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We have been shooting spikes in Western Washington for as long as I'm aware. It has not decimated the population. District 10 covers the SW corner of the state so harvest statistics from there might be a reasonable comparison to NW Oregon. In both 2019 and 20 the harvest was 69% spikes and 2 points along with 31% three points or more. So it is likely that the 65% spike and 2 point number from SM will be typical going forward. The question is, will the increase in total harvest continue? The theory is that spikes have relatively high mortality from all causes and allowing hunters to take some will allow that to happen without having an adverse effect on the number of older bucks. Time will tell, but my experience is that there will still be mature bucks and they will still be difficult to come by for the average hunter.
 

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Spikes have alwys been considered genetically inferior animals as it relates to eventual antler size and there may be some science to back it up. I haven’t read anything about the matter in years. It also sort of depends on when the buck was born. If his mom was impregnated during the secondary rut, the offspring will be younger than those born earlier and younger during their first antler growing period. That is said to have some effect on first year antler size but the buck is not genetically inferior, simply younger. They will catch up their second year of antler growth. The last buck I shot appeared to be a three point yearling. They come in all sizes.
 

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I think a huge part of deer production is healthy forests. Most of the west lacks that. The spraying may be a small reduction, but overgrown forests are a bigger problem. In about 1961, we lost a cabin on our gold claim, more a hunting camp, to fire. The fire burned 11,000 acres and maybe a 1000 of good timber. Most was brush. 30’ manzanita, etc. A few deer, a bear once in a while. After the fire, there was lots of new growth and the deer population came back big. Same bad forestry management gives us these huge fires, not climate change. Smoky the Bear is one of the worst things to happen to forests!
 

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Not sure how killing the young of the year (Young critters are pretty easy to kill. Be it yearling deer or ducks. It's a steep learning curve) will improve the situation.

ODFW clearly cares more about opportunity (Coincidently, their revenue also hinges on tag sales) than herd health.

You cannot kill your way out of a hole.
 

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Not sure how killing the young of the year (Young critters are pretty easy to kill. Be it yearling deer or ducks. It's a steep learning curve) will improve the situation.

ODFW clearly cares more about opportunity (Coincidently, their revenue also hinges on tag sales) than herd health.

You cannot kill your way out of a hole.
And, I can't see killing a spike for 30lbs. of meat. Seems like a waste of the resource, IMO.
 

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Interesting results from last years harvest. It appears 2421 spike bucks were harvested on the westside, an increase of close to 1700 bucks. Buck harvest over all was up on the westside. One of the predictions was that people would take a spike and this would save an older buck. This does not appear to have panned out. I have always said the weather is a better predictor of buck harvest for westside bucks and last year was a dandy it appears. What does appear to have happened was success rates were raised between 4-5% simply due to spike harvest.

Saddle Mt. unit had a 183 spike harvest, and incredible 613 forked horn harvest, decent 336 3pt, but dismal 91 4pt+ harvest.

I predict slim pickings this year.

If you kill them all before they become mature bucks, then you can definitely curtail the mature buck harvest..
 
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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
We have been shooting spikes in Western Washington for as long as I'm aware. It has not decimated the population. District 10 covers the SW corner of the state so harvest statistics from there might be a reasonable comparison to NW Oregon. In both 2019 and 20 the harvest was 69% spikes and 2 points along with 31% three points or more. So it is likely that the 65% spike and 2 point number from SM will be typical going forward. The question is, will the increase in total harvest continue? The theory is that spikes have relatively high mortality from all causes and allowing hunters to take some will allow that to happen without having an adverse effect on the number of older bucks. Time will tell, but my experience is that there will still be mature bucks and they will still be difficult to come by for the average hunter.
I would imagine most hard core hunters will not view a 10% shift in harvest to younger bucks as being a positive. Other than the deer population making a recovery, it is very doubtful that the harvest level will maintain at this anomaly year we had last year. I always get a chuckle over the additive or compensatory debate, how the heck do you know which animal you are shooting? In more recent deer mortality studies, some of the graduate students are starting to change the thinking on this issue and several have stated buck harvest may actually be a additive mortality.
 
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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
One thing I remember from an ODF&W tooth study that I helped collect teeth for back the 90's (we ran tooth collection sites), was that the data showed large declines year to year in the buck and Doe age classes. The obvious was in front of us back then and I bet it is still true today. I need to find that old data, it is around here somewhere.
 

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And, I can't see killing a spike for 30lbs. of meat. Seems like a waste of the resource, IMO.
It 100% is a waste. For most hunters, it is all about pulling the trigger, taking pictures, and telling their friends rather than putting in the sweat to kill a mature deer. Pretty frustrating but it is the way it is.
 

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It 100% is a waste. For most hunters, it is all about pulling the trigger, taking pictures, and telling their friends rather than putting in the sweat to kill a mature deer. Pretty frustrating but it is the way it is.
I love eating deer meat, but I get no sense of accomplishment or enjoyment out of killing a 1.5-2.5 year old deer, I feel bad about it. (Killed a young whitetail in Indiana this year, made me feel kinda bad at the end, still tasty)

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