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Old 11-12-2010, 01:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Question on what to harvest?

Guys,

We have 160 acre lease in central il. We have hunted this for the last two years and have 3 more years for sure. We have seen a ratio of bucks to does somewhere between 3-5 to 1. We have hunted all different times of the year and see the same ratio about everytime. So, my question is this:

Is it better to try to take some of button bucks and spikes rather than the does? I figure we will let the small 4 and 6 pointers, 2 1/2 years, etc. walk so we can hopefully hunt them in a few years when they are older. I just don't want to harvest does and screw up our chances for the bigger bucks down the line. We have a few decent size bucks we have seen on camera and in person, but the majority of the bucks are smaller guys. What do you guys think?
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Old 11-12-2010, 01:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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FF, what is this "Harvest" stuff? You harvest CORN, not animals!!! One of the PC terms I really HATE!!! LOL!

Anyway, if it were my land I'd try to cull out the deer with poor genetics. You say you wish to let the 4-6 pointers/2.5 Y.O's walk. IMO, those deer are perfect candidates to cull out. If they're that old, then they aren't ever going to be B&C bucks because the genetics simply aren't there. With spikes and buttons those deer (IF "harvested" lol!) you will never know their true potential. If your ratios are down that low where the bucks are drastically outnumbering the does, then yes I would agree that leaving the does might be your best bet. But, I also don't think harvesting one or two does will have much of an impact if you choose to do so. (Adjacent properties/other hunters with which you have no control over). But, if you have the tags, I'd nail the genetically inferior 2.5+ year olds...
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Old 11-12-2010, 09:00 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Take the does. You will see a lot of places trying to get a 1-1 or 2-1 ratio. Their has been countless times where a smaller buck will develop. I am not talking about the freakish little racks or tall spike bucks either. What makes you think these are 2 1/2 yr old bucks and not just 1 1/2 year old bucks. If it was my lease I would take the does and try and wait for a big buck. The genetics should be their and half the time this genetics thing that everyone raves about really boils down to are the deer really getting the right nutrition. Kind of like an athlete. Feed them protein and they will grow some muscles and feed them junk and they dont. Whats the hunting pressure like around you ... is everyone killing 1 1/2 year old basketrack 8 pt deer or ???
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Old 11-12-2010, 10:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quacker, I don't think too many deer go undernourished in the midwest here!!! IF these deer are truly 2.5 Y.O.'s (as both you and I are questioning) and they're sporting 4 and 6 point racks I don't care what you feed 'em, they're NOT going to grow more points!!! It is indeed a fact that 1.5 Y.O. spikes can grow into respectable bucks if allowed to grow along with proper nutrition. That's why I suggested letting them walk. Perhaps I'm misreading the post, but it appears that there's anywhere from 3.5 bucks to 1 doe or 5-1, depending on which day you're counting (correct?) If so, why would you want to hit more does and bring those numbers even more out of whack?
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Old 11-13-2010, 07:19 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Let me clarify a few points:

1. The ratio seems to be anywhere from 3 bucks to 1 doe and 5 bucks to 1 for
2. I am guessing the age of the deer strictly by body size. Some could be 1 1/2, although the few I have seen recently were probably 2 1/2

3. We would love to get a trophy buck, but we are also looking for meat fir the freezer. There are 4 of us

4. The hunting pressure around us is mostly gun. Not many bowhunters around us. Most guys around here going for a bigger buck


I guess the better question is:

No matter what age, size, etc. If we are looking to put some meat in the freezer and we have a dominant buck to doe ratio, what are the best deer to cull in order to achieve 2 goals at the same time

1. Chance at a trophy buck
2. Meat in freezer
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Old 11-13-2010, 07:58 AM   #6 (permalink)
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FF, a couple of other things to think about. First off, are you seeing a lot of bucks during the pre-rut and the rut? It would make sense when bucks are in their bachelor groups before the rut that it's very possible you will see more bucks than does. With 4 guys and multiple trips though I suspect that your finds are fairly accurate. BUT, if you're seeing a lot of bucks during the rut. Then, that tells me there are does in the area otherwise you wouldn't be seeing the bucks.

As far as your last two questions, I think it would depend on your tag situation. If you have a buck bow tag AND buck gun tag then I would not hesitate to take whatever offers you an opportunity with a bow. THAT depends a lot on the individual and what you want to take. Ideally, a 2.5 4 pointer would be best for the future ratios.

Assuming you have two tags and meat in the freezer, come gun season your best way to take a trophy buck (besides all the being in the right spot stuff, etc.) is to PASS on the little ones. Not to state the obvious, but you can't take a trophy buck if you fill your tag with a lesser buck. And, to spend as much time as possible in the field. Again, the more you're out there, the better your chance of seeing a big boy. The year I got my 12 point/162 5/8" NET I passed the day before on a 130 class 8 point. The year before that I passed on a 150 class 10 point that was broadside 10 yards feeding acorns in front of me. I went the next 2.5 days w/o seeing another decent buck and went home empty handed that year.
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Old 11-13-2010, 08:00 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Might want to look and habitat management as it seems you have good numbers of deer. This way you can keep the big guys on your land



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Old 11-13-2010, 12:17 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Mature buck occupy 400 to 1500 acres, so you can expect them to come and go. But if there's food and does, the bucks will stay or be attracted.
I think taking some under-developed immature bucks might help your cause.
But without long term plans and cooperation from neighbors it might be tuff...
JMHO
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Old 11-13-2010, 12:36 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks for replies guys. We have seen these ratios at all times, not just the rut. If it were just the rut, I could see the skewed numbers possibly being the way they are. As everyone knows, it's really hard to try and implement any kind of management program unless you have major acreage or the cooperation of the neighbors. Just wanted to get some opinions and see some viewpoints on what should be taken and why, to achieve the goals. I think at this point we will try and take the younger under achievers and maybe an occasional doe, obviously saving at least one tag for the "big boy"

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Old 11-13-2010, 04:15 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I originally thought it was 3 or 5 does to bucks not vise versa (kind of read a little quick over that). I would still like to know about the food, ect around this place. Can you supplement this farm with food plots, mineral licks in the off season, ec. Maybe the surrounding property is holding the bigger bucks in general. If you have a lot of guys around you letting these smaller bucks walk also that may be the case why their are so many little bucks. I would just start filling the freezer if I was you with the little bucks and let the 4-6 pt go for another year and see what happens. Wish I had that problem of to many little bucks on the property. Good Luck and hope to here some good shooting next weekend.
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