Texas Hunting Forum

Stumped genetics, but what happened to this one?


Stumped genetics, but what happened to this one? - 02/26/15 06:51 PM

I have hunted all over Texas and various other states for Whitetails and noticed that there was several different species of Whitetail deer that I was hunting. One species in particular were the deer in the north east Texas area. I've hunted the area off and on for about twenty years. I always struggled to see a large buck in the area. Occasionally I would find some big coffee can sized rubs, but no large sheds or large buck sightings. I saw what I thought would of been a good one, one year late in the evening, but never saw him again. All the younger bucks in the area always have a stunted looking set of antlers. I have often wondered if the bordering interstate served as a gene pool barrier. This causing inbreeding within the herd. I've never struggled seeing quality bucks, like I have in this county. I did kill a buck in the high 160s this year on the lease and he looked just like the stunted smaller bucks, but way bigger. Needless to say I was amazed by his antler size and small 125 pound body. Maybe he broke through the slump. It is a mystery. It went from a low 120s place to high 160s in one hunt. He was only 5 years old and a stud. Maybe the big ones are just ghostly in that area. Has this ever happened to you or someone you know? There are no high fences in the area!
Posted By: rattler03

Re: Stumped genetics, but what happened to this one? - 02/26/15 07:15 PM

I've never hunted in northeast Texas, so I'm not familiar with that area. But on our place in the hill country (Blanco County) we had a similar experience. In 25 years we took 2 bucks that scored around 140" but other than those two bucks I bet we only harvested 2 maybe 3 bucks that even scored over 100". We didn't see many, either. We probably averaged about 3 or 4 bucks a year, so in 25 years that's at least 75 bucks, proving that those two big boys were significant outliers. I think a lot of this had to do with the amount of hunting pressure in that particular area, from my experience it was very rare for a buck to make it past 3.5 years old, but those two bucks were probably 6+. There were just too many hunters in the area, most of which seemed to fall into the 'if its brown, its down' crowd. I've heard east Texas can be like a lot like that. So, those 2 big bucks probably weren't that much different from the rest of the bucks in the herd as far as genetics were concerned, it was just that they were the rare exception that got to reach maturity. This might be a factor in your situation, too.
Posted By: redchevy

Re: Stumped genetics, but what happened to this one? - 02/26/15 07:26 PM

I cant see a highway causing a barrier and interbreeding at all. How many dead deer are on that road? I bet many more cross it than get killed crossing it.

No idea where in north east texas your hunting, but 125 lbs for a north texas deer seems light.
Posted By: colt.45

Re: Stumped genetics, but what happened to this one? - 02/26/15 08:45 PM

Deer iin NE texas get educated fast. Not sure what theyed score, but have seen plenty. Congrates on your success. flag

Re: Stumped genetics, but what happened to this one? - 02/26/15 08:56 PM

Its a large interstate with service roads on both sides and not much to offer on the side opposite of where I hunt. I've seen a few dead deer on the side of the roads, but not a slew. I brought the gene pool barrier up because I watched a doc. on the topic and mountain lions wouldn't cross an interstate, so they were in-breeding. They only started crossing when that particular state put in crossing points under the road. Think deer do the same thing? On the age thing, could be true. But my friend killed a deer in this area 3 years ago that was 6-7 years old, and he may have been on the down side, his antlers might've grossed in low 120's, but his body size was very healthy and he weighed around 175. I do feel that the age thing is a factor, and the more I hunt east Texas, the more I realize that when they make it to 4.5, they are apt to have a very nice rack, but the 5-6 year old range seems to be the sweet spot on maximum antler growth.

You know those young bucks that you see and think "that buck has a lot of potential?" This hasn't ever happened to me where I killed this buck. In the 20 years of hunting this 400 acre spot, between me and my friends hunting it, we've only killed 5 bucks and no does. That may not seem like good deer management, but you just don't see a lot of deer. Have passed up a lot of young 'uns. Booners oughta be categorized per county, cuz I feel like I killed one for the county it was in! I'll post some pics so y'all can see a "normal" year and this anomaly from this year.

I don't want to tell you the county cause I don't want to get stampeded by hunters and every time I tell someone I killed a nice buck in a particular area, its not long after that someone moves in on my lease or moves me out.

Re: Stumped genetics, but what happened to this one? - 02/26/15 09:13 PM

Here's a comparison. Up until this season, the buck on the right was the biggest we ever saw. He was at least 4 and weighed about 140. I decided to Euro mount him after I messed up his cape because of an irregular antler growth in the middle of his forehead. Kinda freaky - maybe his parents were kissin' cousins.
Posted By: stxranchman

Re: Stumped genetics, but what happened to this one? - 02/27/15 01:05 AM

Age, nutrition and genetics have to fall into that order when you are dealing with WT IMO. Interstate has nothing to do with the genetics and the genetics are still the same in the herd. What it might be doing is changing the travel pattern till they figure out how and where to cross it. Also not every deer has the potential to be a "booner" type deer no matter how much age and nutrtion it gets.
Posted By: jshouse

Re: Stumped genetics, but what happened to this one? - 02/27/15 03:29 AM

That's a great buck, I saw something similar in Llano in the mid 90s. My uncle was on a 500 acre lease for 5 or 6 years and would take me with him several times a year, they never killed anything over about 110" if I had to guess and bucks rarely made it past 3.5, if it had antlers it was a trophy.

I jumped on the lease in 1997 and saw a guy kill a buck that was a total outlier. He was a clean 10 and every bit of 135" but he was also a different shade of gray from all the other deer on the pole and dwarfed them in size. We were all amazed at the difference and joked that he must have escaped from a big ranch somewhere.

IMO age plays a huge role and a lot of NE Texas is pretty heavily hunted, it may be as simple as that, you found a smart one that managed to slip by while also having the genetics to grow big.

Re: Stumped genetics, but what happened to this one? - 02/27/15 12:53 PM

That's some good stuff. Man this snow has my country hick internet jammed up. don't know if its the snow or people talking about snow or both. The cool thing about spending a hole lot time in the woods is that you learn so much, and then in my case I start to second guess my knowledge. Its always nice to have other peoples facts and opinions to reassure me that I'm not going crazy. 10 4 on the genetics and nutrition, when we were teens we used to think that if we pumped enough iron we would look just like Arnold, NOT! we looked more like long distance runners. When I've killed those 6,7,8 and 9 year old bucks I used to look them in the face and say man I bet you used to have a giant set of antlers back in the day, and now days I wonder if they even did. I here you on the extra 20 to 30 inches of antler on a rack in the deer camp. It makes for some good deer stories. I think what really through me for a loop from the get go is my second east texas deer was a 170 inch stud, and that was about 15 years ago. He was 7 1/2 years old and right then I thought man if they could all make it to 7.5 Not so much anymore.
Posted By: therancher

Re: Stumped genetics, but what happened to this one? - 02/27/15 09:46 PM

Given similar nutrition, older bucks on every ranch I've had would be significantly heavier (body weight) than 5.5 years old and less. One of my biggest bucks had his best antlers last year at 9 years old. Looks like he's gonna be about 20" less this year, dropping from 260's to 240's.

On my native only south Texas place we don't kill bucks under 6.5 and they average over 200# from 6.5 on up. Except during drought years their antlers are progressivly better through 8.5. I would bet money that the bucks in northeast Texas would average -200# with maturity.

Btw, we don't age with teeth. I don't believe that to be very accurate at all. We age by the knowledge of which deer is which (no ear tags either). High fences have many positives, and that's one.

No way an interstate has any silo effect on genetic diversity.
Posted By: nsmike

Re: Stumped genetics, but what happened to this one? - 02/28/15 12:54 AM

Here in MN, I know of two areas only a few miles apart, where you would swear the deer are two different species. One is sand plain, the other limestone bluff country, the difference is strictly nutrition. Bucks from the Weaver Bottoms will only average about 75% of the weight of deer taken from the bluffs five miles away.

Re: Stumped genetics, but what happened to this one? - 02/28/15 01:58 AM

I'm with you on the jaw ageing thing. I always pull the jaw bones out of all of my deer though. It gives me a close year range of the deer. My taxidermist looked at the jaw bone of that deer and compared it to a chart. He said it was only 4.5 years old. I said hmmm. With the tall teeth I knew he wasn't that old of a buck, but figured with the antler mass the deer had to be at least 5 years old. He is the heaviest deer I have ever killed in east Texas. Sometimes I wonder if the land has poor soil quality, and the deer just aren't getting the minerals they need to meet their maximum potential. I often wonder if the ridiculous amount of hogs take away enough groceries to affect the deer's overall health. I also feel that deer are like people, we are all different looking. That 170 I killed about 15 years ago was a small bodied deer, and Ive killed some in the same area that couldn't be pulled out by one man. Ive also witnessed the deer weight differences in short distances like in MN. Ive noticed the areas with a high population of deer usually have smaller bodies. May be a food thang.
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