvest = 53.8% of total

    02 antlerless harvest = 54.8% of total

    03 antlerless harvest = 53.7% of total

    04 antlerless harvest = 55.5% of total

    05 antlerless harvest = 58.2% of total

    The results in southern MI & WI point to the fact that unlimited antlerless tags don't effectively stimulate appropriate antlerless harvest when an opportunity remains to take multiple antlered bucks.

    It's an incongruent message for a state wildlife agency to offer the opportunity to harvest multiple antlered bucks while simultaneously proclaiming the critical importance of an adequate antlerless harvest. Most hunters are only going to shoot a couple of deer annually, and while they may give mental assent to the importance of antlerless harvest, if they can take two antlered bucks, in many cases it eliminates in their mind the "need" for them to personally take a doe or two.
  5. November Sunrise, Welcome to I find it interesting that so far we have two Michigan deer enthusiasts who know more about Indiana's current Big Buck Status than some of our own residents do.

    You're very correct Sunrise. If Michigan would adopt an OBR then hunters who wanted meat would shoot more does. This fact has been apparent in Indiana. Actually, our antlerless system was opened up and "liberalized" in the mid 1990s statewide. More hunters shot does and some bucks that were shot in the past began to slip through the cracks. This is the sole reason why there was an increase in age structure prior to the implementation Pre-OBR. We actually had a jumpstart before the OBR went into effect. But good luck getting any of our biologists to see this. Actually, I'm certain that they know it, but are reluctant to talk about it.

    Biologists who are up to date and modern understand that when deer density falls, size and age of bucks goes up. Why some people don't understand this is beyond me. Also, big mature bucks are harvested from herds where the density is below carrying capacity and does are harvested annually to keep the buck: doe ratio fairly tight. Again, our biologists care nothing about buck:doe ratios and having a great age structure in our bucks.

    I would suggest you try to get the MDNR to start a campaign of educating some of your hunters to accept the role of shooting does as their method of increasing their chances at better bucks. As you know (as well as the MDNR) shooting bucks does nothing (or at the least very little) for herd management...especially in the long run. SEE: Michigan as a whole; and Indiana pre-modern era.

    You guys have probably at least 10 times the deer that we have in Indiana; harvest probably 4 times as many, yet we are outproducing you in terms of Boone and Crocketts???? That right there should tell the story. But the average guy doesn't understand this.

    Unfortunately, from what Munsterlander tells us, the MDNR isn't entirely different than the IDNR when it comes to the fact that they are in it more for revenue than anything else.
    Until you get the OBR, Sunrise, prepare to be frustrated for the long haul.

    Until your hunters are "forced" to harvest does (if they want more venison) will they actually do it. Until this happens, your bucks will continue to be overharvested and will the sex ratio remain skewed terribly towards females. It was like this in Indiana too; prior to just recently. And with this overpopulation comes so many problems.

    Indiana's herd is in the best shape that it ever has been, but there is still work to be had.

    If we go back to a two buck format, look for the age structure and improved buck to doe ratio to slowly reverse back to the way it used to be. It would take longer than some 3 year test to show the results also, and the IDNR knows this.

    Good luck!!!!
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 16, 2006
  6. Munsterlander, Can you provide the total numbers for deer harvested in Michigan for the 3 year period '02,'03, and '04???? I know how many Boone and Crockett bucks tha Michigan produced for that 3 year period.

    I'll post Indiana's numbers for that same period.........
  7. November Sunrise..

    The OBR is a very simple concept, people will only harvest so many deer for their usage. If you limit people to one antlered deer they must take antlerless to fill their freezers.

    What we see in Indiana is the result of this.

    DeerDemon/CutNShoot/Woody/willie/??? has to have the rush of killing a antlered deer. He finds no (competitive) spirit in killing does. Indiana has a few dinasours left, we are doing our best to bury them!

    I also welcome our QDM brothers from the north, I'm sure DeerDemon is working hard to revise his graphs..........
  8. Dean -

    2002 - 476,215 51% Bucks
    2003 - 499,747 51% Bucks
    2004 - 456,422 50% Bucks
    2005 - 417,251 52% Bucks

    As you can see our annual harvest is decreasing and our doe harvest is decreasing, as well. Michigan really needs to go to OBR and get the buck harvest down to about 46-47% of the total deer harvest. To dream the impossible dream!
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 16, 2006
  9. Thanks MunsterIndr for the information
  10. This link is to a news release that details the fact that WI has 137 deer management units (DMU's), and all but 12 of them exceed DNR population goals. Wisconsin's season structure is the same as what Indiana's used to be - one antlered buck during archery season, and one during firearm/muzzleloader season. Despite the reality of CWD in their midst they continue to struggle with an antlerless population that's out of control. When state regulations provide an opportunity for multiple antlered bucks to be harvested, it minimizes the attention which is needed and merited from hunters to keep the population in control through an appropriate doe harvest.
  11. November - good info and an excellent point...

    A parallel corollary is the concept of Actual Harvest Opportunities, and to coin an acronym, AHO = (total season days - (unhuntable weather days + missed days)) X hunting success probability factor...

    AHO = (TSD - (UWD + MD)) X HSPF

    In other words, the season is only so long, many days are missed due to poor weather, work, etc, and on days one actually can hunt, in a given habitat and deer density, that deer still has to walk within shooting range (and not see/hear/smell you) to be eligible for harvest...

    If someone is using their AHO to put down two bucks, by definition, the probabilities of them having time and energy to take a doe or two go down dramatically...

    BTW, I also have a Beer Consumption Time/Space Continuum Theory that I've been researching...
  12. You have that backwards I am not in a competition with anyone, I kill what pleases me and I am certainly not the one asking the state to help me out when I am unable to do so. I don't need to see my name in some record book to validate my hunting ability. Since you are not sure enough to take my little wager about my identity I would suggest you quit saying I am this Woody guy or cut-n-shoot.

    BTW, the harvest percentages showed exactly what I said before, the antlerless harvest increase did not occur until '04 and '05. The antlerless harvest percentage actually dropped in '03.
  13. In the immortal words of Ronald Reagan...... There you go again!

    Your mistake was pointed out to you before, so in continuing to repeat this mis-statement one must conclude that you are intentionally trying to fool people.

    The antlerless harvest started to increase in 2002, the first year of OBR and continued to increase every year of the OBR. So your repeated statement that the increase did not begin until 04' & 05' is just flat out wrong.

    If you have to debate by misrepresenting what actually happend then you must be pretty desperate.
  14. Munstrlndr............

    they are despreate, if they do not get some sort of "reprieve"( 2 buck test period) they know they have lost .

    To give false information is their only chance.....

    DeerDemon you want to wager that 500.00 how about a good wager.........

    I say the OBR continues........ you want to bet otherwise?