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Buck Age Structure Management

Background Reading

"Buck age structure management" is the regulation of antlered buck harvest in an effort to reduce the harvest mortality rate of one or more buck age classes. The objective is to try to provide a better opportunity for bucks to reach older ages.


The following links provide background information to help you better understand this deer management issue:


I. Introduction to Buck Age Structure Management In New Hampshire

  • Most of New Hampshire currently has a very good buck age structure
  • Buck age structure management (BASM) is necessary in WMU-A
  • Although New Hampshire currently has a good buck age structure in most of the state, with strong
    hunter support, buck age structure management could be implemented wherever desired
  • Read more


II. General Buck Age Structure Management Considerations

  • Buck age structure management can benefit deer and deer hunters, but always involves trade-offs for hunters
  • Many factors will influence the effectiveness of buck age structure management in New Hampshire
  • Significant increases in 4.5+ year old bucks is probably not practical in New Hampshire
  • Read more


III. Methods for Regulating Buck Age Structure

  • These methods strive to reduce antlered buck kill so more survive to become a year older
  • Some methods reduce buck kill across all age classes, allowing more of each age to survive
  • Other methods reduce the kill of a specific age class, usually yearlings
  • All these methods have advantages and disadvantages
  • Read more


IV. Some Realistic Expectations in New Hampshire

  • Implementing buck age structure management in New Hampshire would require significant changes to deer seasons. While the percentage of older-aged bucks in the buck kill would go up, the total number of antlered bucks killed would initially go down, and may or may not come back up.
  • Little change would be noticed in the timing and intensity of the rut
  • Buck bag limits could reduce the buck harvest in New Hampshire but probably not as much as many people think
  • Some methods of buck age structure management would likely need adjusting over time as results are evaluated
  • The impact of antler point restrictions (APRs) is very dependent on what APR is chosen
  • Read more


V. Links to Other Independent Sources of Background Information