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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My brother shot a deer this year with one 1 1/2" antler and one 5 1/4" antler.

The code (R657-5-2) defines a buck as "a deer with antlers longer than 5 inches" and an antlerless deer as "a deer without antlers or with antlers 5 inches or shorter". Both definitions refer to antelers in the plural form.

This deer could meet either definition as it has one antler that is clearly shorter than 5 inches and one antler that is barely longer than 5 inches. The code does not define whether one or both antlers must meet the definition so you could have a problem either way whether you your are hunting bucks or antlerless.

Has anyone else run into a problem like this situation or have any legal clarification? My brother was hunting antlerless deer and received a written warning from the officer. Can any of you measure an antler within 1/4 of an inch at 200 yards?

Do you think this deer is a buck or an antelerless deer? :?:
 

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My philosophy is:

If you have to ask yourself or question whether it is legal, you probably shouldn't do it because you never know how it will be interpreted.

Now in you brother's case, with the abundance of does, he should have stuck to the purpose of the antlerless hunt, which in most cases is to harvest skin heads for depredation purposes, and left the buck to grow another year.

Just my opinion.
 

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I am surprised he was only given a written warning, I have never heard a game officer doing that. Also I don't think many if any buck hunters would have that problem because they wouldn't shoot it. It is just like spike elk hunters I am sure that sometimes in the heat of the moment it might be hard to tell, but you need to make sure, if you are not sure don't shoot it. That is just my opinion.
 

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Flyfishn247 nailed it..........Flyfishin247 for president.
 

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my ruling says a buck, should have not shot it.
 

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get it out of the gene pool
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I agree that as a buck hunter, I would not have shot this animal and that ordinarily I would not shoot a male animal on an antlerless hunt.

This was a weird situation where the deer was a genetic freak as it was at least three years old and clearly was never going to grow true antlers and mate. The upper half of the 5" antler was dark brown/black and even the officer thought it was a strange deer. I think this deer was better harvested than left to possibly mate.

This was a limited entry hunt area with large bucks everywhere so there was clearly no shortage of better breaders. No limited entry buck hunter would ever shoot this animal with all of the trophy bucks running around.

The main question that I have is whether there is a real issue with how the law is written? The law should be corrected by stating that a buck is a deer with at least one antler greater than 5" instead of saying antlers in the plural. In a lot of ways, the old standard of ear length made a lot more sense as it leaves little room for error.

On this hunt, we also saw a two point deer with one antler at least 14 inches tall and the other side had nothing showing above the hair at all. If we were looking to aggressively interpret the law, he would have shot this one. Under the current law, a buck hunter could have been ticketed for shooting this animal as well since it does not have two antlers (based upon the plural language) in excess of 5 inches.

These animals do not fit either definition under the current law.
 

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I agree with bloodtrail on the interpretation of that law, but its not really a big deal. A written warning is nothing. I am sure that no one is going to prosecute you for taking a one antlered deer with a buck tag. The Department of Natural Resources is not out to ticket as much as possible. They are not on a quota like the highway patrol. If the deer is within reason of the definition a warning will be written. If the harvest is an obvious misinterpritation of the law then further action will be taken. I would consider your written warning and your run in with the Natural Resource officer a pleasant occurance rather than a confrontation. Contrary to what most people believe I feel we have good game management here in Utah.
 

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redleg said:
get it out of the gene pool
Removing this 'bad genetic' buck will do NOTHING for the gene pool. Nothing!

As far as legal or not, I am guessing it is a gray area, but as far as the intent seems clear to me. Why shoot an animal that is questionable, whether it is a doe tag or a buck tag? If there is doubt, the WISE move would be to let it walk.

I have had hunters in Colorado, where killing spike elk is ALWAYS illegal, shoot an illegal bull and receive a $50.00 citation. Most CO"s are good folks and are usually pretty good at determining the honest mistakes from the intentional dis-regarding of laws.

When in doubt, let it walk!
 

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This was a weird situation where the deer was a genetic freak as it was at least three years old and clearly was never going to grow true antlers and mate. The upper half of the 5" antler was dark brown/black and even the officer thought it was a strange deer. I think this deer was better harvested than left to possibly mate.
Did he shoot a Dik-dik?

 

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We have talked about this before. My opinion is the law is in place to protect hunters who thought they were shooting a doe an it ended up being a small buck. If the antlers are visible we should not be measuring to see if it is legal to shoot. It is a buck and should not be shot. Again this is just how I interpret what is ethical. Nothing against the guy that shot it.
 

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I had this situation happen years ago while archery hunting. I decided not to shoot. At the next meeting of the big game board, yes it was a while ago, the person that was in charge of the big game sections was there. I asked him was a deer with one antler larger than 5 inches and one antler shorter than 5 inches considered a buck or a doe. Is reply was that it would qualify as both.
 

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I guess I would ask the question, did he see that the deer did have an antler of any length, prior to shooting, and then shoot it anyway? Like you said, it is hard to put a tape on an antler from 200 yards away. I could see that if he really didn't see the unicorn thing because of the angle of the head or whatever, and shot thinking it was an antlerless deer, that is one thing. But knowing it had at least one antler and then shooting it - that is a different thing, and is contrary to the purposes of the antlerless tags.

On the legal side of things, it would all depend on the judge, and he/she would respond. I've seen judges do funny things. If he had been ticketed, showing a picture to the judge and saying "I didn't see the antler" would probably get the ticket wiped out or at the least, reduced.
 
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