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Discussion Starter #1
A fast and ACCURATE field judgement is most important : yet it requires a lot of experience, leading to a fast, but calm and accurate, appraisal of the whole situation.
This is best acquired, more quickly, and "healthily" by becoming very familiar with deer outside of the hunting season, without any weapon in hands ...
Yet, according to my experience with red deer, it may frequently keep very difficult to distinguish between a strong male calf, without buttons, and a weak yearling hind.
The same hold true for counting the number of points, depending upon the way you are seeing the stag :some points may very well be eclipsed by others if the stag does not obligingly turn his head for you before beeing shot...(If he does'nt, if you are looking at him from the side, most of the time, a very discrete noise will successfuly made him turn his head to face you, better be well hidden and ready to shoot quickly as soon as you have checked what you needed to know).
As I already said elsewhere in this Forum, some French management units have tried, without any success, to promote a selective shooting of stags, based upon age / number of points to improve quality and the age structure of the different populations. Not only did it not work, but there were so many faults being done that the authors could not be punished : the minimum length required to be a point was 2inches ...also when I read of a single inch limit, I am very sceptical !
You have also to know that in France,red deer hunting season lasts 4 or 5 months (depending on the cull needed to solve any density problem): one could think such a long season would favour a better choice of the stags to be shot, yet it does not : the trophy mania is such, that due to the fact there are much more hunters than stags to be shot, most hunters shoot on the first stag they see , before any other one takes care of it ! Of course, the younger stags pay a heavy price and as much too many are shot, quickly, older, really mature stags become REAL ghosts of the forest (sounds familiar ?).
From what I have read, the number problem is not really yours in the actual situation : Yet, if you come to take measures to improve the sex ratio and age structure (which badly need it),you necessarily will have to limit bucks shooting, one way or another, and as I am sure you can be much more disciplined than French hunters, I feel it could be a good idea to lengthen your gun hunting season to eliminate any urge to shoot : a better choices of the preys would then be much more likely to happen.
 

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Sure sounds similar to our white-tailed deer situation. Sex ratios and age distribution are not what they should be, but coming up with an effective solution that is agreeable to the majority of hunters is an awful big challenge. It continues to be a work-in- progress.

Boyd
 

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I feel like most hunters would appreciate a longer hunting season. Mostly though, it would give guys more options of days to hunt but they would most likely still hunt for short periods and take the first "good" deer they see. It might only mean that the hunter has a wider window to place his 3 day hunt into. Personally, I would probably still hunt the opening week. I would then have an opportunity to add a saturday or two later on. I'm still learning, but I think I can pick a Doe out (now) from a button buck. It could be a real effort to figure out the age of a fully grown buck though. Because of the good healthy habitat in our area, all bucks have showy racks or none at all. I will be paying better attention this year.

[This message has been edited by Sarge (edited 09-07-2000).]
 

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To Boyd :
"Awful big challenge" : I have known about this for over 15 years, the 10 previous ones I was absolutely convinced things would change the following year ...
I read about the "Georgia Dooly county", this is why I wrote, above, that you can be much more disciplined and concerned by wildlife than French hunters and public. I also read about DMU 107, which also demonstrates just that (even if it is only a beginning).
With these two examples, I feel you have good reasons to think the day will come...
Of course it is important to get a minimum of approval to start the process, but some sound and irreprochable regulations are also taken without a previous majority approval.
When this is the case, after a short time of incomprehension and bad feelings, the rightness of these regulations finishes by becoming evident, and the process can go on : after all, Liberty does not mean licence and Rights do not exclude Duties.
Go on with your "message", if not by all hunters, you will be followed by a general public motivated by wildlife protection, and in a democracy like yours, the reluctant hunters will necessarily have to follow.

To Sarge :
As I emailed you privately, I think what
T. BUBENIK once said on the subject "The user must be useful to the used" (Which I learned from a WI DNR), perfectly resumes the problem.
However, I must also tell you, I feel impossible to reach the goal if hunters are not ready to spend more than a few days hunting every years and are just after meat,and some meaningless trophy, which necessarily exclude any possibility of good management : in a very rich red deer territory, I used to "run" the forest, stalking, or on "High seats", for many days, to see many deer, without finding any occasion to USEFULLY shot one !!! But what a great joy when I did !!!

Friendly yours,
Jack.
 
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