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#7031438 - 01/09/18 12:10 PM Management question
CB09 Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 470
I know this might be hard to gauge without actually stepping foot on the ranch but i wanted to get a general feeling. We hunt on 10,000 acres in Val Verde County and have a nice number of deer. You always see deer when driving around and i would say you typically see 10-12 when sitting in a stand. I thought we had been good at deer management but the last couple of years the quality of the deer has come down and it is starting to worry me. We are many taking mostly 125-130 class deer but in the last we would at least get 4-5 150 class a year. My question is how many deer do you think we should be taking a year to keep a healthy heard? I just got the count from this year and we took 65 deer and the split was 26 does, 20 bucks, and 19 cull/management bucks. I now that there are many other factors besides the management part that goes into this but figured this was a good start. BTW, we corn feed from Oct-Jan and feed alfalfa hay just about all year.

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#7031461 - 01/09/18 12:26 PM Re: Management question [Re: CB09]
Texas buckeye Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 11/22/11
Posts: 3684
Loc: Keller
10K acres, even if the deer density/carrying capacity is as low as 20 acres/deer, should maintain a population of 500 deer. I don't think the CC would get much lower than that, but even assuming a 50 acre/deer density you are still talking 200 deer. lets say the split is 2:1 doe:buck and you have 500 deer over that area, then you would assume an age stratification on the bucks which would be heavy younger and less older, but around 166 bucks of which 60+ would be yearling, 60-80 in the 2.5-4.5 age bracket, and 30-40 5.5 and above (probably less but that accounts for the really old ones you never see too). If you shot 20 trophy bucks in the 120-130 class, those are your 2.5-4.5 ages most likely, so you are shooting quite a big percentage of that age class. add in the 19 culls which are also in the 2.5 and above range and you are taking out another large part of your older bucks.

So, if you are shooting 39 bucks in a population which only holds maybe 60-90 bucks, that is taking quite a large chunk of your good bucks away and I would think you would see a decline in the quality of deer left over. You have to assume that in these numbers there are deer you will never see, so you may be shooting above what your numbers could carry.

Now if you have a higher CC or deer density, or a better doe:buck ratio, these number may work. I am going by an idea of what deer density may be down there, but I have no idea really, just throwing out some numbers for you to see the point.

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#7031468 - 01/09/18 12:31 PM Re: Management question [Re: CB09]
Txduckman Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 12391
Loc: Big D
How many deer per acre do you have and what is carrying capacity? Don't you need to know that first before knowing what you should be taking? Normally it is less bucks than does. You did the opposite and took way more bucks.

Buddy of mine as 10,000 in brush country. They don't supplement feed except food plots. They do their heli survey each November for their MLDP. They try to keep it a deer for 20 acres CC. So they manage to that and a 1.5:1 ratio. Management is any main frame 8 or less over 3.5 yo, spikes, and does. Only a couple trophies are taken total a year. Normally 40 to 60 buck tags to 80 to 120 doe tags depend on count. They rather see less deer but more quality.

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#7031471 - 01/09/18 12:32 PM Re: Management question [Re: CB09]
Texas buckeye Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 11/22/11
Posts: 3684
Loc: Keller
A much better management plan would be to take out more doe. you need to shoot at least 1 doe for every buck shot, and maybe even 2:1.

Again using the (flawed) numbers from above, if you have 500 deer on the place and it is 333 doe vs 166 bucks. If you shoot 26 doe and 39 bucks, that leaves 307 doe and 127 bucks (and you are already at 2.4:1 doe:buck ratio). I know doe will repopulate but the ratio will get more out of whack the longer than practice takes place.

Shooting doe will help bucks by allowing more food sources, bucks become stronger and more able to survive the rut and cold snaps, and make hunting more enjoyable as bucks will be more responsive to rattling and calling if there is more competition for them. Its a win win.

So bottom line is shoot less bucks and more doe.

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#7031474 - 01/09/18 12:34 PM Re: Management question [Re: Txduckman]
Texas buckeye Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 11/22/11
Posts: 3684
Loc: Keller
Originally Posted By: Txduckman
How many deer per acre do you have and what is carrying capacity? Don't you need to know that first before knowing what you should be taking? Normally it is less bucks than does. You did the opposite and took way more bucks.

Buddy of mine as 10,000 in brush country. They don't supplement feed except food plots. They do their heli survey each November for their MLDP. They try to keep it a deer for 20 acres CC. So they manage to that and a 1.5:1 ratio. Management is any main frame 8 or less over 3.5 yo, spikes, and does. Only a couple trophies are taken total a year. Normally 40 to 60 buck tags to 80 to 120 doe tags depend on count.


This...also talk to the local biologist, they will have some ideas, but I can guarantee the first thing they will say is shoot more doe.

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#7031477 - 01/09/18 12:36 PM Re: Management question [Re: CB09]
fouzman Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 08/09/10
Posts: 1724
Loc: Houston, TX
First off, you say you took 20 bucks and 19 culls. Is that 20 "trophy" bucks? If so, I'd start right there by killing no more than 10 trophy bucks per year. How old are these "trophy" bucks? Also, don't forget 2011-2013 drought. Lots of ranches missing entire year classes of deer. So the mature deer you see today have had a tough life and may never reach the potential that the drought took away.

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#7031484 - 01/09/18 12:41 PM Re: Management question [Re: CB09]
Texas buckeye Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 11/22/11
Posts: 3684
Loc: Keller
Someone has 10K acreas and thinks they can shoot a bunch of trophy bucks every year...but the numbers don't add up, esp in tough country like Val Verde. The 10K acres may only hold 30 bucks that are considered trophy and the rest may be culls anyway (depending on your def of trophy vs cull)...but in an age class where there might only be 40-60 animals, if half of them are trophy and you shoot those every year, it doesn't leave much for next year.

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#7031508 - 01/09/18 12:57 PM Re: Management question [Re: CB09]
Rustler Online   content
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 3590
Loc: Carrollton/ Young, Blanco coun...
In that area I think you'd be doing well at 20 - 22 deer per section.
15.6 sections x 20 = approx 312 deer, of that only a small number will be mature bucks, taking 49 total bucks off seems excessive to me.

If it were mine to manage, 20 - 22 bucks total less would be better, 24 - 30 doe.
Actually I'd restrict bucks down to around 12 or less for two years to see what kind of improvement takes place.
8 - 10 protein feeders, filled at least from early to mid January to October.

---> TPWD Valverde deer population trends
---> TPWD harvest reccomendations

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#7031513 - 01/09/18 12:59 PM Re: Management question [Re: CB09]
fouzman Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 08/09/10
Posts: 1724
Loc: Houston, TX
For comparison, we carry a deer to 25 acres on our place in Webb County. Pretty sure our habitat is superior to Val Verde Co. and we still feed protein. I know nothing about your sex ratios, but I can tell you you're shooting too many bucks and not enough does, just by the harvest numbers you reported. Also, I'd be careful feeding alfalfa hay as a primary diet. Way too high in fiber and can/will cause bloat in deer if they're eating too much of it, versus other forage.

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#7031568 - 01/09/18 01:33 PM Re: Management question [Re: CB09]
deerfeeder Online   happy
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 04/27/07
Posts: 7783
Loc: Southwest, Tx
Check the harvest reccomendations shown above. When it says 1 buck for 500 acres that's not one trophy and one cull. When I was feeding, out of Comstock, I was very familiar with everything west of 281, from the river to the county line up by Pandale. The northern part of that area gets a whole lot more rain than down around hwy 90.

Your native brush will start losing protein value towards the end of May (usually) and it will go down as the year progresses.

You should be doing protein, even whole cottonseed for a couple of months, the whole year.

Young bucks are like teenage boys, they do stupid stuff and end up getting themselves killed. That by itself will bring your buck numbers down. If you're killing 1.5 to 2.5 yo bucks, you are making a mistake.

Like fouz says, take more does and let the young stuff walk.

Management is not just feeding and killing. You need to manage the whole gamut of things because anything you do for one segment of the ranch/lease will impact other areas. Example, feeding corn year around, will bring in quail and turkey. They will nest close to the groceries which will bring in critters that feed on them and their nests.

Back off on the killing and pray for more rain. If you can't afford to feed all year, feed heavy in April, May and June, that's the most important trimester for you pregnant does to drop healthy fawns. Feed 18 to 20% from March through October. In the fall and post-rut you can go down to 16% (as an economy measure) to help them post-rut because the natural stuff is nothing but fiber then unless it's been wet and you are getting lots of forbs.

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#7031588 - 01/09/18 01:54 PM Re: Management question [Re: CB09]
redchevy Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 10/25/04
Posts: 27013
Loc: Texas
Sounds like solid advice by several above, I bet it will get you to better results in a few years.
_________________________
It's hell eatin em live

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#7031599 - 01/09/18 02:03 PM Re: Management question [Re: CB09]
CB09 Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 470
Thanks for the input guys and i know i need to find out some more detailed info and maybe try fly the ranch. When i say we are shooting 125-130 class deer i would not say they are trophy deer. They are typically 3-4 year old deer that should not be shot but they were by customers or friends of people we bring out. Most of the what we consider culls were either 5+ years old and an 8pt, no brow tine deer, or screwed up racks that were not going to be anything. The reason our buck doe count is almost in reverse is b/c when sitting in s a stand you hardly saw any does at the feeders so we got a little worried when we had shot 15 in the first 2 weeks. Now driving around you saw them but i guess we overreacted a little and and maybe should have let some of the younger no brow tine bucks walk.

We are going to have a sit down with everyone in a month or to talk about the 2018 season and this will be a major talking point. Thanks for the help.

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#7031610 - 01/09/18 02:15 PM Re: Management question [Re: CB09]
fouzman Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 08/09/10
Posts: 1724
Loc: Houston, TX
You're not going to kill many 150" deer if you're shooting your 3-4 year old 125-130 inch deer. Tough situation. Sounds like a corporate deal where you want your clients to get a buck, any decent buck. If that is your goal, then managing the ranch for true trophies will be next to impossible. 99.9% of your clients aren't going to learn to field age and score deer. Same goes for the "friends". I can tell by what you've said thus far that you are high-grading your deer herd. You're shooting your better bucks and letting a lot of other junk walk. Eventually, all you'll have is junk. I know that sounds harsh, but it's the truth. The only solution to the problem of bucks being shot that shouldn't is going to be for an experienced hunter who knows deer to guide your clients.

I can provide a first hand experience on the high-grading. Hunted a corporate lease as a guest for many, many years. The landowner got tired of the host's guests shooting young bucks, so he instituted a 10 point rule. To shoot, the deer had to have 10 or more points. Guess what happened after about 5-6 years? No mature ten points but plenty of other mature deer that were junkers, and very few 10's coming up in earlier year classes.

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#7031613 - 01/09/18 02:21 PM Re: Management question [Re: CB09]
Texas buckeye Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 11/22/11
Posts: 3684
Loc: Keller
I think managing any kind of corporate place is going ot be tough. Everyone that comes out expect to shoot something, and many times they will shoot a younger 8 or 10 over a older funky 6 or 7.

Sounds like there needs to be some rules in place and not a free for all type shooting situation.

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#7031646 - 01/09/18 02:42 PM Re: Management question [Re: fouzman]
CB09 Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 470
Originally Posted By: fouzman
You're not going to kill many 150" deer if you're shooting your 3-4 year old 125-130 inch deer. Tough situation. Sounds like a corporate deal where you want your clients to get a buck, any decent buck. If that is your goal, then managing the ranch for true trophies will be next to impossible. 99.9% of your clients aren't going to learn to field age and score deer. Same goes for the "friends". I can tell by what you've said thus far that you are high-grading your deer herd. You're shooting your better bucks and letting a lot of other junk walk. Eventually, all you'll have is junk. I know that sounds harsh, but it's the truth. The only solution to the problem of bucks being shot that shouldn't is going to be for an experienced hunter who knows deer to guide your clients.

I can provide a first hand experience on the high-grading. Hunted a corporate lease as a guest for many, many years. The landowner got tired of the host's guests shooting young bucks, so he instituted a 10 point rule. To shoot, the deer had to have 10 or more points. Guess what happened after about 5-6 years? No mature ten points but plenty of other mature deer that were junkers, and very few 10's coming up in earlier year classes.


Funny you said that because the LO said that same thing about 2 years ago....

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