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Guest Blog

Why ask for a 1-buck limit?

Sun, March 16, 2014

By DON HIGGINS

When the Illinois Whitetail Alliance recently released its multi-point proposal regarding changes in the management of the Illinois whitetail deer herd, I expected to hear some resistance. What has surprised me is how well the proposal has been accepted in its entirety by Illinois deer hunters. Apparently the masses of unhappy deer hunters have been awakened to the point where they are willing to make sacrifices to turn around our struggling deer herd.

What little resistance there has been to the proposal has primarily been centered on the proposed limit of 1 buck per hunter per year, all seasons combined.

I can assure you that nobody understands this resistance better than me. When this issue was discussed by the Alliance I was the last hold-out to agree to include this as part of the proposal. As someone who enjoys hunting during the late season, I didn’t want to eliminate that opportunity should I be blessed with a buck harvest during the rut or early season. I even suggested a compromise plan which would have limited Illinois deer hunters to a single buck during the “early” phase of the season and still allow a second buck to be killed later, after a certain date.

My “compromise” was really a selfish way to ensure that I would always be able to hunt for a buck during the late season no matter what success I may have had earlier.

In the weeks that followed the Alliance firming up its proposal, I began to see the “1-buck limit” differently. In fact I also saw my own reluctance to support a 1-buck limit differently. My basis for opposing a 1-buck limit was purely selfish. I was putting my own “wants” ahead of what is really best for the Illinois deer herd.

Fortunately the Alliance is made up of knowledgeable individuals who set aside their personal “wants” to develop the best plan possible for taking the management of the Illinois deer herd in a new and better direction. With disease and increased hunting pressure taking increasing tolls on our buck population, the only way to move more bucks into older age classes is by decreasing hunting pressure on them.

We cannot do anything about disease but we can certainly address hunting pressure on our bucks and the best way to do this is with a limit of 1-buck per hunter per year.

Another factor to consider is that in many areas of Illinois the deer herd has been depleted to the point where it needs to be expanded. This is far different than where we once were when the herd needed to be decreased. It is even a totally different scenario than having a situation where the herd simply needed to be “maintained” at current levels.

Expanding the herd will mean allowing more deer, especially female deer, to live so that an increased number of them will be alive to reproduce and bear more fawns. This won’t happen overnight but will be a multi-year process. During this time the female harvest must be decreased. That’s the simple part.

The process becomes a bit more complex as hunters who have grown accustomed to harvesting a certain number of deer will have to accept the idea that they cannot harvest deer at the same rate which they have become accustomed to. Hunter habits are slow to change and we cannot have the harvest pressure that was once focused on the female portion of the herd swing towards an increased buck harvest.

Rebuilding a quality deer herd means looking at how one regulation change may affect influence other factors such as hunter behavior. As the hunting community comes together to strive to rebuild Illinois whitetail deer herd, the 1-buck limit becomes an integral part of the overall plan.

Just as I was slower than the rest of the Alliance members to buy into the 1-buck limit, I fully believe that others who oppose it are also doing so for selfish reasons. Frankly, no good reason exists to NOT have a 1-buck limit. If we hunters are serious about really improving our Illinois deer herd, it is going to take sacrifices from each of us. I have heard the arguments from those who oppose the 1-buck limit and while everyone is entitled to their opinion, there honestly is not an argument that is not ripe with selfishness.

These arguments may change a bit from person to person but they are all based on nothing more than ones desire to kill more bucks (for whatever reason) and a lack of regard for the health of the states deer herd. The question becomes; are we all willing to sacrifice personal desires to do the right thing for our deer herd?

The 5-point proposal released by the Illinois Whitetail Alliance is not a wish list thrown together by a group of deer hunters looking to kill more deer or bigger bucks. I promise you, if I or any other member of the Alliance was given the keys to the Illinois deer herd, the changes would look a whole lot different than what IWA has proposed. The IWA proposal is a well thought out and woven series of proposed regulation changes that does 2 very important things.

First of all the proposal is carefully constructed so that it can be accepted by three very important groups – IDNR, legislators and the public. Without support of each group there is little chance that significant changes can happen. Each of us may have specific items or issues that we wish the IWA proposal had included or addressed differently, but how would these desired changes affect the support of one of these groups?

Secondly, the proposed changes must all be geared towards the betterment of Illinois’ deer herd. Simply put, individual wishes were set aside to create a proposal that could be sold to the three important groups while also having the greatest positive impact on the Illinois deer herd.

A well-managed deer herd is in everyone’s best interest. Opinions on what this means and how to get there may vary and sometimes can lead to heated debate. The Illinois Whitetail Alliance came together and crafted a well-thought out plan that can be accepted by all groups at the table. No other group, including IDNR has offered up a plan to move our states deer herd forward towards a brighter future.

“Who” came up with the proposal is really a moot point. It doesn’t matter who is behind the proposal; what matters is that we all come together with our varied interests and get something done soon. Staying on our current course will only lead to disaster and more unrest amongst Illinois deer hunters and fingers pointing at IDNR. Taking small token measures to appease outspoken critics is nothing more than another slap in the face to a deer hunting public that has seen enough.

IDNR credibility has taken a major hit in recent years, a good bit of which could be instantly restored by embracing the proposal brought forth by the Illinois Whitetail Alliance.

Don Higgins is one of the founding members of the Illinois Whitetail Alliance and will be writing a series of articles between now and the November election regarding the management of the Illinois deer herd. Don welcomes the re-publication of these articles by all media outlets. Media contacts wishing to receive these articles for publication can contact him by email – .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  To learn more about IWA, follow them on facebook.

Comments

I have to disagree with the one buck limit.  I see everyone talk about a one buck limit yet I haven’t read any articles about limiting the doe harvest.  Going from a two buck rule to a one buck rule is not going to do much to increase the deer population, we need to concentrate on limiting the doe harvest first and foremost.  If you want to get more bucks, as well as bigger and better deer, you need to set a limit on does first.  This should be our concern at this time, not moving to a one buck limit.  What I do agree with is a second buck minimum antler size, either 4 points on one side or a 14” spread.  This will let more young bucks walk but still allow hunters to pursue a trophy buck if they harvest a smaller buck for the freezer first.  If I shoot a 140” buck in October, I still should be able to hunt and go after a 160” if I want.  Am I going to get one?  Most likely not, but its still nice to have the chance to go after one.  I’d rather shoot a 160” and take one deer out then take a doe that could quite possibly turn into 2 or 3 deer that spring.  You may say its selfish that people want the opportunity to shoot two bucks.  I say its selfish that some people want to go down to one buck so that they can shoot bigger bucks and deny the right to people who want the opportunity to shoot two bucks, even though most never do.  We should be concentrating first and foremost on limiting the doe totals.  If someone shoots two bucks, they take two deer out of the herd.  If someone shoots two does, they take up to 6 maybe more deer out of the herd for next year.  I saw 22 non-shooter bucks this year from spikes to basket 8 points.  I saw maybe 15 does all hunting season.  I wish people would realize that we need to work on the doe population before we do anything about the buck limits.

Posted by Bigb on March 16

I think one buck a year is plenty but agree with Big B that the guys shooting 15 deer a year is the biggest problem we have. I know a guy that has shot 100 deer in the last 5 years in Illinois. (He did have a poor season this year only dropping 17). Even a 4 deer limit with all weapons combined would really help get these “game hogs” under control.

Posted by yellowstone on March 16

Someone needs to ask Micetch-Shelton, or Buhnerkempe, Just how many hunters kill MORE than one antlerd buck per year. How about it Dozerdeer, want to answer that question please??????????????

Posted by walmsley on March 16

We need a 2 doe limit set in place, I know of acouple people shooting 7 does apiece on public then giving them away

Posted by WhitetailFreak on March 16

If you guys would read the entire proposal before cutting it down, you would realize there would be many changes that will LOWER THE TOTAL DOES HARVESTED.  Go to the link below, or search Illinois Whitetail Alliance and read it.  There are 5 sections, read section 1 and then come back and see if you can still say you haven’t read anything about lowering the doe harvest.  Its sickening how “opinionated” hunters really are and how fast they cut down anyone’s ideas but their own.  Take a minute and appreciate what these guys are volunteering their time for and realize it they are successful with any of their plan being implemented, these changes will be the first to help the herd in a LONG LONG time.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/282423161907990/

Posted by CCHUNTER2024600 on March 16

I THINK THE IWA HAS A POSITIVE START BUT COME ON. OUR STATE AND SURRUNDING STATES ARE SEEING DECLINES IN HARVEST TOTALS SO HOW DOES HAVING A 1 BUCK RULE HELP. THERE ARE VERY FEW TRUE HUNTERS. AFTER FILLING THEIR 1 BUCK TAG THAT THEY JUST WOULD SHOOT MORE DOES. BETWEEN CHD, CWD AND OVER KILL IN SOME AREAS THIS CAN’T BE THE RIGHT ANSWER. WE NEED TO CANGE THE OLD MOTTO. LET THE DOES WALK TO SAVE THE HERD.  THE OLD SAYING EVERY DEER IS A TROPHY MUST BE GONE.

Posted by deer1 on March 16

Don, How can anti-facebookers follow IWA????I couldn’t find a website…..

Posted by WhitetailFreak on March 16

“Expanding the herd will mean allowing more deer, especially female deer, to live so that an increased number of them will be alive to reproduce and bear more fawns. This won’t happen overnight but will be a multi-year process. During this time the female harvest must be decreased. That’s the simple part.”

I think Don did address the issue of limiting doe harvests.

And, while I would like the opportunity to harvest a second buck, I also believe a one buck limit would be necessary if we are to start limiting doe harvests.  I have been reluctant to mention it to more than just a handful of people for fear of being crucified by all the guys who think we should stop killing does all together.  But here it goes.

Deer numbers are lower than what most of us want to see….myself included.  And limiting doe harvests is the answer to having more deer.  I think we all agree with that.  But you need to look at the effects that one major change will have on other areas of the management strategy.  And having “more deer” is only one of those changes.  We should also look at this situation and recognize the potential for improvements to what our herd used to be.  The buck do doe ratio is what I am getting at here.

We have a realistic chance to improve our herd dynamics and sculpt more well rounded sex ratios among our adult deer.  This will take a change in the harvest of both does and bucks.  Drastically reducing the harvest of does alone makes little sense.  Harvesting them RESPONSIBLY will allow the growth we want, at a pace that we might be able to control.  But we can’t reduce female harvest and yet continue male harvest at the same rate if we expect to improve that age structure.  We will wind up with a ton of does and few bucks….all over again.  If we rebuilt our herd to desirable levels while slowly grooming the age structure of the herd, then you will have contentment from both the “meat hunters” who just want to see numbers and have shot opportunities, as well as the “trophy hunter” who wants a defined rut with the potential to harvest a mature buck.

I support the one buck limit only for this reason.  Because I recognize that you should limit the harvest of both genders to keep a balanced and healthy herd, if you wish to build numbers.  So bring on reduced harvest all the way around.  But put a floor under where our herd stands now DNR.

Personally, if the DNR refuses to work with a one buck limit, I hope they might make some type of compromise and implement some form of delayed opportunity for a second buck like Don mentioned above.  Possibly issue a second buck tag only with the harvest of a doe.

I’ll finish my rant with these facts….

With the crash in the whitetail population through the Midwest, everyone is comparing this state and that state.  Many have noticed the great strides KY has made in the past decade and now places them at the top as far as whitetail destinations.  Here are a few things to consider when we argue about what we need to change in the management of our IL herd.

1. Kentucky doesn’t’ have check stations. Neither does almost any other state in Midwest.
2. Kentucky doesn’t even have physical tags to put on your deer.  And hasn’t had them for a long time.
3. Kentucky does allow an ample doe harvest.
4. Kentucky ALLOWS HUNTING DEER OVER BAIT.
5. Kentucky has a one buck limit.

So choose your arguing points wisely!!!!!

Posted by bw on March 16

I do appreciate the efforts of the IWA but a one buck limit is not really gonna help anything.  The problem is all the jerkoffs killing every doe they see just to brag and wear those stupid hat pins like they’re the big hunter. 
The fall of the illinois deer herd is a result of turning deer hunting into a business, and the almighty dollar.  This all started when the camera crews came to illinois.  The deer porn industry with all their DVDs, gimmicks, and pen raised deer have ruined our deer herd as well as a lot of hunters. Hunters are different then they used to be.  Kill, kill, kill is the mentality for many or for others it’s getting big antlers no matter what it takes.  If that don’t work I guess grow your own or buy one from your local deer farmer. 
It’s amazing how the greed of a handful of people could change things here around home so quickly.  They laughed all the way to the bank

Posted by Andy Meador on March 16

CCHunter, I think we have all read what the IWA is proposing.  The problem is that this article talks about something that will just cause an argument and what most hunters do not endorse.  I would have rather seen an article on what should be done about the doe limited rather than the buck limits.  I’m still a fan of a minimum size on a second buck.  Heck, over a 130” would be fine for me because that is the size it would have to be for me to shoot and probably even bigger than that.  I just think that a one buck rule does nothing for the herd and is only for like people said above that are looking for “Horn Porn” and want bigger bucks, the herd will not increase by putting a one buck rule in, I can guarantee that.  Push the two doe limit, not the one buck and see what it does then.  I guarantee our deer herd will rebound much faster.  With the Kentucky reference, Ive heard a lot about people hunting there and with the no tag rule, there may be a one buck rule written in the book but it isn’t followed very strictly.  Indiana has a one buck rule as well and I’ve heard from guys from Indiana is really hasn’t done anything to help there deer herd.  If baffles me that we don’t work together on enacting a 2 doe limit rather than having everyone arguing about a one buck or two buck limit.  The priorities seemed to be mixed up right now.  We want more deer but are concentrating on QDMA and bigger bucks when we need to be concentrating on increasing the overall deer population right now.

Posted by Bigb on March 16

Well said BigB, I agree with everything you say.  I am quite OK with either a 1 buck limit, or a size limit on a 2nd buck and all of this buck limit talk is a very distant 2nd place of importance in comparison to limiting the number of does taken.  I really just love the fact that the IWA has taken initiative to push improvements to the deer herd.  Also, if you have read what the IWA is proposing as you state above, you have no reason to say, “yet I haven’t read any articles about limiting the doe harvest”, because that is an area of emphasis in their proposal.

Posted by CCHUNTER2024600 on March 16

I strongly disagree with a 1 buck limit because it wont fix the problem! The problem has been a decline in the herd. If you want to stop the decline then have a 2 doe limit per hunter.

Quite possibly the most idiotic IWA recommendation is to raise all deer permits by 10 dollars per tag to offset the lack of revenue by fewer tags being sold.  Why on earth do we want to give more of our dollars to a corrupt IDNR???
Whoever involved with IWA that thinks a 1 buck limit is a good idea should go back to school and realize its the doe limit that needs to happen, not the bucks.

Posted by fredbear88 on March 16

BW, Maybe the one buck limit in Kentucky is the difference, it may be that simple. Not having a physical tag to apply wouldn’t matter and we can bait in Illinois (as long as you plant the bait), and everything else is the same there pretty much.

Posted by yellowstone on March 16

Not to be too critical, but this issue has been made alot more complex than it needs to be.
Institute a 2 DOE LIMIT PER HUNTER and deer numbers will go up at a sustainable rate.

Posted by fredbear88 on March 16

Fred Bear, I would like to see limits on deer harvest, 2 per year or 4 or whatever. If that isn’t going to happen I think $50 is a fair price for a 2 deer bow tag or give the option of buying a single for $25. I don’t care if you work part time at McDonalds, you can afford a deer tag at those prices. Give hunters the option of purchasing a second 2 deer tag for $100. That would hit the game hogs in the pocket book a bit and we could then lower the overall number of permit sales and get the same amount of revenue thus the herd will grow. Either route that is taken, the problem with a declining deer herd is solved

Posted by yellowstone on March 16

Seems to me that limiting the number of buck and does permits is managing hunters instead of managing the deer herd.  Limiting permits per individual will not have an effect on highly outfitted counties.

Seems to me permits should be allocated based on population densities and density goals. Managing at a county level probably makes the most sense.  If a county can support 300 bucks and 250 does to meet goals, that should be the number of permits issued for that county, no more, no less.

It would be great if our IDNR would manage game populations according to the North American Wildlife Conservation Model instead of what is being done today (ex. DVA’s and IL corrupt politics).

Posted by buckbull on March 16

Is the plan being accepted? or is the lack of perceived resistance just most hunters just ignoring the chatter. 

Changing the subject from managing for trophies and ‘big bucks(dollars)’ to health of the herd.

I have been blind to the CWD deal.  There are a lot more locations affected than just central WI and northern IL.  I am to the point I want the general population as low as possible.  I want to ban deer farming( aka, high fence fake hunting).  I think that maybe a young deer is less likely to be infected.  Thus I will favor shooting the little ones.  So a one buck limit is of no importance.  Deer farming should be ultra regulated by DNR, FDA and USDA, in my opinion.  Seems some correlation in play between deer farms and outbreaks.  I want this to be a priority until CWD is studied longer to determine if humans are at risk of contracting it.
Once CWD is dismissed as a human disease.  Then we can vote for a higher deer population.  Maybe this plan is already in place.

I think this is much better plan than those wishing to make big bucks off deer antlers or to simply feed an ego.

Mr. Meador is making lots of good points re: those making big bucks off of big bucks changing the sport for everyone.  Negatively.

Posted by virtualSniper on March 16

I understand your point Yellowstone. My only comment is the amount of revenue collected from permits will have zero to do with the increase in deer numbers.
Money doesnt create deer.I am all for CPOs in every county or so, but the DNR has more money than they need already, they just spend it like it grows on trees.

Posted by fredbear88 on March 16

Yellowstone, you see the light.  My point is that many of the things so many say we need to change (like check stations) are proven to work in states that we sometimes envy for having a better deer herd.

Posted by bw on March 16

Yellowstone has a great point and it is “gamehogs” period.  But why are they gamehogs?  Why cause the DNR lets them be gamehogs by allowing them to have a endless surplus of tags.  That’s it Andy nothing else.  This state has been ruined for deer hunting because of disease and over harvest and the DNR mismanaging by selling out to the highest bidder.  It’s not the out of staters or resident hunters.  Most not all are just playing by the rules established.  It’s a supply and demand thing.  Stop issuing so many out of state permits and resident permits and the deer will make a come back.  Get rid of those dumb LWS seasons and more does with fawns will survive.  It’s not rocket science here guys!!  Keep the 2 buck limit and just allow how many deer one hunter can harvest.  How about 3 deer per hunter??  Until there is a limit on tags and how many deer one guy can kill things won’t rebound.  As Yellowstone has said before man can’t refrain from pulling the trigger they will wipe the deer off the face of the earth if allowed!!

Posted by muzzyman on March 16

I tend to think the point of this article was to show the reasoning behind pushing for a 1 buck limit!  We all understand shooting less does equals more deer in the long run. I’m sure the IWA knows that lowering the doe harvest will be much easier for a lot of hunters to accept than the taking away of their 2nd buck tag.  The truth is by lowering the harvest of both bucks and does its really a win win for everyone ( minus the “gamehog”), meat hunters will see more deer and can shoot their 1 spike, or fork horn, or first buck, etc and still be able to harvest a couple does to fill their freezer and feed the family. The Big Buck hunters will be able to put a doe in the freezer (should they choose to do so) while waiting on whatever buck they deem to be a trophy.  I know its nice to carry that 2nd buck tag into late season or even the rut but a 1 buck limit will make us all be more selective on how we want to use that tag and every buck we let walk will have the chance to grow another yr. while helping to keep the deer herd balanced.
There is no possible proposal that will appease all of us, but myself personally I am all for anything that will help our deer herd to recover.  Including giving up my 2nd buck tag!  I will probably shoot less bucks in my lifetime and I’m fine with that especially if it means my children and future grandchildren might one day have the chance to enjoy the kind of deer hunting we all had not that long ago!

Posted by BOWHUNTR on March 17

For those against the one buck proposal, I wouldn’t get your bowels in an up roar. Shelton And Buhnerkempe have never cared about keeping the high percentage of adult bucks in the deer herd, and they proved that when they took control in 1991 and made buck bag limits almost non existant. They then fought hard AGAINST the push for the TWO buck limit from 1995 until it went into effect in 1998, against their wishes. Everything they’ve done for 23 years has been to have less adults bucks %‘s in the herd make up.

I’d put the chance of getting a 1 buck limit while the IL. deer management is under their control, at ZERO.

Posted by walmsley on March 17

Wamsley, I have to agree with you.  If the IDNR enacts a one buck limit, they will lose a lot of revenue from people who buy a second buck tag for various weapons.  I always but a buck tag for Archery, gun season and muzzleloader season and if I shoot a good buck early on I usually get another either sex archery tag so I can shoot another buck if a 150” or bigger walks.  I can only legally shoot two bucks but if I have a bad archery season I want to have an option if I shoot a 130” and then a 170” (That hasn’t happened yet!)  walks out I want to be able to shoot it.  As I said before, I think the vast majority of us don’t shoot two bucks a year, heck, I’ve only done it once, but I want to have the option.  If they go down to a one buck rule, the state won’t be missing out on just the money of the one extra buck tag but the price for the tags people won’t buy because they can only shoot one buck.  The state is all about revenue and the possibility of losing out on the money from a tag or two is not what they want to hear.  We need to have a united front on getting a two doe limit and forget trying to change this 2 buck rule.  If you go into any negotiation with 15 things you want changed, they aren’t all going to happen.  If we go in with one thing that ALL hunters want changed, we have more of a chance of getting it enacted.  I’d rather focus in on something all hunters want and forget the things that are pulling us apart.

Posted by Bigb on March 17

Keep the 2 buck limit. One buck won’t stop hunters from shooting 2. Ask Indiana meat lockers. A lot of wives started hunting after 1 buck was implemented. They killed their buck right from the couch. DNR would be overworked trying to keep it in check

Posted by selfinflicted on March 17

Here is the deal, its common knowledge by now that the 1 buck limit is the tool used to cause the surrounding states to pass us in trophy quality deer. I have friends in IOWA that find more sheds in a day of family shed hunting than i do in southern illinois walking 100s of miles in the best property available.  They also find sheds from deer of a higher age class on avg.  Whatever your goal is for a trophy buck, if its a 150s or better or any 5.5 year old or better, the one buck limit will greatly increase the odds of making this happen.  Sure i want to get two a year, but im happy with seeing more bucks and knowing that if i pass them they have a good chance making it through the year than in some guys freezer.  As far as the 10 dollar increase in tags, don mentioned that many items in the proposal were to get support from different groups,  There is no way OUR DNR will support a proposal that significantly decreases their revenue.

Posted by clintharvey on March 17

“If they go down to a one buck rule, the state won’t be missing out on just the money of the one extra buck tag but the price for the tags people won’t buy because they can only shoot one buck.  The state is all about revenue and the possibility of losing out on the money from a tag or two is not what they want to hear.”

Keep in mind that the only tag money they will miss out on will be from the 2nd tag bought by archery hunter’s AFTER they have already killed a buck.  Otherwise, we have to buy all our E/S tags before the season even starts.  So we have to have them in our pocket before season just to have a chance to kill two.  That’s why we buy one archery combo, one firearm E/S, and one muzzleloader E/S in hopes of killing 2 bucks on three tags.  If we go to one buck, we will probably still buy the same three tags incase we don’t get to kill one with a bow.

Posted by bw on March 17

My opinion is make it a two deer a year limit period, can’t shoot anymore no matter what season it is, but I am on board with the IWA because they are standing up for the future deer hunters of Illinois. Hope they get all they ask for but with this State, i’m not sure they will. Best of luck to them.

Posted by cuttnstrut on March 17

just had a guy deliver something at the house,he was from indiana. He loves the one buck limit they have now and says he sees so many big bucks.  Showed a picture of a 160s he was very proud of.  There Will be alot more mature deer out there for the common man to have a chance at if this proposal is accepted.

Posted by clintharvey on March 17

Make it a two deer a year limit period, can’t shoot anymore no matter what season it is. I am on board with the IWA because they are standing up for the future deer hunters of Illinois. Hope they get all they ask for but with this State, i’m not sure they will. Best of luck to them.

Posted by cuttnstrut on March 17

  This stuff about 2nd buck a certain number like a 160 or what ever. Hey most of us don’t even know or care what a buck scores, we know what a big buck is to us. Cant believe the average hunter would know what it scored when it was down. I think the obsession with horns is what has gotten too much pressure on big bucks. Just like the same with letting as many does a bow hunter wants to take. Im a old bow hunter and think bow hunters started the beginning of the end of the herd.

Posted by joecarver on March 17

I really appreciate the time and effort the IWA has put in to try to better our deer hunting in Illinois.  These guys have traveled to meetings and spent many hours putting a good proposal together.  There is no way to please all hunters as there are obviously different opinions on what is needed. If we don’t get some drastic changes this year then we are in for some disappointing hunts. 

I support the one buck limit and understand the need.  Thanks IWA for all your efforts!

Posted by hunter4life on March 17

Keep the 2 buck limit. One buck won’t stop hunters from shooting 2. Ask Indiana meat lockers. A lot of wives started hunting after 1 buck was implemented. They killed their buck right from the couch. DNR would be overworked trying to keep it in check”  Couldn’t agree more.  Indiana put the rule in and wives/girlfriends/Brothers all of sudden starting hunting but never made it to the woods.  This is all cyclical.  What is going to happen now is out of staters are going to start hearing that the Illinois deer population is in trouble so they are going to move to outfitters in Indiana/Kentucky where they can still buy a tag every year.  Then outfitters will pop up there, there deer herd will start to fail as Illinois slowly gets better because no one wants to hunt here.  We’ll go through a 5 to 10 low time of out of state hunters and Indiana’s deer herd will go down and then out of staters will come back to Illinois.  The reason that Iowa has a good deer herd is partially because it takes three years to draw a bow tag if you are from out of state.  You put those restrictions on out of state hunters in Illinois and we all will benefit.  That and a two doe limit.

Posted by Bigb on March 17

Then how do you explain Iowa having it’s lowest harvest since the mid 1990’s? That pretty much negates your non resident theory and non residents are not the primary problem in Illinois. Nice try though.

Posted by JB IL on March 17

The amount of differing opinions on here is a huge reason why the IWA will never pass.  Its pretty obvious that most commenting on here sincerely care about the health of the herd, but have major differences of opinions on how to help the herd.  To me its very very obvious to recognize this proposal would have a very positive impact on the herd we all cherish.  If we could just quit spewing our opinions and get behind this as a united group, we would all see and be over-joyed by the improvements it would bring.

Posted by CCHUNTER2024600 on March 17

CC I agree with you somewhat but a one buck limit isn’t going to help our deer herd.  I have trouble standing behind something I don’t agree with.  Why not a one doe limit? 
I don’t disagree because I want to shoot two bucks.  I’ve shot one in the last three years.  I hunt public land and that’s the least of my worries. 
The one buck proposal is all for one reason and one reason only.  Antlers!  It’s hard to take anyone seriously about saving our deer herd when we focus on antlers and not the actual deer that give birth to more deer.  I think that’s why so many are balking at this and the people here on HO are just a fraction of all the hunters out there. 
I’m all for saving the does   Anything else is just fueling someone else’s personal greed and need for the spotlight for marketing purposes and status!

Posted by Andy Meador on March 17

Beware the hidden agenda!

Posted by Andy Meador on March 17

If your in favor of saving does, your in favor of the IWA proposal. They are addressing that as well.  It sounds like a big part of the 1 buck limit is mostly included because they don’t want to limit the number of does taken and then cause the people who just cant stop shooting a ridiculous amount of deer to shoot 2 bucks every year, causing an unbalanced herd.  I completely agree with you Andy, the IWA could make their proposal very simple by proposing a 1 or 2 doe limit and probably actually get a larger following, but that isn’t the case.  All I really care about is there is something out there we can get behind that will significantly improve the deer herd.

Posted by CCHUNTER2024600 on March 17

I understand what you’re saying but those idiots killing All the deer will continue killing, they’ll just get tags in their wife or kids name or just call their multiple bucks in as does. 
Less than half of us are honest hunters when you really get down to it so telling outlaws they can only shoot one buck won’t even put a dent in it.  You’ve gotta focus on the doe harvest.  Those guys are gonna shoot the buck regardless. 
As I stated before I don’t care if there’s a one buck limit for me, it’s not an issue.  I’m good with one.  BUT if you wanna bring the herd back shouldn’t we be asking for a one doe limit and leave the hidden agenda for another day? 
Just my thoughts

Posted by Andy Meador on March 17

I hear ya Andy, but I don’t see an organization pushing the simplified reduction of only doe harvest.  The agenda of the IWA does push for lowered doe harvest along with some other points that I don’t see hurting a darn thing.  If the illegals you mention above will shoot bucks anyways and get tags for daughters and wives then no rule changes will help.  I agree there are plenty of outlaws, but laws will help and we all ask the DNR to do something, and this group is at least pushing something that will help.

Posted by CCHUNTER2024600 on March 17

I agree CC and my only interest here is for the growth of the deer herd (not just the antlers) but a spade is a spade!  A lot of us know what’s hidden in this effort and I despise it as well as others but what do you do?  I didn’t vote for change when the demorats brought Osama to the table so do I do it now?  I don’t have any deer porn products to sell and I don’t need the status in the whitetail world to impress anyone or sell my next DVD so I’m torn. 
We need a 1 doe limit period!  The buck limit is nothing more than horn porn greed!  I don’t care about putting antlers on my wall I have close to 700 antlers in boxes that I don’t even look at!  If you want to save the deer herd in illinois get off your pedestal and lets all work together and save the ones without head gear!  That’s the only logical solution.  We all know it

Posted by Andy Meador on March 17

A 1 buck limit will do nothing to increase deer numbers. A 1 buck limit just helps the people who are making big bucks off big antlers.

The overall problem will only be fixed when a doe limit is in place. Little things like eliminating over the counter tags and eliminating the late doe season will not fix the problem. The only true way to fix a problem is to set a 2 doe limit per hunter per season. End of story.

Any talk of a 1 buck limit is strictly horn porn by those that boost their egos and make money off big antlers

Posted by fredbear88 on March 17

CC Hunter, I don’t think everyone should quit “spewing their opinions”, that type of discussion is what we need. Its like a democratic or republican primary, we need to beat each other up, figure out where the majority stands and where our leaders stand ,then unite together and fight the enemy. (DNR, Farm Bureau, State farm or whoever). This site should be about sharing ideas, otherwise , what good is it? I don’t care to see old Bill Blows 10 inch crappie or little Tommy’s 100 inch buck shown on the front page when I log on, I don’t care if muskies are hitting purple jigs in Tennesee either to be honest, I want to read other people’s opinions. Thanks to all that give theirs.

Posted by yellowstone on March 17

It seems I am not alone  

Save a split tail, not a forky.  Let the “average hunter” decide!

Posted by Andy Meador on March 17

Bowhuntr and a few others are spot-on with IWA’s thought process.  Our number one proposal is to reduce doe harvest in counties at or below goal by eliminating unlimited OTC permits and shifting antlerless season to September in counties above goal.  This season shift will go a long way toward making it a true doe season and not just an “antlerless” season (as well as shoot them before peak deer vehicle accidents).  With EHD outbreaks becoming more prevalent (3 of last 7 years) it will also allow does that survive future outbreaks to pass on immunity to their fawns.  We also looked at Late Winter Season data the last 8 seasons and overall buck harvest averaged 21.4%.  This equates to 20,500 bucks.  What’s 2,500 bucks a year in the grand scheme of things?  If it’s your hunting area it’s a big deal and totally unnecessary.  Would there still be bucks killed with the shift?  Undoubtedly, but it is highly doubtful it would be as high.  For one there would be no shed bucks (although button bucks are the vast majority) and there would be a huge disparity between doe and fawn size (not so much in January). 

As for the one buck limit - we knew going in this would be the most contentious part of the proposal - hence Don’s article.  However, we feel this is a very important aspect of the proposal.  We cannot simply eliminate doe harvest (nor should we) and shift all focus to bucks and expect it to have a positive impact on the herd.  We need to take a balanced approach and still harvest bucks and does - just not at current levels.  If we simply back off does as some suggest and shift our focus to bucks, the age structure of the buck herd will suffer more than it already has.  I am already seeing this in areas I hunt.  I keep meticulous notes every time I sit in a tree and have years worth of data - the herd I hunt went from 20% of the bucks being 3.5 years or older (1 in 5 up until 2009) to this past season where it was down to 10% (1 in 10); that is a huge decrease!  Hunters I know were shooting bucks in 2013 they would not have shot in the past simply because older bucks were not there and they felt they had to kill a buck.  This strategy will only snowball in coming years, further hurting the herd.
 
There was mention of antler restrictions by some but we are not supportive of that.  The number of antler points a buck has is a very poor indicator of age and while inside spread is a very good one it is often hard to judge at the moment of truth.  I have hunted VA under spread restrictions and it took a lot of fun out of the hunt.  It is much easier to simply let individual hunters make their own decision on what buck they want to hang their tag on.  Personally, as long as the hunter is happy with their buck I could care less how big or small it is – that should be a personal decision.  The only time I get annoyed is when I hear excuses for why they shot it.  We do think a one buck limit will make a hunter think about letting an arrow go or squeezing the trigger as the shot will end their season.  I know it will mine.  This can ONLY have a positive effect on the buck segment of the herd.  I will also add this.  For those that think we have a hidden agenda, it would be a whole lot easier to not rock the boat and keep two buck tags in our pockets.  Personally, I shot a single buck in 2012 and zero in 2013.  I could not bring myself to drop the string on the bucks I did have shots at – I just couldn’t justify it considering how few I was seeing.
 
One other consideration I have seen little mention of - we also proposed a modified 2 buck limit for sociological reasons as we knew one would be a tough sell.  The modified limit would allow a hunter to shoot 2 bucks but restrict the take of a 2nd buck to after 1st shotgun season - this is mirrored after Missouri’s season structure and we shamelessly stole it.  Bowhunter’s sacrifice a bit and gun hunters have more bucks to hunt during 1st shotgun.  This in effect would still decrease buck harvest as we all know it is much harder to take a buck after 1st shotgun.  It would also make hunters think twice about a buck because it would effectively end their buck season until after 1st shotgun.  A one buck limit would increase age structure at a faster rate than the modified limit but both would have a positive impact in the long run. 

I also noted many saying guys would just cheat and keep shooting multiple bucks – I don’t know about you but I have ZERO issue with turning in poachers.  After all, they are stealing from YOU and me and I have no tolerance for that. 

If you’re happy with the status quo, just keep on doing what you’re doing.  If you want to see a change, this is a good start.

Lee Mitchell

P.S.  I remember my old wildlife professor telling my class that wildlife was 10% wildlife management and 90% people management.  I distinctly remember thinking he was crazy!  He couldn’t have been more right – wildlife’s the easy part.

Posted by IL_Bowhunter on March 17

Not all of us can drop work and family to pursue big antlers anytime we want.  I’m just thankful to be able to go out and hunt and see deer when I can.  There’s a lot of us out there!  We have nothing to gain.  We just love having the opportunity to share the woods with our passion. The white tailed deer

Posted by Andy Meador on March 17

I like the idea of a one buck limit. I would gladly sacrifice my second tag for the good of the Illinois deer herd. I know last year after I shot my 2nd buck I basically stopped hunting. I think a lot of hunters would stop going out if they knew they could not shoot a second buck. Make it one buck and one or two doe limit until the herd rebounds IMO. Anything proactive the IWA is going to do I will support bc it is a hell of a lot better than what’s happenning right now

Posted by Illinoisbassnbucks on March 18

You guys need to get over your obsession with one single person on the Alliance… and remember there are more of us (including a couple of wildlife biologists) who take offense to the insinuation of hidden agendas.  For me, it’s simple math.  Looking at the buck:doe ratio of the harvest over the last several years, it’s clear that any little changes in the percentages can have drastic effects.  If you replace all that extra doe harvest that people are used to, with buck harvest, it WILL have a negative impact.  I don’t think we can afford to shift our harvest to 60+% bucks.
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If you don’t like the idea of a one buck limit, why does nobody mention the alternative in the proposal… keeping the 2 buck limit in a split season?  Is that too restrictive as well?  The more people protest ANY kind of limit on bucks, the more it becomes clear where the agendas are.  Nobody claimed that killing fewer bucks would increase the overall deer herd… it was suggested as a way to maintain some level of quality and age structure while we get through a rebuilding process with doe restrictions.
****
By all means… keep bashing every idea that comes up.  We’ll end up right where IDNR proposed… unlimited archery doe permits (with a strong push by legislators to get crossbows in the entire archery season) and a supposed reduction in the number of gun tags in some counties (although there would be no way to trace those supposed reductions).

Posted by Kevin C on March 18

ANDY MEADOR - I cannot tell you how disappointed I am at your responses. You have proven a number of things with your posts - 1. I never really knew you at all. 2. you certainly don’t know much about me. (If I had set out to devise a proposal for reasons such as you suggested, it would look a whole lot different than this proposal) 3. You obviously have not read the proposal that you are so quick to bash (It does include the 1-doe limit you have raved about) 4. You must be the one with an antler porn issue as apparently 1 buck enough isn’t enough to satisfy you.

I had no intentions of even entering this discussion and have not read everyones posts but it was brought to my attention that you were posting rubbish. I only have a few minutes to post before I get to work Andy but I had to let you know what a disappointment you are to me personally. I guess you are alright with going with the status quo that DNR has been doing to our deer herd because I sure don’t see you organizing anything and offering a solution. Much easier to just slam others isn’t it? Lets see some efforts to change things Andy. You have the time to make numerous posts bashing the efforts of the Alliance, how about using some of that time to organize another group and another solution?

I gotta tell you Andy, I expected some ignorant responses from kill-mongers more concerned with how many deer they can kill each season than about the good of the Illinois deer herd but I sure expected a whole lot more from you. Guess I was wrong.

Posted by Don Higgins on March 18

I will say I respect you guys even more for coming on here and talking about the decisions you made.  Very admiral to say the least.  ILbowhunter, thanks for the explanation on a few things and your concerns behind it.  I can somewhat see your point, hopefully I can (Respectfully) say a few things.  You had mentioned that you hunted in VA with antler restrictions.  Can I ask was the antler restriction in the first buck or second buck you could shoot?  If it was the first buck, then I could understand the frustration, but if it was the second buck, then one should error on the side of caution and not shoot if its close.  If you have already shot one buck, then you shouldn’t be worried about borderline shooters and let it walk. I think in Illinois if the second buck has a width and point restriction then people would hold off because they have already been lucky enough to tag one buck, the second would just be icing in the cake and would have to be a real good one.
  I will say I’m not for the second buck after first gun season but not horribly against it.  I have to think of the hunters like me who have to drive 3 hours every weekend to every other weekend in October/November and Early December to hunt.  I hunt with a couple other guys and we split gas and drive to our spot.  If I shoot a good buck in Early October then I have to wait until after 1st gun season to buck hunt again?  I won’t want to go down to deer camp so it will wind up costing me more money to drive in December and cost my buddies more since I won’t be going as much.  I just don’t think its fair. I’d still want to go hang out and hunt but wouldn’t be as inclined too.  Now I have to wait until December to buck hunt again and chose between extra time with my family or hunt.  Please realize that not all of us live near where we hunt and have to put a lot of planning into our hunting seasons.  Also, Bowhunters traditionally put a lot more time into getting their deer.  A good amount of gun hunters go out two to three days a year, sit in the same stand and hope the deer walk out.  A lot of bowhunters are out countless hours in the stand and working much harder.  I don’t see why bowhunters should be penalized and have to wait until after 1st gun season so gun hunters can get a crack at a few more deer.  Is there a way to pull a stat on how many bow hunters use two eithersex tags before gun season starts?  I think the number would be verrrrrry low.  These are just my points.  Where I hunt, we still have plenty of deer and I talk to buddys in Southern Illinois who say the same thing.  Not all of us are as effected as others.  I think ILBowhunter had it right, it’s 10% Wildlife Management and 90% people management.  That is the truth!  Get these people who kill 5 to 20 deer a year to stop and life will be a lot better!  Heck, I’d even take a two buck one doe limit.  Therefor I can get my meat from a doe and (Hopefully) a good buck too and hold out for the second buck being a giant.  Just my opinions,.  I mean them all in respect too, just trying to show both sides of the story and my reasoning.

Posted by Bigb on March 18

Well, if your only goal is to increase herd numbers, then putting restrictions on doe harvest and ignoring buck harvest would work.

If you want to increase herd numbers with proper gender and age ratios, then does and bucks need to both be manageed.  I believe this is what the IWA plan represents.  Increase deer density while establishing proper gender and age ratios.  I still believe the best plan would be to manage permits based on deer populuation and objectives; but seeing that the state abandoned this methodology years ago, managing permits by permittee is the only way to get traction with the state.

I don’t understand what is so wrong about wanting to hunt trophy animals.  I certainly wouldn’t call myself a trophy hunter and I don’t have a room full of mounts but I thoroughly enjoy hunting mature deer and seeing mature animals.

Posted by buckbull on March 18

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