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Kansas: Rare 8-Point Doe!

kas 8 pt doeOn opening day of the 2014 Kansas gun season Chuck Rorie saw a nice rack. “I didn’t think much about it; it just looked like a nice buck when I was watching it and I shot it,” Rorie told the Wichita Eagle.

“But when I was skinning it I realized something didn’t look right,” said Chuck. “It didn’t have the right private parts.”

How rare is an antlered doe like the one Chuck shot last season? Research on the topic is thin, but some biologists have said only 1 in 6,000 does will have antlers. And Dr. Grant Woods, one of the top whitetail scientists in the world, says that number could be as high as 1 in 10,000.

Keith Sexson, who has been with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism for 46 years, says he has heard of maybe 15 antlered does in Kansas in all that time “and that number might be high.”

What causes the odd doe to grow antlers? A higher than normal level of testosterone. “Excessive testosterone is why some women have more facial hair than others,” Dr. Woods says. “In deer, that’s expressed in antler growth.”

Research has shown that most does that grow bone put on small, stunted racks. Frequently those clumpy racks are covered with velvet, because while the does have enough testosterone to grow antlers, they don’t have enough of the hormone to cause rubbing like bucks do.

Chuck’s 225-pound doe is even more unique in several ways. The rack, which scored around 115, had 8 typical points (including tall brows), good mass and a 17-inch spread, and it was hard and polished in early December. “You could see tree bark on the antlers where she’d been rubbing them against trees, like a buck,” he said.

“I’m tickled to death,” said Chuck, who is having the rare doe mounted. “I know this is a once in a lifetime thing.”

World-Record Whitetail: What It Will Take to Top The Hanson Buck

hanson buck at bcIt will obviously take one rare and incredible animal to best the 213 5⁄8-inch monster that Milo Hanson shot near Biggar, Sask. 22 years ago.

My analysis of the top 200-inch typical racks in the Boone and Crockett book show that the new record typical will have to possess 12 points or more, with the G-2, G-3 and G-4 tines on each antler in excess of 10 inches; an inside spread of 22 inches and likely more; and bases of 6 inches or more, with good mass throughout the 27-inch-plus main beams. The rack will have to be clean and amazingly symmetrical, with few abnormal points and less than 8 inches of deductions. The animal will probably be 5 to 7 years old.

Of the thousands of typical racks that have been entered in the B&C book since 1993, the year Milo shot his giant, 80 racks scored more than 190 inches, and 7 topped 200. It would just take a few more inches of spread, mass and tine length to push a world-class rack like that over the top. Some people believe the new record will be shot soon, maybe one day this fall, though they have been saying that for the past 20 years.

One of the country’s top whitetail biologists doubts it will happen soon, and he has an intriguing theory why. “Most whitetail bucks have non-typical antlers in their genes,” says Dr. Grant Woods. “As they age, especially on managed private lands where there is so much nutritious feed, they start to put a lot of junk on their antlers. It’s actually pretty rare for a 6- year-old buck to be a straight typical these days.”

Woods expects the record for the largest non-typical whitetail (currently a 307 5/8-incher shot in Iowa in 2003) to be broken before the new No. 1 typical falls.

Where might the new No. 1 be shot? Based on my analysis of record-book bucks shot since 2000, I predict Illinois, Saskatchewan, Ohio, Kentucky or Kansas. My 2 sleeper states are Missouri and Nebraska.


Wisconsin DNR: No Doe Tags For 13 Counties

big doe compressed

With whitetail herds struggling or holding their own in some areas of the Upper Midwest, one of the questions being raised: Have hunters been shooting too many does? I suspect we have been killing too many in places, as I talked about in this post last year:

For the last 20 years, state game agencies encouraged us to shoot more and more deer, and especially does. Hunters obliged; some guys killed 5, 10 or more. Personally I have never understood why a person would want or need to shoot more than 5 deer in a season; surely that is enough to fill your blood lust and your freezer, and donate a couple of animals to the food bank. But the agencies had designed those seasons and limits to reduce the herds…

Now the tide is turning.

Michigan had considered closing the deer season this fall in the U.P. due to a plummeting herd, but word is that the season is on for now. In Wisconsin, the DNR will recommend no antlerless hunting in 2015 in Douglas, Bayfield, Sawyer, Ashland, Iron, Vilas, Price, Oneida, Langlade, Forest, Florence and Racine counties, and a portion of Jackson County “in an effort to regrow the herd.”

What to make of this? For all these years, many DNRs have told us to whack and stack does in an effort to manage and reduce the herds, but now they want to stop or limit doe hunting cold turkey to build the herds back up? Is this type of yo-yo deer management best, or do we need a more moderate and measured approach to bag limits and season lengths?

The latter makes sense to me, what about where you hunt?

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