Jesse W. from West Virginia e-mailed about how Quality Deer Management (QDM) is working to reduce the percentage of yearling bucks in the annual harvest. “Does quality deer management really increase the percentage of older bucks in the harvest, or is it all hype?”
Good question Jesse, and the answer is straight forward. QDM works at the local level, but also at the state level to improve the age structure of bucks. For example, from 2001 to 2011, the percent of yearling bucks in the buck harvest dropped by 28 percent in Pennsylvania, 27 percent in Kentucky, 17 percent in Indiana, and 8 percent in Arkansas.
Many other states also saw drops, and all this means is that more hunters are passing up yearling bucks either because quality deer management is mandatory (meaning you can’t shoot bucks with small antlers) or because hunters are voluntarily restricting themselves from shooting yearlings. It also means that there are more older bucks out there now.
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Dr. Dave writes a weekly column for sportsmansguide.com. Dr. Dave studied deer for 30 years as a wildlife management professor at West Virginia University. In addition he has been a bowhunter for over 40 years, with deer being his main prey. He’s also an outdoor writer and has been with “Bowhunter” magazine for 31 years.