The Experimental Antler Point Restriction
to five years. We decided after the 2007 season (four years) that we had adequate information to determine how well the APR worked and to make decisions on how it should be applied in the future.
We determined sex and age of harvested deer from 2003, before the APR was implemented, through 2007, the last year of the study.
To better gauge the effect of the APR we compared information collected in APR counties with information from adjacent “control” counties without the APR.
Data collected for analysis included checked deer (classified as button buck, doe or antlered buck) and deer sampled at biological data collection sites (check stations in 2003; meat processors in 2004–2007). We collected two incisor teeth from deer at least 2.5 years old to obtain more precise age information. For antlered deer we recorded the number of points at least 1 inch long on each beam, the length of the right beam, and the circumference of the right beam 1 inch above the base.
To determine the impact of the APR on harvest we assumed that any annual changes we saw in deer harvest would be the same in the APR counties as it was in the control counties. For example, if we saw a 10 percent annual increase in the doe harvest in the control counties, we expected the same increase in the APR counties. We attributed any differences between the actual doe harvest in the APR counties and the expected harvest to the APR.
Our assessment of public attitudes included random surveys of hunters and production landowners, written and Web-based comments, and comments offered at 16 public meetings held during January and February 2008. About 24,000 Missourians provided opinions about the APR and other deer management issues.
Biologic al Effects
The Antler Point Restriction had little effect on the doe harvest in the northern counties, but in the central APR counties the doe harvest increased an average of 13 percent over the four-year study period.
The APR reduced the harvest of antlered deer in both the northern and central APR counties. The reduction ranged from 35 percent in 2004 to 14 percent in 2007 in the northern APR counties, and from 37 percent to 19 percent in the central APR counties. The reduction consisted mostly of yearling bucks, because the majority of bucks in this age class did not qualify as legal deer under the APR.
Harvest of adult bucks was slightly lower in