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Forums >> Texas Hunting >> Texas Deer Hunting >> 13 inch rule

13 inch rule

Ryan Campbell
Ryan Campbell
Ryan Campbell writes about 13 inch ruleRyan Campbell writes about 13 inch rule
Points: Y (239) / M (0)

Below is a link to the Texas Parks and Wildlife dept and it's proposals for new counties being added to the list of counties that require a buck to have at least a 13 inch spread in order to be killed.  While I agree that only mature bucks should be taken, using antler width to determine maturity is a poor choice.  The pic I have attached is of a buck that is probably over 13inches but not by much, and if he were not standing still, say he were chasing a doe at 200+ yards there is no way that most people would be able to tell.   Yet looking at this buck I'd guess that he's 3.5 yrs old at the maximum but he has a very impressive rack otherwise.  I'm guessing that there will be a lot of bucks get killed, the hunter puts the tape to him and if he isn't over the allowed 13inches, he will be left to lay. 

Perhaps there should be a way to help hunters judge age and buck maturity but antler width alone simply is not the answer.  I encourage each of you who may hunt in the affected counties to contact TPWD and tell them how you feel about this issue.  I belive that they will be meeting in March to decide this issue.

 http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/newsmedia/releases/?req=20081110a

  • 13 inch rule

The Hunt goes on forever, the season never ends. http://www.hossfly.com 979 777 1725

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RE: 13 inch rule

rfishin

rfishin writes about
Points: Y (0) / M (0)

good luck i hunt in colorado co. and this is our 2nd year post antler resrictions. has it helped,not really. where we hunt there arent any monster racks.. hell we cant even get a doe season.. until we cull out some of the doe we wont have a healthy population of bucks..we havent been impressed.. this topic is mute to tpwd.. when ya go to the meeting they already have their minds made up..ive been to 2 of those meetings..good luck

RE: 13 inch rule

bayrat@stx.rr.com

bayrat@stx.rr.com writes about
Points: Y (0) / M (0)

I do agree that maybe the TP&W should offer some kind of identification course or better guideline. But if you are hunting in a 13" rule county than it's your responsibility to inform and educate yourself before going out into the field. I hunt in Wilson county and we are in our third year of the rule. Back in the 60s and 70s very respectable bucks were taken. Since, many places and areas saw declines on nice mature bucks. To much pressure and many young bucks taken. I also agree you will have some taken that will lay because of bad ID. But on the flip side I believe more poor genetics will be taken out of the herd if the rule includes the additional buck being a spike or single spike with a fork. I do also agree that antler width is a poor identifier of mature bucks. With the rule, in time you will see younger bucks with better racks. Here's where hunter discipline and education come into play. There are many ways to help guide you to indentify mature bucks. If you are in one of these counties then please help yourself. And if your a lease manager or land owner than make sure your hunters have educated themselves.
For a low fence area and with the rule, in time you will see the quality of bucks taken to increase.

My example is this. Us, being in our third year pans out like this. We are getting closer to a generation turn over since the rule. For this year 2008 season we have seen more respectable mature bucks than in the last ten years. Very nice 8, 10s and 12s. Tall tynes and every year seems like we continue to grow more mass and width. All this without a protein program. It's because more mature bucks are making it through the hunting season and younger bucks a left to grow. I shot a very respectable 10pt on the second weekend of the season in the 130 class. This was very very rare in our area three years ago.

Good luck,

Bayrat

RE: 13 inch rule

Hardy
Hardy
Hardy writes about Hardy writes about Hardy writes about Hardy writes about Hardy writes about Hardy writes about Hardy writes about Hardy writes about
Points: Y (0) / M (0)
Starr county

While the 13" rule is far from perfect, it is in my opinion the best method available for protecting young bucks from trigger happy hunters.  

Whatever it takes to get bucks to maturity, I'm all for it. 

By the way, the buck above looks wider than 13"

There are too many people looking for excuses to kill deer to try and "educate" the public on aging and scoring.  It will NOT work.  Therefore you have to draw a line in the sand somewhere to protect these deer from getting whacked.  Now, if you want to educate the wildlife officers so that they can not throw the book at a guy for killing a 13" wide 6 year old, then give it a shot.  But again, if you let the public think they can get away with it, they'll push it to the limit and beyond.

If you can just get those young dumb bucks to 3 years old, they'll become savy enough that many will survive to maturity.

The restriction works and the benefits FAR outweigh the setbacks.

RE: 13 inch rule

Ryan Campbell
Ryan Campbell
Ryan Campbell writes about Ryan Campbell writes about
Points: Y (239) / M (0)

 

Perhaps I did not make my point clearly enough so I will attempt it again from another angle:

 

The 13inch rule is a tool being used by TPWD to help hunters shoot more mature deer. On the surface, that sounds like a good idea. However, there is more to judging deer maturity, age etc than the width of antlers. I agree that there needs to be more education on what is a mature buck and what is not. Obviously a skinny necked, narrow shouldered, short nosed buck is not as old as his sway backed, thick neck, long faced grandfather.

However, in certain areas of the state, especially with free ranging deer, their racks could be very similar. Some bucks in certain areas are prone to width but not to mass. Some have good tine length but no width etc. I've seen fully mature 5.5+ yr old bucks that would barely pass the 13inch rule, if at all. Other than that, however, they had nice racks.

 

I hear it said that the program has already started to work in the areas where it has been implemented. I submit to you that there are two things wrong with that.

First, the program hasn't been around all that long, certainly not long enough to actually show that it has worked. It hasn't been scientifically shown to work, there was no control in the experiment and who's to say that the original data on which the theory was built wasn't flawed? Further, when was the last time you saw any government program work in 2 years? Let alone one with as many variables and unknowns as this one.

Second, and most importantly, the program's progress is self serving and only data that supports the program is collected. How? I will tell you.

Lets say you hunt in 13inch restricted, 1 buck county. OK, to most hunters racks/antlers look wider, bigger, taller etc when a hunter first sees the deer and “ground shrinkage” happens even to the most experienced hunters. So, when Bob goes hunting and he's sees what looks like a nice buck and everything about him looks legal, Bob is going to shoot him. Now, Bob's adrenaline is flowing, he has buck fever etc. Bob probably doesn't get into the woods as often as he'd like and he only gets to hunt a few weekends a year. Now Bob goes and puts the tape to his buck and he doesn't make the 13inch rule, lets say by 1 inch. Is Bob going to take that buck into the the meat processor where the game warden will be checking? No he isn't. Bob is not a poacher but he isn't a fool either. So, the buck gets quartered in camp, the carcass is thrown away and the antlers may be kept or they may be nailed to the barn.

The point is that any buck accidentally, or on purpose, that is killed that doesn't make the 13inch rule isn't gong to be reported. Therefore the data collected is flawed.

So now you have only 13+inch bucks being brought into checking stations, meat processors etc. So, game wardens and biologist that are checking deer are only seeing the biggest ones being reported, not necessarily the all the ones actually being killed. They are not seeing the whole picture. Now the data reflects that the racks from that county are suddenly becoming wider and only more mature deer are being killed, “so the program is working”, when it may not really be the case. Only deer that are over the limit will be known to be killed, the rest may either be left to lay or be processed in camp. Most people are honest but no one is going to volunteer themselves for a wildlife violation when they've made an honest mistake.

 

TPWD is creating a program where all hunters will become trophy hunters whether they want to be or not. I personally am a trophy hunter (although not a member of the farce Texas Trophy Hunters Assoc.) I am also a meat hunter and sportsman. Some deer I kill are for the meat, others because he's a good buck with a nice rack. I am pretty confidant that I can judge deer age/maturity with a pretty good degree of accuracy. However, not everyone has had the opportunity that I have had to spend the amount of time in the woods that I have and may not be as apt at judging animals as I am. Although I certainly am always learning and by no means know everything. Hunter education and deer management is improving. More and more hunters are able to look at buck and guess his age but with close to 4 million deer in Texas, I don't believe a few bucks killed that are under 13inches is hurting the population. We can't all be trophy hunters all the time. Not everyone of us will kill a 170+ B&C buck every time we go hunting. That's why it's called hunting.

 

Lastly, let me give you a scenario to ponder. Imagine you are a divorced father that is only able to take your son or daughter hunting a few times a year. Given that schedules for single working dads can be tough there may only be one opportunity in a season for a dad to take his kid out hunting. The dad has to have a place to hunt, be able to afford it, have a rifle his kid can shoot, deal with the possibility that an ex-spouse my be hostile to the idea of the kid hunting in the first place, etc. There are many things that can go wrong here before the actual hunt ever takes place. And lets face it. Quality time spent with your kids gets harder to come by as they get older.

However, Dad has been able to take his kid out hunting. It's rifle season and a young 6pt buck walks out that is, by no means, a buck that will grace the cover of the TTHA journal but he is a buck nevertheless.

Now, the buck is standing broadside at a reasonable distance and presents a good target to the kid. The kid's heart is beating at the chance to kill his first buck. Then Dad remembers that the 13inch rule is in effect in the county he is hunting in. So now he has to explain to his kid that because a biologist/government agency says so, he can not shoot that buck. (and don't say “wait till next year” because the kid may lose interest, the dad may lose the lease etc. Single dads don't always have “next year” to wait until). That 6pt or any other buck that a kid kills for the first time will always be the one he will remember. That kid may grow up to kill hundreds of bucks but he will never forget the first one. He may also never get the chance to hunt again and the one chance he had was stopped before it ever started because TPWD wants Texas to have bigger deer.

 

If Texas needs to produce bigger deer why are so many out of state hunters coming here year after year to hunt? If we need a 13inch rule why not make it 14 or more inches? Why not say he has to be a main frame 8pt or bigger? Texas has around 4 million deer. Some of them are B&C class bucks, most never will be no matter what you do for them. Let the kids and recreational hunters hunt while educating them on what deer management can do. Educate hunters on judging a mature buck, and promote the shooting of mature deer but don't stop someone from enjoying the precious time they have in the woods by worrying about some obscure, self serving rule.

The Hunt goes on forever, the season never ends. http://www.hossfly.com 979 777 1725

RE: 13 inch rule

rbryantjr
rbryantjr
rbryantjr writes about
Points: Y (0) / M (0)
Denton county

The spread is a good indicator but so is body size, length of nose (short face), and the overall diamater of the bases.  My club has a 14 inch rule and we pay fines of $200 for going under.  We also age the deer.  We aged several bucks this year at 12.5 to 13 inches weighing in at 200 lbs and aging at 3.5 to 4 years.  The intent of the rule is good but it just is not the all time solution.  The buck in this picture would have been shot at my club I can promise you.

Roy L. Bryant

RE: 13 inch rule

kenjayne
kenjayne
kenjayne writes about
Points: Y (3) / M (0)
Harris county

In general, I think that the 13" rule will help improve overall quality of the bucks taken since fewer yearlings and 2.5 y.o. bucks will be taken. Be aware also that TPWD has given hunters a "guide" in that "normally" 13" can be judged by the width of the ears in the alert position. There will be times that there is an unusual deer that has horns beyond his ears in the alert position, but it tapes less than 13". Most game wardens are fair and will not issue a citation in this case if the hunter took the animal in good faith and does not attempt to hide it or lie. The TPWD Outdoor Annual specifically states that "Ears in the alert position are approximately 13" apart and may be used to judge the inside spread."

In those unusual cases where there is a high basket rack that is within the ears, although the animal appears older than 3.5 y.o., I would pass on it. The "guide" is given to help hunters identify the older deer, and it must work both ways. Use the guide and don't try to substitute your judgment as to age, mass, etc.

Regardless of the comments above, I think if the deer shown had his ears in the alert position , (about 45 degrees from the horizontal), the inside spread of the antlers would be outside his ears.

Ken Jayne "Bald Eagle"

RE: 13 inch rule

mhbaseball

mhbaseball writes about
Points: Y (0) / M (0)

Yes you always have exceptions just like a mature tall narrow buck but in general the 13 inch rule has produced great results and I have seen it with my own eyes. I hunt in Colorado county and we were one of the first counties to add this rule over 3-4 years ago.  Then a good buck was 110-120 BC and now there were several 135-140 BC bucks shotten this year right around me. I shot a 120 eight pointer 3 years ago and this year took a 138 ten pointer with a 20 5/8 inside spread. 

The rule just lets younger deer walk making it illegal to shoot a buck that is not big enough.  I know at least for the Post Oak Savannah region, which is one of the most hunted areas in Texas as far as numbers of hunters people would just shoot bucks and not wait for them to grow while the rule is making them wait.

Yeah there are always better ways to do things in many peoples eyes, but I personally think OVERALL FOR A UNIFORM way to increase buck harvest age this is doing a great job.

RFielder I totally agree with you on that we need to harvest more does, with such a high deer density because of does it is taking away natural protein sources for these bucks.

  • 13 inch rule

RE: 13 inch rule

pumphouse

pumphouse writes about
Points: Y (0) / M (0)

I have never hunted in a width based antler restricted area.  But the deer I shot this year measured exactly 13 inches (inside spread) and the spread was at least a half inch or better past his ears.  My problem is how does the average hunter judge 13 inches in the field?  And how would I explain that to a game warden?  How often do you get a nice view of a deer face forward with ears in the alert position long enough to judge if the spread is outside the ears (and what is the definition of "alert position)?  That being said I fully believe that the rules can be successfully followed and enforced if common sense is applied on the part of the hunter and warden.  However, every hunter out there knows that this is often not the case.

Separately, this is proposed in the SHNF for next year.  This bothers me in as much as it is public hunting.  Why should the TPWD get to limit what the average hunter shoots on public land so that the trophy hunters get to put larger racks on the wall???  As far as I understand this regulation isn't a deer population/health management program, but a grow bigger deer program.  That is fine if you have a lease or own land, it is your prerogative to grow bigger deer, but leave the public hunting alone.  If you have problems with your lease neighbors shooting young deer it is your responsibility not the states to work it out.  I also understand that not everyone can afford a deer lease and those of us out there who want to take trophy animals on public land have fewer opportunities because of the hunting practices and amount of hunters that are common on public land.  However, as the old saying goes, it called hunting not killing, and there are still trophies on public land to be had.

This has been a respectfully submitted rant, expressing opinions that are open to change given sufficiently convincing arguments.

RE: 13 inch rule

waco oso

waco oso writes about
Points: Y (0) / M (0)

[quote]Separately, this is proposed in the SHNF for next year.  This bothers me in as much as it is public hunting.  Why should the TPWD get to limit what the average hunter shoots on public land so that the trophy hunters get to put larger racks on the wall???  As far as I understand this regulation isn't a deer population/health management program, but a grow bigger deer program.  That is fine if you have a lease or own land, it is your prerogative to grow bigger deer, but leave the public hunting alone.  If you have problems with your lease neighbors shooting young deer it is your responsibility not the states to work it out.  I also understand that not everyone can afford a deer lease and those of us out there who want to take trophy animals on public land have fewer opportunities because of the hunting practices and amount of hunters that are common on public land.  However, as the old saying goes, it called hunting not killing, and there are still trophies on public land to be had.[/quote]

I'd have to disagree with you on that one, public land is where these restrictions are needed most since young bucks are the most vulnerable there due to the hunting pressure. Fact is everyone likes big bucks even meat hunters, and while everyone will whine and complain the first year or two, they will be praising the 13" rule in the future because of its success, this is already the case down in the first counties to adopt the antler restrictions.

RE: 13 inch rule

RanchRat

RanchRat writes about
Points: Y (0) / M (0)
Young county

I have seen this one fought out on several sites and I do not think anyone is going to change their mind on the issue.

Those that believe in them really believe in them, those that are skeptics, of which I am one, are not going to change either.

I did not read thru all the responses that have been made, so what I am typing may be an effort in redundancy.

the problems I see with the AR's, is that too many bucks with inferior genetics are being left in the herd to do the breeding.

I do not put spikes or one-sided spikes in the group I consider inferior, I am looking at 3 .5 to 6.5 year old bucks that may be 8 to 10 point animals, but at the widest these animals barely make 12 inches I.S..

Then there are the 4-5-6-7 point odd balls that are the same way, they just do not have the genetics to make the 13 inch mark, and even if they do, many hunters are not going to shoot them, simply because they are not main frame 8's, 10's, or bigger.

On another site, a guy had a picture posted of  buck that appeared to me to be at least 3.5 and wider than 13 inches by a fair margin, yet no one was going to waste their tag on the buck because he had 3 points on one side and a fork on the other.

There are just some bucks out there that will have branched antlers, but no amount of age or protein is going to get them to Lucky Number 13, but they will go right on breeding every doe they get the chance at, passing on those inferior genes.

Now, to add to the problem, we have the following taking place in Texas:

1. Hunter numbers are declining Annually.

2. Some hunters, and the numbers are growing, are declining or refusing to kill does.

3. The deer herd in Texas is increasing Annually, and over most of their range their numbers are severely above the carrying capacity of the range, especially if they had to rely on Natural Forage.

4. In many areas of the state, not only is TP&W proposing implementing the AR's, but they also want to up the limit to 5 deer in many of those counties.

Lastly, 5. What will be the effect on the deer herd in Texas when, Not If, but when Chronic Wasting Disease invades the state.

If it goes like it has in the other states that have it, ALL supllemental feeding will be outlawed, because it has been confirmed that the disease is spread in the saliva, and is most contagious where large numbers of deer are concentrated in small areas, i.e. corn or protein feeeders.

Protein feeders are perhaps the bigger problem as the deer are having to lick the feed out of the trays or feed chutes, getting saliva everywhere.

My prediction is that at some point in the next 5 years or less, Texas is going to be right back to where it was when AR's were first proposed, plenty of deer, but no "Quality Bucks", and we will see regulations enacted like those in the Carolinas or Mississippi, A Deer A Day, trying to get the numbers in check.

This is all just my opinion on the issue.

RE: 13 inch rule

bbuchanan
bbuchanan
bbuchanan writes about
Points: Y (0) / M (0)

in response to RanchRat comment about them number of hunters declining each year.  I believe the number of hunters is declining due to the average hunter, by that I mean middle class,  being priced out of the game. 

One thing I think I can see being a problem in the future is more landowner putting up ridiculous leasing fees on there land and just down right getting greedy.  eventually the average dad wanting to have a smaller lease, lets say 1000 acres or less, to take his children will be sitting on the sidelines much like I am now.  Just watching landowners price out the families from average low fence leases.   I dont make bad money and I dont live extravagantly by far,  but I can honestly say there is no real way for me to take my kids out hunting when a decent lease cost $2000+ yearly, not including a bunk house or some other kind of sleeping arrangements, fuel back and forth, guns, ammo (which seems to increase by the day),  feeders, corn, stands and on and on.......they are putting the guys that want to take their kids outdoors to experience nature to the side.  that results in people losing interest in hunting altogether. 

when someone starts talking about hunting, almost of anykind, one of the first things that comes to mind is how expensive it becomes to take a reasonable trip somewhere.

RE: 13 inch rule

RanchRat

RanchRat writes about
Points: Y (0) / M (0)
Young county

One of the problems with the decrease in hunter numbers is the rising costs, but that is not the only one, recruitment of young hunters is way down.

One of the bigger problems that I have seen take place since I killed my first deer back in 1970, that I feel has caused the majority of the problems with deer hunting today in Texas, is a change in attitude of WHY people hunt deer and what their goal is.

This is just my opinion on the matter, but I totally disagree with your idea that Land Owners are the major problem.

The major problem that has caused things to evolve into the state they are in at this time, are Hunters themselves, and their partner in crime Texas Parks and wildlife Dept..

Land Owners do not set the lease prices of their lands, the Market does, and that Market is directly controlled by hunters.

If hunters were not willing to pay the prices, land owners would be hard pressed to ever lease out a single acre.

Because, and soley because of the efforts of at least two organizations/groups, that do nothing but promote Trophy Deer Hunting, the mind set of the avertage deer hunter, especially those under a certain age level has changed, from where ANY deer was a Trophy, to the point where only deer that score a certain level of Boone and Crockett or Pope and Young points are considered Trophies, and hunters that do not conform to that line of thinking are looked down upon.

TP&W has bought into this for two reasons, average hunters qwere not present at the Public meetings when the AR's were being proposed, and TP&W is looking at the bigger picture and that is to make Texas the "Go To" state for Trophy Bucks and Trophy Bass.

Bbuchanan, if you were a land owner in todays economy, would you lease your land below the going rate for similar properties, or would you lease to the highest bidder?

The high bidder when it comes to deer leases in Texas are other Hunters, not other land owners.

The situation we are in today, and for the foreseeable future in my opiion, is caused by the greed among a certain segment of the hunting public for larger antlers, and being willing to pay whatever it takes to achieve that goal.

No offence intended with my post, just relating what I have observed over the past few years. 

RE: 13 inch rule

bbuchanan
bbuchanan
bbuchanan writes about
Points: Y (0) / M (0)

GOOFY

yeah its all cool......i do agree with some of the stuff you say! 

RE: 13 inch rule

waco oso

waco oso writes about
Points: Y (0) / M (0)

If deer numbers are increasing annually as you say and there is plenty supply for demand, then why are deer lease prices so sky high? I don't really see an increase in deer population myself but I can't speak for all of the state, but I think the fact is until landowners decide to lease their land for more affordable prices your going to see hunter numbers decline and deer numbers go up. With the way the economy is I would hope deer lease prices would drop, but I don't think it will happen. If TPWD want to fix the declining hunter numbers and youth recruitment then need to start looking at developing programs for affordable hunting.

RE: 13 inch rule

RanchRat

RanchRat writes about
Points: Y (0) / M (0)
Young county

If deer numbers were not increasing, then why is TP&W proposing upping the limit in counties that right now are 1 buck and 2 doe counties to 5 deer limit counties, ALL of which could be does.

Do you own any land? Do you want TP&W or anyone else for that matter telling you what you can and can not charge for permission for people to hunt on it?

Do you relly think Land Owners would be asking for the prices they are, If Hunters Were Not Willing To Pay The Prices?

Who created the demand for places to hunt deer? Land Owners? No!

Hunters did, and unfortunately hunters are human being affected by maladys such as greed.

Go out and lease a place for $500 or $800 a gun, if you could find one, and then let some joker in that same county or one of the adjoining counties shoot a 170 or 180 class B&C white tail buck.

People will start pouring into that area offering land owners double what your paying.

Do you blame the land owner for taking it?

If you are working for some one for $10.00 an hour and someone else comes along and offers you $15.00 an hour to do the same job yet at another company, are you going to refuse and stay with the $10.00 an hour job, I seriously doubt it.

If you go to sell a gun and one person offers you $500.00 for it and before you can commit someone else offers $650.00, who are you going to sell the gun to? The low bidder, I doubt that also.

To many folks are wanting to jump on the land owners and beat them up over the price of leases issue, yet turn around and be simple minded enough to post pictures of some good buck they have killed and even give details of their lease set up and where it is located.

A 7 year old half wit that can walk and chew gum can figure out who the land owner is of that piece of property and offer them a few dollars more for that property, it is the Law of Supply and Demand in its purest form.

RE: 13 inch rule

waco oso

waco oso writes about
Points: Y (0) / M (0)

To answer your second question I do own land, and its quite good for dove and small game hunting, but doesn't have any deer.

[quote]If deer numbers were not increasing, then why is TP&W proposing upping the limit in counties that right now are 1 buck and 2 doe counties to 5 deer limit counties, ALL of which could be does.[/quote]

The reason is they think that increasing bag limits equates to more hunter opportunity, and will result in more hunting licenses sold. What they fail to miss it the reason hunting license sales have been going down in recent years is the lack of affordable hunting opportunities. They can open deer season year round but until the price associated with a private land deer hunting comes down or more public land is opened to deer hunting, license sales for hunting are going to continue to decline.

[quote]

Go out and lease a place for $500 or $800 a gun, if you could find one, and then let some joker in that same county or one of the adjoining counties shoot a 170 or 180 class B&C white tail buck.

People will start pouring into that area offering land owners double what your paying.[/quote]

Try quadruple, seen it happen. Some will say it inevitable hunting will become a rich mans sport, but I have to believe some of these hunters that have pushed the prices so high have been living beyond their means like alot of people are today, and the current economic situation is going to weed them out, and prices might drop, or at least not rise for awhile.

RE: 13 inch rule

wohalliburton
wohalliburton
wohalliburton writes about wohalliburton writes about wohalliburton writes about wohalliburton writes about wohalliburton writes about wohalliburton writes about wohalliburton writes about wohalliburton writes about wohalliburton writes about wohalliburton writes about
Points: Y (155) / M (14)

Unfortunately its already fast becoming a rich man's sport. In my opinion money is by far the number one reason why people give it up. Used to be in the late '70s you could get an incredible lease for less than $300/gun/year. No its 5-10 times that. More than inflation at work there. There's also the price of land...man has that shot up in the last 5 years or so! I think urbanization is another problem why people don't get involved. Used to be more of us grew up in the country, and hunting was just something everyone did and understood. In fact, we used to bring our rifles and gear in the trunks of our cars or pick up gun racks to school so we could go out right after class was over...try doing that now. As well, kids from the city rarely spend time in the outdoors as much as we did, much less understand the need for animal population control or the satisfaction of putting food on the table. Let's face it, unless there's some understanding about why you hunt watching someone get blood up to their elbows gutting a beautiful animal like a whitetail can be a little revolting. There's also the compunding effects of 50+ years of what we used to call the 'Bambi Syndrome', a usually media-induced prejudice against hunting and all other 'blood sports'. With this and a number of kids' infatuation with other sports and video games is it any surprise we can't recruit as many young hunters? Thankfully I've got 2 sons that just love to go...if they didn't I don't know whether I'd be hunting. There's also a decline in habitat. That's not necessarily true as much in WTX and STX, but it sure is where I've hunted in NE Texas. Between timber harvesting (replant in pine) and the building of reservoirs to suit metropolitan water needs that area of the world has lost some of its prime hunting spots. I've also known people that have hunted a piece of land for a couple generations just to see the trees that cover it vanish or have to sell their land because its supposed to get flooded. My 2 cents worth, for what its worth....

RE: 13 inch rule

RanchRat

RanchRat writes about
Points: Y (0) / M (0)
Young county

Waco Oso, my apologies, I am not meaning to be so critical of your posts.

Wohalliburton, good post, you bring out some excellent points.

Over the length of my hunting career, I have been able to watch the change that took place in deer hunting here in various parts of Texas, not that much in East Texas, more so in west and north west Texas.

I do agree that the economic down turn people are suffering should have an impact on deer lease prices, but I really doubt that it will, simply because not everyone is being effected by the down turn.

In fact, I believe many people will have to get off of leases they can no longer afford and those leases will be picked up by those not affected, cheaper than what they were probably willing to pay.

I am sure this will not please some folks, and will probably anger some, but I place blame for the way things are in Texas, on the shoulders of TTHA and TP&W.

Those two organization took deer hunting from a family activity in the Fall that people enjoyed and any buck was a trophy, and basically turned it into a competitive sport, with the noteriety going to who ever killed the buck with the best B&C or P&Y score.

Couple that with all the work private and TP&W biologists were doing concerning the roles of genetics and nutrition on antler growth, and it became of not only inches on a rack, but one of $$$$$ as to who could produce, on a consistant basis the 160 class and bigger bucks and who would be willig to pay to shoot them and how much they would be willing to pay.

As for the increase in bag limits, because of the opportunities I have to visit various different parts of the state, there are places that are seriously in need of a reduction in overall herd numbers, especially does.

One thing however that on a couple of other sites I have noticed, is an increase in the number of folks that claim that they will never shoot another doe, simply because they are into the sport strictly for the antlers and they don't like deer meat.

With that kind of attitude growing among hunters the deer herd in Texas is facing a major threat should or when CWD finally reaches the state.

RE: 13 inch rule

wohalliburton
wohalliburton
wohalliburton writes about wohalliburton writes about wohalliburton writes about wohalliburton writes about wohalliburton writes about wohalliburton writes about wohalliburton writes about wohalliburton writes about wohalliburton writes about wohalliburton writes about
Points: Y (155) / M (14)

It seems whenever significant money gets involved, whether its hunters, landowners, government agencies, whatever, the real joys of hunting seemingly get lost in the mix.  You're right Randall...there's way too much emphasis placed on getting a big rack these days.  That never should be the single high water mark of a good hunt. 

For us hunting has meant family, time spent together, memories, the challenges of the sport, meat for the table, and yes hopefully a big one some day...in that order.  Thank God we have these opportunities right now - I wonder how much longer in the scheme of things we will continue to have them.  

 

RE: 13 inch rule

elkoholic23

elkoholic23 writes about
Points: Y (0) / M (0)

ELK

I am a Soldier station at Fort Hood, which is also running this 13in rule.  Looking at the deer harvest reports over the last 2 years, I have only seen 1 thing happen.  2 and 3 year old 8 and 10 points are being harvested.  The deer are not getting to that mature age of 5.5.  I have been at hood for 5 years now, and for the last 5 years they have had this 13in rule in effect.  Every now and then, probably 3 deer a season are confiscated for being under 13in.  There is nothing you can do about it though.  We are human and will make mistakes. 

Now I do agree that there are some deer out there that are 5 or 6 years old, that I will if given the chance to harvest, will harvest.  Most of Texas is private land.  Taking this into mind, every single one of you should want to see deer get to 5 years old.  And if you are on a leased land, talk to the owner; both you and the land owner probably want the same thing, Lots of big mature deer. 

So have some discipline and manage your heard. 

Shoot Straight, Samuel

ELK

 

 

RE: 13 inch rule

waco oso

waco oso writes about
Points: Y (0) / M (0)

Fort hood, has only been under the antler restriction since 2006, thats not five years, thats only three seasons. By the 4 and 5 years you start seeing alot bigger deer being taken, you can see this in the third year even if the range conditions that year were good.  You don't usually start seeing the full effects of the horn restriction until a full generation of deer, or 8 years. I don't know how familiar you are with the sportmans center and hunting program down there or how often you hunt but I know for a fact there were some monsters taken on the hood last year.

RE: 13 inch rule

elkoholic23

elkoholic23 writes about
Points: Y (0) / M (0)

ELK

I sit corrected.  But what I was getting at is not that the deer are bigger.  They harvested many 2 to 3 years old 8 and 10 point bucks.  What I was getting at is, most of the deer are not mature, 5 years old.  To harvest "Mature" deer, all of the hunters that hunt a given area have to be dedicated to only harvesting 5 year old deer and older.  Along with that, harvesting "cull" bucks is necessary too.  But that too is up to the hunter.  To me a "Cull" buck is probably going to be different than a "cull" buck to you or the next guy. 

You mentioned that there were some monsters taken last year.  That I am sure is true, but if those 3 year old monsters were allowed 2 more years, the overall deer population on Hood would be better for it.  That’s 2 years of breeding of great genetics that will not happen now because he was a monster that met the 13" rule.  Discipline with the hunter is what is it is going to come down to when trying to harvest big mature deer.  Oh yeah, and education on what a mature deer looks like.

Shoot StrightELK

RE: 13 inch rule

RanchRat

RanchRat writes about
Points: Y (0) / M (0)
Young county

Does anyone ever give any thought to the concept that not Everyone that hunts deer wants to kill a big buck?

Does anyone give any thought to the concept, that because of the 13 inch rule, young hunters may be leaving the sport, because they keep going out, and getting told that evey deer they see is too mall to shoot, so they stop going with their Dad or Uncle or GrandDad.

I do go along with the observation that many people are shooting the first buck that appears to be legal, not giving any consideration a to the age class, but I figure that I am not the only person on here that has seen and shot, 4 and 5 year old deer that did not measure more than 10 inches inside spread.

Those deer would never reach 13 inches, no matter how long they lived or how much nutrition they had available to them.

Over many parts of the state, the problem is that there are simply too many deer, and in those conditions, none of those deer can or will ever reach their full generic potential.

Add to all of the above, the fact that some hunters are going with the attitude of only killing a buck if it is bigger than what they have on the wall, and not killing any does at all.

How does that make any sense when we have the problems of declining hunter numbers and an ever increasing deer herd, that is already above the carrying capacity of the habitat in many areas.

 

RE: 13 inch rule

elkoholic23

elkoholic23 writes about
Points: Y (0) / M (0)

ELK

I would have to agree with you, on the Shooting the first legal buck they see.  If you say you are out for just the meat...then harvest a doe or two.  I have harvested many, MANY does in my time, and will continue too.

 

Shoot StriaghtELK

RE: 13 inch rule

RanchRat

RanchRat writes about
Points: Y (0) / M (0)
Young county

The point I am trying to get across, is that hunters, as a group need to look at the concept of deer hunting and deer management, from the standpoint of what is bet for the Herd, not just one segement of the herd.

Some states have instituted 'Earn A Buck" programs, wherein, a hunter has to prove that he has killed "X" number of does, Before, being issued a Buck Tag.

Too many folks here in Texas are too wrapped up in the "Big Rack" craze to really think about what their management practices are doing to the group of animals they are trying to manage.

Also, one thing no one really seems to be thinking about, is that when CWD reaches Texas, and it will in the next 5 years or less, if as in all other states that have CWD, the supplemental feeding of deer is stopped, the carrying capacity of the available habitat can not support the numbers of animals out there.

What CWD dies not kill, starvation will. JMO.

RE: 13 inch rule

E.TX.BOWHUNTER
E.TX.BOWHUNTER
E.TX.BOWHUNTER writes about E.TX.BOWHUNTER writes about E.TX.BOWHUNTER writes about E.TX.BOWHUNTER writes about E.TX.BOWHUNTER writes about E.TX.BOWHUNTER writes about
Points: Y (0) / M (0)
Montgomery county

I too hunt Fort Hood and I will tell you there ARE mature bucks. These animals are beyond smart. We seem to get only a glimps of a couple of seconds at the most on these animals. Heck I believe they can even avoid trail cameras as we do get mostly 2-4 year olds on film. I have seen these large deer and I'm telling you they are different animals. The reason these younger deer are killed is because they are still not smart enough to grow big. I snuck up on a nice 9 point. The stalk took me 30 minutes to cover the 60 yards. I got less than 15 yards from the animal but he was a 3-4 year old deer and with a 19" spread. Yes he was legal but I wanted better. I let him walk. We saw 3 mature animals last year. I saw only one. The one I saw circled me several times before I could get a clear look at him. The other 2 my brother saw. One was running away from him the other one only poked his head out of cover for just a few seconds and disappeared back into the brush and never made a sound. The big deer on public land seem to do these same things and the average hunter is not going to put in the time and effort in to harvest a fully mature animal. However because these deer will get a couple of extra years on them some will wisen-up and the smart ones will be there whether you see them or not!

GO CLIMB A TREE, TIM

RE: 13 inch rule

SHNF Deer Hunter

SHNF Deer Hunter writes about
Points: Y (0) / M (0)

COYOTE

Tim, go pee in there scraps. From my understanding, deer biologist have completed a recent study that suggests Man pee is better than doe pee and works better and also has the benefit of being free.

I know of another big deer that is wisened up from last year in the SHNF that has some 30-06 noise training :0)

RE: 13 inch rule

Texas State Bobcat
Texas State Bobcat
Texas State Bobcat writes about
Points: Y (0) / M (0)

I hunt in Colorado and Fayette County, and I can tell you, we have seen on average better bucks ever since we got put on the 13 inch rule.  Moron hunters around us used to shot anytime they saw horns.  Now thanks to the 13 inch rule and game cameras (so people can actually know which bucks to take), our mature buck crop has gotten a lot better.  I am all for it.

Casey

www.wildwoodwildlife.blogspot.com

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