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Spike Study

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Spike Study

Postby gtk » Sun Jan 23, 2005 12:53 pm

Interesting study on spikes and what potential spikes have with a few years growth.

http://espn.go.com/outdoors/tips/s/c_fe ... ation.html
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Prepare to blast me!

Postby omegaman66 » Tue Apr 26, 2005 10:22 am

I realize this is a very heated topic with people and I know I might be sticking my neck out when I post this but here goes.

I have read that study. Great reading. There is another study done in texas that shows that spikes never catch up. Maybe in points but not in inches.

Not saying this study you posted is wrong. Not at all. Just wanting to point out there is somewhat conflicting research.

Now on to the point of my post:
Anyone that is on unfenced land might as well forget about trying to improve or change the genetics on their own land. It isn't going to happen! And even if it does happen it will be only measurable AFTER you are dead.

People it just isn't that easy to change the genetic make up of a wild free roaming population of deer. 10 points are killed every year. Big bucks are killed every year. All this inspite of the fact that ever since the white man came here our hunting practices have favored the killing of big bucks and the leaving of runts.

Since the beginning of time if two bucks walk out the larger one is going to die when the hunter pulls the trigger. This has been going on forever and is still the norm despite NOW a few pieces of land actually doing the opposite.

A 10 point steps out at 150 yards. Boom dead. A spike steps out at 150 yards (pre1995) sometimes it would live because it was thought to be a doe, sometimes it is recognized as a spike but to late to get the gun on it and sometimes it is recognized as a spike and killed. But the 10 point always would have the lead headed in his direction.

These practices have gone on as long as there has been deer hunting and yet we still have rack bucks as the norm when they get to be older.

Maybe this has changed the genetics alittle but after 200 years of this it has only changed it a little if at all.

There are just to many variable that affect the antlers for us to really have a measureable impact on it in a short amount of time (say 20 years).

When you look at a deer you only see its phenotype. You don't see it genotype. genotype is its genetics. Phenotype is the expression of those genetics.

So half of the genetics for that deers offspring will come from the doe. So right off of the bat you are down to affecting 50% of the genetics of the offspring because there is no way to evaluate the doe.

Then you throw into the mix the fact that young deer say 2.5 or 1.5 don't readily show you there genetic potential because of a host of factors such as:
1. The animal was sick and his antlers will be smaller this year.
2. The vegetation was poor due to drought or overpopulation and his antlers will be smaller this year.
3. The deer was born later so his antlers will be smaller although his genetics are fine. Late born deer start off smaller but that becomes less significant by age 3.5 or later.
4. Some young deer just channel more resources to growing bodies while young than other deer.

These factors make being able to differenciate genetics in young deer difficult or impossible. So the effectiveness of selective harvesting of young deer will always be greatly watered down if not outright made totally ineffective by these factors.

But you argue that when the deer gets older you can tell. And you are right 100%. But even on lands that say they manage to improve the genetics how many 130 class bucks are going to be let go? Not many.

So what happens is now that the deer are old enough to express their good genetics or poor genetics this is what happens on 99 percent of the places that say they manage for good genetics.

1. The 3.5 year old buck with poor genetics gets shot as a cull.
2. The 3.5 year old buck with good genetics gets shot as a trophy.

So the net effect on the genetic make up of the herd is nill.

Forget about genetics. Just forget about it and concentrate on the two things that you DO actually have control over. AGE and NUTRITION!

Give the so called buck with poor genetics age and nutrition and it might not be a 160 class buck but if it sports a 100 class buck it will still probably be the biggest buck a hunter kills that year.

Stop worring about something you can't change and worry more about what you can! And thank god that what I say is true otherwise we would all be hunting spikes because that is all that would be out there.
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Postby gtk » Tue Apr 26, 2005 10:54 am

I wouldn't worry about "sticking your neck out". :) Heck, all opinions matter.

Personally, I think "deer", should be available to the youth. There should not be any "requirements" for our young hunters, especially those that are limited to areas do not produce many 2.5+ year old bucks.

I also think the 4pt rule in MS was just a starting phase, to managing our deer herd in MS.. I think we are at the xroads now, that something else needs to be implemented. I would like to see them manage the deer on a smaller scale, like district by district, instead of "statewide" programs.

As far as taking a long time to see results in the genetics, well I think a lot of areas already have the potential for producing quality bucks. I think the overharvesting of all "younger" age bucks is what was keeping the numbers of "wall-hangers" down. I agree, you are NOT going to change genetics overnite. I think the deer just need the forage and age to show their genetic potential.... It seemed every year before the 4pt rule, there would still be a few huge bucks showing up. I think the 4pt rule has helped bring that number up some.

Regarding the arguement of "inferior" spikes: Well, I just dont know. I think there are some spikes that "could" be wall-hangers if left to mature, and I think some spikes will always be inferior... It all depends on why he was a spike to start with: Was he a late born deer ? Sick ? Too many factors. I dont think "protecting" spikes is a good thing though... I like what we have done for the last few years, and protect "yearlings".

Thx for the comments omegaman66.. You seem to have an "above" average knowlegde of deer ( or your like me, and have done a lot of reading) :)
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