Unfortunately the directors were tied up and couldn’t make the Big Black Club meeting where biologist Stan Priest was presenting data, but we received our data in the mail this week. For the full report, click here, 2018 Deer data color
The data is interesting, at least to me it is, in that the club “reorganization” known as “Ragsdale 2.0” can readily be seen in the data. The first year of reorganization was a tumultuous year in that the membership was reduced by half or more, dog hunting was ended, rules were stringently enforced and our Deer Quality minimums were raised to 1 inch higher than the ATCO minimums. The effect of those changes jumps off the page in the single, beige colored bars of the first two years compared to the multiple bars of previous years. Those single colors mean that for the first two years all bucks taken were 4 years or older and even last year, after we eased our DQ standard slightly, only one deer was less than 4+ and it was a 3.5+ deer. All of the 2016 bucks were 5.5 years
To explain the numbers, I think that more careful, accomplished hunters were observing deer before taking them. Some of that is partially due to eliminating dog hunting and shooting at running deer but most of it is simply more careful, accomplished hunters, that were probably somewhat more concerned about the consequences of rules being enforced. Good job, Ragsdale hunters!
One thing that seems out of whack is the doe lactation chart, which shows a steep drop-off in lactating does. I am not sure how that might be explained or if it is even something that we might need to be concerned about.
I examined the data cards and the does are mostly large, mature does . Four of the non-lactating does are over 5.5 with one that’s 7.5 years old and one 6.5 years old. All of the other non-lactating does are 3.5. Of the two lactating does, one is 2.5 and one is 1.5. From the high ages, one could argue that mostly large and mature does that were past reproduction were taken, which is exactly what we should be doing. But I am no biologist, if that’s not the reason, then something’s not right because in all my years at Ragsdale I’ve never seen such a high number of non-lactating does. I have to think it is the former, that Ragsdale 2.0 members are taking the right does. I think in the history of Ragsdale, 2018 may be the first year the “right does” were taken. So until someone says otherwise – good job again Ragsdale 2.0 members!