Re: size of game decreasing??
Could it have been that the scales were off a tad on that memorable hunt 20 years ago?
Deer, in many areas, are much more numerous today than was the case 20 years ago; but in GA where I live and deer hunt, human population increases, increasing bag limits, and land use changes seem to have reduced the size of the deer herd below what we enjoyed in 1991. If I go back to the mid to late 1960's, the stone-age of my youth when deer hunting was just beginning to gain widespread popularity in the state, deer were larger; BUT seasons were very short, bag limits restricted, there was still a lot of farming, and deer generally lived long enough to mature to large sizes. Since those early years hunters have transitioned from a "shoot anything with horns mentality" to that of a far more restrained attitude so that many hunters nowadays deer hunt with a "if it ain't a trophy; then I'll shoot a doe if I want any meat" mentality. My personal experience from my neck of the woods is that, if hunters allow a small buck to walk so that it reaches its full maturity; bucks around here have no problem getting to 200 plus pounds (and by the way, much of the seed stock in GA is descended from transplanted Virgina deer). As long as 1st year bucks continue to be heavily harvested; one can count on the fact that average buck weights will be 120-125lbs.