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Do you support Statewide Antler Point Restrictions?

  • Yes

    Votes: 277 67.7%
  • No

    Votes: 132 32.3%
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The anterless harvest in the northern lower is already adequate to more than adequate in all areas with the possible exception of agricultural areas. Therefore the idea of utilizing APRs as a method to encourage the doe harvest has no credence in that part of the state.

The factors that most affect antler growth or an increase of number of bucks in a particular age strata are available nutrition, winter severity, and positive habitat for the whitetail herd. Commercial poaching can also make a marked difference in any given area. Coyotes in large numbers as we have now can take a large proportion of fawns and thereby reduce the possible number of bucks for that age segment. There are too many other factors besides APRs that contribute to the supposed trophy buck population for APRs to make a marked difference in northern lower Michigan.

APRs will however lower the probability of hunter success and thus reduce the number of hunters willing to continue in the support of whitetail hunting. This issue will further divide the traditional hunters that pursue the activity for its enjoyment, table fare, recreation,etc from those that solely hunt whitetails for the goal of taking, what they consider to be, trophies.

Noone will have to worry about what the antihunting population will do to the activity of whitetail hunting because segments of the activity itself, that suggest regulations heaped upon regulations will mean positive whitetail management, are dividing and eroding the support for whitetail hunting all by themselves. It is time to encourage a solid base of support for whitetail hunting. That will not happen by focusing on a narrowly defined goal such as valuing the whitetail hunting experience by antler size alone.
well said.

20,922 Posts
I agree everyone dreams of antlers, But given a choice between APR'S AND A REDUCTION IN HUNTER SUCCESS RATES OF 40-60%..... I believe the majority especially in areas where doe permits are NOT AVAILABLE would be quite happy with any buck.

And there nothing wrong with you guys saying you want bigger antler's......So why do you all try to hide it with the other terms you use?

20,922 Posts
Kenn -
After watching that video that you posted where you filmed numerous younger bucks on opening day, I can understand why you might be bored and frustrated that you are not seeing trophy caliber bucks. I've also come to the conclusion that someone coming from that kind of a hunting environment will never understand what hunting in many of the Northern parts of the State is like. You see more bucks (or deer, for that matter) in one morning, then many Northern hunters will see in 5 or 6 years. It's not because you are some kind of hunting god or because they are crappy or lazy hunters (as you seem to imply), it's simply due to the differing deer densities and land ownership patterns in different parts of the State.

You guys want mandatory APR's so badly, then lobby for them to be applied across the board in the SLP. I'll back you 100% in that effort, I'll even join you speaking in front of the NRC promoting mandatory APR's for the SLP. But understand that hunting conditions are vastly different in other parts of the State and what the potential consequences will be for the casual hunter who has to pass on putting some meat in the freezer, all so that another hunter can put an extra 20" on the wall. Walk a mile in their shoes before you are so quick to judge.
This post is a very good one for the workgroup to consider, The difference in habitat and the deer herd between the 3 Zones is vast. The 3 zones should be considered individually.

20,922 Posts
I'm sure you looked at the declines in all the DMU's around 045.
Thanks for clearing that up Munster.......

Some people gather data before they establish their position. I have yet to find an area with antler restrictions that did not expierience a 40-60% drop after 5-6 years. I would welcome any data that shows APR's are a good LONG TERM solution

Maybe we should consider What Texas did in their AR areas. The started with OBR and added AR's. Then when the herd started to display signs of high grading, They made some adjustments.

They added a second tag making a combo and only ONE of those may be used on a buck with a spread 13" or greater..............Do you get that.. they changed their program to restrict the harvest of large bucks INSTEAD OF little bucks In response to long term problems with the program you support...........

Here is a passage from the MSU study that may explain the issue........

To determine if bucks protected at 1​
1⁄2 showed up
later in the harvest as older bucks, we compared the
number harvested per 1,000 acres on the 22 public areas.
The number of 1
1⁄2-year bucks harvested declined from
1.9 to 0.3 per 1,000 acres – which was the intent of the
antler restriction. However, the harvest of 2
1⁄2- and 31⁄2-
year bucks increased only slightly while total buck harvest
decreased from 3.1 to 1.8 bucks per 1,000 acres (see
Figure 4-B).
From these results we can draw two conclusions.
First, the change in percentage composition of the harvest
can be explained almost entirely by the removal of
1⁄2-year bucks from the harvest. Judging the success of
an antler restriction based solely on a shift in percentage
of age classes in the harvest can lead to incorrect conclusions.
Second, the regulation reduced overall buck harvest
about one third. While this reduction was restricted
to the yearling age class, the protected yearlings were not
taken in significant numbers in later years on these public
hunting areas.
We looked at several possible reasons many protected
bucks did not show up in the harvest in later years.
There was no change in overall hunting pressure after
starting the antler restriction. The harvest rate of does
remained steady, so there was no shift in harvest emphasis
away from bucks. Based on pre-antler restriction harvest
data, 18 percent of 2
1⁄2- and 31⁄2-year bucks and four
percent of 4
1⁄2-year and older bucks normally carried
fewer than four antler points and would have remained
ineligible for harvest. Also, nonharvest mortality could
explain some of the reduced harvest at older age classes.
Unbalanced yearling-buck dispersal may have been
another contributing factor. Finally, behavioral changes
may occur in older bucks that decreased their susceptibility
to harvest. The bottom line is that protecting 1
bucks with a 4-point antler restriction on public hunting
areas did not substantially increase the harvest of olderaged

bucks in later years on these areas.


20,922 Posts
Pinefarm.........Antlered harvest success rates DMU 045

pre apr


post apr

2007.....31%.......................5 year point

Now thats as a percentage........Actual harvest numbers look different

2002.......buck 973 .............total 1443 basline
2007..............1314.................... 1751 5 years
2009...............703.................... 1110 7 years

20,922 Posts


20,922 Posts
This is the 168 pg report, On the 26 year study conducted at the Kerr whitetail research facility. It explains in detail including photo's and graphs the effect of high grading on the deer herd.

High Grading could result from Antler point restrictions, With the long term effect of reducing the average antler size.

The workgroup should read and consider this study.


example...pg 48

"When starting a quality antler program calculate the proper number of deer a range should carry for habitat improvement. From this carrying capacity number, calculate how many does should be on this range if it were at a desired buck to doe ratio (somewhere between 1:1 to1:2). You now know the base number of does that you want to carry on your range. Remove does to that base number. Calculate the number of poor antlered males and other males that need to be removed to achieve the desired buck to doe ratio. Now forget about buck to doe ratios. Remove the calculated percent of the quality males and all the poor-antlered males. Don‘t worry about skewing the buck to doe ratio but be sure you remove at least enough males to achieve carrying capacity. Remember the example of 10 good bucks and 100 does producing 100 fawns. Half those fawns will be males and half will be females. The next year‘s buck to doe ratio will be closer to a one to one and less poor antlered males will be in the population. Because of the heritability of antler quality, over a period of years, the need to cull severely will lessen and more mature, better antlered males will be in the population. The population will begin to move to the desired buck to doe ratio. On the Kerr Wildlife Management Area, hunters are allowed to harvest any buck with 4 points or less and bucks with an antler spread that is wider than their ears. This insures that yearling bucks with the best antlers remain in the breeding population. Special antlerless hunts are also held to remove surplus does."

pg 49

Many people see the antler quality issue as —trophy management“ to be applied to large ranches with deer proof fences. The real application of this management knowledge is for areas with heavy hunting pressure and large numbers of young, poor quality antlered deer. Present hunting systems place greater hunting pressure on the young better quality antlered deer. If acceptable antler quality can be produced at 2 or 3 years of age, then there is less need to maintain bucks on the range until they are 5 or 6 years of age. By redistributing the harvest between the lesser quality and better quality antlered deer, more age and quality antlers will be added to the population while maintaining the deer herd at carrying capacity.
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