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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking through the latest CBM record book, particularly whitetail scores, I was shocked to see that of the 10 highest scoring whitetails EVER taken in Michigan, only 3 have been killed in the past 30 years and none in the past 10.

One would assume that with all the new technology (weapons, camo, scents, surveillance, etc.), "knowledge" and habitat and management craze of the past decade, that hunters would kill (or at least grow) higher scoring deer. This just hasn't happened.

There could be a thousand reasons why this is so and I have theories, but I do not want to steer this one way or the other.

What are your thoughts?
 

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A lot less deer over the last 10-15 years in most parts of the state except on the Eastern part. Michigan still has a lot of hunters and they are hunting less deer. As hunters use better archery equipment and crossbows being allowed I would think more deer being harvested putting more pressure on the deer herd. Areas I hunt I have seen decreases every year for the last 10 years or so with the last 3-4 having a sharp drop off. Could be EHD too, it was a lot worse than the DNR will ever report. On public land I am seeing less mature buck sign every year.

Your looking at the 10 highest though, is there more entries over all in say the last 10 years?
 

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I've seen the same population decline as chuck. Especially the last 4 yrs.

Shoot too many and the population can't recover year to year and it results in a steep downward slope.

I'd say... 1988-1997 there were too many deer where I hunt (I'm talking you'd see 20 deer a sitting). 1998-2008 there was a good balance and the herd seemed more healthy. 2009-2014 they were pretty darn scarce and this year is continuing the trend for the worse.

So yea, they just get shot before they get that old. How many bucks are taken at 5.5 yr old? Not many.
 

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And then you have people that could care less about the record book and never entered their kills
 

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Good question Firefighter. I don't know for sure but I suspect that there were more older bucks in the herd 30, 40, 50 years ago - especially up here in the U.P. It used to be that there were many pretty remote areas that were not accessible by 4WD vehicles and ATV's - there were far fewer roads into these areas and a deer could survive several years without ever being seen by a hunter. Today there are logging roads pretty much everywhere and pretty much everyone has a 4 wheel drive truck and/or an ATV. There are few places that can't be reached by vehicle and then a short walk. There was an exception to this last year when many hunting camps were not accessible due to heavy snows just before the firearms season.

I'm betting that those top 10 Michigan bucks were older than the typical 3 or 4 year old trophies we have access to today. Let's face it, there are very few bucks in Michigan older than 4 1/2 years old. That's not to say that a 4 year old deer can't have a rack that scores exceptionally well, especially with good nutrition as you mentioned. I'm just thinking that many of those high scoring bucks were probably 5 - 7 year olds that just didn't experience the hunting pressure that our deer today do.

Genetics? Maybe an expert in this arena can weigh in. It just seems to me that the same genetics should be present in today's deer who inhabit the same area.
 

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1. Increase in hunters possibly leading to lower numbers of mature bucks.
2. Reduction of untainted habitat. Just look at the growth of AG tillable land, with farmers ripping out every fencerow possible. Less habitat and hiding areas for the big boys.

Just speaking from what I see in my local area, could be completely different in yours. And purely speculation on my part, not trying to start any debates. Just stating my observations.
 

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I have 20 acres in SE MI and the food is a factor, 30 years ago lots of dogwood patches, poplar, maple trees and other quality deer food now oak dominates and shades out the smaller stuff and acorns are the only good food produced. Look around... trees are more mature and shading and lots more oaks. Oh and Autumn Olive is taking over anyplace the oaks aren't. I spend considerable time every year cutting oaks and Autumn Olive, I'm losing! My neighbors property all the same!
 

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Looking through the latest CBM record book, particularly whitetail scores, I was shocked to see that of the 10 highest scoring whitetails EVER taken in Michigan, only 3 have been killed in the past 30 years and none in the past 10.
Does not detract from your point, but it is worth pointing out that the largest known set of whitetail antlers in Michigan history was found on a dead buck in Lenawee County, near Clinton, and that was certainly within the last ten years.
 

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1. Increase in hunters possibly leading to lower numbers of mature bucks.
2. Reduction of untainted habitat. Just look at the growth of AG tillable land, with farmers ripping out every fencerow possible. Less habitat and hiding areas for the big boys.

Just speaking from what I see in my local area, could be completely different in yours. And purely speculation on my part, not trying to start any debates. Just stating my observations.

Hunters have dropped for the last 20 yrs though. Kind of hard to say it is from increased hunter numbers. There were far more hunters in 1985.
 

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For anyone who might be interested, the new CBM Record Book came out around Sept. 1st.
 

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All the reasons stated above are good ones. Looks like Michigan is slowly moving toward APRs so we'll have to kick back and see what the future brings. We already know that Michigan can be a meat hunters paradise and we may soon see if it can also be a big buck hunters paradise. I'm just not sure if it can be both at the same time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
All the reasons stated above are good ones. Looks like Michigan is slowly moving toward APRs so we'll have to kick back and see what the future brings. We already know that Michigan can be a meat hunters paradise and we may soon see if it can also be a big buck hunters paradise. I'm just not sure if it can be both at the same time.
Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Does not detract from your point, but it is worth pointing out that the largest known set of whitetail antlers in Michigan history was found on a dead buck in Lenawee County, near Clinton, and that was certainly within the last ten years.
I don't believe that roadkill was ever officially scored by CBM.

I feel bad for the woman that GAVE away that 15000 dollar rack...
 

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DS...the numbers haven't dropped in the thumb area, where I hunt locally anyways. . .

BTW .Firefighter....Where does the Ed McCrea buck stack up for numbers? Just curious as it was a dandy to see in person. Just under 200" gross though...
 

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And then you have people that could care less about the record book and never entered their kills
That will always be true.
Sometimes bucks also aren't entered because the hunter knows that will be asked to sign his signature to a statement saying that the buck was harvested legally.

We are talking about the CBM book here. I have been told twice that very large bucks were not entered in the CBM book because of deductions. However they had been scored by BuckMasters or SCI or maybe both. I have no way of verifying this information, so it is hear-say info.
The list that firefighter is looking at is on page 7 of the new Record Book. All of these deer are Non-Typical. Something like the top 70 scoring bucks are all N-T, however, there are still deductions.......just not nearly as many as with "Typical" bucks.
Well, that does sit well with all hunters, me included. But since the B&C scoring method is the way it has been done since Day 1 of CBM.........that is most likely the way it will always be.
I sure would like to see what the CBM book would look like with no deductions and no inside spread. Simply score the antlers and write down the number.

L & O
 
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For anyone that has the new book......look at page 192. What jumps out at ya there ?

L & O
 

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Primitive weapons (archery and muzzleloader) became alot more advanced, thus more popular, extending the period of high pressure hunting dramatically. 40 years ago deer basically had 2 weeks that they had to survive, now it's 3 months. Think about that, a buck now has to avoid human predation for 25% of his life instead of 4%. No wonder older aged bucks are few and far between.
 

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I believe there are many more knowledgeable and proficient hunters now than there used to be. 30 years ago, by the time bucks got to be 3.5, there were only a very few hunters that could consistently outsmart them. Combine that with higher deer populations, and more bucks were probably getting old enough to get huge. Now, I believe that almost all bucks are killed by 3.5 years old.
 

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DS...the numbers haven't dropped in the thumb area, where I hunt locally anyways. . .

BTW .Firefighter....Where does the Ed McCrea buck stack up for numbers? Just curious as it was a dandy to see in person. Just under 200" gross though...

In the mid 80's we had over 1 million hunters in the state. Now we have a little over 700k. The numbers don't lie.
 

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That will always be true.
Sometimes bucks also aren't entered because the hunter knows that will be asked to sign his signature to a statement saying that the buck was harvested legally.

We are talking about the CBM book here. I have been told twice that very large bucks were not entered in the CBM book because of deductions. However they had been scored by BuckMasters or SCI or maybe both. I have no way of verifying this information, so it is hear-say info.
The list that firefighter is looking at is on page 7 of the new Record Book. All of these deer are Non-Typical. Something like the top 70 scoring bucks are all N-T, however, there are still deductions.......just not nearly as many as with "Typical" bucks.
Well, that does sit well with all hunters, me included. But since the B&C scoring method is the way it has been done since Day 1 of CBM.........that is most likely the way it will always be.
I sure would like to see what the CBM book would look like with no deductions and no inside spread. Simply score the antlers and write down the number.

L & O

I think some people aren't even aware of cbm.....or they don't respect it. That is why they would enter elsewhere but not cbm. I know person that has pope & young entries but never bothered with cbm. To him P&y is more prestigious and they wouldn't waste their time and money with cbm. I don't agree with it but I think that is the perception with some.

I also have talked to alot of hunters that have no idea what cbm even is. In my opinion it is very under advertised.

I remember years ago when I first got on the Internet I tried to look up cbm online. I got that buck fax website and it was vague and I wasn't really sure what i was looking at so i would close the page. I believe it is still sort of that way. The website is much better now but it still goes to buckfax.com
 
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