Feb 8, 2007


Some bucks change over the course of time, while other bucks (like the buck above) seem to remain exactly the same year in, year out. The top-most picture was taken in 2004 on one of our ranches. The bottom picture was taken about 200 yards from the other photo in 2006.

We called the buck Tank Tops - because he was by a tank and had huge tops! The overall shape of the buck never changed, but his top mass was slightly larger in 2004 then it was two years later.

I got to thinking about this and wondered what would cause one buck to change from year to year and what would cause another buck to remain the same? Is it genetics? Is it feed? Is there no statistical basis at all - maybe it's entirely dependent on which buck it is.

I'm going to try to delve deeper into this and see what I can find. If I can't find anything, oh well, I'll move on. If I can, I'll post my findings on this blog, but don't be in a hurry as this could take quite a while.

Tally Ho!

PS. Tank Tops officially scored 92 SCI and 87 4/8 B&C.


John said...

I don't really know for sure, but I would imagine it has to do with a lot of things. Genetics, Habitat, Pressure ( Predetor & Human ), Weather from one year to the next.

Interesting topic though

Eli Grimmett said...

Yeah, it's a weird phenomenon. I've got photos of bucks in several different areas for two and sometimes for three years in a row. Sometimes they change a lot from year to year. Sometimes they look almost identical. Other times, and this is really strange, they'll change from the first year to the second and then during their third year they'll look almost exactly like they did in their first year. These antelope are wacky creatures! I'll see if I can find some photos of bucks where I have at least two consecutive years of them.

Anonymous said...

Off the subject, what do you think of unit 11 in New Mexico going to a muzzleloader hunt? I read that the G&F will be issuing 50 permits, will there also be 50 landowner tags, and is that too many?


Eli Grimmett said...

As far as I understand New Mexico, they don't issue antelope landowner tags for any weapon other than rifle, so there shouldn't be any landowner tags in Unit 11 this year. I know that if you run a ranch, and you so choose, you can have the rifle tags converted to archery tags, or possibly muzzle tags, if you wish.

As far as what I think of the unit? Well, it used to be one of the best, but in the late 90's it started going downhill quickly. There are still a few big bucks, but the numbers are down considerably. We leased a ranch in Unit 11 last year and took the only book head on the entire 50 section ranch. And that particular buck was one of only about 10 on the whole place.

Will it come back? I don't know. The genetics for giant antelope and a great population have always been there. It was rumored back in the day that poaching was taking it's toll on the bucks and that that was what started the initial downfall.

Unless something drastic has changed in the last couple years or you happen to draw a tag for one of the dynamite ranches in the unit I wouldn't be expecting to see very many bucks on the ranches, but I'd guess you might have a shot at a pretty good one.

Yakhunter said...

Again off the subject, why hasn't Pronghorn guide service been involved in the taking of bucks in Utah for the last couple of years? It seems as though the guiding of the statewide auction tag has fallen into the hands of an individual better suited to the pursuit of mule deer or elk than Antelope. The best they can seem to come up with is around 86". I believe there are better bucks than that on the San Rafel desert. What are your thoughts?

Eli Grimmett said...

We had a bidder for the Statewide Utah tag last year, but he got outbid.

I believe Denny Austad was the successful bidder last year and hired Doyle Moss (possibly? - I'm really not too sure about that.) Denny, at the time, either didn't know we guided in Utah or didn't know our outfit existed.

Denny did hire us in Arizona for the Arizona Statewide tag and took a 94 2/8 net buck.

As far as us not taking bucks in Utah the last couple years...we have been, just not in the best units some of the time. Since we've been outbid for the San Rafael and Statewide Tags we've been guiding in the Plateau Unit where we've just been having fun since the bucks aren't gigantic up there.

And in 04 and 05 we did guide in San Rafael and took two bucks that scored just over 84 net. Not monstrous, but pretty good. These two years there were probably bigger bucks, but these ended up being the two we liked the best.

And for the record, Denny's Statewide Utah buck last year scored 84 6/8 net.

I'm not sure if much bigger can be expected on a yearly basis from San Rafael - or anywhere in Utah. We guided to that 91 net buck that Ullery took in 2003, but that seems to definitely be the extreme top end.

It's quite possible that we may not guide in Utah at all this coming season. We'll have to see how our other hunts pan out.