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Mar 25th, 2012
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A lot less deer than last year #5262933 08/20/14 03:50 AM
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MathMan Offline OP
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Our ranch compared to last year has almost no deer.

So far on camera in the last month we have 4 different doe with fawns, two spikes, one 3year old 8pt, and one 2 year old 9pt.

Last year at this time we had 8 2-3 year old 8 pointers, one 3 year old very nice 9 pointer, one 1 year old 8 pointer, lots of doe and fawns and 5 spikes.

We shot 1 of those 8 pointers, 2 doe, and all the spikes. Nearby hunters I'm sure shot something.

Last year was extremely dry and this year has been abnormally wet. There are 5 new oil wells near our ranch and 2 drilling right now by the place. One oil rig is where many deer used to travel through.

We fed protein self feed year round and corn spin fed year round.

The deer were there and left in juneish.

Last February we saw 4 of those 2-3 year old 8 pointers so we know they lived. The 1year old 8 pt is now the 2 year old 9 pt this year.

We have atvs and this year we have driven them more than other years.

Most of the deer travel from a very large ranch west of our place.

Do y'all think the deer aren't traveling as far due to forage everywhere?
Could the drilling have scared them away or blocked their travel rout?
Could most have been shot and there aren't but these deer now?!

It's getting close to season and I'm getting scared.

Other years have been ok but never this bad. In the 90s there used to be tons of deer like in the hill country. 20 or more deer at the feeders every morning and evening. Then there has been a gradual decline. We thought it was getting better last year but now it's horrible.

Our place is about 241 acres. There are about 8 people that hunt it. All family. 9 blinds. Countless feeders. So lots of traffic. Too many hunters.

What do y'all think?

Maybe I'll just have to wait for the rut and hope a big one runs through.





Re: A lot less deer than last year [Re: MathMan] #5262942 08/20/14 03:56 AM
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Lots of hunters, more traffic, more forage and plenty of feeders to choose from. I would personally make some changes, but wouldn't panic until season gets closer up


Re: A lot less deer than last year [Re: MathMan] #5262947 08/20/14 03:58 AM
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Interesting... That is a lot of people hunting on 241 acres, but it doesn't sound like you shot too many deer. My guess is that the deer are simply hanging out somewhere else. Keep feeding and hope they come back in October. One other thought.. I've found that if hogs are all over my feeder then the deer don't come around as much. As such, I put a pin up around my feeder this year. I'm anxious to see the impact.

Good luck..

Re: A lot less deer than last year [Re: MathMan] #5262961 08/20/14 04:13 AM
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I have a pen at one of my feeders that I put up this July. My other feeder is open to hunt hogs. Another guy has a pen around his feeders also. We don't have as many hogs as last year. We killed a lot last year. In the last set of pictures though 2 packs of hogs showed up.

One hunter last year shot 4 of those deer. The rest of us are trying to manage the place and let deer age and the doe population grow. We have talked to him but he won't change. At least the rest of us are on the same page. He's the one that drives the atvs around also.

He does take care of the place the most, cook for us always, help out the most, collect money, pay bills, and feed the most. He runs the protein feeders and fills my feeders with his wallet and one other guys feeder.





Re: A lot less deer than last year [Re: MathMan] #5262966 08/20/14 04:18 AM
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You have a hunter per area about 70 yards x 70 yards and more feeders than that. Even if you had a lot of deer per acre, you would be splitting deer and I wouldn't expect a large number at each feeder.

Sounds like it is what it is and wont be much changing. Good luck and enjoy the time there up


Re: A lot less deer than last year [Re: txshntr] #5262977 08/20/14 04:24 AM
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Originally Posted By: txshntr
You have a hunter per area about 70 yards x 70 yards and more feeders than that. Even if you had a lot of deer per acre, you would be splitting deer and I wouldn't expect a large number at each feeder.

Sounds like it is what it is and wont be much changing. Good luck and enjoy the time there up


We do split deer. I wish we could change things but there's not much we can change. And it's about 1 hunter per 360x360 yards.

Last edited by MathMan; 08/20/14 04:26 AM.




Re: A lot less deer than last year [Re: MathMan] #5262981 08/20/14 04:36 AM
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Originally Posted By: MathMan
Originally Posted By: txshntr
You have a hunter per area about 70 yards x 70 yards and more feeders than that. Even if you had a lot of deer per acre, you would be splitting deer and I wouldn't expect a large number at each feeder.

Sounds like it is what it is and wont be much changing. Good luck and enjoy the time there up


We do split deer. I wish we could change things but there's not much we can change. And it's about 1 hunter per 360x360 yards.


Just checking to see if you live up to your name up

If there is nothing you can do to change the number of hunters, change the traffic, or change the number of deer being shot...I would say not much will change. You can always make your area as enticing as possible and hope for the best.


Re: A lot less deer than last year [Re: MathMan] #5263104 08/20/14 12:09 PM
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IMHO, I'd bet thats WAY too many hunters, too many feeders, too much oilfield activity, & too much 4wheeler activity. The 1 jerk shooting all the deer won't ever work out with anyone else who wants to manage their deer. Go find another lease as soon as possible.

Re: A lot less deer than last year [Re: MathMan] #5263311 08/20/14 02:15 PM
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Do y'all think the deer aren't traveling as far due to forage everywhere? Very possible

Could the drilling have scared them away or blocked their travel rout? Could have

Could most have been shot and there aren't but these deer now?! Depends on whose hunting boarding ranches

IMOP... That 8 hunters on 241 acres is way too many!!! As a group you may not be killing many deer but having that many hunters is a lot of pressure on that small of acreage.


Re: A lot less deer than last year [Re: MathMan] #5263329 08/20/14 02:25 PM
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I have seen places....even places that were thousands of acres go from over run with deer to very few and there are several reasons for it but the only one you can control is the traffic on the ranch.

One such property always had a large deer population until the ranch owner took on some leasers that thought it was their god given right to ride 4 wheelers day and night.....I caught them on my game cameras riding around in their Polaris rangers from 11am - 3am and doing so every weekend and during week days too.

I didn't understand the scope of the problem until a neighboring property owner asked me to do a required spotlight survey with him for the DMAP permit (Oklahoma)....This guy had 640ac the bordered the 4,000ac ranch; and on his 640ac that one night I saw 7 bucks that were 170"+ and I forget howmany doe we saw but it was crazy.

AND HE HAD DRILLING GOING ON JUST ACROSS THE FENCELINE!.....Bottom line I think if you have a sudden surge of people that come out to the property to ride around and not hunt then your deer are moving to more peaceful areas.

Re: A lot less deer than last year [Re: maximus_flavius] #5263330 08/20/14 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted By: maximus_flavius
IMHO, I'd bet thats WAY too many hunters, too many feeders, too much oilfield activity, & too much 4wheeler activity. The 1 jerk shooting all the deer won't ever work out with anyone else who wants to manage their deer. Go find another lease as soon as possible.


Wouldn't be so quick to call him a jerk, sounds like he puts a lot of blood sweat tears and effort into the place.

Having a bunch of hunters means nothing... so long that all the hunters aren't willy nilly shooting whatever they want and shooting everything. More feeders isn't bad either, gives the deer more options etc. I would bet the reason your not seeing many deer is the rain and great condition of the natural browse. Deer love protein, but after a few inches of rain our deer will turn their nose up at protein and corn to nibble on fresh growth! I believe that is your problem. Biggest thing I would try to do is cut back on the ATV traffic.


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Re: A lot less deer than last year [Re: MathMan] #5263336 08/20/14 02:28 PM
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Last season we had 160 acres of irrigated ripe millo along our north property line and we were having a water well drilled dead center of our property that ended up taking the first 3 weekends of the season... it affected our deer movement greatly.


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Re: A lot less deer than last year [Re: MathMan] #5263617 08/20/14 05:11 PM
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I would cut down on the number of hunters. Do y'all pay by gun or is it a certain price for the whole ranch? Not sure how safe i'd feel during rifle season if someone was hunting 350 yards in every direction from me. I agree with others on the atv's. I would stay out of there as much as possible. Maybe the deer will utilize your place as more of a sanctuary than your neighbors.

Last edited by WesTexHunter75; 08/20/14 05:12 PM.
Re: A lot less deer than last year [Re: MathMan] #5263672 08/20/14 05:47 PM
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I may be reading it wrong, but I believe he's saying it's a family owned property that much of the family hunts. Not a lease.

Re: A lot less deer than last year [Re: MathMan] #5263743 08/20/14 06:38 PM
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Sounds to me like the Drilling and ATV activity combined with the new green forage has given the deer a reason to hang out somewhere else for now.

I would not worry too much. Once bachelor groups split up and things brown out come late Fall/Winter your deer will likely be back hitting the feed. Best thing you can do would be to try to keep pressure and activity off the place leading up to the season. But, it doesn't sound like you have much of a choice there.


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Re: A lot less deer than last year [Re: MathMan] #5263804 08/20/14 07:19 PM
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I wouldn't worry about it. I hunt a place that's FULL of deer and I haven't had but maybe 3 or 4 different deer on camera and only 1 young 6 point. My place is 400 acres and I'm the only one on it. I can drive through it and see deer everywhere but nothing at the feeders. They just have plenty to eat right now, it will change.

Re: A lot less deer than last year [Re: MathMan] #5263984 08/20/14 08:57 PM
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Another thought would be if you have mesquite beans and tunas(pear apples) now. Deer will leave feeders for both or one of those.



Re: A lot less deer than last year [Re: redchevy] #5264049 08/20/14 09:30 PM
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Sorry OP, I misread the post. I thought he said 1 guy shot all those deer. I read "he" (as in another hunter), & not "we" (as in all of them together).

But, that just seems way too crowded with hunters, for safety alone. Maybe the deer will be back come cooler weather.


Originally Posted By: redchevy
Originally Posted By: maximus_flavius
IMHO, I'd bet thats WAY too many hunters, too many feeders, too much oilfield activity, & too much 4wheeler activity. The 1 jerk shooting all the deer won't ever work out with anyone else who wants to manage their deer. Go find another lease as soon as possible.


Wouldn't be so quick to call him a jerk, sounds like he puts a lot of blood sweat tears and effort into the place.

Having a bunch of hunters means nothing... so long that all the hunters aren't willy nilly shooting whatever they want and shooting everything. More feeders isn't bad either, gives the deer more options etc. I would bet the reason your not seeing many deer is the rain and great condition of the natural browse. Deer love protein, but after a few inches of rain our deer will turn their nose up at protein and corn to nibble on fresh growth! I believe that is your problem. Biggest thing I would try to do is cut back on the ATV traffic.

Re: A lot less deer than last year [Re: MathMan] #5264674 08/21/14 03:12 AM
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There are a ton of cactus pear apples now. I'm not sure if there is much mesquite beans.

All blinds are spaced where if we shot there is no way that you could shoot another person. It is very thick brush and has some hills and creeks. It's safe to hunt all 9 blinds at one time but that's never happened. We are all safe when hunting to know whose in what blind and where not to shoot.

I plan on hunting this year when no one is there. Not on weekends for sure.

The one that shoots all the deer is my FIL. I don't have much say in telling him what to do or really in telling anyone what to do.

I do own half of the atvs. He bought cheap broken ones and I fixed them. We agreed I own half. If they mysteriously all don't work this and every deer season and then work every once in a while after the season I guess that might help hunting. He has a hunting truck too. He can drive that but it's not as fun for him. He wouldn't drive it everywhere. I'd never do that though. I wish I would.





Re: A lot less deer than last year [Re: MathMan] #5310622 09/17/14 01:52 AM
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More deer have showed up the last 3 weeks. Few new bucks, few new doe, lots of hogs.

There had been less traffic at the ranch, weather had changed, new plant growth had stopped, oil rigs have left, and cactus pear is done.

Deer still show up at night mainly.

The pen feeders have most of the deer.





Re: A lot less deer than last year [Re: MathMan] #5310690 09/17/14 02:16 AM
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With the size of your property trying any kind of management might help a little, but if your neighbors aren't then what you do is a drop in the bucket.
No need to worry about something you have no control over. Keep feed in the feeders and enjoy the season is about all you can do.

Re: A lot less deer than last year [Re: MathMan] #5310773 09/17/14 02:51 AM
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you killed 8 deer on 241 acres. that's quite a few deer for a south texas place.





Re: A lot less deer than last year [Re: MathMan] #5310812 09/17/14 03:17 AM
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Other years we killed a lot more. How many is usual for that size? I didn't know that was a lot.





Re: A lot less deer than last year [Re: MathMan] #5310906 09/17/14 05:54 AM
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If you have 1 deer per 20 acres you are shooting 66% of the deer. Since they are coming from a bigger ranch they can sort of replenish themselves I guess. Better ratio would be no more than 25% to 33% so 3 to 4 deer is better unless you supplement feed and stuff but would need to be high fenced to work.

Re: A lot less deer than last year [Re: MathMan] #5310912 09/17/14 06:22 AM
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Notice your buck feeder guests are young, the lack of visitors now can likely be traced back to those 5 yearling spikes that were shot last year. Those as 2yos would've been your photogenic deer this year along with that 8 now 9pt, while the slightly older deer dropped off from frequent feeder visits.

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