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Culling - Food For Thought #7635849 10/18/19 01:20 PM
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This popped up on my Instagram feed this morning. Conclusions of Mississippi State/A&M Kingsville study on attempts at “culling” in wild deer.

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Originally Posted By: Russ79
I learned long ago you can't reason someone out of something they don't reason themselves into.


Re: Culling - Food For Thought [Re: Nogalus Prairie] #7635852 10/18/19 01:22 PM
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Now is the goal of culling improving the genetics? Or not keep crap deer to maturity?


It's hell eatin em live
Re: Culling - Food For Thought [Re: Nogalus Prairie] #7635863 10/18/19 01:35 PM
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I've been thinking about a business model of buying the lower quality fawn bucks from breeders and keeping them until they are 5 years old or older and seeing what they develop into. With so many "quality" bucks out there, there seems to be a vacuum of those that don't fit the mold of what everyone is looking for. Buy them cheep and just let them grow. My thinking is that a 5 year old 4 or 5 point is going to be interesting to somebody!!!!

Re: Culling - Food For Thought [Re: redchevy] #7635867 10/18/19 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by redchevy
Now is the goal of culling improving the genetics? Or not keep crap deer to maturity?


Isn’t that one and the same? I’ve always heard those that “cull” talk about improving the genetics. You hear “management bucks” all the time. It’s all academic to me as I don’t have a big enough place to worry about affecting genetics anyway. But I do think a lot of what goes on in the name of “management” is not supported by science.

The #1 thing most people should be doing is taking more does. IMO.


Originally Posted By: Russ79
I learned long ago you can't reason someone out of something they don't reason themselves into.


Re: Culling - Food For Thought [Re: Nogalus Prairie] #7635926 10/18/19 02:25 PM
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This is becoming a lot like climate change. Now that deer management has become such a huge industry, are these guys just raking cash by hawking products and management methods that lead you to buy them?


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Re: Culling - Food For Thought [Re: Nogalus Prairie] #7635927 10/18/19 02:25 PM
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I liked the article and think it has very good science behind it for a wild population. I've even guided one of the researchers before. The thing is, they offer no solution to herd management.

At the end of the day when you have to shoot 20 bucks off your property for MLD, what buck do you shoot?
It's only logical to try and age the bucks and shoot the smallest antlered one for his age class, I think,


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Re: Culling - Food For Thought [Re: Nogalus Prairie] #7635932 10/18/19 02:29 PM
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No not the same to me. I don't think we change the genetics by culling. Perhaps with years of very intense controlled culling you could? I don't know, not interested in trying. A given property will only hold/support so many deer, we try to keep the ones we like as much as we can to maturity, it is by no means a perfect practice.

I agree with the does, we shoot quite a few.

Last edited by redchevy; 10/18/19 02:29 PM.

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Re: Culling - Food For Thought [Re: redchevy] #7635936 10/18/19 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by redchevy
Now is the goal of culling improving the genetics? Or not keep crap deer to maturity?



Last week I shot a junk 6 point. Was missing a G-3 and a brow tine.

I have several older deer running around that look the same. Kids don’t want to shoot them so they normally end up post mature as do smaller 8 points.

I shot him because I wanted to shoot a deer and didn’t want to feed him for another 2 years or more. I don’t have an notion that somehow I improved the herd other than by taking a mouth off the place and he was a much better candidate than the bucks with potential of the same age class.



Re: Culling - Food For Thought [Re: KWood_TSU] #7635944 10/18/19 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by KWood_TSU
I liked the article and think it has very good science behind it for a wild population. I've even guided one of the researchers before. The thing is, they offer no solution to herd management.

At the end of the day when you have to shoot 20 bucks off your property for MLD, what buck do you shoot?
It's only logical to try and age the bucks and shoot the smallest antlered one for his age class, I think,


From what I can tell about their group, their big deal is to shoot does and mature deer (hopefully post-mature). They are more about herd health with all age classes represented than management for big antlers.

My philosophy is pretty much in line with that - though I personally have very little I can do but shoot does, provide better habitat so they will like my place more, and grow them some food. I reckon I’m a “mix” because I’m not about to pass on a mature 150+” deer waiting on an older one. smile


Originally Posted By: Russ79
I learned long ago you can't reason someone out of something they don't reason themselves into.


Re: Culling - Food For Thought [Re: Nogalus Prairie] #7635948 10/18/19 02:47 PM
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I guess if we have to wait till they are all post mature to be "healthy" for the heard then im out on it.

What is good for the goose is good for the gander. If there is a + to only shooting post mature bucks then I think the same should be true for does.


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Re: Culling - Food For Thought [Re: Nogalus Prairie] #7635950 10/18/19 02:49 PM
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Culling may or may not change genetics, but if you decide to shoot that 5 year old 8 point with a 13 inch spread and let the 4 year old 10 point with the 18 inch spread walk, you're improving the overall antler quality of the herd. Culling works to grow bigger antlers, it just may not be working on the genetic level. Splitting hairs if you ask me.


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Re: Culling - Food For Thought [Re: Nogalus Prairie] #7635951 10/18/19 02:49 PM
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Many should shoot does because many places have too many of them.


Originally Posted By: Russ79
I learned long ago you can't reason someone out of something they don't reason themselves into.


Re: Culling - Food For Thought [Re: Nogalus Prairie] #7635954 10/18/19 02:52 PM
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We have a lot of does so I will most likely take a couple for the freezer

Re: Culling - Food For Thought [Re: Nogalus Prairie] #7635955 10/18/19 02:55 PM
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I think there is a big difference in herd management and genetic manipulation. Herd management definitely says shoot doe, shoot bucks if needed to get ratios in line, but shoot your herd down to Carrying Capacity. That is the key. If you have a good ratio and are at or below carrying capacity, you will see stronger bucks, better bucks, and a better herd.

So, QDM involves all aspects of improving the land to increase CC, but also herd management, in addition to some other things like age stratification etc.

Genetic genotype (the actual genes carried by deer) in the wild is impossible to manipulate, the only thing we can do is try to get genetic phenotype (the physical characteristics of a specific set of genes) to fully express. We do this with proper nutrition, by allowing deer to age and by strengthening the herd so the bucks need to express those genes fully in order to survive. This is one of the mission of QDMA.

Re: Culling - Food For Thought [Re: Texan Til I Die] #7635968 10/18/19 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Texan Til I Die
Culling may or may not change genetics, but if you decide to shoot that 5 year old 8 point with a 13 inch spread and let the 4 year old 10 point with the 18 inch spread walk, you're improving the overall antler quality of the herd. Culling works to grow bigger antlers, it just may not be working on the genetic level. Splitting hairs if you ask me.


Unlikely, as research has shown most bucks will impregnate one female a year. Rarely two. So take the genetic spread of 5 years of that 13" deer and 4 years of that 18" spread deer and you will see the extra year you give the 18" deer is just getting him up to par with all the rest of the bucks the 13" has already sired. Then you have doe that constitute half the genetic pool and if the 18" buck breeds a doe who has the 13" buck dna in her and that's what she passes to her buck fawn, well then it was all for naught. Likewise, the 13" buck can breed with a doe who has dna in her from the 18" buck and pass that just as easily, so it is a crap shoot either way.

The only way you can make any difference in genetic modulation or manipulation is with very controlled breeding sessions with known dna lineage and breeding pens when only certain deer are being bred. It isn't rocket science, but it is very controlled.

Re: Culling - Food For Thought [Re: Texas buckeye] #7635979 10/18/19 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Texas buckeye
Originally Posted by Texan Til I Die
Culling may or may not change genetics, but if you decide to shoot that 5 year old 8 point with a 13 inch spread and let the 4 year old 10 point with the 18 inch spread walk, you're improving the overall antler quality of the herd. Culling works to grow bigger antlers, it just may not be working on the genetic level. Splitting hairs if you ask me.


Unlikely, as research has shown most bucks will impregnate one female a year. Rarely two. So take the genetic spread of 5 years of that 13" deer and 4 years of that 18" spread deer and you will see the extra year you give the 18" deer is just getting him up to par with all the rest of the bucks the 13" has already sired. Then you have doe that constitute half the genetic pool and if the 18" buck breeds a doe who has the 13" buck dna in her and that's what she passes to her buck fawn, well then it was all for naught. Likewise, the 13" buck can breed with a doe who has dna in her from the 18" buck and pass that just as easily, so it is a crap shoot either way.

The only way you can make any difference in genetic modulation or manipulation is with very controlled breeding sessions with known dna lineage and breeding pens when only certain deer are being bred. It isn't rocket science, but it is very controlled.

I think you missed my point. I'm not talking about future generations yet to be born, I'm talking about right now and carrying those same deer (10 point vs 8 point) into next year. That's why I said you're not manipulating overall antler size in the herd through genetics, you're doing it through real time selection of what you shoot.


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Re: Culling - Food For Thought [Re: Nogalus Prairie] #7635987 10/18/19 03:20 PM
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As I was reminded this year earlier, if you let a deer walk till next year, three things can happen and two aren't good for you:

1. Buck dies (naturally, shot on another property, hit by car, etc)
2. Buck doesn't have same antlers as last year (drought, too wet, disease, injury, etc)
3. He is the same or better as next year

So even what you are saying isn't entirely true. This of course applies to low fence places only.

Edit: to be fair, I did miss your point in the intial post tho up

Last edited by Texas buckeye; 10/18/19 03:27 PM.
Re: Culling - Food For Thought [Re: Texas buckeye] #7635992 10/18/19 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Texas buckeye

Unlikely, as research has shown most bucks will impregnate one female a year. Rarely two.


Is this from a perfect world with a 1:1 ratio? or in practice?

Lot of data to show that in many areas there is a much higher doe to buck ratio and from what I have read they almost always all get bred.


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Re: Culling - Food For Thought [Re: Nogalus Prairie] #7635997 10/18/19 03:28 PM
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Every time you pull the trigger you are managing a herd. You can call it what you want....culling, thinning, freezer filling, meat hunting,management hunting, trophy hunting, etc. but in the end it is a management decision every time you kill a deer. Managing the herd or managing the freezer space. Dead deer don't breed anymore.



Re: Culling - Food For Thought [Re: redchevy] #7636007 10/18/19 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by redchevy
Originally Posted by Texas buckeye

Unlikely, as research has shown most bucks will impregnate one female a year. Rarely two.


Is this from a perfect world with a 1:1 ratio? or in practice?

Lot of data to show that in many areas there is a much higher doe to buck ratio and from what I have read they almost always all get bred.


Probably a perfect world in the study I read, but can not remember. Looking at a quick search for this, qdma quotes studies from Quality Whitetail that showed on the king ranch a buck would sire from 1 to 6 fawns a year but averaged less than 2 a year, and in a Michigan study it was averaged to 3/yr for 17 bucks but each buck was from 1 to 9. So maybe my memory serves me wrong in the numbers for this, but the reality is most bucks are not siring a lot of fawns. Also, research showed that "twins" and "triplets" are not uncommonly (around a quarter of the time) from multiple bucks. How weird is that.

Re: Culling - Food For Thought [Re: stxranchman] #7636011 10/18/19 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by stxranchman
Every time you pull the trigger you are managing a herd. You can call it what you want....culling, thinning, freezer filling, meat hunting,management hunting, trophy hunting, etc. but in the end it is a management decision every time you kill a deer. Managing the herd or managing the freezer space. Dead deer don't breed anymore.


True. Every time it rains (or not), every time a deer is hit by a car, every deer taken by predators, every natural death, every deer neighbors kill, etc., etc. also “manages” a herd in that sense.

The question the studies are looking at is what real affect hunters can have on an overall herd and attempting to quantify it in some way. It’s never going to yield all the answers, but all scientific information helps all involved make better decisions about what management tools provide the best bang for the buck (no pun intended). smile




Originally Posted By: Russ79
I learned long ago you can't reason someone out of something they don't reason themselves into.


Re: Culling - Food For Thought [Re: Nogalus Prairie] #7636027 10/18/19 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Nogalus Prairie
Originally Posted by stxranchman
Every time you pull the trigger you are managing a herd. You can call it what you want....culling, thinning, freezer filling, meat hunting,management hunting, trophy hunting, etc. but in the end it is a management decision every time you kill a deer. Managing the herd or managing the freezer space. Dead deer don't breed anymore.


True. Every time it rains (or not), every time a deer is hit by a car, every deer taken by predators, every natural death, every deer neighbors kill, etc., etc. also “manages” a herd in that sense.

The question the studies are looking at is what real affect hunters can have on an overall herd and attempting to quantify it in some way. It’s never going to yield all the answers, but all scientific information helps all involved make better decisions about what management tools provide the best bang for the buck (no pun intended). smile



A single hunter does not have enough tags to manage the herd correctly(unless under MLD) on his land or lease. It would take a group of hunters with all their tags dedicated to controlling the numbers. Most hunters do not want to put that much effort or work into managing the herd correctly. Most hunters like seeing deer or more deer so the thought of removing them is not going to sit well with them seeing less deer. For culling to work correctly you have to have enough tags and resources to make a plan work. For me, culling was never about changing genetics but removing an "end" of an age classes no matter the sex. You remove mouths by culling to allow other deer to express their genetic potential



Re: Culling - Food For Thought [Re: Nogalus Prairie] #7636031 10/18/19 04:07 PM
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And to be clear, this article was about genetic manipulation and not herd management.

One interesting thing to note which throws pie in the face of any culling efforts for “sub-par” bucks, the buck the Comanche study found to sire the most impressive buck fawns and had the highest “breeding value” among all the deer they studied with dna analysis, was himself only a 123” deer. Some “culling” methods would have that deer shot since it didn’t qualify as a good buck. Yet he threw the best bucks in the study. Just goes to show the genetics aren’t always expressed fully in some animals and there may be more to the phenotype expression than just male phenotype.

Anyway, “culling” for genetic manipulation (I am going to change my buck herd by getting rid of this bad buck) doesn’t work. “Culling” for herd management absolutely works if you are over CC and need to get ratios in line.

Re: Culling - Food For Thought [Re: Texas buckeye] #7636033 10/18/19 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Texas buckeye
And to be clear, this article was about genetic manipulation and not herd management.

One interesting thing to note which throws pie in the face of any culling efforts for “sub-par” bucks, the buck the Comanche study found to sire the most impressive buck fawns and had the highest “breeding value” among all the deer they studied with dna analysis, was himself only a 123” deer. Some “culling” methods would have that deer shot since it didn’t qualify as a good buck. Yet he threw the best bucks in the study. Just goes to show the genetics aren’t always expressed fully in some animals and there may be more to the phenotype expression than just male phenotype.

Anyway, “culling” for genetic manipulation (I am going to change my buck herd by getting rid of this bad buck) doesn’t work. “Culling” for herd management absolutely works if you are over CC and need to get ratios in line.


That’s the summary I was trying to express.


Originally Posted By: Russ79
I learned long ago you can't reason someone out of something they don't reason themselves into.


Re: Culling - Food For Thought [Re: Texas buckeye] #7636034 10/18/19 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Texas buckeye
And to be clear, this article was about genetic manipulation and not herd management.

One interesting thing to note which throws pie in the face of any culling efforts for “sub-par” bucks, the buck the Comanche study found to sire the most impressive buck fawns and had the highest “breeding value” among all the deer they studied with dna analysis, was himself only a 123” deer. Some “culling” methods would have that deer shot since it didn’t qualify as a good buck. Yet he threw the best bucks in the study. Just goes to show the genetics aren’t always expressed fully in some animals and there may be more to the phenotype expression than just male phenotype.

Anyway, “culling” for genetic manipulation (I am going to change my buck herd by getting rid of this bad buck) doesn’t work. “Culling” for herd management absolutely works if you are over CC and need to get ratios in line.

What was the doe side of the genetics in the study that this 123" buck bred? He had help in the making/birthing of those fawns.



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