Jump to content

3 Pt side rule

Recommended Posts

I let about 4 deer pass this year because they didn't have 3+ on one side.  So I can empathize with the frustration.


However, on the other side of the coin, if we didn't have 3+ on one side, people would only be pulling spikes out of the woods in Haskell.  I would have taken all of them because they were the only deer I saw.


You can't get a trophy deer in my neck of the woods on public land because there is a ton of pressure.  This is the way the state can ensure that bucks get a few years to grow.


Frustrating, yes, but I won't break the law to fill my freezer (as has been suggested to me).

Sapere aude.


When you cannot measure, your knowledge is meager and unsatisfactory.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't have it in my zones. It's a tough rule, although better than a 4 point rule IMO.


The problem is deer (buck) management revolves around age management, not antler sizing management.

AR does help though to a degree, as it will help protect younger bucks (spikes, 4 points, etc)...but it will also protect poor genetic older bucks while allowing hunters to kill good genetic younger bucks (1.5 yr old 6s, 8s, etc).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

States that have used APRs in the past found that the illegal kill rate was 40-100% that of the legal kill.  That is, for every 100 legal bucks killed another 40-100 sub-legal bucks were killed illegally.  APRs did not save the younger bucks, they were still being killed, just illegally.


Also, Mississippi measured their bucks pre and post APRs and found that high-grading has occurred in their deer herd.  Younger bucks with better genetics are killed while those with lesser genetic potential are allowed to live longer and do more of the breeding. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't have it in the areas I hunt either. I guess it can't hurt if you're trying to get some age on a buck. Personally I won't shoot a buck unless I'm going to spend money to mount it (euro or shoulder). I know immediately when I see a buck I wanna shoot. My heart starts pounding and I start shaking lol. If I don't get a shot at a buck, I'll shoot a doe or two for some meat.

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." Thomas Jefferson



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I look to PA where this rule has been in effect since 2002.  In that time since, our hunting camp has taken 3 bucks that were clearly the beneficiary of the new rule and these 3 bucks were between 3 1/2 and 5 1/2 years of age with 2 of them being the largest antlered bucks we've ever taken in this camp since 1970 (both 5 1/2 years old).  That said, our annual harvest of bucks on the first two days of the rifle season has gone down from an average of 5 - 6 bucks for an average of 12 hunters down to just under 1 buck per season because of these rules.  And with the exception of just the three bucks mentioned, all the legal bucks we've shot since '02 were still just 1 1/2 years old.  We just killed the better genetic bucks at the same young age as we always had is all.


Now PA didn't just add ARs back in 2002, but greatly reduced their doe populations and overall herd numbers across the state to improve forest health and to reduce deer - car collisions.  The "average hunter" in our PA camp preferred the old rules where a buck needed one antler at least 3" long over the ARs because most are not trophy hunters but rather want some meat for the freezer.  Those are the guys grumbling and now considering leaving hunting in PA behind.  Time will tell if they bail out or not, but ARs aren't always the simple answer many would make them out to be.       

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have it in my zones, The 3 pt side rule is selecting to take out the trophy bucks leaving your cole buck for breeding.


Fall bow you're allowed 1 buck, Permit bow 1 buck, Muzzloader 1 buck, shot gun 1 buck, winter bow 1 buck. 5 bucks off the top of my head,

And you end up with primary scrub 3-4's breeding their genetics.. Not good for growing big bucks. Yes a 3 could be a 6 an a 5 an 8, but that is unlikely to happen to enough of them to make a difference.


To a meat hunter this doesn't matter ( big horns ), but it does in the sense that if Jersey's starts to adapt this in more areas an the big bucks start to fade away we start to loose in the economy, People want to hunt where big bucks are an spend money. Taxidermist will mount less trophy bucks and because of rule like 3 pt side rule the affordable euro mount will be less, Everyone can use their shells next year so gun shops will sell less, etc...


Yes you will always here of a guy getting a big buck or see a big buck, but that doesn't mean they're everywhere.


At my shop we just called the state a few days ago an the numbers are down about 30% percent so far..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have always seen both sides.



- Forcing some hunters to pass deer they would be happy with

- Preventing the cull of inferior deer (these deer are more rare than what some people believe, but there are deer reaching maturity that have undesirable antler characteristics and are protected by APR)

- High Grading (I think this subject is very complex due to several factors)

- Illegal kills (as Rusty said, 40-100% of legal kill)




- Potentially helps more bucks reach older age classes. (which has several benefits)




Boiled down to the most basic explanation, age, nutrition and genetics are the largest factors in bucks growing large antlers. 3pt APR is meant to try and protect some bucks to help them gain age. However it contributes nothing to the other two major factors and in fact could be detrimental to them. 



Personally I feel that educating hunters, that are interested, is the best way to improve the health of any deer herd and it's habitat. First the hunters need goals, then they need to know how to work towards those goals. If they want a better age structure, more large antlered bucks and a more pronounced "rut", they need to understand what the properties they hunt are capable of, carry realistic expectations, know what animals they should be harvesting, what they should pass, what habitat improvements need to be made, etc.

“I have always tempered my killing with respect for the game pursued. I see the animal not only as a target, but as a living creature with more freedom than I will ever have. I take that life if I can, with regret as well as joy, and with the sure knowledge that nature’s way of fang and claw and starvation are a far crueler fate than I bestow.” – Fred Bear

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well said, Matty.  But we know that the majority of deer hunters only want one thing - to see tons of deer when they hunt and to have nothing but monster bucks within those tons of deer they are seeing.  It would be good to discuss modern game management in the hunter ed courses some more, but I'm not sure if they have the time to go into depth on that or not.   

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As you already know, Hunter Education's ultimate goal is safety with a side of ethics.

Unless they went back to multiple day classes, I don't believe they could ever cover management in enough depth to make an impact.


The other potential issue is that management goals can vary greatly. Some people want what you said (which we know is nearly impossible unless you have superb habitat and very controlled harvests), others may want very few deer with an emphasis on managing for other plants or animals. I do agree a basic explanation covering the general ideas would be good though, or better yet, offer a course specific to modern management practices on a regular basis, just like the Hunter Ed.

“I have always tempered my killing with respect for the game pursued. I see the animal not only as a target, but as a living creature with more freedom than I will ever have. I take that life if I can, with regret as well as joy, and with the sure knowledge that nature’s way of fang and claw and starvation are a far crueler fate than I bestow.” – Fred Bear

Link to comment
Share on other sites

PA has a one buck rule, so I really don't see the need for the restriction. In New Jersey, with the opportunity to kill six bucks, I can see the possibility of reducing the amount of potentially good size racks.

PA needs to reduce the amount of antlerless permits issued or shorten the season in selected areas to allow recovery.

Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president.

Theodore Roosevelt


Link to comment
Share on other sites

What I'm saying is 1 Trophy buck tag, while allowing a certain number of cole ( scrub racks )bucks. You would have a guys see a small 8 that has potential to get big an let that go knowing he has only 1 trophy tag while still allowing the poor genetic deer to be taken out of the herd , so he still can take out management bucks.  Place's that grow trophy bucks are selecting better bucks out of the herd and I dont think they have 3 pt side rules, the pro's of it is not only better age, but a bigger rack. The best of both worlds.



" These hunts are for mature, big-bodied trophy bucks. Yet, because they lack the genetic potential we strive for in our management program, they are offered at extremely attractive prices." ( Sanctuary ) Management buck shown in pic with man, What they're growing, pic with woman.


Proof is in the pudding...



San big 8 deer.jpg

Big 7 deer san.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...