March 18 10:01 AM
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Some states force hunters to be more selective

Dear Woods & Water News:

I have thought of writing for years, but never have. After seeing a letter submitted by reader Kenneth Reins in the Feb. 2009 issue, I felt like I could have written the article myself. It inspired me to elaborate or reinforce what Ken had aptly written.

I am also an avid whitetail deer hunter, and own 120 acres in Sanilac County. I have the privilege of hunting private land where we practice QDM with a minimum of 100 inch for bucks harvested. On any given year, I pass up 15-20 bucks in search of "Mr. Big." I have only seen one buck in the past four years that would score over 130 inches, and I hunt at least three all-day hunts per week for the entire season. I have tried for 15 years to convince surrounding neighbors to comply with QDM - some do, most don't. We continuously hear the same thing around the campfire, "I got my 6-point. Now I'm hunting for the big buck." With this attitude, our bucks never have the opportunity to reach 4 - 5 years old which is required for consistent trophy bucks.

What we need is to adopt the methods from Ohio and Kentucky. I'm fortunate to hunt my brother-in-law's 180-acre Ohio farm and 280-acre Kentucky farm. The law in those states is one buck per person per season - including all types of hunting: bow, gun, muzzleloader. Such laws force hunters to be more selective, knowing that buck onto which they're about to release their arrow may be their only one for the year. I hunted opening bow weekend in Kentucky in September, 2008. There, we hunt only in the evening, since mornings are too warm and history shows success is limited to the evening hours or the last two hours of daylight. During two evening hunts I saw seven bucks - two 8-points that were barely over 100" but I also saw a 130-class 8-point and 130-class 10-point. Even though I was unable to get shots on these two nice bucks, it was a fantastic hunt. Later in the year in Ohio, the sightings were similar. My brother-in-law, Dr. Charles Hafele, shot a monster 11-point that green scored 166. In Kentucky, November, 2008, I shot a decent buck that scored 116.

In other states, the Michigan DNR is the perfect example of what not to do regarding deer management. Even the conservation officers I have spoken with in OH and KY laugh at the ineptitude of our deer management in Michigan. If we could just model ourselves after Ohio, Kentucky or Pennsylvania we could easily turn around the quality of our deer herd.

My brother-in-law enters a friendly buck contest with 23 other hunters from the OH/KY area. They're all very serious hunters and this year's results were pretty impressive. In February, at the results party, fifth place scored 151, fourth place scored 153, third place scored 160, second place scored 163, and first place scored 166. That's five out of 24 hunters with bucks scoring over 150." In Michigan, that would require a contest amongst half the state and at least 100K hunters to reach the same results.

If Michigan produced more trophy buck opportunities, we would draw out-of-state hunters who bring large revenue while simultaneously preventing large numbers of hunters like myself and Mr. Reins from taking our hunting/tourism dollars out of state in search of what we have no chance of harvesting here in Michigan.

In the meantime, I will continue to fill my freezer with does from Michigan and go out of state to purchase/fill my buck tags. Unfortunately, being a die-hard hunter, this is my only opportunity for trophy whitetail buck hunting.


Robert Parrott

Chesterfield, MI

April 28, 2009

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