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Butten Bucks

1192 Views 8 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Barney
Over the last week I did an "informal" poll of a few deer processers in my area. 5 to be exact. In the December doe season, 50 to 60% of the deer they cut up were button bucks!! How in the world are we going to get a better buck to doe ratio if we kill off all of next years bucks! Shouldn't we protect them by having a DOE only antlerless hunt. If we can't govern ourselves maybe we need to change THE LAW.I have to work thursday night, I hope one of you will bring this up to the DNR officer in the chat room. Thanks for letting me vent a little.

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I'd be 100% in support of a doe only season instead of the antlerless season we have now. If fact, I'd be in full support of a doe only hunting YEAR next year (I meant this year)! If that will help the herd get better balanced then that is exactly what should be looked into. I too cannot make the campfire this week, so someone please raise the issue to our DNR officer.


[This message has been edited by SalmonSlayer (edited 02-02-2000).]
Dutchman, this is just another example of why we need mandatory QDM and why voluntary management will never work. We have too many people that take the hunting approach, if it’s brown it’s down. One of the best things you can do is to try and educate your neighbors on how to identify a button buck from a doe.

When I harvest an animal, it is for the food that it provides not the rack on the wall. I would be HAPPY to support a doe only season or 2, whatever it would take. Unfortunately, there are too many hunters that hunt for the rack only so a doe only season would get some heat from them. I am looking forward to seeing what the DNR officer has to say about it Thursday night.
We need to educate everyone on deer management, not QDM. We have the choice with a doe permit to shoot or not. We are not mind readers and have no idea the kind of winter mother nature has in store and the fawn of the year will be the first to perish. I fail to see how mandatory QDM will help reduce the button buck kill. It should be easy for a bow hunter to identify that button buck at 20 yards and a gun hunter should wait until the target is known. If you don't know don't shoot. I can't see the judge in the courtroom handing down a fine because an inexperienced deer hunter killed a button buck instead of the fawn doe that was with him. Can you? Instead of complaining about the problem we should be out there educating.
Stinger has a point as to enforcement problems. This year, my hunting partner mistakenly took a button buck. This was after BOTH of us were surveying the deer. We both had binocs, and 9x scopes, turned up, in good weather.

The deer was the 3rd entering a field, in a group of 6. The deer was only 70 yds away. Neither us us could see ANYTHING until we approached the deer. The bumps were maybe 1/2 an inch. The deer was in the middle of the size range. Should there be a penalty for this? It was taken to fill the freezer, and was taken after much consideration. ( Our buck/doe ratio has not been very good.)

I support the "no buttons" thought, but it seems a little bit of a catch 22 in reference to enforcement.
Hear are a few general guidelines to help tell the difference between a yearling and a doe. I don’t think anyone would be expected to see buttons on a yearling at any distance over 20 yards.

Yearlings are more square than a doe. A doe is usually longer than she is high if you only take into account her body (disregard her neck and head) which makes her body look more rectangle. A yearling’s length is about the same as its height which makes the deer look square.

Yearlings usually have short stubby noses while does have longer and more slender noses.

Yearlings appear to have a neck that is too short for their body while a doe appears to have a longer neck that is more proportional to her body size.

If I see a single antlerless deer in the fall I usually assume it is a button buck. Button bucks will leave their mother or will be run off once the rut has started.

The most obvious generalization is that does have larger bodies than their yearlings. In southern Michigan some of the yearlings can get big but I have yet to see one that I would guess to weigh over 100-110 lbs.. So if you see a group of deer the best advice would be to shoot the largest deer if your worried about shooting a button buck.

Hope this helps

Some excellent comments, and some more thoughts on button/fawn bucks. They are generally larger than doe fawns and towards the end of the December hunting season are somewhat difficult to distinguish from a yearling doe. Some general tips to harvest an older doe and to avoid harvesting a buck fawn include:
 Don't harvest an antlerless deer that appears alone. Does rarely travel alone.
 Wait until several deer are together and then look for obvious size differences.
 Later in the hunting season, it is not uncommon for "orphaned" twin fawns to feed in food plots. Probability dictates one's a buck and one's a doe. In this situation, it is easy to mistake the buck fawn for an adult doe, since it is normally larger than the doe fawn.
 Close inspection with binoculars looking for pedicles or antler bases (particularly from the side view) helps avoid harvesting the nubbin buck.
 Pay attention to obvious fawns throughout the season, look for indications of pedicle development, body shape, etc.
 Watch the behavior of deer. Fawns are playful, curious, and not as cautious as adult does.
 Don't wait until you're ready to harvest a doe to look for differences.
 Don't harvest deer with short snouts.
 Look for "wear and tear" signs that typify mature does (for example, ears that appear too short for the head, a swayed back, and sagging belly). The snout of an adult doe is relatively longer than a fawn's. An adult doe's body is rectangular shaped, while a fawn's body is square shaped.
 And especially important, if you're not sure, wait to harvest an animal when you can make a more positive identification.

These above tips are included in a QDMA publication.

Talk to your friends and neighbors about the deer population in your area. The DNR has given us a tool in the doe permits to manage our own herds. The people who harvested too many does did not see as many deer this year. We need to educate people and have them understand that if they harvest alot of does or button bucks you will not see as many deer. If you harvest a button buck by mistake then that is what it was a mistake. If you feel bad then don't harvest another buck that year. There is no perfect solution. Someone will not like it no matter what the law is.

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