Every year while Chuckar hunting we hear stories and on occasion have seen three point Deer 'or greater 'shot and left lay in the Owyhee Mountains . Hunters that have made an error in analyzing the points on a Deer . They choose not to expose their error because of legal consequences. It is a TWO Point hunt. This has been called the Buzzard Hunt because the Buzzards will show you where these Deer shot in error are located. What a waste !!! Seems some other formate could be established , i.e. A quota system with a mandatory visual Idfg report., once the established quota has been reached , Closed . i.e. Doe hunt. i.e. Youth hunt only 'along with the big buck tag for adults'. And there may be some other alternatives. I called IDFG with this and told the guy people were shooting Deer in error ,,,,, all he said was " They better not ". In parting he said "the Lions and Scavengers will eat em up ". Aaaaah , he missed the point !
The Owyhee Units general season only allows harvest of young bucks to limit the overall harvest. The units are mostly considered a high desert that generally supports a lower deer density because the area is limited by water and seasonal forage. Also, the area is relatively open which generates a higher vulnerability for big bucks. The potentially higher vulnerability combined with the proximity of Units 40 and 41 to the Boise metropolitan area means that these units could have very high hunter pressure and harvest on big bucks if there were an any buck open general season. Frankly, these deer populations couldn’t sustain that kind of heavy harvest pressure, and still provide a mature buck hunt. The advantage of a 2-point restriction harvest-reduction strategy is that it still allows hunters to pursue bucks in a general season. It allows older age classes of bucks to be harvested in a controlled hunt, and keeps large, mature bucks in the breeding population.
That said, each strategy to reduce harvest has trade-offs and disadvantages. The disadvantage of the 2-point restriction is people making mistakes, as you’ve pointed out, and mature trophy bucks being vulnerable to poachers. IDFG is aware of this issue, but we believe that when looking at the population as a whole the 2-point restriction is reducing the number of bucks harvested while still allowing the most opportunity for hunters. Hunters NEED to be aware of what they are aiming at before they pull the trigger. Take a few extra seconds to confirm that the buck is legal before taking the shot.
IDFG is currently considering a research project to study buck vulnerability in the 2-point restriction units and comparing them to units with an open general season, such as Unit 46. Stay tuned for more information if this project develops further.