U.S. Hunters Take More Ma­ture Bucks Than Year­lings

Modern Pioneer - - News -

U.S. white­tail hunters took more ma­ture bucks than 1½-year-olds or year­lings for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year, ac­cord­ing to data com­piled by the Qual­ity Deer Man­age­ment As­so­ci­a­tion (QDMA) for its 2017 White­tail Re­port.

In the 2015-16 hunt­ing sea­son, the most re­cent sea­son with com­plete deer har­vest data avail­able from ev­ery white­tail state, the per­cent­age of 3½-year-old and older bucks climbed to 35% of the na­tion’s buck har­vest, the high­est har­vest rate in mod­ern his­tory. That ex­ceeds the rate of har­vest for year­ling bucks (34%) and the har­vest of 2 ½-year-old bucks as well, which was 31%.

“No state wildlife agency em­ploys reg­u­la­tions or en­cour­ages hunters to pass any­thing more than year­ling bucks, yet the per­cent­age of bucks 3 ½ years and older now sur­passes 1 ½- and 2 ½-yearolds,” said Kip Adams, QDMA’S di­rec­tor of education and out­reach. “That means many hunters are will­ingly pass­ing 2 ½-year-old bucks that are le­gal to har­vest, which shows a de­sire by many hunters to hunt bucks that are at least 3 ½ years old.”

Of the 28 white­tail states that col­lect age data on bucks, the top state in har­vest of ma­ture bucks for the 2015-16 sea­son was, again, Mis­sis­sippi, where an in­cred­i­ble 77% of bucks killed were 3 ½ years old or older. Round­ing out the top five were Texas at 75%, Arkansas at 74%, Louisiana at 67% and Ok­la­homa at 60%. These same states achieved some of the low­est rates of year­ling-buck har­vest in the na­tion. For the fourth year in a row, Arkansas claimed the low­est rate at only 7%. Arkansas has led the na­tion in this statis­tic seven of the last eight years.

Com­plete state-by-state es­ti­mates of to­tal buck har­vest, buck age struc­ture, and other har­vest pa­ram­e­ters are avail­able in the full White­tail Re­port, which also in­cludes a look at nu­mer­ous other crit­i­cal is­sues for white­tails and deer hunters. Down­load a free PDF of the re­port at qdma.com.

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