Stillwater News Press

February 19, 2014

Antler point restrictions a mistake

By Jon Kocan
Stillwater News Press

STILLWATER, Okla. — One of the most aggressive hunting regulations in the history of our country appears to be a mistake.

Rep. Colby Schwartz of Yukon recently drafted legislation to introduce a six-point antler restriction for adult hunters. The problem is the way the bill was written the restriction would have been for six points on each side.

So the 12-point antler restriction bill will be re-written, but according to Schwartz, not requested to be heard.

These restrictions come from a push to curtail harvest of yearling bucks and shift the harvest to the doe herd.

According to news reports, the bill was drafted to start a conversation about antler point restrictions. Here is the end of the conversation.

According the most recent annual report from the Quality Deer Management Association, Oklahoma had the fourth lowest percentage of yearling bucks harvested in 2012. Our state took second place for the percentage of bucks three and a half years of age or older harvested at 66 percent. You can also throw in a first place finish for percentage of adult does harvested at 88 percent.

I have no idea why people are trying to fix something that is not broken.

Hold off on shed antler hunting

 Antlers are hitting the ground, but wait a few weeks if you’re after the big ones.

A reliable source confirmed what I have seen over the last few years. Some mature bucks will hold their antlers longer than expected. This notion is backed by a sighting last week of a very mature deer with a full set of antlers on his head.

Last year I saw a buck with antlers on the second week of March. The previous year the same happened on the first week of March.

I was shocked the first time it happened. So shocked I backed up and got out of my truck to scare the deer thinking the antlers would fall off in front of my eyes. It didn’t happen.  

I have found sheds the first week of January from yearling bucks. The earliest I have found sheds from mature bucks is the second week of February. That was winter of 2009 when cold and snow was similar to this winter.

Send pictures

This page is for the readers. Your pictures are all that is missing from making this page the best it can be.

I still have the clipping of my first good buck. I was 13 and got a nine-point buck. We sent in the picture and it was published in the Sunday paper. It is a great memory.

A submitted picture does not have to be of a deer. Spring is around the corner and many fishing trips will soon be under way. This is the outdoor page, show us what the outdoors are for you. And yes mom, you can take a picture of the turkeys in your back yard.

Jon Kocan is an outdoor columnist for the Stillwater News Press. Kocan is a long-time local hunter.