Across the nation, every state has its own department of government to oversee the wildlife. In my home state of Michigan, we have the Department of Natural Resources, or DNR. Even though many of us “armchair deer managers” think that some of the DNR’s decisions are questionable, they really do have what is best for the land and animals in mind. That being said, there are some crazy rules out there that at first glance will raise a few eyebrows.
- In an effort to obtain a well-balanced deer herd, most states offer antlerless tags and encourage hunters to shoot does. The problems start when states try to define “antlerless”. Virginia for instance, defines an antler as any visible horn above the hairline. Many other states also expect hunters to closely examine a “doe” before pulling the trigger and consider the hairline rule their standard. In states such as Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio, an antlerless tag can be used for any doe or buck with antlers 3” or less in length. Therefore, the smallest and youngest bucks are considered fair game with a doe tag. This rule is obviously created for the occasion where a hunter shoots a “doe” only to recover it and realize it was a very young buck. Many other states also face similar challenges with their definition of “antlerless”. Encouraging hunters to harvest does for a better balanced herd, while allowing them to shoot the youngest bucks at the same time seems to be self-defeating.