Got to wonder if they is when the drought from 2012/2013 really starts showing up with a missing age class of bucks.
Very good point
THIS^^^ Most folks don't fully understand the effects of the drought. A group of biologist in our area (Rolling Plains) did an in-depth study on the fawn crops of the drought and reported the findings last year. The Kliff Notes version is:
2011 Fawn Crop (6.5 year olds this year) - Near 100% mortality rate
2012 Fawn Crop (5.5 year olds this year) - Estimated 30% of normal birthing rate, but high post-birth mortality rate
2013 Fawn Crop (4.5 year olds this year) - Estimated 30% of normal birthing rate, with higher than 2012 survival rate
What does this mean? It is THE explanation for the significant "Age Gap" that we are seeing throughout the region. Lots of young bucks from 0.5-3.5 years old, a few 4.5 year olds, very few 5.5 year olds, and virtually no 6.5 year olds. Due to the tough conditions of 2011-2013, the number of bucks that are older than 6.5 is basically zero. The biologists also noted that barring no severe droughts, 2020 should be the "Magic" year where things are back to "normal."