Ok, so I have a lot of questions.... Been hunting the hill country my whole life. I have hunted small acreage family property most of my years, but have started leasing with a group of buddies for the last 3 years going on 4. We all pretty much bow hunt exclusively (not a lease rule, just preference) so we never kill very many deer and are ok with that, but we are finally getting on a lease that has some potential and we want to do it up right. We are going to try and implement some basic management practices to make sure our herd has the best chance of producing mature bucks.
The lease has 6 hunters, 900 acres, and in Mason County. Property has not been hunted the last two years. It seems like there are deer EVERYWHERE! Which is good, but I realize can not be good too... We have 6 600# corn feeders spread out on the property. There are two wells, with 4 water troughs on the property. Owner runs 20 head of cows and moves them in and out of 4 different pastures. Not real sure on neighbors hunting situation but all borders are large ranches.
So like I said basic management practices: What we want to do is figure out how many deer our property can efficiently hold with the native browse. Figure out an estimate of how many deer we currently carry so we know how many to kill. Once we know an estimate on how many deer we have, we would like to use the "Base Doe Herd Harvest Strategy". Simply meaning if we can handle 1 deer per 10 acres and want a target of 40 bucks and 50 does for the 90 deer we will kill how ever many does we need to get to 50, and harvest bucks simply by killing all spikes and deer that meet the age criteria of say 4.5 to get to 40.
Year 2 based on my reading we would assume maybe 60% fawn crop? So 24 deer that would need be harvested the next year 12 doe and 12 bucks to stay at the 90 total deer target?
So my questions are how do I find out the info I need to get these current numbers. Do I call a biologist? Can I calculate myself? Does it cost to have a biologist come out?
Our reason for doing this is that we don't want to feed protein because it is expensive, and with the size of our property don't think we would see enough upside. So we want to make sure the deer we do have are getting the best opportunity for browse and forbes without being over populatated. We usually only kill 5-10 deer per year and are likely not helping anything. We are not expecting this to produce monsters, but hopefully give the genetics we do have a fighting chance to have their share of Mother Nature....
If this will be a total waste of time you can tell me that too, and we may just scrap the whole thing!
Thanks for reading, sorry so long!