How does one report a (very small) buck taken during an antlerless only season?

Question:

I am asking this question because when I helped my daughter register her doe I noticed it said did you harvest a doe or buck. The following day, my wife and I were out hunting and saw a very small buck. We were within 50 yards and noticed it had very small antler on only one side. By the rules in the regulations, to be antlerless, they must be shorter than 3 inches. We did not shoot, but his small buck could have easily been mistaken for a doe and possibly legal to be considered anterless. I have also seen many yearling bucks that don't have any antlers just small bumps on the tops of their heads.

Answer:

“How does one report a buck taken during an antlerless only season?

I am asking this question because when I helped my daughter register her doe, I noticed it said “did you harvest a doe or buck?” The following day, my wife and I were out hunting and saw a very small buck. We were within 50 yards and noticed it had just one very small antler, only on one side. By the rules in the regulations, to be considered antlerless, they must be shorter than 3 inches. We did not shoot, but this small buck could have easily been mistaken for a doe and possibly legal to be considered antlerless. I have also seen many yearling bucks that don't have any antlers just small bumps on the tops of their heads."

---This is a good question about “spike” deer. Deer are considered “antlerless”, in the regulations, if both antlers are shorter than 3 inches long. This is indeed a small buck. If either antler is 3 inches or more, it is considered “antlered”. It is also legal for harvest under the two-point rule, if either is longer than 3 inches [Page 8 of the 2012 Big Game regulations].

Most male fawns that were born in the current year will not have any antlers at all, just little bumps where their antlers will grow next year.

Some male yearlings (born a year ago) will still have only short antlers. Most mule deer yearlings have 2 antler points on each side, longer than 3 inches, but some have only 1 point (spike) on a side. Whitetail yearlings are more likely to have just 1 point on each side. It can be hard to see the little antlers so hunters need to be very careful, to stay legal.  Still, it is pretty uncommon to see yearlings with only 1 point on a side.

In the IDFG Mandatory Harvest Reporting form, which is online now, we ask for the sex of the animal and the number of antler points on the left and right sides.  It would be acceptable to report “male with 0 and 0 antler points” or male with 1x1, or even 1x0, like the deer that you saw.  We will be able to tell from the hunt that you have a tag for, if you are supposed to harvest an antlered or antlerless deer, and we will correctly calculate the harvest.  Thanks for your question!