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On another thread there was a discussion about the dates when adult and juvenile does were coming into estrus and being bred.

I told dpms that I once had that data and as I recalled both juvenile and adult does were cycling during the same time periods. But, when I looked for the data I was unable to find it.

Well I was able to find that data for the spring of 2002 reproductive examinations the Game Commission WCOs did across the state that spring. Those does would have bred the fall when antler restrictions first started so this data would have been from the period before antler restrictions had any effect on the number of bucks available during the breeding season.

Below is what I found in the percent of both juvenile and adult does coming into estrus and being bred during the year.

Age class...………..Oct...……..Nov...……….Dec...…….....Jan...after Feb 1st
Juvenile......………1.8%...….23.6%...…..36.4%...…….9.1%...……….29.1%
Adult...……………..13.1%.....54.8%...…...4.8%...……..0.3%...……...26.9%

This shows that highest percentage of adult does are bred in November while the highest percent of juvenile does are bred a month later in December. But it also very clearly shows that a significant number of the juvenile does are also cycling in November during the peek of the estrus cycle for adult does. The data also shows that a significant number of both adult and juvenile does were still cycling and being bred after the first of February.

How much of that late breeding by adult does was because the limited number of adult bucks available where courting and breeding the juvenile does that were cycling instead of courting and breeding the adult does that were cycling at the same time?

I don't think anyone can answer that question but the data from the Game Commission's reproductive exams indicates there was reason for concern and a need to address the issue.

Now I will show the conception percentages for two month blocks excluding December, when most juvenile does are bred, to show the percentages of both juveniles and adults breeding during the first two months and also those being bred after the first of January.

Age class...………..bred Oct & Nov...……...bred after Jan. 1st
Juvenile...……………………..25.5%...……………………..38.2%
Adult...………………………….67.9%...………………………27.2%

Dick Bodenhorn
 

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How much of that late breeding by adult does was because the limited number of adult bucks available where courting and breeding the juvenile does that were cycling instead of courting and breeding the adult does that were cycling at the same time?

Dick Bodenhorn
Thanks for posting the info, RSB. Hard to make any conclusive deductions from it other than just the data presented as many factors come into play.

I do have a question for you. What is your definition of "adult buck" as you noted above? I know one of your main angles was that we needed more "older" bucks in the population to enhance our breeding. While we certainly had fewer older deer in our herd, young bucks breed quite successfully as well and carry the same genes. Some studies have shown that older bucks do very little of the overall breeding in herds with a good age variance.

If these pre HR/AR fawn doe November conception rates are truly representative of the entire state, which you implied, the argument could be made that the habitat was ideal for deer even prior to HR/AR as our fawns were growing extremely fast. As fast or faster than fawns from the states with the best deer habitat in the country.
 

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I never bought into that "older" buck breeding myth. Iv'e seen too many yearlings actually doing the deed to think that it's mostly done by older bucks. Back in the day there just weren't enough older bucks around here to get it done without help from the yearlings.

Shortly after ar's started, I quit seeing spotted fawns in archery season. Last couple years they've made a comeback in many areas in nw pa, and quite a few of those 50#'s in gun season.
 

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I never bought into that "older" buck breeding myth. Iv'e seen too many yearlings actually doing the deed to think that it's mostly done by older bucks. Back in the day there just weren't enough older bucks around here to get it done without help from the yearlings.

Shortly after ar's started, I quit seeing spotted fawns in archery season. Last couple years they've made a comeback in many areas in nw pa, and quite a few of those 50#'s in gun season.
I agree. It's all buck to doe ratio in terms of the data presented here. That's not a repudiation of AR or a balanced age structure, but to conclude from that data yearlings don't breed is bogus as can be.
 

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Iv'e seen some bb's trying, but the does usually usually don't take them too seriously. Usually a kick or two and they give up.
 

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I never bought into that "older" buck breeding myth. Iv'e seen too many yearlings actually doing the deed to think that it's mostly done by older bucks. Back in the day there just weren't enough older bucks around here to get it done without help from the yearlings.

Shortly after ar's started, I quit seeing spotted fawns in archery season. Last couple years they've made a comeback in many areas in nw pa, and quite a few of those 50#'s in gun season.
Me neither when AR makes you shoot the older bucks now removing them from the herd and let the younger ones do the breeding. I still do see spotted fawns in archery season, not a whole abundance but i still see them. A few years ago i saw a set of spotted fawns in rifle which shocked me.
 

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"All the older bucks get shot now so the younger ones do all the breeding". That high-grading logic is totally lost on me. As opposed to before AR when 95% of the bucks got shot as yearlings and the 5% or so that remained to see their second birthday were assumed to be nailing 100 does each? Think about that a little, I don't know how it gets perpetuated its so mind-bendingly nonsensical.
 

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To say that a significant number of fawns are bred in November isn't wrong. However, it doesn't paint the clearest picture either. Late November is very different from the peak adult breeding that occurs early to mid-November. Isn't that the answer to the question being asked? Directly from the horses mouth:


Sexual maturity in doe fawns is linked to body size which is related to quality and quantity of food as well as birth date. Doe fawns reaching is critical size (80-90 lbs) come into estrous their first fall; but breed later than adult does. Peak breeding by fawns occurred in late November and early December. Nearly half of all fawn breeding occurred from December to February. This probably explains breeding activity observed by hunters after Thanksgiving

https://www.pgc.pa.gov/Wildlife/WildlifeSpecies/White-tailedDeer/Pages/Whenistherut.aspx
 

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On another thread there was a discussion about the dates when adult and juvenile does were coming into estrus and being bred.

I told dpms that I once had that data and as I recalled both juvenile and adult does were cycling during the same time periods. But, when I looked for the data I was unable to find it.

Well I was able to find that data for the spring of 2002 reproductive examinations the Game Commission WCOs did across the state that spring. Those does would have bred the fall when antler restrictions first started so this data would have been from the period before antler restrictions had any effect on the number of bucks available during the breeding season.

Below is what I found in the percent of both juvenile and adult does coming into estrus and being bred during the year.

Age class...………..Oct...……..Nov...……….Dec...…….....Jan...………..after Feb 1st
Juvenile......………1.8%...….23.6%...…..36.4%...…….9.1%...……….29.1%
Adult...……………..13.1%.....54.8%...…...4.8%...……..0.3%...……...26.9%

This shows that highest percentage of adult does are bred in November while the highest percent of juvenile does are bred a month later in December. But it also very clearly shows that a significant number of the juvenile does are also cycling in November during the peek of the estrus cycle for adult does. The data also shows that a significant number of both adult and juvenile does were still cycling and being bred after the first of February.

How much of that late breeding by adult does was because the limited number of adult bucks available where courting and breeding the juvenile does that were cycling instead of courting and breeding the adult does that were cycling at the same time?

I don't think anyone can answer that question but the data from the Game Commission's reproductive exams indicates there was reason for concern and a need to address the issue.

Now I will show the conception percentages for two month blocks excluding December, when most juvenile does are bred, to show the percentages of both juveniles and adults breeding during the first two months and also those being bred after the first of January.

Age class...…………..bred Oct & Nov...………….bred after Jan. 1st
Juvenile...……………………..25.5%...……………………..38.2%
Adult...………………………….67.9%...………………………27.2%

Dick Bodenhorn

I would contest, based on the above linked article from the PGC, that what I have highlighted in your quoted text above is NOT clearly indicated in your supplied data at all and that juvenile doe are being bred, while still significantly in November, AFTER the majority of adults have cycled, not during the same cycle and thusly not in direct competition for a bucks attention. Basically, bucks are after adult does for the brunt of November and then turn to the juveniles when they hit their fist cycle late in the month and into December.
 
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It seems to come down to a clash between RSB and Rosenberry...... 90% of adult doe bred by the November date not changing. One says yes, the other no.

As far as AR, many here claim that the affect of HR/AR now has most 1 1/2 year old's sporting 3 or more points per side! Now, we are removing the best of 1 1/2 year old's , and saving the spikes and fork horns.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I do have a question for you. What is your definition of "adult buck" as you noted above? I know one of your main angles was that we needed more "older" bucks in the population to enhance our breeding. While we certainly had fewer older deer in our herd, young bucks breed quite successfully as well and carry the same genes. Some studies have shown that older bucks do very little of the overall breeding in herds with a good age variance.
When I reference adult deer, buck or doe, I am making reference to all deer older than one year old. In the case of adult bucks during the breeding season I consider all bucks that are one and half years old and older as adult, breeding capable, bucks.

I don't care what age class of bucks are doing the breeding. It simply doesn't make any difference what bucks are doing the breeding as long as there are enough of them to get all of the does that are cycling at the same time bred in their first or even second estrus cycle.

What this data doesn't show is just how many of the adult does examined hadn't been bred at all. That data is also available. Though I would have to go back and pull it together I assure you it was significant, even in the best habitat areas of the state.

But as can be seen, from the statewide conception date data, there were many adult does, let alone juvenile does, that simply weren't getting bred until as late as January and even after the beginning of February. It is also evident that there are many juvenile does, especially in the better habitat area of the state, that are coming into estrus in November, at the same time the adult does are reaching their estrus cycle peek. It is my belief, based on the conception date evidence, that the reason many adult does weren't getting bred in their first estrus cycle was because there were not enough adult bucks, again that is bucks of any breeding age classification, out there to get all of the cycling does covered. During the rut the bucks don't care if the doe in estrus is only six months old and 80 pounds or it is an old doe. If it is cycling the buck is going follow it and hang with it until it will stand for him to breed. That can sometimes take a couple days. When bucks are courting one doe they are potentially missing nay number of other does that are in estrus at the same time. If the doe doesn't get bred in that 24-28 hour window of opportunity she goes out of estrus and doesn't come back in until about 28 days later. But, by then before antler restrictions the majority of our adult bucks had been shot and were no longer available to get the does in their second, third or even fourth estrus cycle bred. That was the problem Doctor Alt saw and went to work correcting.

But, make no mistake the real purpose of antler restrictions and keeping more adult bucks in the population was not about having enough bucks to the does bred that were cycling after the hunting season. It was to have enough bucks the next fall to get all of, or at least the majority of, the does that are cycling in November bred.

If these pre HR/AR fawn doe November conception rates are truly representative of the entire state, which you implied, the argument could be made that the habitat was ideal for deer even prior to HR/AR as our fawns were growing extremely fast. As fast or faster than fawns from the states with the best deer habitat in the country.
The data came from all across the state so it is representing all of the state. But, most of the juvenile breeding data came from the best habitat areas of the state. There were many counties, primarily from the poor habitat areas, where there had been no juvenile does bred even though there were a lot of juvenile samples in the data.

As I already said the data I posted only shows conception dates on the does that had been bred, for both juvenile and adult does. I didn't want to make the conception date data more complex than it needed to be by including the data on the number of does that hadn't been bred at all. We can go back and address the number of adult does that hadn't been bred at all later if it is of significant interest.

Dick Bodenhorn
 

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It is also evident that there are many juvenile does, especially in the better habitat area of the state, that are coming into estrus in November, at the same time the adult does are reaching their estrus cycle peek.

Twice you've said this. I'm simply asking why you disagree with the PGC published data? All of November is not the same. Peak adult breeding is in mid-November. Peak Juvenile breeding is in LATE-November/early December. You keep telling us your data shows it's during the same period as the adult breeding and it does no such thing. Please explain your contradiction with the PGC data. That's all I'm asking for.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Twice you've said this. I'm simply asking why you disagree with the PGC published data? All of November is not the same. Peak adult breeding is in mid-November. Peak Juvenile breeding is in LATE-November/early December. You keep telling us your data shows it's during the same period as the adult breeding and it does no such thing. Please explain your contradiction with the PGC data. That's all I'm asking for.
I don't disagree with the state data. In fact, IT IS THE STATE DATA I JUST POSTED AND PROFILED!!!!! The very same and exact data they have and used in their management objectives and public statements and news releases.

The problem is that people, read a very general statement in a news release then make assumptions that don't provide a complete picture or the reality.

The conception date data I provided IS from the statewide data collected during the spring of 2002. It VERY CLEARLY shows that even though the peek conception period for adult does is in November and the peek period for juveniles is in December but it also clearly shows that a HIGH percentage of the juvenile does are obviously cycling at the same time the adult does are. The data also clearly shows that a high percentage of adult does weren't being bred until after the first of February. That late breeding by adult does PROVED BEYOND ANY DOUBT that indeed there was a breeding problem before antler restrictions.

If the problem has been corrected, improved or changed though in anyone's guess though because they haven't collected the breeding and conception data for over a decade. The last decade they did collect the data wasn't even comparable to the previous decade of data though due to the fact the primary sample locations had changed between the two time periods.

Dick Bodenhorn
 

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Not sure how true, but I once read that an adult doe I assume over ( 1 1/2 years old ) will keep going into
Estrus until she is bred. This may explain late drops due to lack of the # of Bucks in a given area.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Not sure how true, but I once read that an adult doe I assume over ( 1 1/2 years old ) will keep going into
Estrus until she is bred. This may explain late drops due to lack of the # of Bucks in a given area.
I don't know if they continue going into estrus indefinitely if they don't get bred but from some research they will cycle at least five months if not bred.

We have encountered spotted fawns that appeared to have been born in December and perhaps even January though. That would suggest some does are being bred in July and perhaps even in August.

What we don't know is if it was just very early breeding or very late breeding.

Very rare but it appears that it happens once in a while.

Dick Bodenhorn
 

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What is happening on this thread is that some are disagreeing with what RSB is saying based on anecdotal information from their personal observations, while RSB is actually using the information provided by the PGC wildlife biologists that some have misinterpreted. My anecdotal observations are that what RSB is saying is true based on my observations on the property I hunt from before HR and AR to the present day and from what I am seeing the programs have been a success. There are more big bucks on the property I hunt than there have ever been since the 60s from memory of those who hunt there. Now granted, my opinion is based on anecdotal information from my and the other hunters obsrvation, and I have been around long enough to know that all parts of the state are not the same, both before and after HR and AR but I agree with what RSB as posted and before someone posts that I am only agreeing with him because we had the same job, I will say nonsense. RSB will tell you and some of the veterans here can verify I have disagreed with him in the past. I have learned in my 33 years with the PGC that their biologists know what they are doing and I did not always agree with what they wanted to do but they proved me wrong in those situations. I had lunch last Wednesday with the man who was the deer biologist prior to Gary Ault and the man who is responsible for our PA elk season at our monthly SE region retirees luncheon and we discussed how things have changed from the days of protecting the doe and the damage to habitat to today where we have recovering habitat and more larger buck state wide and how we would disagree with each other in the past but put the disagreements to the side. I have absolutely no doubt that today we are enjoying the best deer hunting since I started hunting in 1958 in the state as a whole because of our biologist's research. We have to keep in mind that there many factors in Wildlife management and that not everywhere is the same and wildlife management is a continuing trial and error but I have no doubt we are on the right track
 

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I don't know who's doing who or when, but I see many fawns that are only slightly smaller than their mothers in gun season. Actually I think many bb's are very hard to distinguish from their mothers, except for that fawn face. But i am talking about 1A mostly, and there is food and plenty of it here.

Last couple of years though, I'm seeing some late born fawns. I'm guessing if it's due to any kind of a "breeding problem" it's just too many deer here....again.
 

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I don't disagree with the state data. In fact, IT IS THE STATE DATA I JUST POSTED AND PROFILED!!!!! The very same and exact data they have and used in their management objectives and public statements and news releases.

The problem is that people, read a very general statement in a news release then make assumptions that don't provide a complete picture or the reality.

The conception date data I provided IS from the statewide data collected during the spring of 2002. It VERY CLEARLY shows that even though the peek conception period for adult does is in November and the peek period for juveniles is in December but it also clearly shows that a HIGH percentage of the juvenile does are obviously cycling at the same time the adult does are. The data also clearly shows that a high percentage of adult does weren't being bred until after the first of February. That late breeding by adult does PROVED BEYOND ANY DOUBT that indeed there was a breeding problem before antler restrictions.

If the problem has been corrected, improved or changed though in anyone's guess though because they haven't collected the breeding and conception data for over a decade. The last decade they did collect the data wasn't even comparable to the previous decade of data though due to the fact the primary sample locations had changed between the two time periods.

Dick Bodenhorn
What you posted isn't really a full picture of reality or at least there is no proof that it is. 1 year of data isn't necessarily accurate. In addition you said this is all the data across the state for that year. Unless there was equal sampling of deer across the state the results could skewed towards areas where more deer were checked.


Again you use this data as proof that AR's worked. I have never seen any press release by the PGC or any of these results published in any wildlife journal. Perhaps the experts feel that there was other influences other than AR or the results were statistically significant. The biologists (experts) at the PGC have said that AR had no affect on the breeding ecology.
 

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Also ar would have had an effect as there was bucks being saved throughout the season because of ar that fall. It stands to reason that there was more buck come January in the state than there was the previous year when there was no ar.
 
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