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Too Many Deer? #8125177 01/11/21 08:34 PM
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I am on a lease in Mills County that is loaded with deer. I see about 90% does/fawns. It is a 5 deer county, I shot 4 doe and 1 buck. Most of our hunters don't fill their tags (by choice) and are mainly looking for a quality buck (good luck). There are deer every where. I see them when I walk to the stand, when I hunt, and when I walk back to the truck. I was informed that the owner will no do MLDP. We are not looking to add any spots. We are not allowed any guests. I am concerned that at some point we will have a massive die off from disease, or starvation. Any thoughts on how to thin these deer?

Re: Too Many Deer? [Re: Brother Phil] #8125190 01/11/21 08:41 PM
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Yeah, the no guests rule eliminates most of the options. My best advice is to try to educate your other hunters about the benefit of taking does. If they don't want the meat, donating it is always an option.

BTW - You should probably do a couple of spotlight surveys to find out how many deer you actually have. It might not be as many as you think...or it might be more. The local TPWD biologist is very helpful in showing you how to do one.

https://tpwd.texas.gov/landwater/land/habitats/county/?county=Mills


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Re: Too Many Deer? [Re: Brother Phil] #8125200 01/11/21 08:52 PM
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You'll be okay, most likely. I imagine you're not far from us, we're covered up as well. We took 10 does, 1 buck and 3 spikes and may take 1-2 more does this weekend. If the deer get too hungry they'll move (if you aren't HF). The reason you saw them so much this year is the drought-conditions were so hard they had to spend more time eating and in more areas. They were very visible because they had to graze longer to fill up.

See if you can convince your guys to take more does. At one time the Mills County Ministerial Alliance was paying for donated deer to be processed. You might contact First Baptist or Fellowship Baptist in Goldthwaite to see if that is still the case. Wesley Head processing may also know if the costs are being covered. Good luck, stay at it!

As for die off, while the numbers in the 70s were very light, we've owned our place since the 50s and have never seen a deer die-off. More and more Mills county places have quit small-animal ranching, leaving a lot more country for deer to live off.


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Re: Too Many Deer? [Re: Brother Phil] #8125201 01/11/21 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Brother Phil
I am on a lease in Mills County that is loaded with deer. I see about 90% does/fawns. It is a 5 deer county, I shot 4 doe and 1 buck. Most of our hunters don't fill their tags (by choice) and are mainly looking for a quality buck (good luck). There are deer every where. I see them when I walk to the stand, when I hunt, and when I walk back to the truck. I was informed that the owner will no do MLDP. We are not looking to add any spots. We are not allowed any guests. I am concerned that at some point we will have a massive die off from disease, or starvation. Any thoughts on how to thin these deer?


That’s a very common problem, with that said a die off won’t come until the habitat takes a heavy it. Why God invented nasty droughts

Your best bet is to push to atleast mirror an MLD program, where a non partial third party can advise


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Re: Too Many Deer? [Re: Brother Phil] #8125238 01/11/21 09:14 PM
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Look for new lease members that want to shoot their deer. confused2


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Re: Too Many Deer? [Re: Brother Phil] #8125306 01/11/21 09:54 PM
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We are going to excercise our late doe season rights because we have too many deer as well....and a tad heavy on the does.


I'm feeding a tons ( literally ) of protein and don't want to feed more does than I have to.


Maybe get your lease members to do their doe hunts during late season


For it is not the quarry that we truly seek, but the adventure.
Re: Too Many Deer? [Re: Brother Phil] #8125315 01/11/21 09:59 PM
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Maybe your landowner needs to sit down with the county biologist? Doesn't have to go into MLDP, but once you get a survey and understand a healthy carrying capacity for the ranch, maybe he'll reconsider his thoughts on management. confused2


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Re: Too Many Deer? [Re: Brother Phil] #8125317 01/11/21 10:01 PM
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Get a copy of this book, https://www.drdeer.com/catalog/Prod...ucing_and_Harvesting_White-tailed_Deer/7

Have the LO and all the other hunters read the parts about carrying capacity and Buck/Doe ratios and how those directly effect quality of bucks.

Maybe get some info from the local TPWD Biologist about the MLD Programs and work with the LO.

Re: Too Many Deer? [Re: Brother Phil] #8125330 01/11/21 10:07 PM
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It would help anyone wanting to advise you if you gave more info on number of acres and number of hunters etc. Your issue is not a new one for sure.


Keep your gratitude higher than your expectations. RWH
Re: Too Many Deer? [Re: Texan Til I Die] #8125432 01/11/21 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Texan Til I Die
Yeah, the no guests rule eliminates most of the options. My best advice is to try to educate your other hunters about the benefit of taking does. If they don't want the meat, donating it is always an option.

BTW - You should probably do a couple of spotlight surveys to find out how many deer you actually have. It might not be as many as you think...or it might be more. The local TPWD biologist is very helpful in showing you how to do one.

https://tpwd.texas.gov/landwater/land/habitats/county/?county=Mills

Re: Too Many Deer? [Re: Brother Phil] #8125485 01/11/21 11:10 PM
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We have about 850 acres, 9 total hunters. Deer season only lease, with the right to maintain stands/feeders in the off-season. No game allowed to be taken, except deer. We have some turkey, but not many. Kids are allowed, and shoot of members tags. No guests. I met one of the adjoining landowners. He has 1640 acres, not leased, and hunted lightly by family. That may contribute to us having so many deer. I did not hear any gunshots from the ranches that border us. I was on this lease five years ago, got off it, and came back this season. I saw plenty of deer, but nothing like this year. The drought and oak wilt really hit us. One of our guys counted 54 deer in a neighbors oat field.

Re: Too Many Deer? [Re: Brother Phil] #8125508 01/11/21 11:23 PM
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Some here have heard this from me "ad nauseum" but I have managed many ponds over the years - number one issue with not having large bass? Too many mouths to feed for the food that is available - result? stunted bass. The fix? Cull a lot of smaller bass out so that the others can get enough nutrition to grow bigger.

So the same theory works with deer - I get that there are places that neighbors do not join in and that makes it difficult - however IMO in the hill country you cannot shoot enough does - otherwise they will multiple like rabbits and take over your property. I nTexas the only way to legally shoot enough does is to get MLD status - truth is it is an uphill battle


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Re: Too Many Deer? [Re: tlk] #8125559 01/12/21 12:03 AM
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Originally Posted by tlk
Some here have heard this from me "ad nauseum" but I have managed many ponds over the years - number one issue with not having large bass? Too many mouths to feed for the food that is available - result? stunted bass. The fix? Cull a lot of smaller bass out so that the others can get enough nutrition to grow bigger.

So the same theory works with deer - I get that there are places that neighbors do not join in and that makes it difficult - however IMO in the hill country you cannot shoot enough does - otherwise they will multiple like rabbits and take over your property. I nTexas the only way to legally shoot enough does is to get MLD status - truth is it is an uphill battle


That'd be me and my situation. Pretty sure the neighbors won't bother, one that came over to meet me, and wraps around me on 2 & 1/2 sides, stated as such. But I'm on my first year MLD and I'm trying. 6 more does to go out of a quota of 22. One more "unbranched antler" (from 3) and 2 more (from 5) bucks. We've lost one doe (shot by a guest) and one cull buck, (shot by me bang) that both, I'm pretty sure, didn't recover.


...and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. Gen. 1:28
Re: Too Many Deer? [Re: Creekrunner] #8125578 01/12/21 12:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Creekrunner
Originally Posted by tlk
Some here have heard this from me "ad nauseum" but I have managed many ponds over the years - number one issue with not having large bass? Too many mouths to feed for the food that is available - result? stunted bass. The fix? Cull a lot of smaller bass out so that the others can get enough nutrition to grow bigger.

So the same theory works with deer - I get that there are places that neighbors do not join in and that makes it difficult - however IMO in the hill country you cannot shoot enough does - otherwise they will multiple like rabbits and take over your property. I nTexas the only way to legally shoot enough does is to get MLD status - truth is it is an uphill battle


That'd be me and my situation. Pretty sure the neighbors won't bother, one that came over to meet me, and wraps around me on 2 & 1/2 sides, stated as such. But I'm on my first year MLD and I'm trying. 6 more does to go out of a quota of 22. One more "unbranched antler" (from 3) and 2 more (from 5) bucks. We've lost one doe (shot by a guest) and one cull buck, (shot by me bang) that both, I'm pretty sure, didn't recover.


good for you for at least trying - I have hunted all over the hill country and I am not sure if the best approach at the end of the day is to just roll with it - it is what it is - as my Dad said many times "Son if you piss into the wind you gonna get wet" - I have no idea in this day and age if the goal is attainable other than HF - and believe me I get why folks HF now days in the hill country -


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Re: Too Many Deer? [Re: Creekrunner] #8125588 01/12/21 12:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Creekrunner
Originally Posted by tlk
Some here have heard this from me "ad nauseum" but I have managed many ponds over the years - number one issue with not having large bass? Too many mouths to feed for the food that is available - result? stunted bass. The fix? Cull a lot of smaller bass out so that the others can get enough nutrition to grow bigger.

So the same theory works with deer - I get that there are places that neighbors do not join in and that makes it difficult - however IMO in the hill country you cannot shoot enough does - otherwise they will multiple like rabbits and take over your property. I nTexas the only way to legally shoot enough does is to get MLD status - truth is it is an uphill battle


That'd be me and my situation. Pretty sure the neighbors won't bother, one that came over to meet me, and wraps around me on 2 & 1/2 sides, stated as such. But I'm on my first year MLD and I'm trying. 6 more does to go out of a quota of 22. One more "unbranched antler" (from 3) and 2 more (from 5) bucks. We've lost one doe (shot by a guest) and one cull buck, (shot by me bang) that both, I'm pretty sure, didn't recover.

Think of it this way...if you can kill 22 does per year then in 5 yrs there are 110 does plus all their offspring not feeding on your land. The remaining does can still produce as many or more fawns with the extra food available. Add in the buck numbers you remove annually also over that time and you see where it begins to work. It is not a one year and done quick fix but a long term plan. It takes time but you will see a difference in a few years.....or get frustrated and give up... grin


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Re: Too Many Deer? [Re: Brother Phil] #8125618 01/12/21 12:29 AM
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Either hunt for a new lease with like minded hunters, or stay with it... rifle deerdeerdeerdeer

You wil eventually ketch up.


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Re: Too Many Deer? [Re: Brother Phil] #8125632 01/12/21 12:46 AM
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Along these lines , what's the average mortality rate on deer that aren't being shot by hunters ? Just wondered how many die of natural causes or predators.

Re: Too Many Deer? [Re: Brother Phil] #8125633 01/12/21 12:47 AM
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You aught to consider hosting a youth hunt. I had a neighbor who hosted a youth hunt that took 64 does off his place in year 1. He claims that really fixed his buck doe ratio for the better and allowed him to manage it from there. I believe he said he has 1000 acres out by Enchanted Rock


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Re: Too Many Deer? [Re: Brother Phil] #8125650 01/12/21 12:55 AM
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Agree I’ve seen the same hunting hill country. I’ve heard many times on ranches I was looking at that they don’t allow doe to be taken. They wanted them around to bring in the bucks, was on a couple places that eventually let us take a 2-3 instead of the 1 allowed by lease agreement after we showed them game cam pics or phone pics of the many does crowding the feeders with very few bucks. Unfortunately the place that we were able to work on the numbers sold at year 5 so we never got to take advantage of that work. Best of luck, talk to your lease mates and help them understand importance even though it’ll take a while.


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Re: Too Many Deer? [Re: Brother Phil] #8125703 01/12/21 01:12 AM
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just side note - if you are interested in this stuff then hang with me as I go through this scenario - if not then no worries

some years back I bought a 600 acre ranch near Ft Hood - totally hill country -

we lived there - so my plan was to HF the place, kill all of the native deer, and restock deer. Zero interest in commercially hunting the place. I just wanted to see how big I could grow some deer on the place for family and friends to hunt.

So it took me a year to kill out all of the native deer. One would think it would be easy to kill off deer on a 600 acre HF place - WRONG! They get real smart trust me

Once I did I brought in 3 bred does from 3 different breeders and 3 young bucks from 3 different breeders. I wanted a mixture of northern, southern, etc. I also want different genetics - wide, typical, non typical, etc.

So once that was completed I started calculating the numbers to see how many deer I would need to harvest each year in order to keep the numbers in line - when I did the math I was blown away - (anyone ever heard of the old money scenario? If you take a penny and double it every year what would that penny amount to in 10-20 years? Answer is? A pot load of money - same happens with deer

I will let each of you do the math if you wish but think about this. You start with 3 bucks and 3 bred does - 6 deer to start. Assume each doe throws off either one or two fawns for an average of one and a half fawns each year. Out of those, half are does and half are bucks. So year two your one and a half does (on average) get bred and have the same one and a half fawns. The cycle goes on. Within just a few short years your total of 6 deer you started with turn in to hundreds unless you cull the hell out of them!

Moral of the story? Deer will out produce a property quickly and over run the place if you do not eliminate some of them. Those who think it is less expensive to own a large ranch versus leasing a large ranch? I beg to differ - owning is awesome but it is not cheap if you do it right

In closing - I have absolute total respect for someone like STX who did this for a living - I did not so I always defer to someone like him. My words come from hunting for 60 plus years all over Texas and the world and reading everything I could get my hands on over all those same years - my approach is based on first hand experience which does not make it right - thanks for listening

Last edited by tlk; 01/12/21 01:29 AM.

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Re: Too Many Deer? [Re: Brother Phil] #8125720 01/12/21 01:23 AM
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It sounds more like you have a hunter problem not a deer problem.
850 acres with 9 hunters. If each hunter took his limit that would be 45 deer off 850 acres. A few years of that and your numbers will be looking good.

Re: Too Many Deer? [Re: Brother Phil] #8126005 01/12/21 05:00 AM
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huntwest, I think you are spot on. I don't know all of the guys, and have only met two of them. Most of this group has been on the lease for at least 10 years, or so. I found out that we have 3 hunters who each harvested two deer. I think there may be some that did not shoot any. The time is past due for a sound management plan.

Re: Too Many Deer? [Re: Brother Phil] #8126107 01/12/21 12:40 PM
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I see no way to have an effect on deer numbers or health without a high fence or a lot of management minded neighbors.

My situation. I have 133 acres South of Bowie. At one time I had a LOT more. The deer were all healthy. But, I started shooting does, culls, etc. I planted wheat and fertilized. Over the years I saw no effect. Then a 4 year drought came along and we were left with damn few deer or wildlife of any kind. Even rabbits, quail, scorpions, chiggers, snakes, turkeys and ticks died off.

Things are looking better now but I no longer see herds of does. Hogs moved in about 10 or so years ago and are doing well. The hogs keep me and neighbors from planting crops of any kind. I can shoot hogs anytime and any day. I’ll have no effect on them.

The bottom line is if you want to manage wildlife, you better get Mama Nature on board.


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Re: Too Many Deer? [Re: Brother Phil] #8126576 01/12/21 06:12 PM
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Want some of our anthrax soil or anthrax deer bones?

I can probably find you a few 120-130" 3/4 grown anthrax antlers lying around bang



Re: Too Many Deer? [Re: Dave Davidson] #8127784 01/13/21 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Davidson
I see no way to have an effect on deer numbers or health without a high fence or a lot of management minded neighbors.

My situation. I have 133 acres South of Bowie. At one time I had a LOT more. The deer were all healthy. But, I started shooting does, culls, etc. I planted wheat and fertilized. Over the years I saw no effect. Then a 4 year drought came along and we were left with damn few deer or wildlife of any kind. Even rabbits, quail, scorpions, chiggers, snakes, turkeys and ticks died off.

Things are looking better now but I no longer see herds of does. Hogs moved in about 10 or so years ago and are doing well. The hogs keep me and neighbors from planting crops of any kind. I can shoot hogs anytime and any day. I’ll have no effect on them.

The bottom line is if you want to manage wildlife, you better get Mama Nature on board.



Did you have any supplemental water or feed besides your winter wheat plot?


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