Potential Impact of Liberalized Regulations to Promote Spike Buck Harvest

Spike-antlered white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are common in Texas. Research has shown these animals to be inferior to their herd cohorts. Attempts to upgrade buck quality have focused attention on the removal of spikes from the herd to a point of annihilation. An evaluation of harvest data collected annually in Texas shows that spike bucks are essentially a product of deteriorated range conditions. Harvest regulations aimed at the systematic removal of spike-antlered bucks have been proposed as a solution for improving deer quality. Such regulations on a statewide scale have the potential of creating distorted buck-to-doe ratios and shortages in available bucks for future harvest.

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