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Sic Semper Tyrannis

Friday, April 10, 2009

No Earn-a-Buck this year

If that little buck walks out in front of me on opening day again this year...bam!

The earn-a-buck rule, which requires deer hunters to shoot an antlerless deer before they are allowed to kill a buck, may disappear throughout most of the state next hunting season.

The state Department of Natural Resources is recommending a one-year moratorium on the rule that has rankled deer hunters since it was imposed in 1996.
The rule still has to go through the Natural Resources Board, and it doesn't mean the DNR isn't going to keep trying to get hunters to take more does:

The state had 31 earn-a-buck zones covering about a third of the state last hunting season...(this year,) the DNR would rely on specially designated "herd control units" to reduce overly high deer populations. The rule in those units encourages the shooting of antlerless deer but doesn't require it, as the earn-a-buck rule does.

Under the recommendation, all areas designated as earn-a-buck last season would become herd control units this year, and about a third of the herd control units in 2008 would become regular hunting units in 2009.
I'm not sure how they "encourage" taking an antlerless deer first when it's not required, but okay.

I hunt for the meat - yes, I'd love to get a big trophy buck, but my main goal is to fill my freezer. One average-sized doe gets my family (of 6) three months worth of hamburger.

A lot of hunters go out for the trophies, so earn-a-buck is a pain in the butt for them. Even for those of us who aren't looking for trophies - two years ago, I had to let a perfectly good buck walk past my tree, not even thirty yards away.

Earn-a-buck sucks.

But: if there's a need to control and/or reduce the whitetail herd (and I'm not saying there is - I'm just saying if), then earn-a-buck should and will come back. One buck can impregnate multiple does, so controlling the herd size means limiting the number of does available to birth new deer.

And I'm still glad it's gone, even if it's only for this year.