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Mar 25th, 2012
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buck/doe ratio #7495900 04/24/19 09:36 PM
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doggit Offline OP
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I have small 400 ac high fence place TPWD experts are telling me want a 1:1 ratio. What really is the best ratio? In my reading research have seen 1.5 bucks to 1 doe or even 2:1. Any advice on what works best and pros and cons of each would be greatly appreciated. Wanting to grow mature bucks with greatest horn potential. Natural breeding not releasing out of pens.

Re: buck/doe ratio [Re: doggit] #7495957 04/24/19 10:53 PM
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My preference is 1:1 or 1:1.5, but it also depends what your doe population throws fawn wise. Some properties canít shoot enough does and some places have tons of small bucks running around.


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Re: buck/doe ratio [Re: doggit] #7495987 04/24/19 11:25 PM
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In my opinion, on a high fenced ranch managing for mature bucks and antlers, I would aim for 3 bucks to 2 does. It will take at least 5 years for each buck to reach its potential, so you are eventually going to be limiting the number of bucks you take each year to the mature age classes and the occasional middle aged cull. The younger age bucks will be off limits and as hard as you try, you will not kill every 5 1/2 and older buck, thus, for these reasons, you will need the higher buck to doe ratio. The key numbers to determine are how many total deer your place can carry and the number of does you need to maintain your carrying capacity each year.

This is a perfect world scenario, but let's say you can carry a deer for 10 aces, that would set your cc at 40 deer. At 3:2 you would try to manage to 24 adult bucks and 16 adult does. In utopia, you would have 5 bucks that are yearlings, 5 bucks that are 2, 5 bucks that are 3, 5 bucks that are 4, and say 4 bucks that are 5. Recruitment of fawns is going to vary each year, but plan on between .1/2 to 1 fawn per doe, so let;s say 10 fawns survive with 1/2 being bucks and 1/2 does. So next fall you will have 40 adult deer + an estimated 10 fawns that will survive into the following spring giving you 29 bucks & 21 does. To keep your numbers in check, You will need to take 5 adult bucks and 5 adult does.

Again, perfect world that will be almost impossible to hit on the money, but with a few years chasing the goal, you can get close. Fawn sex ratios, fawn recruitment, natural and predatory death of your deer, and hunter mistakes will skew this perfect scenario quickly. However, what I am trying to illustrate is that if you are trying to allow your bucks to reach maturity before you kill them and keep your herd size in check, you will definitely need more bucks than does.

I am not a wildlife biologist and don't play one on TV, this is what I have learned from others and a little bit of experience. I'm sure others will have some other viewpoints on the subject.

Re: buck/doe ratio [Re: doggit] #7496068 04/25/19 12:45 AM
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Absent a perfect world, we manage for a 1:1buck doe ratio. Trying to get to 1.5:1. We also carry fewer deer than the native country could support if we walked away. 1,800 hf acres.

Big_Ag is right on if you want to build a replenishing herd of big bucks. Be prepared to spend major $$$ on feed and habitat manipulation if that's the route you choose. And $ on bullets each year. Been there. Done it. Several times.

Re: buck/doe ratio [Re: doggit] #7496276 04/25/19 10:59 AM
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Big_ag is right and is a good starting spot...then work from there. Big_Ag will certainly be a good resource. The cost can be whatever you want...it doesn't have to be expensive if you plan long range. Your gene pool is your pool...will not change easily. To improve your heard buying good does starts the improvement...again long range. Saving bucks with the best looks helps. Taking out worst looking bucks. The only thing that is hard may be keeping the herd the way you want...lot of bullets.

Re: buck/doe ratio [Re: doggit] #7496331 04/25/19 12:32 PM
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Im only echoing what Ive read and been told from those I trust on the matter.

Smaller HF property you only want to keep as many does as you need to produce the offspring you need every year. I believe a higher buck to doe ration than 1:1 is what you will be shooting for. Or you going to want to carry more bucks than you do does in order to keep your age classes full.

Last edited by redchevy; 04/25/19 02:11 PM.

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Re: buck/doe ratio [Re: doggit] #7496407 04/25/19 01:48 PM
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1.5 does per buck seems to be a good all around ratio. The tighter the sex ratio, the more control you will have over reproductive potential, which is important from a density control standpoint. Basically, the fewer does you have the more control you have over deer numbers. Carrying too many does leads to explosive fawn crops that require a lot more shooting to keep populations under control (which very few are good at and why most of the state has too many deer).

Also, a tight sex ratio is how you maximize the buck population. If you can carry 100 does, it's up to you if you have 50:50 or 80:20. Even a 2 does per buck sex ratio is bad when you consider that bucks only make up 33% of your adult deer herd.

But, the disadvantage to going 1:1 is more competition and fighting for does during the breeding season, which means more post-rut mortality, more locked up bucks, and more broken tines, That's why carrying a few more does (i.e. 1.5 doe per buck) seems to work out pretty well.

Managing for more bucks than does is usually impractical under low fence, as its hard to keep shooting more and more does when neighbors (and you) keep shooting bucks. If you're in an area with minimal buck hunting pressure, you may be able to do it.

Also keep in mind that if you're in an area with intense buck hunting pressure, you may not even be able to get to 1.5 does per 1. Two things come into play when trying to even up a sex ratio, bringing the number of does down and increasing the number of bucks (usually by removing some hunting pressure). But, if you start out with comparatively few bucks and keep trying to just shoot more does to even up the ratio, you also end up with not that many does, which usually isn't desirable. In this scenario, you may have to live with a skewed sex ratio.

But, even then, under no circumstance would you want more than 3 does per buck as this means bucks only make up only 25% of your adult deer herd. It also means that 75% of you management efforts are being applied to does.


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Re: buck/doe ratio [Re: doggit] #7496720 04/25/19 06:43 PM
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Couldnt have said it better ^^^^...Our ratios are skewed towards bucks. Seen many get killed during the rut from fighting, through the years. Busted antlers have saved a few bucks from getting shot. Almost every buck I saw last season had some form of antler damage. Our ratio is 2-3 bucks per doe


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Re: buck/doe ratio [Re: doggit] #7500100 04/30/19 12:42 AM
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On a couple of ranches I managed we ran more bucks than does for the fact that it was easier to keep the population under control with less does. You only need enough does to replace the bucks you shoot or want to shoot each year. With that size place you are going to always have lots of fighting and antler breakage no matter what the buck to doe ratio is. What I have found is that once bucks are raised under the higher buck to doe ratio the fighting is not quite as bad.
The one thing that stops a lot of fighting and rut mortality is to shoot your doe fawns off for a 2-3 years to stop the late rut/fighting for those doe fawns that heat cycle. You will have to allow a year every so often where you keep some doe fawns and shoot older does. Keeping a herd that is all adult does will shorten the rut period and IME raises more fawns per doe. Depending on where you are at in the state you could have fawns hitting the ground in late April to early June, those doe fawns will be old enough to breed. Those early born fawns are what cause the late rut and lots of issues with bucks fighting or post rut mortality.
IME with running a 1 to 1 ratio under HF is that you will get a lot of doe fawns that do breed and that makes it hard to control your population after a while with early fawning dates. That causes a lot of issues. The one concern with small HF places is predation on fawns will effect how successful you plan is, so a good predator control program is key when going to a higher buck to doe ratio. Finding what amount of does replaces the bucks you take off is the key. 2cents



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