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Thread: 3-4 brow tines is it hurting gene pool

  1. #1

    Default 3-4 brow tines is it hurting gene pool

    I was just wondering because i hunt in a 4 tine area that if we keep killing all the 4 tine bulls during breeding season will it eventually kill of that gene pool so that they are not producing anymore or is it more likely that the food source will keep them producing 4 tines. It seems like you have to see a lot of bulls to find the 4 tine size .If only 3 tines survive hunting season and breed will that be the new gene pool? I know that the 50 inch is also available however when its close its too costly to pull the trigger. Any thoughts i would like to hear them.

  2. #2

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    Several areas in Wyoming had a 4 point or better restriction on mule deer. There were a lot of big (mature) 3 points breeding the does. It is tough to pass up a 28" 3 point to shoot a spindly 20" 4 point. Should have had a spread criteria or something else to allow harvest of the fully mature 3 points.

    Yeah, I think it was screwing up the genetics.

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    Default Getting it...

    Yes I think your getting it! I hunted in unit 13 for Moose when it was any bull way back. Then it was restricted to 36" or 3 brow tines. We were meat hunters not trophy hunters. Alot of the bigger bulls along with their genetics were still around breeding when the season was over with the 36" rule. There were bulls everywhere then. When the 50" four tine rule came along I noticed a decline in the bull Moose population (my perception) within a few short years and an increase of more spike-forked bulls. I often thought that it would be a good idea to petition the return of the 36" rule to AD&G and bring back Moose and not trophy hunting.

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    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    I would think that changing from a 36 and 3 rule to a 50 and 4 would REDUCE the overall harvest. Thus blaming the pop. decrease on an antler restriction doesn't seem to make sense.
    There are biological/genetic reasons behind using antler size to restrict harvest. Talk to a bio, or do some research. You might be surprised.
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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Use any drainage as an example. Say it's a 50"/4 brow tine area for non-res hunters and it's primarily hunted by non-residents. And say that most residents who hunt it are also looking for trophy-class moose as well. The hunting season runs before mating actually occurs. After a few years, all the big bulls seem be shot out. What bull(s) does the cow(s) breed with then? If we shoot all the older, "trophy" moose that've proven they have the positive characteristics and genes to grow into big moose and avoid predators, the cows end up breeding with younger and younger bulls, or not breeding at all. I've seen big bulls with large harems shot by hunters, then another big bull who took over that harem shot by hunters, then smaller two and three-year-old bulls each try to get some of those cows. I've witnessed cows seemingly not wanting anything to do with younger bulls as well, which is interesting. I think it's crazy to shoot out all the big bulls and that it does affect genetics. Be funny if it was 50" or LESS in the regs for non-residents, but when you think about that, it's obvious that most hunters wouldn't go for it. They want trophy moose, and I can't blame them there. But based on what I'm seeing here, and what I've seen elsewhere, some drainages are being completely shot out until there aren't hardly any big bulls left. Time will tell what it does to the genetics, but it seems like a flawed management scheme. I think the logic behind it is that the 50" or greater moose will be resupplied by the growing crop of bulls not shot (and that those bull's daddies were those 50" or greater moose), but when you add meat hunters like myself to the mix, Alaskan hunters not after trophies...all this in the same drainages...well you end up with a very limited breeding pool of bulls after a while. Sure, some big bulls breed high and never get shot, and we'll always (hopefully) have some of that genetics in the mix, but we're whittling it all down in the end.

    My two cents,
    Mark

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    Shouldn't the smaller bulls, if the bull that breed them was a trophy bull, carry the same genetics of that larger bull even though they have not reached their full potential yet? You would think so. I think food and age have more to do with producing trophy bulls then genetics. Afterall you can have a three and a half year old bull that was born from a monster 70" bull does that mean he doesn't have the genetics of his father to pass on if he was to breed a cow? Does he only have those genetics once he reaches maturity and also sports a 70" rack?
    If you take the woods out of the woodsman you have nothing left but a man in the woods.

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    Default antlers

    I don't know about moose, but I suspect they are the same as deer. Part of the genetic code for antlers is passed through the female. Sort of like male pattern baldness. It's passed from father to daughter to son. That's why my brothers and I have little hair on top even though our father has a thick head of hair.

    I think it's totally ridiculous to kill off all or most of the mature breeding bulls each year. The whole herd suffers. More cows don't get bred on the first heat, so when they get bred later, the calves are born later in the year and not as mature going into winter.

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    Member RainGull's Avatar
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    Several problems. Yes the younger bulls bred by the trophy bulls do have the same genetics BUT...When the Trophy bull was in charge no inferior bulls could compete (every litter has a runt or one with bad genetics from the mother in laws side!) When the Big Bull is killed the competition dynamic has changed to allow inferior bulls to compete where they couldn't before.

    Then there is the cows not wanting to breed a young bull thing.

    The only way to insure that trophy genetics are passed is to allow them to live long enough to do it. Otherwise you take a few seasons of them breeding and pass those cows on to an untried bull which suddenly can compete.

    It's a lazy biologists tool to management, and I've taken the classes to understand things and been in the field to understand what is bunk and what isn't. Limiting the number of bulls harvest is a much better tool. Hunters passing up a trophy to get some good meat from a younger bull occasionally is an even better management practice than that.

  9. #9

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    Genetics have more to do with antler potential than forage or age. Yes an animal needs good forage and needs to be mature to be a trophy, but look at pretty much any antlered species in the record books. The big animals always come from the same spot. The majority of big bucks in Wyoming come from the Western 1/4th of the state, although there are more deer elsewhere and just as good of habitat. The best antelope in Wyoming come from South West Wyoming, but the North East part has better habitat and a lot more antelope. Most of the recent book bighorns in MT come from just 2 drainages.

    There is an elk unit in Montana that allows hunters to shoot spikes, but you need to draw a special permit to shoot branch antlered bulls. This is a very good hunting area and accomodates the meat hunters and the trophy hunters. This approach might work with Moose?

  10. #10

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    How could there be a problem if a potential world record was killed last fall?
    I think there are to many factors to base it on antler size only.
    In a certain area the gene pool is the same,or real close.
    To get big though they do need to grow old.Just alot of people out there.

  11. #11

    Default Younger bulls

    I seem to be on the fence on this subject. I can't imagine that a 50" 4 brow tine bull with a group of cows is a virgin animal. This bull has probably spread his genetics onto numerous other cows and harvesting him doesn't have as much impact as many describe here. I shot a large 4 brow tine bull 2 years ago and we had to literally scare away the cows, but there was a smaller bull (40+) in the area that I'm sure moved up in breeding line. The real problem is people that look through their binoculars and estimate a 50ish inch bull and it turns out to be 48" with 2 brow tines. How many bulls are out there rotting away right now because the hunter didn't want to a chance with getting busted. I've called the Troopers on 2 hunters in the last to years and one guy got busted. The guy shot a 30" bull with 2 tine on one side and 1 on the other. He thought you counted both sides to get 3 brow tines. Pathetic. The trooper was waiting for him when he drove his ATV to the trailhead. I don't really see a problem with harvesting the larger older animals.

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    Sorry people, I cannot see how all the big moose are getting shot in Alaska. There is just too much remote open spaces for all the big bulls to be taken and too few hunters. Here in Maine we have a population of about 40,000 moose, and there are roughly 3000 permits given out statewide to hunt them. In the zone where I live it is the most remote area in the east coast and they give out roughy 320 permits for an area roughly the size of Rhode Island. All permits are bull only. You would think that all the bulls would be getting shot off and only immature bulls remain in such a same area. But the opposite is true, I have videoed several 50+ inch bulls and just yesterday seen a nice close to 60 incher. Our hunting pressure is enormous, gravel road systems just about cover the area and yet our big bulls are not all getting shot off.
    Three years ago I called a huge (by Maine standards) 60+ inch bull out of his herom of cows. While calling him I also brought out two other bulls looking for an opportunity to sneek in, they were both 50+ bulls. Either of these bulls would have made a fine replacement to the old guy. I'm sorry with the remoteness of Alaska I cannot believe all the big bulls are getting shot off.
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  13. #13

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    I don't believe it either, hunters are not that good in my opinion in taking all the big bulls. Once a big bull has taken a harem of cows he will be very difficult to call in and he knows that other bulls are just waiting for an opportunity to bred his cows. I hunt an area that, year after year consistantly produces a few bulls 60"'s and bigger but the majority of bulls shot in that area are generally well under that mark. SO in my opinion the genetics are being passed on even when big bulls are being taken every year.

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    Member RainGull's Avatar
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    Default Geology

    Pressure and time. You are giving inferior genetics a bigger role and you will reap the results of that without question. Some areas will be hit more than others and it will take time, but it will occur. Any argument to the contrary ignores the facts or erroniously believes that all moose genetics are the same. We have all seen too many areas that bred exceptionally big animals to believe that! In the short go, less animals may be harvested overall, allowing more bulls to mature, but... There are more animals being taken that are wasted and then replaced by another as the shooter didn't keep the first sub par bull. This stragedy will weaken the gene pool allowing sicker bulls more chance to compete too.

    I am interested in a survey on the issue which I will post here.

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    Default An idea....

    Quote Originally Posted by RainGull View Post
    The only way to insure that trophy genetics are passed is to allow them to live long enough to do it. Otherwise you take a few seasons of them breeding and pass those cows on to an untried bull which suddenly can compete.
    Maybe the season should be moved to November (after the rut) so the cows can all be bred before hunters start taking bulls out. They will still have their antlers so identification isn't a problem. Cooler temps (better meat quality in the field), no folage (better visibility), snow in some areas (better transportation via snowmachine (could be a + or-)).


    Just a thought.
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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    It's long been claimed by some biologists that trophy hunting can negatively affect certain wildlife populations, especially in localized areas:
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    Default Try again...

    The board "ate" my post. Let me try again:

    It's long been claimed by some biologists that trophy hunting can negatively effect certain wildlife populations, especially in localized areas:
    “Recreational hunting usually does not mimic natural mortality in fashioning population composition as occurs from predation, diseases, accidents, and other sources. Further, selective hunting for certain age groups and sexes can distort normal population composition and processes, and perhaps even gene pools” (Teer 1997: 449).

    Skewed harvesting – deliberately or carelessly – on a distinct segment or growth form of a population will most likely lead to two main effects outlined by Freese (1998: 139): “(1) disproportionate reduction or elimination of locally adapted populations or stocks and a resulting decrease in overall genetic diversity within a species; (2) a directional change in gene frequencies through harvesting that favors some genetic characteristics over others.”

    It's certainly true that Alaska is vast, and that many bulls are never touched in remote areas off the river corridors and more accessible places. Hopefully, we'll always have these refugia for moose. But I've seen strange things happen in localized areas (like here) from excessive trophy hunting combined with meat hunting. We manage ungulates and in doing so we purposely skew sex and age ratios. We determine what bull/cow ratios we want or need and have minimums and maximums. Most Native hunters of the past told me they always preferred to shoot cow moose as they were fatter and more tender, and they particularly liked pregnant cows and the "veal" within. Now that's interesting in itself as far as possible skewing of sex and age characteristics among moose. Akmud, your idea is good and valid, and it's been proposed before, but it doesn't fall in line with what the state wants or needs; we need non-res hunting income and the income from "trophy-hunters" in general. BTW, nothing wrong with hunting for a trophy in my book if the meat is cared for. But most hunters want to hunt 1) during the rut when bulls are predictably in certain areas and easily called in and 2) when the rivers and lakes and ponds are still liquid and the temps aren't in the single digits.

    I've read through a lot of the Board of Game proposals and there are a few that speak to this issue particularly, with various ACs proposing to stop this 50"/4 brow-tine scheme in certain units, claiming it has skewed sex and age characteristics and that trophy hunting of large bulls is affecting the gene pool in specific areas. Again, Alaska is large...so the argument is always made that no matter what we do, we won't seriously affect any gene pool. However, common sense tells us that too much harvesting of any particular herd based on gender and antler-size is going to diminish the quantity of that particular kind of animal. I leave certain traplines "fallow" just like a farmer does with his fields. Hunters, however, continually harvest the same areas again and again until eventually limits are imposed, as they always are, after the fact. Management schemes are not based on biology alone, but on monetary considerations. Thus we are bound to run into problems.

    Selah,
    Mark

  18. #18

    Default I think it does affect it in different circumstances

    I think in certain areas, it must affect it. The one bio that was here was totally against the 50"/4 brow tine. He basically said that you will HAVE inferior bulls breeding. I think in certain areas that are now being accessed by atv's that weren't 10 years ago are going to see some big time affects. I know of entire drainages/valleys that have been hunted out because certain hunting parties go in, kill all the bulls and then move to another area. It is a HUGE problem in parts of 20E, and I think only time will tell if the genetics of the moose out there will be affected. I personally think it will have an affect, but I am not a biologist.

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    Member RainGull's Avatar
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    I like the idea AKmud. It would be a good tool at any rate that many would use. Having a late season option has worked well in certain areas in many states.

    I would support it as the only season for some high pressure areas. Other remote areas could remain "open" for non-residents income etc... It would neccesitate in my view an either-or-proposition so that those failing in other areas wouldn't inundate the late season areas.

    A slot limit or a 50"+tines is only contributing towards diminished genetics, waste, and confusion.

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    This is a thread that loudly asks for input from someone knowledgeable on the subject..................WEBMASTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!
    If memory serves me correctly, one of the reasons for the 50 in/spike fork rule is that these are actually the males that do the least of the breeding. Once the rut begins, the large bulls gather and protect harems of cows. They busy themsleves fighting similiar size bulls, and running off smaller bulls. They also spend alot of time keeping their harem corraled (so to speak). The hormaonal changes in these bulls actually prevent them, to some extent, from doing much breeding.
    This high intensity rut activity leads to another reason for the over 50 rule. Once the rut is over, and the hard times of winter set in.............(how come none of you other experts mentioned this)...............these are the bulls most likely to die from winters hard times.
    As someone else pointed out, the genetics for large antlers are not JUST passed on from the sire. We aren't shooting 50 in. females, so at least HALF of the genetic code for large antlers is still passed on thru females.
    Antler size is directly proportional to age. If there is a lack of large antlered bulls in an area, they just aren't living long enough to develope the antler size. Some may see this as a problem. However, as an advisory committee member in an area where moose hunting and healthy moose pops are important............I've never heard a bio say "we don't have enough large bulls"! I have heard concerns about bull/cow ratios, but never old bull/cow ratios.
    I shot a small bull today.................does that make me a more ethical hunter?

    Oh...........and mud............you just go ahead and shoot all the nov. bulls you want. Better meat quality??????????????hahahahahahaha. Not likely!
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
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