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When did the obsession with antlers begin? Has it always been around? Is it getting worse?

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  • #16
    Trophy hunting in America was officially started with Teddy Roosevelt's founding of B&C in 1887. The scoring system soon followed. In 1961 Glenn St Charles founded P&Y for archers with a smaller "trophy" standard. Antlers, horns and skulls of course are the current focus. Nothing wrong with this.
    Once it took more skill to find and kill a trophy class deer simply because there were fewer of them.
    With the advent of food plots, baiting, smaller parcels to hunt,trail cameras and QDM there are more mature bucks in the population making it much "easier" to hunt them. Also consider the deer are bigger today.
    During a half century of hunting I have never met the honest hunter who given the chance, passes up the big buck in order to shoot the "meat" deer.

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    • #17
      @charlie elk,
      That would make sense. I never even thought of that. Do you know if B&C and/or P&Y were instantly popular, or did it take a while to gain popularity?

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      • #18
        Great thread, everybody!
        Truth be told, I pass up more deer these days than I ever thought I would. I don't know if I'm getting soft or what, but I rarely even raise my bow any more. I'll send a buddy pictures from my stand and he gets aggravated that I'm not shooting. I guess I don't understand it either, but that's my choice and I'm perfectly alright with it. The problem I have is when a hunter doesn't shoot a deer, not because it's his desire to let it walk, but because he's afraid it won't meet the standards of someone else. That to me is the problem with the antler craze.

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        • #19
          @4everAutumn,
          One of my favorite things to do is putting yardage limits on my rifle season(wont allow myself to shoot more than a certain distance). I can honestly say that I have passed on "big" bucks that were simply out of my limit but well within my capability. I can remember letting big deer pass just as well as ones I have killed.

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          • #20
            One year during gun season all I needed was a Doe and told all my hunting buddies (big mistake). Well, woulden't you know, in 5 days of hunting I only saw bucks, about 6 or them.. Really pissed everyone off. Finally, in the last hour of the last day I got a doe. Yea, I can pass up antlers. Never have found a good recipe for antlers.

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            • #21
              JM,
              Not sure how immediate would be defined in 1887. Back then it took months for news to spread around the country. B&C was the beginning of the concept of "fair chase" which was the only way an animal got into the book. There is a difference between fair chase and legality.
              P&Y was generally accepted rather quickly, started in the little town of Chatfield, MN. WI and MN were the birth place of bowhunting so distance did not slow the spread of P&Y in the 2 states. Back in the 60's we could only shoot bucks. Deer were very scarce then and a lucky hunter might only see 1 or 2 deer per season. We are living in the good old days of deer hunting right now.

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              • #22
                @charlie elk,
                Thank you, that's good to know. I know the deer population in Missouri had a bad time during that period as well. Family has told me stories of combining with neighbors to cover thousands of acres after a snow without ever seeing a deer track.

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                • #23
                  If animals did not have antlers, horns, tusks and sharp teeth and claws would you still hunt?
                  I would. I am after the sustenance, not the horns.

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                  • #24
                    You bet JHP and then we'd all weigh them, measure the skulls and hoofs while we're roasting up the meat.

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                    • #25
                      Started back in the late 70s during the fur boom. Has recently reached epic proportions due to shows like Sportsman's Channel, Outdoor Channel, etc. This has attracted the hoards from urban America to the rural areas to lease and buy up land at high prices. Rural farmers now realize that they should not fight it and join them in charging high prices for leasing rights and limiting the hunting on their land.

                      Back in the late 60s and most of the 70s and some of the 80s, people were happy with the hunt, no matter the size of the deer or rack. I wish we could go back to the time when a yearling was appreciated as much as the 3 and 4 year-old bucks.

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                      • #26
                        Its been getting worse, especially in Michigan during Whitetail season. I've been visiting our Hunters Education classes in West MI, when the instructor asked why the kids where interested in hunting, nearly half of the 80 children in the room raised their hands and claimed "Just for the antlers..." I just hope that their parents can teach them that the antlers isn't the only thing that counts.

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                        • #27
                          Well, at it's been important for as long as man has used antlers for tools and weapons.

                          "Like bone, antler is tough and resilient. Unlike bone, however, antler is relatively solid and varies greatly in form among individual deer. Antlers are grown by male deer and are shed each winter. Antlers were perhaps most important to prehistoric groups for use as flintknapping tools. Soft hammer batons for controlled percussion flaking were made from the basal portions of antlers by cutting them to length and grinding off the rough burr at the base. Antler tips, cut to lengths of 3 to 10 inches, were used as pressure flakers. Antler tips were sometimes cut and drilled to make conical arrow points."
                          https://archaeology.uiowa.edu/bone-tools-0
                          Attached Files

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by JM View Post
                            I remember growing up all of my uncles and everyone would simply pitch the antlers to the dogs because they couldn't care less about them. The heavier animal was what got bragging rights.
                            When I was growing up, deer were scarce in Alabama

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by 4everAutumn View Post
                              I'd say it has always been around in one form or another, but I think it has definitely gotten worse in the last decade or so. When I was a kid, the first question someone would ask about a deer is how much it weighed, not how much it scored. A good score then is when my Chiefs would beat the Raiders.
                              I've noticed that too

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by superdough View Post
                                Isn't that like asking, "when did this obsession with big breasts begin?" or "When did this obsession with more horsepower begin?"
                                Valid "points" ;-)

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