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Bigger antlers in years with right weather ....

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
There’s 0% doubt in my mind that when we have a nice full growing season coming off a mild winter with PLENTY OF RAIN..... racks are bigger & deer make awesome jumps. The reverse is true as well (ON AVERAGE).... drought + hard winter & high heat- racks don’t jump much.... or what they “should or could have” - had it been a great year. There’s 0 doubt in my mind after watching this play out year after year. How this year shapes up??? Dunno.... tough winter. Warm/cold/warm/cold spring. Pretty good rain where I’m at. Jury is still out. Not 100% ideal- that’s for sure.

HERE’S MY QUESTION..... if u agree with above & also have seen this.... which is correct, it just is (good growing years all the way to crappy years)..... why don’t so many other areas experience this like we do??? Or maybe they do????
For example...... western 1/3rd or even 2/3rd of KS has far less rain fall but they pump out giants. Same with Canada- harsh winters, late springs, etc. south past iowa it greens up earlier & milder winters. On and on. So many other regions with giant deer potential that have far more challenging growing conditions.
SIDE NOTE: maybe u say “well Kansas, on average, is really about 20”-30” behind on their very top end giants vs iowa for same age”. Maybe true. Maybe Canada is same way & just takes em to 7-9 years old for those few to become “giant”.
In theory- the best growing regions would be the highest rain fall, with crop land, with Milder (not devastating) winters.... say “Kentucky” for example. Or southern IL. I still don’t think they have pound for pound as good of top end deer though.
Anyways - before I ramble on too far....
1) thoughts on growing seasons impacting growth? Good or bad
2) this year ??
3) how can we take the “growing season” analogy to compare to areas that do produce mammoths but have far less ideal conditions? “Not really better or bigger”? Or “adapted to those regions”? Or “they still have fluctuations like we do”?
See what I mean? Sorry on the rambling but trying to put thoughts into type & also see if folks have some thoughts on any of this.
 

Jbohn

Well-Known Member
I agree on the growing season impacting antler growth for sure 100% , I personally feel rain has a lot to do with it , Wet years produce better Antlers IMO , as far as regional I don't really have experience to base off of most places . I live in Maryland and hunt my farm in Illinois things I have noticed . Starting with Turkeys beards in Illinois double as thick , mature birds average 4-5lbs heavier out west kill 19-20lbs bird in Maryland you got a good one . Maryland is a kill all you can state for the most part when it comes to deer 2 bucks , 10 does with each weapon average guy can kill 6 bucks a year if he chooses to do so . So finding a 5 year old deer can be tuff the ones I have seen don't have head gear like the mid west .. Just my two cents
 

203ntyp

PMA Member
There’s 0% doubt in my mind that when we have a nice full growing season coming off a mild winter with PLENTY OF RAIN..... racks are bigger & deer make awesome jumps. The reverse is true as well (ON AVERAGE).... drought + hard winter & high heat- racks don’t jump much.... or what they “should or could have” - had it been a great year. There’s 0 doubt in my mind after watching this play out year after year. How this year shapes up??? Dunno.... tough winter. Warm/cold/warm/cold spring. Pretty good rain where I’m at. Jury is still out. Not 100% ideal- that’s for sure.
I agree Skip. I already noticed my target buck has not put nearly the growth on as he did as of June 1st this year compared to last year. There has been a huge swing in temperatures this spring (93 for a high one day then 53 the next) and below average rainfall. Hopefully he catches up on antler growth. I have noticed this over the years so I think you are on to something.
 

IowaBowHunter1983

Super Moderator
Staff member
100% agree. The winter most likely plays a role, but the thing I notice the most is the rain. When we get good spring and summer rains is when I see the most growth. Better plants, higher protein, etc. There is where I would head next with the theory of comparing Iowa to other states..... when we have the rain the plants get to fully tap into great Iowa soil. It's all about the dirt! When we had a drought several years ago, several of the deer I was tracking shrunk from the year prior!
 

Hardwood11

It is going to be a good fall!
Rain has been all over the board. One area on Mn has gone 25-26 days without any rain. My place in Western IA has had adequate rain so far.

Hot and dry coming though!
 

Daver

PMA Member
100% agree. The winter most likely plays a role, but the thing I notice the most is the rain. When we get good spring and summer rains is when I see the most growth. Better plants, higher protein, etc. There is where I would head next with the theory of comparing Iowa to other states..... when we have the rain the plants get to fully tap into great Iowa soil. It's all about the dirt! When we had a drought several years ago, several of the deer I was tracking shrunk from the year prior!

We definitely have seen marginal increases in rack size from year to year during drought years. Although I have fewer observations related to tough winters...it makes sense to me that a tough winter would put a buck on a slower growth pattern in the subsequent months. But good rains during the growing season are definite helps.

I remember one buck that jumped about 20"-25" every year...until the year that we shot him, severe drought that summer, and he had only grown about 10" from the previous year.
 
If the water theory holds true we should have some good jumps on but in my neck of the woods
This was from 5/17-5/18
 

bkcrrtnps

Well-Known Member
I think it all boils down to the 4 ingredients we always talk about…..nutrition, stress, genetics, age. The most overlooked part of the equation is stress, we don’t hear about it or talk about it enough. Iowa is blessed with the genetics, nutrition and age structure and everything you listed either creates less or more stress, that’s what it all boils down to!!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

203ntyp

PMA Member
Here's another take on it.


I've noticed that during hot humid summers over many years that I'd seem to see larger antler growth but do agree you need some other ingredients as mentioned above. I also believe that health of a doe and how early or late in spring a buck fawn is born will affect antler growth for a couple years if not the life of the buck. There's a lot that goes into the equation, bottom line is there's always quality buck every year, just more some years than others. No matter what I'll still be in pursuit because you never know what may surprise you!
 

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
Here's another take on it.


I've noticed that during hot humid summers over many years that I'd seem to see larger antler growth but do agree you need some other ingredients as mentioned above. I also believe that health of a doe and how early or late in spring a buck fawn is born will affect antler growth for a couple years if not the life of the buck. There's a lot that goes into the equation, bottom line is there's always quality buck every year, just more some years than others. No matter what I'll still be in pursuit because you never know what may surprise you!
HOT HUMID HAZY SUMMER is what he’s saying. But he’s saying a cool summer with lots of moisture is not good.
IMO & watching this over the years..... I agree on the hot & HUMID part.... hot, humid but PLENTY OF RAIN. The years where it dries up.... things get crispy & it’s hot & humid..... those years are the ones we constantly see weak increases. Or very little jump. No rain- natural browse is depleted greatly. Crops & nutrition take major hits. In my experience.

So- I agree with most of what he’s saying - with a minor twist.... hot, humid but PLENTY OF RAIN is best combo. Cold, no rain or hot no rain - not a fan. We do have some heat coming. As expected. Hopefully some moisture too!
 

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
Not liking the current weather trend......
Agree. We all know these periods will continue to come - almost every year. Either too much or not enough rain most years.
i Got lucky yesterday. 5-10 mins of hard rain. I had drill & planter open by garage vacuuming seed & stuff out. Came outta no where. I’ll take it!!
CE0E43F4-E6BE-4D36-A02D-7F1AD1C0FF8C.jpeg
 

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
Rainfall averages per year. I know we can get frustrated or stressed over weather (farmers especially) but obviously nothing we can control for rain. Be thankful we in this green area here.
The only real thing we can do if we involved in land …. More no till & building organic matter. The BIG ONE….. creating as much natural browse as possible…. TSI mainly. There’s also some herbicides folks can use to covert junk grass to more desirable forage. Clearly food plots can assist big time.
Still want those rainy summers!!!
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