Tennhunter3 wrote:I try to let bucks reach 3.
I think QdM is fantastic it gives bucks the ability to have a life and grow. To me a 1.5 year old is like a young dumb teenager without a intelligent thought. By 3 he has matured and can successfully thrive in his home range.
From a hunter perspective it's a challenge and gives bucks more time to create good genetics and pass those genetics in other areas creating a healthier long term herd. I'm a firm believer deer learn from other mature deer their mothers and mature bucks they follow around in batchelor groups the same way we learn from parents. Some intelligence I'm sure is built in instinctively.
I think some get too caught up in antler scores.
With proper management and antler restrictions most wmas could have healthy thriving herds. I've seen wmas do a complete 180 after restrictions were added. Going from a place people wouldn't hunt if you paid them to having a healthy population and herd. Without QdM this would not have happened.
It does work if they can keep out the poachers and trigger happy rednecks. I'm a big fan of QdM having seen it personally work. And wish more wmas would improve.
I'm all for new hunters harvesting a small buck or two and I am all for young buck tags being given to new hunters.
But to spend ones life killing many young bucks and does one after another is not helping the sport or the herds health. Most are not in need of food they just kill to keep others from enjoying Gods gift of nature. At some point it's wrong to abuse what the creator made. The game farm deer pumped full of chemicals are abominations in my mind.
I agree with alot of what your saying. But am confused by the statement I highlighted. From my limited study of genetics way back in high school. My understanding is an animal receives whatever genes it has at conception. And after birth, then reaching sexual maturity. Can only pass on those genes he got from his parents. No animal can create new/better genes just because they get to live to an older age. They pass on the only those genes they were born with. No matter how old they are!
Also is a deer herd healthier. Better suited to be resistant to diseases, able to utilized the available nutrition better. Just because more older bucks are available to breed!!
I do agree that having more older deer around can help them learn more about survival from predators, both animal and human. But that also relates to how much hunting pressure the whole herd is under. With little to no hunting pressure. Even older animals will know less than younger animals exposed to heavy hunting pressure.
I meant as far as antler genetics no I don't think they can create better Gene's except by breeding mixing their Gene's with another. But a buck that is healthy and has a typical healthy rack by living longer he can breed more does outside his range and create better genetics in lacking areas. Due to his healthy Gene's being half of the new born fawns. By living longer he gains the ability to possibly improve a lacking herd a mile or several miles away.
I do believe typical and non typical are genetic unless the typical is injured during the velvet. I do think if you introduce several typicals breeding does in a area with non typical bucks the new fawns will become typicals most likely.
A wma in Rural Alabama I read about had several bucks from Wisconsin added. Over the next 10 years the bucks in this wma and surrounding area were 17 pounds on average larger then other areas 30 miles away. They also grew more mass. True these were imported but it does show how a healthier or larger buck can breed a better herd. Did they need the extra body fat to survive Alabama winter no but the nutrients in that new area were enough to hold that body weight long term. And nutrients were enough to improve the entire herd gaining more weight. This proved that healthy bucks traveling to new areas to breed can improve a area miles away.
As far as nutrition theres far more nutrition then deer need in most parts of the country. I'm sure pockets exist nutrition may be a issue. As far as desieses I think it's mostly luck. Though a healthier herd with proper food may get enough nutrients from plants they eat to fight some desieses. Ehd good chance of death either way.
As far as young animals being exposed to pressure currently they see pressure once and are shot. They get very little time alive to learn from other deer or learn about their instincts and abilitys. I believe it takes young bucks 3-4 years to learn how to use wind based bedding. The young bucks bed with or near their mothers then branch out and often bed on wrong facing slopes at 2 years of age . Until they eventually learn and bed in the proper bedding areas on the right wind currents. For some bucks they may learn this at 2 others 4 some may never learn. I do know the longer a buck gets to survive the better he learns to survive in his environment.
How they find this area is up could be several ways.
Following another mature buck or batchelor group.
By smell of another buck.
By eventually figuring out if they lay in this spot they smell the area they think danger will come from.
Perhaps some bucks never learn to use their nose to the best of its ability though they would be killed off anyway.
As far as older bucks in non pressured areas that are not around pressure true they do get accepting and trusting that their core is safe. Their bedding using the right wind but do not perceive hunters as a huge threat until that hunter leaves scent or has contact in some way. I do think they hold the intelligence by this age that if they survive the encounter they will quickly adapt.
A young buck on public would be alert only if he survives the first encounters most do not . The difference between these is the older buck has a better ability to understand wind currents and which smells are of danger where the young buck does not know how to properly use his nose for survival. If young bucks could understand their nose their would be far more older age bucks in wmas currently.
Never give up Freedom for imagined safety.