Should I Shoot a Spike Deer?



Visualizing Antlers


Probably there’s little more controversy around a campfire than discussing  the “yea” or “nay” of shooting yearling spike deer.  I’ve researched both sides and agree with the view of Texas Parks & Wildlife

[ 🙂 I know the folks of  Texas P&W* are sleeping better tonight knowing I agree with them!].

What the Big Boys Have to Say

What I like about their view is that they have tested their ideas over many years at the Texas A & M University’s Kerr Wildlife Management Area, where they have over 20 generations of deer.

The Answer First, Please!

Some folks want the answer first! So, here it is:  By harvesting spikes early on, it improves the antler quality of the remaining herd.

Deer With ‘Spike’ Hair-do’s?

Let’s define a ‘spike.’ Texas Parks sees it as “any deer at least a year old that has two hardened antlers that do not branch or fork.”

They are NOT referring to young fawns with “skin covered knobs” called a “nubbin buck.”

They go on to say that, “Buck fawns occasionally have a protrusion of chalky white bone tissue through the skin up to 1/2 inch long, but this is rare and we don’t call them spikes.”

View from the Other Side of the Aisle

Why is there so much disagreement about spike deer? Many hunters don’t want to kill spikes because they think that poor nutrition is the reason a year-old has no rack. (In other words, they suggest — in angler-speak — ‘Throw ’em back and let ’em grow up a bit.”)

And here’s another view of the problem: ‘Let’s shoot older spikes, because genetically, they’ve proved that they are not capable of developing antlers.’

Their reasoning continues: ‘Save the young spikes, poor nutrition is the reason youngsters didn’t produce a rack this year.’

The Big Boys Weigh In On this Issue

This is a direct quote from TP&W*: “If two spikes walk out in front of you in a 2-buck county, shoot the smallest one first and don’t let the second get away.”

I was so surprised, I had to read this three times!  Come back tomorrow to read their reasoning.

* TexasP&W = TP&W = Texas Parks & Wildlife


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Published in: on October 8, 2009 at 4:28 pm  Comments (2)  
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