Deer Management

Deer Management

Deer Management

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Velvet Antlered Bucks in the Fall

Velvet Antlered Bucks in the Fall

April 18, 2020 by

I receive dozens of calls each fall from concerned hunters from central Texas, more specifically Llano, Gillespie, San Saba, Burnet and Mason counties about seeing or harvesting late season velvet antlered bucks.   The condition is called hypogonadism and it affects male deer primarily in the Central Basin, or Llano Uplift ecological area.   These areas are rich in granite gravel soil types and this condition tends to show up in numbers in these general areas in drier years.  I have seen it outside of this area, such as this mule deer buck I harvested last fall in Jeff Davis County near Fort Davis, but it is very prevalent in male whitetail deer in central Texas.

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Density

Density

December 28, 2019 by

Density is defined as “the amount of something per unit of measure”.  The density of cattle and deer on a property are the primary factors influencing the overall production of the ranch.  It is a balancing act to match the animals with the ever-changing food supply of the property.  A progressive manager must react in an efficient manner if continued success is to be realized during the good and bad habitat times.

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How to Determine the Rut Peak on Your Ranch

How to Determine the Rut Peak on Your Ranch

August 12, 2019 by

Have you ever wondered exactly when the peak of the breeding season occurs on your very own hunting grounds?  Are the hunting magazine articles too general and not specific enough for you?   Have you read the TPWD brochure showing the eco-region peak breeding dates?  All of these offer great information but some folks desire much more specifics for their own ranches.  Continue reading for more information and details to help you determine the peak of the breeding season on your very own ranch.

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Harvest Data: Why Is It Needed?

Harvest Data: Why Is It Needed?

January 24, 2019 by

Harvest data collection is a real necessity of any deer management program.  It tells you about the current and past health history of your herd.  It helps establish trends in antler and body production.  It gives you averages and percentages.  It allows you to separate out portions of your deer herd for closer scrutiny and evaluation.  It takes out the emotion of the hunt and the eye appeal of the antlers.  It is black and white and it is objective.

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Doe Harvest Strategies Examined

Doe Harvest Strategies Examined

April 14, 2018 by

“Back in the day” antlerless harvest was not only unpopular, but also downright illegal in some areas.  Many areas of North America still have permit-only antlerless harvest due to low populations so why all the fuss about why to harvest female deer?

This article is more about the HOW and not the WHY of harvesting antlerless deer.  We know why we harvest females—to help lower the population and keep the herd in balance as best we can; but the how sometimes gets lost or foggy and so perhaps we can clear the muddy waters a bit here.

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Antler Growth & How You Can Help

Antler Growth & How You Can Help

December 07, 2017 by

Deer hunters hunt for many different reasons, that is understandable and hard to argue with.  What about trying to produce the bucks with the largest racks possible for hunting purposes?

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Antler Growth for Beginners

Antler Growth for Beginners

June 15, 2017 by

Who out there can honestly say that deer antlers don’t get them excited?  Whether we manage deer as a profession or a passion, growing bucks with the big antlers is on our minds somewhere down the line.  From the earliest drawings of our ancestors on cave walls, we have always had a fascination with antlers–their size, their shape, their oddities, their growth.  Why else would we get up well before daylight and brave the harsh elements to pursue antlers and their owners?

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Which Deer Do I Harvest?

Which Deer Do I Harvest?

February 13, 2017 by

Hunters are faced with this dilemma each time a group of deer present themselves for harvest. This article is to help you answer this question once and for all.

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Tips to Aid Spotlight Surveys

Tips to Aid Spotlight Surveys

January 23, 2017 by

For those choosing spotlight surveys this year, consider the following tips:

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The Magic of the Rut

The Magic of the Rut

September 13, 2016 by

What, exactly, is the rut in whitetail deer and why do hunters enjoy it so much? What causes the normally secretive and elusive mature bucks to temporarily lose their minds and wander out into a wide open field during the hunting season? In this two part series, we will take a deeper look into the science and biology of this incredible, annual, phenomenon hunters call “the rut”.

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Rut Hunting, Your Management Window

Rut Hunting, Your Management Window

June 03, 2016 by

Every deer hunter worth his salt knows that hunting during the rut is likely the best time to harvest a mature buck. Last issue, we explored the mechanics and biology behind the rut and why and how it makes mature bucks do the silly things they do and therefore makes them vulnerable to your weapon of choice. This issue, let’s discuss HOW deer managers can use the rut to their benefit to help them manage their deer herd.

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Quantity vs. Quality

Quantity vs. Quality

May 17, 2016 by

How many times have you heard someone say that they would love to see a pasture full of 180” deer? As a private consulting biologist, I hear it often and usually just nod my head when I hear it. Not that growing 180” deer isn’t possible in your pasture, it is very possible. But what may not be possible is producing the proverbial “pasture full” of them.

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Now What?

Now What?

January 13, 2016 by

At this time of year, I get many inquiries about what projects there are to help the deer and deer hunting for the fall.  Deer season and growing big antlers happens in a small percentage of the available time and you have to work smart and hard when the time comes. And now is the time.

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Natural Mortality, What is it?

Natural Mortality, What is it?

November 13, 2015 by

Death by Mother Nature–by “natural causes”– accidental death, death caused by something other than your weapon, that is what it is. Shooting at and wounding a deer that eventually dies from the wounds is not natural mortality. Starvation, flooding, fighting, predation, birthing complications, drought, snake bites, hung in fences and car accidents are examples of natural mortality.

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Management

Management

October 03, 2015 by

We have all heard and probably used the word management when referring to a ranch or a hunting scenario. I know I see and hear it in almost every article, magazine ad and ranch description. But I also make my living physically managing ranches and I am here to say that this term is often used, abused and misused!

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