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Mar 25th, 2012
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Where are the deer this year!! Any Ideas ?? #5462386 12/07/14 02:52 PM
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I have owned my place in Dickens county for the past 4 years and up until this year I would see numerous deer at my 4 feeders and water tank.(15 to 20). During this period we had a terrible drought Usually I would have 4 to 6 bucks regularly on the property until the rut then the Buck sightings would reduce.

This year we had significant rain and my early season buck sightings dropped dramatically ( after May). Not phased I planted my first food plots which were very successful. I planted 1/2 acre of Oats, 1/2 acre of wheat. Additionally I planted an acre of throw and grow with radishes which is thick and lush I have radishes 6 inches long. The wheat appears to be the only thing of interest. We are only seeing approx. 5 different deer. The only buck is a 4 point who is regularly sited. My initial thought is that I have no acorns on the property and there are many on the surrounding properties so I'm guessing they prefer the acorns but now this late in the season I am not sure. I personally harvested a nice mature 8 point on Thanks giving however my other family hunters have been far less fortunate. Any thoughts as to where the deer might be. PS this spring I had 5 different bucks and at least 9 different does all of which were clearly pregnant at my water tank.

Last edited by Flashprism; 12/07/14 02:54 PM.
Re: Where are the deer this year!! Any Ideas ?? [Re: Flashprism] #5462401 12/07/14 03:00 PM
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Same here in Shackleford county. We usually have a bunch of deer. I have a feeder behind my house that has been there for 15 years, never hunt it just watch them. This year we haven't seen but 2 does. It's weird to say the least. Out on the ranch we haven't seen hardly anything. Before the season there were several good buck and lots of does.

Re: Where are the deer this year!! Any Ideas ?? [Re: huntwest] #5462413 12/07/14 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted By: huntwest
Same here in Shackleford county. We usually have a bunch of deer. I have a feeder behind my house that has been there for 15 years, never hunt it just watch them. This year we haven't seen but 2 does. It's weird to say the least. Out on the ranch we haven't seen hardly anything. Before the season there were several good buck and lots of does.


Also have a feeder about 40 yards off the back of the house, had up to 15 deer using it until around Oct 1st (when acorns began falling) now just an occasional "drive by". My food plot is getting heavy use and looks like a golf course.

I only have 15 acres now though...Personally, I would rather see bucks in the rut, than all summer, those bucks you see will go looking for the ladies and who knows where they will end up.I want does living here since I know they will pull in the boy's. Many reasons deer will clear out, some from nature and some from man, over hunting and use of blinds can become a huge factor, seasonal use of property alerts deer post haste.


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Re: Where are the deer this year!! Any Ideas ?? [Re: Flashprism] #5462418 12/07/14 03:11 PM
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Another thought. When we had more land, the deer saw me every day (does young bucks) so they would run around almost anytime of day they wanted to with no care about me. Cutting hay, they would come out and graze the exposed forbs, feed cows in the winter, they would stand off, then come in for scrapes. Changes alert deer, but a routine and they get used to you and your vehicles pretty quick,,,if it is a constant.

It was easy to tell a buck that wasn't familiar with the place, they didn't know the stand locations ect tra, but they will learn those fast enough, if you screw it up, like going in and out at bad times, bad blind placement considering winds ect tra

Last edited by Western; 12/07/14 03:13 PM.

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Re: Where are the deer this year!! Any Ideas ?? [Re: Flashprism] #5462513 12/07/14 04:05 PM
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I have seen 3 deer all year so far. A nice 3.5 year old 8 solo and one doe followed by a young 7 pt. That it. I have moved 3 doe from cover on a warm windy day. As I glass my pasture, it is green and full of winter rye. I also have a wheat field where my gut tells me they are feeding at night. Bumper acorn crop too and I am all mesquite, another issue. We need a hard 2-3 day freeze but it is not forecasted. Bottom line, corn is secondary at this point of the season.

It has been a tough one for sure.


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Re: Where are the deer this year!! Any Ideas ?? [Re: Flashprism] #5462549 12/07/14 04:24 PM
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Yes Sir, this year it is actually "hunting" rather than sitting! BTW, My TC's Show allot of food plot traffic at dark say last light to 8-9pm, then again at 4-6am.


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Re: Where are the deer this year!! Any Ideas ?? [Re: Flashprism] #5462592 12/07/14 04:44 PM
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Yup I got a quad pod set up on my wheat field. I may sit there at dawn tomorrow since the wind will be low. Maybe I can see something at first light coming off the wheat.
Thanks for the info Western.


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Re: Where are the deer this year!! Any Ideas ?? [Re: Flashprism] #5462935 12/07/14 07:42 PM
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Too much rain up near Dickens this year. Plenty of fresh forbs, lots to eat = less deer sightings. Full moon doesn't help.


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Re: Where are the deer this year!! Any Ideas ?? [Re: Flashprism] #5462943 12/07/14 07:45 PM
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On a lighter note, the quail this year around Dickens are phenomenal. Take a shotgun out and do some bird hunting.

Last edited by Erathkid; 12/07/14 07:46 PM.

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Re: Where are the deer this year!! Any Ideas ?? [Re: Flashprism] #5463578 12/08/14 12:33 AM
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I've got a theory about the lack of deer this year, let me know if this makes sense. It seems like almost everyone hunting north central Texas (west of IH35, north of stephenville/brownwood, up to the red river) isn't seeing many deer. This is basically the same area that has experienced a severe drought for the last 3 or 4 years until we started getting a little more rain this past May and this fall. I would expect that the fawn survival rates for those drought years were pretty low. I think that 3 or 4 years in a row of low fawn survival would put a very substantial dent in the overall population. I would also add that probably most of the deer we as hunters see are 4 years old or younger, so the portion of the herd we most often see is possibly much lower than it normally is.

I remember years in the past that had really good acorn crops and native browse all over the place, and though we did see less deer than normal those years it was still much better than it has been so far this year. So, maybe we are seeing less deer this season because, well, there actually are less deer out there due to the ongoing drought of the last several years. Does that make sense to y'all or am I making too much of this?

Re: Where are the deer this year!! Any Ideas ?? [Re: Flashprism] #5463595 12/08/14 12:39 AM
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I'm basically in the middle of the area you mentioned and the fawn numbers looked normal around here, have quite a few running around.


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Re: Where are the deer this year!! Any Ideas ?? [Re: Flashprism] #5463645 12/08/14 12:59 AM
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Happy to say that I'm having a good year seeing deer. Had the youngest grandson in the blind with me recently and we saw 15 deer. He was pretty excited. I guess I saw 11 this evening, with 3 of them being bucks.

The deer are not eating as much corn as they were. I wonder what that means.


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Re: Where are the deer this year!! Any Ideas ?? [Re: 603Country] #5463689 12/08/14 01:16 AM
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Have not seen one doe yet this year. A ton of 4pts and 10" 8pts


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Re: Where are the deer this year!! Any Ideas ?? [Re: Flashprism] #5463842 12/08/14 01:59 AM
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In may I have a picture of 9 does at my water tank 3 looked normally pregnant and 5 looked huge with twins so I expected approx. 13 new deer for the population this season. I know there would be predation but things looked good We had quite a few fawns last year. I had the 9 does at one time so I expected there are more but the 9 together were a safe count. I provide this due to the observation that we may have less deer than previous years. We may have less however the early numbers did not seem low. We are seeing a doe with 2 yearlings, a single doe, a spike and the 4 point. As I noted I harvested a mature 8 point that moved into my property from my neighbor to the north. I expected the rut to have bucks moving from far and wide however the basic resident deer population seem very low compared to the previous 3 years.

Re: Where are the deer this year!! Any Ideas ?? [Re: Western] #5463934 12/08/14 02:18 AM
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Originally Posted By: Western
Another thought. When we had more land, the deer saw me every day (does young bucks) so they would run around almost anytime of day they wanted to with no care about me. Cutting hay, they would come out and graze the exposed forbs, feed cows in the winter, they would stand off, then come in for scrapes. Changes alert deer, but a routine and they get used to you and your vehicles pretty quick,,,if it is a constant.

It was easy to tell a buck that wasn't familiar with the place, they didn't know the stand locations ect tra, but they will learn those fast enough, if you screw it up, like going in and out at bad times, bad blind placement considering winds ect tra


The real key!!! up


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Re: Where are the deer this year!! Any Ideas ?? [Re: Flashprism] #5464647 12/08/14 02:28 PM
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There is just too many green browse options available for them. If you start walking around outside of your plots, at first glance the taller grass and weeds are white and yellow, looking dead from the cold weather. But look down at the base of the grass, and you'll see numerous green forbes still growing. They will choose ths over anything else you offer. The turnips and radishes they just aren't use to having, so they will be slow to try them and when they do they will just nibble on them first, to make sure they are not bad for them. They will eventually start eating them.

Last edited by Pitchfork Predator; 12/08/14 02:28 PM.

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Re: Where are the deer this year!! Any Ideas ?? [Re: Flashprism] #5465091 12/08/14 06:19 PM
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Same on all three of my placesin Hood,Palo Pinto,& Erath acorns are killing us this year it seems to happen every other year so it's right on schedule hopefully they will be tired from the rut and start hitting the feeders again soon, I'm still going just about every day but the dog days of December are definately on us.


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