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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I keep hearing that to increase the number of bucks in your herd you need to thin out the number of does that you have. Can anyone tell me why this is? We have a large number of does on the property that I hunt and we are trying to increase the buck numbers on the property so we are going to thin the does and only take large bucks. I ended up passing on a six pointer on Saturday so that he could get a little bit bigger. He must have walked by me 4 times taunting me. It took everything that I had not to stick an arrow through him the last time he walked by. It is not my property though and I have to respect the land owners wishes.

Thanks,
Ed
 

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I'm no expert on this by any means, but I do know we wack the hell out of does every year and only kill bucks if they are shooters. We are trying to get our buck to doe ratio down. Just think if you only had one doe in heat in your area and not 10, all the bucks would be coming to you! We get 50 permits to kill does a year and fill them. Good luck!
 

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EHOIV, bY no means am I a expert either but thinning the does will give you better quality antlers. The big nanny's compete with the bucks for the best food sources as well as there fawns and yearlings. Shoot the big nannys 3 and over or 140 to 150 lb range. The yearling does will breed this year and eat less than the big nannys, also try to take doe fawns if you can make sure they are't buttons. For every 2 does you see in there are probably 3 that you don't see. If you dont keep them in check they will eat you out of house and home. Also if you see bad genetics get rid of them once a spike always a spike is what I have heard all my life, wether it's true is the question.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Guys,

Thanks for the information. I know there are alot of does on this piece of property so we are definately going to try to thin some out.

Thanks,
Ed
 

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One thing the ratios will do is make the bucks search for does, thus making them more visible; and therefore, huntable when they would otherwise be only nocturnal.

On the issue of spikes...I read a study not too long ago about spikes and genetics. The research these people did actually found that spikes (most of the time ) had superior genetics to other bucks. Basically, it said that the spike was just a yearling that had grown bigger than a button.

They said that some of the yearling spikes in 4 or five years were in the 160-170 class ( in large fence areas). They could identify each buck through eartags. Some went to near record class in the low 200s.
Who knows.?.
Im sure there are exceptions to the rule, with nutrition. But one thing for sure.... they will never get big if you kill them when they are young.
 

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Hi,

This is has been hashed over before.....and I also dont claim to be an expert but as a scientist and avid hunter will shed some additional light.

Obviously these are each hunters own person descisions and so what because they wont effect me and my hunting.....but lets move on.

First off if you want to get involved in your deer herd get a trail camera, camtracker, gametracker, etc. You will get to see the deer on your property that you never saw before......and will never seee again......

My point....depending on your property size and if it is not fenced like in Texas......these are not really your deer to control.....they are mother natures unless you can pump alot of effort, money, and time to kill off a large portion of does, so-called inferior spikes, plant foodplots, manage habitat, predators, etc.......can you handle all of this!!!

Lets say you do......now who reaps the rewards......most likely others.

Lets say that 6 pointer turns in to a thick ten pointer in two years because you have been passing on him.....what keeps a car from running him over, a local jacking him at night, or your neighbor from taking him the week after you stopped him and decided it was time......nothing.

My buddy took at three very nice 8-10 pointers last year and I had taken two in previous years......none of which were passed on in previous years or photographed with the Camtraker (at least as far as we could tell)......after this the Camtraker was still snapping pics of nice bucks.

Sure, the more food the better and you can never kill enough does these days but the deer population will strive to meet the food available....it is just simple science.

Get a trail camera....photo the bucks......them pass on the little ones and wait for the big one....or dont.

We are lucky on our property.....crops are all around....hunting is low....and the property is thick. I think that some of our bucks could die of old age and never be seen.

Iam even thinking of stopping planting foodplots.....it just has no bearing in our situation.......the farmers soybeans are fine.


Mark
 

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Well said cruiser,

When you see a spike.....is he a yearling that most are only buttons or is he 1 1/2 and that is all he has to show.

Also how many deer can kill in a year.....most of us, not many....so you fill the freezer (with does)....take a small rack to say you got horns for the year.......then nothing else but a monsters.

For years we have checked with the DNR to watch them age our deer via teeth wear and most all the deer are yearling to 2 1/2 with the oldest being 4 1/2 and usually a doe (and some of these are very nice racks)
Of course this is all over since we will no longert have check in stations[sad].

Mark
 

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Property can only handle X number of deer. A buck will only grow big racks if he lives long enough. If you cap the little bucks he can't grow up. If you let the does go thinking they will give you more deer you are wrong. If a doe is bred she will abort the fetus if there is little food to go around. She will abort the fetus if there more deer than your property can handle. If you let her get old she is just like a human. Time comes where she can't get pregnant any more. Then all she is doing is eating food that the others need to keep a healthy herd. A very important concept. Only shoot the old doe. Make sure 1st that your doe is not a button. This button is your future big boy. Good thumb rule is only shoot a doe when there are two or more to choose from. This way you can harvest the big one. You don't want to shoot your young does either. These are the future baby makers. One of the biggest arguments is "If I let him go someone else is going to get him". Well sometimes that happens, but then lots of times he get away. If you shoot him he dead. very little chance of him getting away.

Bubba[angel][angel][angel]
 

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One other point.
If you harvest a doe slice open the milk bag. You have to do this to gut her anyway. If you don't see any sign of milk your doe did not raise a fawn last year. There are many reasons for this. One she is to old to breed. Two she aborted due to food supply. Three something got her young, dogs, coyote etc.
Bubba[angel][angel]
 

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Shoot does and let small bucks walk. True that if you let the small buck walk someone else may not, but thats the chance we have to take. What I have noticed is that if you hunt a area that does not have very much pressure the small buck that you let walk will kinda stay close if the hunting pressure is greater around you.

The best you can do is to do your part, shoot mature does and let small bucks walk.

On the spike will always be a spike thing I'm kinda inbetween. They say they have proof that it is wrong but I have a deer here around where I live that has a black spot on his left hind quarter. The first year I saw him he had 3" spikes, last year he was a small forkhorn. My neighbor saw him in the driveway the other day and said he looks to be a spike again. We are looking to take him out this year which shouldn't be hard once the rut starts as he really like the Primos Can[grin]

DEAN
 

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As far as a spike goes, I have read several articles stating that it is not genetics that makes a buck a spike, but rather insufficient nutrients. A bucks rack is basically made up of extra nutrients that are not used to meet its everday needs. If a buck does not have enough nutrients, it does not have enough to make a decent rack. If you see a spike one year, it does not necessarily mean it will be a spike the next year. In the articles I have read, the author states that he has seen bucks that were spikes one year become 6 - 8 point bucks the next year when they were given the right amount of nutrients.

If bucks are not getting enough nutrients and spikes are being seen, this could mean that the deer population is too high and deer need to be taken out of the herd. This would mean that does would have to be harvested from the herd in order to give the bucks a sufficient supply of nutrients.
 

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I don't agree with the nutrients thing. I have a had well maintained plots on my place as well as do a little feeding out of season and this deer is till not growning horns when others are. Who knows why it happens but this one has had plenty good stuff to eat.


DEAN
 

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The spike issue may never be decided but through out DINWIDDIE CO. thats the consenses. Bad genetics can be a number of things. In controled environments as mentioned, they take anything thats not a basket rack in the making. Yearling deer in Texas have little 12" baskets. We see web racks acorn tips, claw horns, and cow horn bucks all the time,these are good examples of bad genetics in your area. The game dept. has basically put it in our hands to thin the heard in Va. with the laws they have passed lately. We as hunters are only hunters and must do our part to preserve and make better what we have. The insurance co. have lobbyed the dept. for these laws because of the no. of deer related accidents each year. This being said if you think you have too many deer you are probably right. Back in the 70's the old guy's used to hate when doe season came in, they would get mad as hell on a 5 deer day. This was before everybody got into muzzle loading, and there were maybe 2 or three guys you knew that bow hunted. In my opinion we have population boom thats out of control. High powered dogs, tracking collers, 4wd's, cb radioes, muzzle loaders, cross bows, trains, cars, it makes no difference. Every man on this board could kill every deer they saw this year and wouldn't put a dent in the problem. If we as hunters don't take control Hemorrhagic Disease (HD), or Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) might take care of the problem for us. Just food for thought; if we killed a deer every time we hunted they would call it killing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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I hunt 110 acres which is surrounded by another club. That club manages their deer herd. The guys in my club kill anything that is brown!!

Our property is a thick pine farm and the surrounding is hardwood. So the deer come to us for cover, not food. I have developed my own standards.

1. I won't shoot a doe with young before rifle season. Guys on the property do kill the does from day one, and you see skinny little fawns walking the property for the rest of the year.

2. We have a bad gene pool, so you see some ugly bucks. I usually kill them.

3. There are some decent youngs bucks around, I leave them alone.

4. Once rifle season starts, I pick out the biggest doe I see, and shoot.

Keep in mind, sometimes letting one walk by is not just managing, but it also gives you an opportunity to see what else maybe behind it. You never know. Once you squeeze the trigger, the area you hunt is disrupted with the noise of the shot and the smell of the powder.

I have not taken a trophy yet, but I had two chances with the bow last year, and blew it...buck fever!!!!
 

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I've passed on 2 four pointers several times last season on the private land that I can only bowhunt. This summer I've watched two nice 8's, likely the same deer. Saw them on saturday at 150 yards. That is evidence for letting them grow up and I can't wait to get a closer look at either of the two. I may let them grow another year. A 4 year old is almost unheard of in our neck of the woods. On private land it is definitely worth passing them up if you think that you have a good shot at seeing them the next year.

The problem I always have is that I pass on slam dunk shots on smallish bucks early on during bow season, only to find that I never get as good of a look on a deer the rest of bow season. Once dog season comes in I can forget about seeing a deer during light. Given the odds of getting a really good, close bow shot I almost believe that you really shouldn't pass too many of those up. With a rifle or a shotgun you have a lot more options and the shot doesn't have to be as close so you can afford to be more selective.

seaweasel
 

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Seaweasel,

This is still just the same as others have stated.....making it sound as if your property is fenced in and that these deer are yours to simply manage as you will.

Get a camtracker, trail monitor, etc. and you will see that there are many more deer on your property than you know of.

Many of these deer....especially during the rut (of course!) can easily come from miles away....from other properties and vice versa. You deer population is way too large for you to make much of a difference........BUT OF COURSE IF NO ONE SHOOTS THEM THEY WILL GET BIGGER......DUH.

The flaw with your theory about passing on the four pointers and thinking that the eight pointers are now them is that you think you know all the deer on your property.....NOT.

When you passed on the two four pointers last year you should have been looking for the four or six ponters that were on the property in the previous years?.....dont you always think that you always have somewhat of a dominant buck on your property each year?

Have you shot all of the large bucks on your property and know must wait for them to get past a four pointer?

Or is that just another way of saying...Iam waiting for a bigger rack today......that is how I say it.[wink]

Mark
 

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Mark,

I am sure I don't know all the bucks in the area. In fact I have rarely seen a dominant buck till it was driving away in the back of a pickup during gun/dog season or hit by a car. About all I can do is pass on small bucks and hope they make it. For whatever reason, call it luck or coincidence, there are a lot of bucks around and I have passed up a lot of shot opportunities in the past 2 years. Of course passing up those opportunities with a bow is probably a bad idea and it usually bites me in the ass because I rarely get a better look on any deer as the season progresses.


seaweasel
 

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I agree with passing on immature bucks period. Its about more then antler size. If youve ever seen a 4+ year old buck on the stroll then you will understand the need to pass on the youngens. Must bucks taken today are sub 2 year olds and antler size has yet to be determined. Hell they are still growing bone inside thier bodies and will not sacrfice that on antler. Once that buck has fully matured and there will be nooo question when you see it ( No neck,head connected to shoulder, distended gut,not high and tight, thick muzzel and a wide a$$ ) I may never see the deer I pass again. But if others on the property and ajacent properties are doing the same then the odds of me seeing that FULLY mature buck have drastically improved.
The concept of culling does is more for the purpose of creating a better rut and forcing a competitive rutting situation which in turn allows only superior animals to rut. As far as competing for food, the deer on my property and most other mid-atlantic states are wading in food for the majority of the year and our winters are not hard enough to creat a large winter kill. JM2C
 

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Pass up the small bucks and they will get bigger IF someone else doesn't shoot em.But if you do kill that small buck he ain't getten no bigger.We have been passing up small bucks in our club for years and we have some nice bucks killed each year.I admit when the dogs are running one and you pass he may get killed by the next club.Most clubs around us kill anything.But that is a MAYBE.If you shoot like I said he's dead.
~ 10 years ago I saw this small pinto buck bow hunting so did my brother.The next year he could have killed it but passed because it was only 16-17" 8pt.
The third year my brother killed it black powder hunting and had the full deer mounted.It was a 22" 10pt. with most of the white from the shoulders back.It is one nice looking mount.We figured he was 4 1/2.It is the biggest pinto I have ever seen.Most don't grow that nice of horns being a pinto or albino.
 
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