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Breeding value of Bucks #7743120 02/11/20 06:46 PM
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A lot of us think that a big antlered buck will pass on his big antler genetics to his offspring, and we sometimes even will pass on shooting a nice buck to allow him to breed some more and spread his genes.

Research has shown this line of reasoning, any of the above, is pure folly.

Not only did DNA research show that a bucks genetic expression had nothing to do with the future offspring's genetic expression with regard to antler size, but many times the smaller, more average or sub-average antler sized bucks produced bigger antlered offspring overall. Extensive DNA testing was done on several well managed texas ranches (abundant habitat, available forage and supplemental feed, etc), and there was enough DNA collected over many years to determine a lineage/family tree of which bucks went on to sire which offspring. From this, they took an average antler size and calculated a breeding value for a given buck if its offspring were above the average (positive breeding value) or below the average (negative breeding value). To summarize, there was no correlation between a buck's antler size in a given year and its breeding value being positive or negative.

Other interesting points came from this research. Because so much DNA was collected, they were able to determine around 20% of twins were actually fathered by different bucks. They also debunked the myth that the biggest and strongest bucks sire the majority of the offspring, instead finding a wide range of sires among all age classes and among all antler sized deer.

There are several conclusions to be drawn from this research for a typical low fence managed property with native deer genetics:
1. Weather, timely rain and available forage play as big, if not bigger, a role in antler phenotype than any genetic contribution from the father.
2. 50% of the genetic material regarding antler phenotype comes from the doe, and we have no idea which doe are more keen to give good genetics to their fawns.
3. Manage for age structure, not antler structure in your deer herd. Age increases will bring better antlers as a generalization.
4. If you see a buck that you fancy, feel free to shoot it and don't feel bad you just messed up your genetics in the herd. Conversely, don't feel like letting a "ugly" buck walk is going to mess up your herd either.


Are there exceptions to this research, absolutely. But for 99% of the LF places out there, this research is applicable.

Re: Breeding value of Bucks [Re: Texas buckeye] #7743149 02/11/20 07:24 PM
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Who is they and where a did all this info come from?

Any time I read a sentence like your last one I’m reminded that 87% of percentages on the interweb are made up. smile ani


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Re: Breeding value of Bucks [Re: Judd] #7743158 02/11/20 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Judd
Who is they and where a did all this info come from?

Any time I read a sentence like your last one I’m reminded that 87% of percentages on the interweb are made up. smile ani

Numbers don't lie, liars use numbers to lie.


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Re: Breeding value of Bucks [Re: Texas buckeye] #7743191 02/11/20 08:07 PM
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A continuation of the work done at the Commanche ranch in south texas by Donnie Draeger in collab with TA&M Kingsville, TPWD, etc...

I highly suggest listening to a podcast called Deer university, put on by Miss St university, in there they have a podcast #32 Culling to improve genetics. They have Donnie on there to discuss this research.

They also have good podcasts called #1 Whos your daddy, #2 and #3 culling explained part 1 & 2. Some good research based info on there and a lot of that info comes from research done in Texas since we have some big ranches.


And yes, I did make up that last percentage, but the statement holds. Listen to the research explained and let me know what you think.

Re: Breeding value of Bucks [Re: Texas buckeye] #7743199 02/11/20 08:12 PM
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Commanche Study link

Here is a quick look at the study summarized

Quite compelling info in there

Re: Breeding value of Bucks [Re: Texas buckeye] #7743216 02/11/20 08:23 PM
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Low fence deer heards are Hinze 57 mutts. Everything that you see expressed in your deer heard is present in all of them in some form or fashion from the long horn spike to the no brow 6 to the beautiful 10 and the double g4 14.

I spoke with a breeder several years ago said long ago he penned a native genetic 6x6 buck and a bunch of does, said that buck never threw a good buck fawn the rest of its life.

I buy into the general belief that it wont really matter if that buck breeds one more year, what produced him is out in your deer heard already and it will do it again.


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Re: Breeding value of Bucks [Re: Texas buckeye] #7743221 02/11/20 08:28 PM
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I think you may be misrepresenting that study a bit.

Re: Breeding value of Bucks [Re: Texas buckeye] #7743297 02/11/20 09:32 PM
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I think it is pure BS. So if I should get rid of my best Ibex Billy and breed my Nannies to the worst looking Ibex I can find the kids will turn out to be the best I have ever had. Again BS.

Re: Breeding value of Bucks [Re: Texas buckeye] #7743301 02/11/20 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Texas buckeye
A lot of us think that a big antlered buck will pass on his big antler genetics to his offspring, and we sometimes even will pass on shooting a nice buck to allow him to breed some more and spread his genes.

Research has shown this line of reasoning, any of the above, is pure folly.

Not only did DNA research show that a bucks genetic expression had nothing to do with the future offspring's genetic expression with regard to antler size, but many times the smaller, more average or sub-average antler sized bucks produced bigger antlered offspring overall. Extensive DNA testing was done on several well managed texas ranches (abundant habitat, available forage and supplemental feed, etc), and there was enough DNA collected over many years to determine a lineage/family tree of which bucks went on to sire which offspring. From this, they took an average antler size and calculated a breeding value for a given buck if its offspring were above the average (positive breeding value) or below the average (negative breeding value). To summarize, there was no correlation between a buck's antler size in a given year and its breeding value being positive or negative.

Other interesting points came from this research. Because so much DNA was collected, they were able to determine around 20% of twins were actually fathered by different bucks. They also debunked the myth that the biggest and strongest bucks sire the majority of the offspring, instead finding a wide range of sires among all age classes and among all antler sized deer.

There are several conclusions to be drawn from this research for a typical low fence managed property with native deer genetics:
1. Weather, timely rain and available forage play as big, if not bigger, a role in antler phenotype than any genetic contribution from the father.
2. 50% of the genetic material regarding antler phenotype comes from the doe, and we have no idea which doe are more keen to give good genetics to their fawns.
3. Manage for age structure, not antler structure in your deer herd. Age increases will bring better antlers as a generalization.
4. If you see a buck that you fancy, feel free to shoot it and don't feel bad you just messed up your genetics in the herd. Conversely, don't feel like letting a "ugly" buck walk is going to mess up your herd either.


Are there exceptions to this research, absolutely. But for 99% of the LF places out there, this research is applicable.


So there is no value in DMP programs..,........ is what you are saying... or are you saying you can’t naturally gene swamp when you can’t predict genes........


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Re: Breeding value of Bucks [Re: Texas buckeye] #7743308 02/11/20 09:42 PM
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The part that sticks out to me is only being able to judge based on the antler size of the buck. That really hit home to me. No matter what you are giving up 50% of the equation because there is not a way to verify what the doe is contributing or know which one she is. For 99.9% of people if they would focus on age and carrying capacity it would provide sufficient results.

Re: Breeding value of Bucks [Re: Texas buckeye] #7743312 02/11/20 09:43 PM
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"I think it is pure BS. So if I should get rid of my best Ibex Billy and breed my Nannies to the worst looking Ibex I can find the kids will turn out to be the best I have ever had. Again BS." Yep and word mine - golden.

"Research has shown this line of reasoning, any of the above, is pure folly." My three daughters were all created in a low fence environment. Considering the study, I just cannot believe they take after me as much as they do. Especially number 2 - no doubt who her daddy is.

Re: Breeding value of Bucks [Re: Texas buckeye] #7743320 02/11/20 09:50 PM
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I think a lot of those findings go against findings that we have already proven to work. A high fence genetically superior buck is no different than a free range genetically superior buck. Somewhere in those high fence deers genetic lineage they were once free range. A genetic blood line never starts from scratch unless God creates it. A genetic blood line can be improved by selective breeding which we see working like magic on deer farms. To think that promoting the best free range genetics cant produce similar positive results is silly. There are many free range ranches here in Texas that have proof.

Think of it like this......if a 7' man has a baby with a 6' woman do you think the baby will be a midget?? I rest my case.

Re: Breeding value of Bucks [Re: JCB] #7743339 02/11/20 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by JCB
I think a lot of those findings go against findings that we have already proven to work. A high fence genetically superior buck is no different than a free range genetically superior buck. Somewhere in those high fence deers genetic lineage they were once free range. A genetic blood line never starts from scratch unless God creates it. A genetic blood line can be improved by selective breeding which we see working like magic on deer farms. To think that promoting the best free range genetics cant produce similar positive results is silly. There are many free range ranches here in Texas that have proof.

Think of it like this......if a 7' man has a baby with a 6' woman do you think the baby will be a midget?? I rest my case.


While I agree, in the wild they are saying you don't know what the female is contributing or which one she is. In a pen you have control to which doe are being bred and what genetics they might be out of. So I don't think its apples to apples.

Re: Breeding value of Bucks [Re: JCB] #7743347 02/11/20 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by JCB
A high fence genetically superior buck is no different than a free range genetically superior buck.


My response to that is there are no genetically superior free range bucks. There are superior expressed traits, but each and every one of them in a LF free range environment carries as much crap genetics as they do good. Each and every one of them is a product of the melting pot that made them.


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Re: Breeding value of Bucks [Re: BOBO the Clown] #7743372 02/11/20 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by BOBO the Clown
Originally Posted by Texas buckeye
A lot of us think that a big antlered buck will pass on his big antler genetics to his offspring, and we sometimes even will pass on shooting a nice buck to allow him to breed some more and spread his genes.

Research has shown this line of reasoning, any of the above, is pure folly.

Not only did DNA research show that a bucks genetic expression had nothing to do with the future offspring's genetic expression with regard to antler size, but many times the smaller, more average or sub-average antler sized bucks produced bigger antlered offspring overall. Extensive DNA testing was done on several well managed texas ranches (abundant habitat, available forage and supplemental feed, etc), and there was enough DNA collected over many years to determine a lineage/family tree of which bucks went on to sire which offspring. From this, they took an average antler size and calculated a breeding value for a given buck if its offspring were above the average (positive breeding value) or below the average (negative breeding value). To summarize, there was no correlation between a buck's antler size in a given year and its breeding value being positive or negative.

Other interesting points came from this research. Because so much DNA was collected, they were able to determine around 20% of twins were actually fathered by different bucks. They also debunked the myth that the biggest and strongest bucks sire the majority of the offspring, instead finding a wide range of sires among all age classes and among all antler sized deer.

There are several conclusions to be drawn from this research for a typical low fence managed property with native deer genetics:
1. Weather, timely rain and available forage play as big, if not bigger, a role in antler phenotype than any genetic contribution from the father.
2. 50% of the genetic material regarding antler phenotype comes from the doe, and we have no idea which doe are more keen to give good genetics to their fawns.
3. Manage for age structure, not antler structure in your deer herd. Age increases will bring better antlers as a generalization.
4. If you see a buck that you fancy, feel free to shoot it and don't feel bad you just messed up your genetics in the herd. Conversely, don't feel like letting a "ugly" buck walk is going to mess up your herd either.


Are there exceptions to this research, absolutely. But for 99% of the LF places out there, this research is applicable.


So there is no value in DMP programs..,........ is what you are saying... or are you saying you can’t naturally gene swamp when you can’t predict genes........


What I am saying is in a LF situation you cant control genetics in any way, so control for age, mouths to feed, ratios, maximize nutrition, and your antler phenotype should get about as good as it can get, given good weather. Drought conditions will obviously dictate more to antler expression unless a good supplemental feed program is in place.

Deer management programs can have a benefit, but to think we are changing genetics or, more importantly, that we can see increases in antler size on a low fence native deer herd without addressing the above is simply pissing in the wind.

Re: Breeding value of Bucks [Re: don k] #7743380 02/11/20 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by don k
I think it is pure BS. So if I should get rid of my best Ibex Billy and breed my Nannies to the worst looking Ibex I can find the kids will turn out to be the best I have ever had. Again BS.


don, you are talking about something completely different than this study. Low fence free range native WT deer are not the same as a penned Ibex with introduced genetics. Best I can find is that Ibex aren't even native to Texas, so anything Ibex related is not going to be applicable to this study.

Re: Breeding value of Bucks [Re: Texas buckeye] #7743389 02/11/20 10:56 PM
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I’m not swallowing it. There are naturally occurring genetically superior specimens within the populations of most any species. There are also some large thoughtfully managed low fence properties that annually out produce their neighbors and they are not accomplishing that by shooting everything good to ensure the scrubs do the bulk of the breeding.

Last edited by Smokey Bear; 02/11/20 11:02 PM.

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Re: Breeding value of Bucks [Re: redchevy] #7743394 02/11/20 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by redchevy
Originally Posted by JCB
A high fence genetically superior buck is no different than a free range genetically superior buck.


My response to that is there are no genetically superior free range bucks. There are superior expressed traits, but each and every one of them in a LF free range environment carries as much crap genetics as they do good. Each and every one of them is a product of the melting pot that made them.


Every deer on earth is the product of the melting pot that made them.....even breeder bucks on deer farms. You cant erase thousands of years of free range genetics in a Whitetails DNA by fencing a few of them in 30 years ago. You can however promote the "superior expressed traits" by letting that deer breed. Doesn't matter if that deer breeds behind a fence or not. Sure you can control what Doe he breeds in a breeding pen and the end result will almost always be better than what he would produce when bred to a free range Doe. Its silly to think that he is no more likely to produce superior off spring than a scrub buck that breeds the same Doe though simply because its a free range environment.

Promoting superior genetics on free range ranches has already proven to work. I don't even see how anyone can argue that.

Re: Breeding value of Bucks [Re: JCB] #7743398 02/11/20 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by JCB
I think a lot of those findings go against findings that we have already proven to work. A high fence genetically superior buck is no different than a free range genetically superior buck. Somewhere in those high fence deers genetic lineage they were once free range. A genetic blood line never starts from scratch unless God creates it. A genetic blood line can be improved by selective breeding which we see working like magic on deer farms. To think that promoting the best free range genetics cant produce similar positive results is silly. There are many free range ranches here in Texas that have proof.

Think of it like this......if a 7' man has a baby with a 6' woman do you think the baby will be a midget?? I rest my case.


I never said you cant alter genetics with a breeding pen and known genetics, and this study didn't either. But that's the argument you are making. Taking a known tall person and breeding them with a known tall person is nothing more than a breeding pen.

Your argument would have held more water if you would have said "whats the odds of taking a random male and a random female and making a midget?"

But even then I am not sure how that relates to the study. You are talking oranges and the study is talking apples.

Re: Breeding value of Bucks [Re: Texas buckeye] #7743405 02/11/20 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Texas buckeye
Originally Posted by don k
I think it is pure BS. So if I should get rid of my best Ibex Billy and breed my Nannies to the worst looking Ibex I can find the kids will turn out to be the best I have ever had. Again BS.


don, you are talking about something completely different than this study. Low fence free range native WT deer are not the same as a penned Ibex with introduced genetics. Best I can find is that Ibex aren't even native to Texas, so anything Ibex related is not going to be applicable to this study.

What you are saying lacks all common sense. Just because Ibex are not native to Texas also does not make any difference, we are talking breeding animals to get the best you can from the breed. HF-LF or no fence Keep breeding midgets to midgets give you midgets. Breeding midgets to a giant will eventually get you a non midget. No offence to midgets were meant by any of my comments. See, I'm PC.

Re: Breeding value of Bucks [Re: Smokey Bear] #7743410 02/11/20 11:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Smokey Bear
I’m not swallowing it. There are naturally occurring genetically superior specimens within the populations of most any species. There are also some large thoughtfully managed low fence properties that annually out produce their neighbors and they are not accomplishing that by shooting everything good to ensure the scrubs do the bulk of the breeding.


This study did nothing to say there can't be big antlered deer that come from out of nowhere. Quite the contrary, what they said is that same "specimen" (of which they had plenty of 150-170' class bucks in the study, some even bigger) is more often than not a negative breeder, meaning its offspring will not produce the same antlers.

I know that is hard to fathom, but the DNA proved it, they didn't go in looking for that as an outcome, they just did DNA analysis and looked at siring and breeding value. the results are what the results are.



To your point highlighted above, large well managed is the key. A good management program allows deer to age, allows for maximal nutrition and habitat, and this will allow you to see bigger and better deer. The large part is important too so you don't have neighbors shooting everything up and the deer can age.

Re: Breeding value of Bucks [Re: don k] #7743412 02/11/20 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by don k
Originally Posted by Texas buckeye
Originally Posted by don k
I think it is pure BS. So if I should get rid of my best Ibex Billy and breed my Nannies to the worst looking Ibex I can find the kids will turn out to be the best I have ever had. Again BS.


don, you are talking about something completely different than this study. Low fence free range native WT deer are not the same as a penned Ibex with introduced genetics. Best I can find is that Ibex aren't even native to Texas, so anything Ibex related is not going to be applicable to this study.

What you are saying lacks all common sense. Just because Ibex are not native to Texas also does not make any difference, we are talking breeding animals to get the best you can from the breed. HF-LF or no fence Keep breeding midgets to midgets give you midgets. Breeding midgets to a giant will eventually get you a non midget. No offence to midgets were meant by any of my comments. See, I'm PC.


I think you are trying to make the study or what I said of the study say more than it does. This DOES NOT APPLY to HF or anywhere introduced genetics are in play. Adding a breeding pen and selectively breeding takes all this out. Not sure why you are trying to say your Ibex issue should apply to native LF WT deer. Apples to cantaloupe, and it isn't even close. If you still think it is a close argument, please explain how it is and we can discuss.

Re: Breeding value of Bucks [Re: Texas buckeye] #7743416 02/11/20 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Texas buckeye
Originally Posted by JCB
I think a lot of those findings go against findings that we have already proven to work. A high fence genetically superior buck is no different than a free range genetically superior buck. Somewhere in those high fence deers genetic lineage they were once free range. A genetic blood line never starts from scratch unless God creates it. A genetic blood line can be improved by selective breeding which we see working like magic on deer farms. To think that promoting the best free range genetics cant produce similar positive results is silly. There are many free range ranches here in Texas that have proof.

Think of it like this......if a 7' man has a baby with a 6' woman do you think the baby will be a midget?? I rest my case.


I never said you cant alter genetics with a breeding pen and known genetics, and this study didn't either. But that's the argument you are making. Taking a known tall person and breeding them with a known tall person is nothing more than a breeding pen.

Your argument would have held more water if you would have said "whats the odds of taking a random male and a random female and making a midget?"

But even then I am not sure how that relates to the study. You are talking oranges and the study is talking apples.


OK let me reword that then:

Lets take a 160" 5 year old 10 point and breed him to some random free range Doe.
Lets take a 95" 5 year old 8 point and breed him to that same random free range Doe.

Which one do you think will MOST LIKELY produce the better offspring? According to the study above its 50/50 either way and I aint buying it one bit.

Re: Breeding value of Bucks [Re: JCB] #7743419 02/11/20 11:14 PM
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Originally Posted by JCB
Originally Posted by redchevy
Originally Posted by JCB
A high fence genetically superior buck is no different than a free range genetically superior buck.


My response to that is there are no genetically superior free range bucks. There are superior expressed traits, but each and every one of them in a LF free range environment carries as much crap genetics as they do good. Each and every one of them is a product of the melting pot that made them.


Every deer on earth is the product of the melting pot that made them.....even breeder bucks on deer farms. You cant erase thousands of years of free range genetics in a Whitetails DNA by fencing a few of them in 30 years ago. You can however promote the "superior expressed traits" by letting that deer breed. Doesn't matter if that deer breeds behind a fence or not. Sure you can control what Doe he breeds in a breeding pen and the end result will almost always be better than what he would produce when bred to a free range Doe. Its silly to think that he is no more likely to produce superior off spring than a scrub buck that breeds the same Doe though simply because its a free range environment.

Promoting superior genetics on free range ranches has already proven to work. I don't even see how anyone can argue that.


Silly to think yes, but the data proves you otherwise.

At one point it was silly to think the earth was round, but it is. Just because we have a "notion" that something happens, doesn't always mean that's the way it actually happens.

Yes, we can control genetic expression in a breeding pen, but even you said it, a superior buck in a LF can not be controlled in who he breeds, so 50% of the equation is ?? genetics. On the same thought, a scrub buck may breed a superior doe, and the fawn buck may express those superior genes and not the scrub buck genes. It goes both ways.

Bottom line, we have no idea where and how native LF gene expression for antlers is going to be expressed. Only thing we can "control" is the phenotypical expression by maximizing nutrition, age, and strength (keeping the herd healthy and ratios good).

Re: Breeding value of Bucks [Re: JCB] #7743429 02/11/20 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by JCB
Originally Posted by Texas buckeye
Originally Posted by JCB
I think a lot of those findings go against findings that we have already proven to work. A high fence genetically superior buck is no different than a free range genetically superior buck. Somewhere in those high fence deers genetic lineage they were once free range. A genetic blood line never starts from scratch unless God creates it. A genetic blood line can be improved by selective breeding which we see working like magic on deer farms. To think that promoting the best free range genetics cant produce similar positive results is silly. There are many free range ranches here in Texas that have proof.

Think of it like this......if a 7' man has a baby with a 6' woman do you think the baby will be a midget?? I rest my case.


I never said you cant alter genetics with a breeding pen and known genetics, and this study didn't either. But that's the argument you are making. Taking a known tall person and breeding them with a known tall person is nothing more than a breeding pen.

Your argument would have held more water if you would have said "whats the odds of taking a random male and a random female and making a midget?"

But even then I am not sure how that relates to the study. You are talking oranges and the study is talking apples.


OK let me reword that then:

Lets take a 160" 5 year old 10 point and breed him to some random free range Doe.
Lets take a 95" 5 year old 8 point and breed him to that same random free range Doe.

Which one do you think will MOST LIKELY produce the better offspring? According to the study above its 50/50 either way and I aint buying it one bit.





Look at the data set and you might think otherwise. One of their biggest bucks was sired by a scrawny 120" mature buck.

Now, in your example, if you have a fully defined age strata where you are comfortable with your on the hoof aging, and you know you are over CC or want to get below CC to increase nutrition for the rest of the herd, I don't think anyone would fault you for shooting the 5yo 95' deer to reduce mouths to feed. But to say you can for certain say the 95' deer is going to produce a smaller antlered offspring than a 160" deer is just not carried out in the data. Big reason being the doe genetics. Who is to say the 160" will breed a weak genetic doe and throw off bad fawns? Same way to say the 95" might breed a superior doe and throw off awesome buck fawns. Just no way to tell, and with 50% of the equation resting in something you have absolutely no way of telling, its all a crap shoot.

And that's not even taking into consideration injuries, rut wear, etc....what these guys/gals found was more often than not, bucks would vary their antler size based on several factors until around age 5-6...rut wear, injuries, drought, etc played as big a role in antler size and that was one of the reasons they gave as why it is near impossible to tell who is going to carry better genetics forward. Too many crazy factors.

Yes there will always be underperformers. Yes there will always be overperformers. But that does not correlate to who will sire a better buck. It just didn't.

Last edited by Texas buckeye; 02/11/20 11:25 PM.
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