One Buck Limit Is Plenty

Andy M. from Indiana writes to ask about one buck limits. “Since we implemented a one buck rule in Indiana, the quality of our buck hunting has improved dramatically. Will this rule do the same in other states, and why don’t more states implement a one buck rule?”

Dr. Dave Samuel

Good questions, Andy. Let’s tackle the first question. One buck rules work in some states, but not in others. Take Pennsylvania for example. They’ve always had a one buck rule, but quality bucks were/are hard to find. That’s because they have many hunters and killed around 90 percent of all harvestable bucks every fall. That didn’t leave many bucks to mature.

So, the number of hunters is an issue. When Pennsylvania implemented antler restrictions, the mature buck harvest increased significantly, and the smile on most hunters’ faces also increased. Minnesota has 500,000 hunters and a one buck rule, but with that many hunters, around 70 percent of their buck kill is yearlings. Kentucky is another state with a one buck rule and it is working really well to improve buck quality.

States with very long hunting seasons will also have trouble improving buck quality.

Why don’t more states try one buck rules? There are two reasons why they don’t switch to it.

Number one is most hunters don’t want them. But even in states where hunters want to have a chance to kill bigger bucks, the second reason is that the state biologists like what they have always done, and are reluctant to do what worked so well in Indiana and Kentucky.

What do you think? Let us know your thoughts. Don’t forget to check out the latest hunting gear by visiting Sportsman’s Guide.

Dr. Dave writes a weekly column for If you have a question for Dr. Dave, e-mail your question to Dr. Dave in care of Tom Kacheroski, senior editor of‘s content at 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.

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One Response to “One Buck Limit Is Plenty”

  1. Tino Medina

    “One” Buck limit.