So.... what if we look at this from a trending standpoint? Moving forward, I see the following:
- The number of x bow hunters and the number of deer ( both does AND bucks) harvested will continue to increase at a rapid pace.
- The number of vertical bow hunters will remain the same or possibly decrease somewhat. Harvest numbers and ratio's will remain approx. what we are seeing today.
- The number of gun hunters will likely decrease, and will do so at a more rapid rate than they have been in recent years.
- The number of hunters harvesting two bucks in a season will increase substantially. This will be due to the rapidly increasing number of xbow hunters along with their dramatically higher success rate compared to vertical bow hunters. I'd wager that nearly all xbow hunters also hunt with a gun so it stands to reason that a big increase in 2 buck/season harvests is forthcoming.
Now, this is only speculation on my part, but I think it makes sense given the trending we have seen since xbows were legalized for the masses.
Increased buck harvest is going to further lower the average age of animals harvested and will negatively affect the quality of the deer herd. Those of us who target mature deer are going to see fewer of them. No question.
This brings us back to assertions made by numerous others including myself. Namely, that as seasons are liberalized in terms of both weapon choice and duration, it makes sense to go to a one buck/season harvest strategy. This provides hunters an opportunity to hunt with the weapon(s) of their choice and (perhaps) gets people to think a bit more selectively about what they harvest, be it buck, doe or both.
All this being said, I highly doubt the Wisconsin DNR would ever go for a one buck rule. They seem hell bent on managing based upon two criteria; 1. Maximal harvest that hunters are willing to accept, and 2. Maximum revenue that can be sustained thru license sales.