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Mar 25th, 2012
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800 acres, low fence hill country......advice #5566441 01/27/15 03:12 AM
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Without getting into too many details, what would you do with 800 acres of low fence property....currently MLD 2.....bordered by a park on one side and a non hunting, corn throwing neighbor on the other side. Almost completely cleared of all cedar, just rolling hills and oaks, native grasses. The park is thick with cedar, neighbor is also cleared of all cedar. Three year round water troughs and four year round corn feeders. Other than above mentioned, the only thing happening on this property is meeting the quota on the tags. Not really any real "management" ever done until now. Only deer seen this past season are a couple of mature 5.5+ bucks, 20-30 does of all ages and lots of young bucks of all ranges but nothing bigger than 110". (theres a healthy herd of bb and axis too)

My question is, would the first thing be to start with protein? That is the route I figured I was taking but after reading so many posts maybe the only thing to do is allow all my young bucks to get older......like nothing gets taken unless its older than 5.5? I was surprised that I felt like I didn't see nearly as many deer on this property as I usually do in Kerr county. Is it completely irrational to put out 4 protein stations starting now and think there will be some signs three years from now that it made a difference?

Re: 800 acres, low fence hill country......advice [Re: mmlreiner] #5566460 01/27/15 03:20 AM
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I would do a survey first to see what the deer density and numbers are like. See what the buck to doe ratio is also. The main issue to resolve first IMO would be the exotics. They would have to go before I would start to feed. One things with putting out protein feeder is you could start drawing in more deer than you can afford to feed. IMO feeding the deer can make a difference in the overall quality of bucks if you can get feed to them. I would maybe look into timered trough protein feeders. That would allow you to feed from after hunting season till late summer. I would feed at night when the bucks are more active during that time. Then once Sept his if you still want to feed then set the times more in the daylight hours. Any feeders you put in need to be fenced to keep the livestock, hogs and blackbucks off the feeders. I would probably only put in one or two feeders in the middle of the ranch to keep the deer off the neighboring ranches from hitting the feeders everyday.



Re: 800 acres, low fence hill country......advice [Re: mmlreiner] #5566485 01/27/15 03:28 AM
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Hmm.....no exotics huh? Well I could care less about the stupid bb buck I love having the axis.

Re: 800 acres, low fence hill country......advice [Re: mmlreiner] #5566489 01/27/15 03:30 AM
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The axis will love you if you start feeding them free choice protein.



Re: 800 acres, low fence hill country......advice [Re: mmlreiner] #5566490 01/27/15 03:30 AM
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When I am there this weekend I will be having the biologist stop by for some discussion on this very topic. He has all the MLD records of the last 15 years. Hopefully I will have a better plan afterwords..

Re: 800 acres, low fence hill country......advice [Re: mmlreiner] #5566493 01/27/15 03:31 AM
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LOL. Yea I bet. The last property I fed protein on I really had to hunt the axis until they found the feeder, then I just went when the trail camera patterned their feeding times. It was like shooting fish in a barrel.

Re: 800 acres, low fence hill country......advice [Re: mmlreiner] #5566521 01/27/15 03:47 AM
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I wouldn't start feeding until I knew what I was feeding. As STX said, get a survey and the data from the biologist. Would be interesting if they kept a good log of the deer taken. I would get a management plan based on the information that you are provided and do some of the surveys this year. IMO, protein feeding without a management plan is a waste, but there are others that disagree with me.

If you are looking at a full feeding program, I would look hard at the numbers and what your end goals were. This would better insure that the money invested in the supplemental feeding goes farther and to the deer that are more likely to produce what you are looking for. This would more than likely mean taking some of the lower caliber deer in the herd and reducing the overall number of deer.

Also, not sure of your area, but the Hill Country Region had some odd rains this year that changed the patterns and movement of the deer. Many places saw a reduction in the number of deer and the overall size. I wouldn't base all your opinions on the place on this one year. Hopefully, you get more information from the MLD reports and the next few years can fill in the blanks.

Good luck up


Re: 800 acres, low fence hill country......advice [Re: mmlreiner] #5566541 01/27/15 03:56 AM
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Alright. So I will sit down with Evan this week and come back and let you guys know. It will just be me and one other guy hunting this place and so far this season, I am down right tired of killing deer to meet the number of tags given (12) But the other guy I hunt with is a complete newbie as far as management. So I feel Lonely wink

Re: 800 acres, low fence hill country......advice [Re: mmlreiner] #5566565 01/27/15 04:10 AM
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Originally Posted By: mmlreiner
Alright. So I will sit down with Evan this week and come back and let you guys know. It will just be me and one other guy hunting this place and so far this season, I am down right tired of killing deer to meet the number of tags given (12) But the other guy I hunt with is a complete newbie as far as management. So I feel Lonely wink


Should be interesting cheers

For the newbie, he can kill plenty of doe if they need to go. As far as bucks, it is good to get some game camera pictures and walk him through which to take and which ones not too. From my experience, newbies are great for reducing deer numbers...as long as they are educated grin


Re: 800 acres, low fence hill country......advice [Re: mmlreiner] #5566742 01/27/15 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted By: mmlreiner
Alright. So I will sit down with Evan this week and come back and let you guys know. It will just be me and one other guy hunting this place and so far this season, I am down right tired of killing deer to meet the number of tags given (12) But the other guy I hunt with is a complete newbie as far as management. So I feel Lonely wink

There will never be an end to the tags and deer needed to be killed. If you are at CC now then you will have to remove the number of adult deer equal to the fawn crop born that year. You will always have a fawn crop and that will require you to have to kill x number of deer each year to maintain your CC. If you are tired of killing deer now then I would not ever start to feed protein. That number of tags/deer you are needing to kill will grow with a good year round supplemental feeding program.



Re: 800 acres, low fence hill country......advice [Re: mmlreiner] #5567127 01/27/15 04:32 PM
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Wow maybe that part of the hill country is different than the parts I have experience with, but I would be amazed if filling 12 tags on 800 acres LF actually even kept you near what the projected CC is.


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Re: 800 acres, low fence hill country......advice [Re: stxranchman] #5567330 01/27/15 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted By: stxranchman
Originally Posted By: mmlreiner
Alright. So I will sit down with Evan this week and come back and let you guys know. It will just be me and one other guy hunting this place and so far this season, I am down right tired of killing deer to meet the number of tags given (12) But the other guy I hunt with is a complete newbie as far as management. So I feel Lonely wink

There will never be an end to the tags and deer needed to be killed. If you are at CC now then you will have to remove the number of adult deer equal to the fawn crop born that year. You will always have a fawn crop and that will require you to have to kill x number of deer each year to maintain your CC. If you are tired of killing deer now then I would not ever start to feed protein. That number of tags/deer you are needing to kill will grow with a good year round supplemental feeding program.

Sage advise.... 2cents


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Re: 800 acres, low fence hill country......advice [Re: mmlreiner] #5567387 01/27/15 06:54 PM
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Alright. Let me clarify.....I'm tired of killing deer that's why I've enlisted some help. I'm assuming between the two of us we can get it done. I've said this before but I keep reminding folks...I'm a Girl and stringing up 10 deer plus exotics (I've shot 5 axis spikes this year and I still have 2 Doe tags) skinning and quartering them by myself is exhausting.
And no this place isn't like other places in the hill country, its not overrun by tiny whitetails. Pretty sure I stated the "obvious" numbers in my first post.
That being said my original long term goal is ......id like to eventually start seeing larger deer. The question was, will i ever see larger deer without feeding protein if I let them get older. If not then I will do what I have to do to grow bigger deer and enlist help according to the amount of deer I nave to take each year as the herd gets bigger.

Re: 800 acres, low fence hill country......advice [Re: mmlreiner] #5567399 01/27/15 06:59 PM
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Some more insight....as I took certain deer this season, I thought id start seeing new deer take their place but I didn't. I still saw the same deer every day. Not much changed. I found that really interesting due to Kerr county's reputation. Almost made me feel like it was hf.

Re: 800 acres, low fence hill country......advice [Re: mmlreiner] #5567414 01/27/15 07:05 PM
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And I literally have a herd about 10 strong of spikes that all ran together this whole season. Never saw one without seeing the rest. Tall, lean good looking young spikes. Then I have about 10 slightly older deer I continued seeing throughout the year and about 20 Doe that hang out on the hippys property. The other 10-20 Doe I saw kind of scattered throughout the property, mostly younger looking. These numbers correlated with my summer spotlight census. (I hope that makes sense)

Re: 800 acres, low fence hill country......advice [Re: mmlreiner] #5567425 01/27/15 07:10 PM
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I hunted for over 20 years just north of Llano. 1060 acres all low fenced. The last 5 years we started a management program. Our LO would not let us put out protein feed or plant any food plots. We began by working strictly on lowering the herd numbers. After 5 years of only keeping the numbers down, we started seeing some deer in the 130's - 140 class. Not many, but every year we would take 2 or 3 in that range. It's do-able, but not impossible. If you have a good count and a solid management plan the protein can help, as long as you can keep the axis numbers down as well as the WT.


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Re: 800 acres, low fence hill country......advice [Re: mmlreiner] #5567542 01/27/15 08:18 PM
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Bbear That's what I mean by options.....I guess I figured usually the reason most places folks don't see "big deer" is really due to killing them before they reach true maturity. Even I took two deer this year that I look back on and think maybe I should have let them walk. I'd like to know that if I left things the way they were and added some protein and some mineral sights that as long as I took deer off the property that were truly the best deer to kill, that we stand a good chance of growing bigger deer. This year I took a 6.5 year old 126", but this is the largest deer by far that I shot. I have seen the same 2 10 pointers that I aged at 3.5 and I let them walk, planned on letting them go for several more years so I know I have good genetics.

Re: 800 acres, low fence hill country......advice [Re: mmlreiner] #5568117 01/28/15 01:17 AM
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10 spikes seems high to me since 99.9% of folks I ask and studies I read about spikes say they are inferior animals. Maybe not a proper comparison, but the property I hunt late season in West Texas has very little spikes (2 spikes seen by eye or on camera the ENTIRE year). This is 1200 acres LF. We don't feed protein, we have zero water on the property, and there are tons of hunters all around us. We bag 1-2 bucks a year (generally mature 8-10 point @ 18+ spread) and haven't shot a doe in 10 years (not my decision).



Re: 800 acres, low fence hill country......advice [Re: mmlreiner] #5568131 01/28/15 01:28 AM
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I don't shoot spikes (young ones anyway) because I know that the exact opposite is true. I understand there is a huge debate as to wether to kill or not kill them but lets just say I am a "don't shoot young spikes" kind of hunter. Rarely do I see a spike that I let walk come back the next year as a spike again. And I have been hunting since I was 9.

Re: 800 acres, low fence hill country......advice [Re: mmlreiner] #5568159 01/28/15 01:43 AM
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I don't agree with the "once a spike always a spike" talk, but many many many studies show a spike in it's natural habitat will NEVER meet/exceed it's branched antler peers. If your deer density/quality is limited then maybe this won't apply. There's a thread on here with a study about captured south texas deer. IMO the research is limited since only 30 spikes (not sure of the exact #) were captured and tagged for later evaluation. Might take a gander and make your own conclusions.



Re: 800 acres, low fence hill country......advice [Re: mmlreiner] #5568233 01/28/15 02:11 AM
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titan send me the information you are reading. I actually cannot find any credible article showing that spikes are inferior. Also, I'm starting to believe that culling is almost pointless lol, at least on low fence. But I suppose shooting the deer I consider "management" deer sure filled my tags this year! I understand that it will not actually change anything about my deer herd. in 1960 there was a study done about spikes and their genetics and that specific study did show that THOSE deer did not get any larger than their peers, however that was based on specific deer coming from specific genes with known consistant "spike" genes. Obviously if you breed small deer to other small deer you will probably get more small deer, but not every spike you see in the woods came from other spike deer.

Re: 800 acres, low fence hill country......advice [Re: mmlreiner] #5568264 01/28/15 02:23 AM
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Re: 800 acres, low fence hill country......advice [Re: mmlreiner] #5568279 01/28/15 02:28 AM
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And yes I believe you're right about culling/LF. The article does mention no improvement on deer (per antler inches) on managed LF properties. Not sure how accurate the study is, but it looks legit. confused2



Re: 800 acres, low fence hill country......advice [Re: mmlreiner] #5568330 01/28/15 02:55 AM
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In the thread there was a guy that mentioned that he was helping in that very same research and he still gives "spikes" the benefit of the doubt. Also, that very same research was exactly the same research I was referring to. The spikes used in that research all came from spike bucks who came from spike bucks and so on and so forth. I will agree that if a spike buck comes from other spike bucks and his mother came from all spike bucks that he will indeed most likely not ever grow or produce better deer. But because you won't know what kind of genetics are in the average spike you see in the woods, I don't think it's ever a good idea to assume it will continue to be inferior. But I also have spoken to the Biologist in the area (TPWD Evan McCoy) in depth about spikes, and the research done by the kerr wma and he agrees Mickeys research was still limited, as was kerr's research. Its always food for thought though. Thanks!

Re: 800 acres, low fence hill country......advice [Re: mmlreiner] #5568347 01/28/15 03:09 AM
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I have a group of four young bucks on my place in East Texas that I'm watching closely. All the deer seem to be in the same age group @ 1.5 and have stayed in their bachelor group for the entire season. Two spikes, 1 four point, and 1 five. If I can positively ID these same bucks next season I'll post antler growth pics from before and after.



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