“Kill yearlings” isn’t a message you expect to hear from the Quality Deer Management Association. Once you get into the mindset of herd management, you expect that only the biggest, oldest, most mature deer are eligibile for shooting. Pop does like an 1800s bison hunter? Sure. Squeeze the trigger on a buck with peach fuzz on his face? That’s heresy.
QDMA’s Kip Adams was featured in a video on the organization’s Facebook page Sunday giving the go-ahead. Adams was shown holding two white-tailed deer skulls: a 3-pointer and a 10-pointer.
QDMA’s Kip Adams holds a 3-point and 10-point skull.
Many viewers were surprised both of the skulls were from 1 1/2-year-old deer.
“The biggest difference is, obviously, the number of points,” Adams said. “Some people may say it’s in the trophy value of it, although I’ll disagree. At QDMA, we like to measure success in memories, not necessarily inches of antler.”
The focus of the video was, although letting deer grow to their ultimate potential is important, taking the occassion young buck won’t derail your QDM efforts. Snatching the rifle away from a youngster before they take their first deer isn’t the spirit of quality management. For them, the yearling is a trophy no amount of antler can add to or detract from.
The danger comes in eliminating an entire age-class. Shooting every spike that walks by hinders the potential of the entire property, not just the individual deer. Taking one of several exceptional bucks at a young age still leaves hope for a property’s future, but taking the only viable trophy buck means the herd has no chance for greatness.
Another important consideration is to adjust your expectations based on location. The 10-pointer and 3-pointer probably didn’t live next door to each other; rather, the larger deer likely came from a better habitat with superior genetics in the area.
QDMA’s Lindsay Thomas Jr. was featured in another video showing two deer skulls, both of them from 3 1/2-year-olds. One was a wide, tall-racked deer from Texas; the other was a small deer from Georgia. Even the skull itself was smaller from the Georgia deer. Although they were the same age, everything about them was relative to their geographic location.
This video from QDMA explains the need for realistic expectations regarding age and location.
Video by QDMA via YouTube
Cover image: Thinkstock