John's Journal...

Deer Hunting Can Be Too Rulified

The Rules Don’t Fit

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Perhaps deer hunting’s becoming too rulified with so many rules making the sport less fun for all of us. I’ve deer hunted all my life, as has my family. I went to the college I picked primarily because I belonged to a deer lease less than 15 minutes from my dormitory room. As far back as we have a family history, the men in our family always have hunted deer. That’s part of the reason I’ve examined the new idea that we all have to take monster bucks. I wonder if the resulting rules have made us lose some of the joy and fun that we once have delighted in while hunting deer.

“I think one of the biggest problems with deer hunting is we’re trying to make everyone’s expectation levels the same,” says deer researcher Dr. Grant WoodClick to enlarges, “but everyone doesn’t have to harvest a trophy buck. Some newcomers to the sport or even people who haveparticipated in hunting for a long time but haven’t taken many bucks should be able to go out into the woods, take younger bucks and be happy about it. However, also the hunters who have taken younger bucks and now want to have an opportunity to take older-age-class bucks with more antlers need a place to hunt.”

“Yet, what often happens on leases is we make the rules for those who want to take the older-age-class bucks, and we often disregard the feelings of the hunters who’d be just as satisfied to take a 6-point buck. I think the biggest problem with deer hunting right now is when we try and make rules that will suit everyone. You don’t have the same rules in T-ball that you do in major-league Click to enlargebaseball, slow-pitch softball or fast-pitch softball. Various skill levels and levels of satisfaction have different rules. Deer hunters need to realize that hunting trophy bucks and raising trophy bucks isn’t what everybody needs to do. I think that trying to put all deer hunters in one camp and making rules for all deer hunters in all camps is very negative to our sport.

“If I go bowling, which I do about once every five years, and I score 100, I’ve enjoyed my trip to the bowling alley. However, I have buddies who when they go bowling, if they don’t score over 200 points, they’ll have a lousy time. We all went to the bowling alley but had different levels of expectations and levels of success.

“That’s what we have to remember as deer hunters. Not every group of deer hunteClick to enlargers wants to take trophy bucks. The large majority of deer hunters are satisfied with any buck or with a buck that scores less than 120 B&C. The problem with deer-hunting rules comes when someone says, ‘Your hunting success will be determined by the size deer that satisfies me.’ If your level of success in deer hunting philosophy is based on everyone being at the same level of hunting skills, then I think this will be bad for deer hunting.”

Brian Murphy of QDMA recalls, “My first buck was a button buck that I mistook for a doe. I’m still as proud of that deer as any large buck I’ve ever taken in my life. The most-important thing to me is a child’s having a positive first experience when he or she goes deer hunting and takes that first deer, no matter its size. If a quality deer-management club can’t sacrifice one yearling buck for a young hunter, then it really needs to examine why its members hunt.”


Check back each day this week for more about "Deer Hunting Can Be Too Rulified""

Day 1: The Real Story
Day 2: What Biologists Are Hearing from Hunters
Day 3: What QDMA Has Learned
Day 4: Where Hunters Get These Highly-Restrictive Rules
Day 5: The Rules Don’t Fit



Entry 425, Day 5