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Young bucks - shoot or pass

Walker DogWalker Dog Posts: 2,155 Captain
Does it help the deer herd to give young bucks a pass? If so, in what ways?

Are there costs to the herd in areas where most of them are harvested each year? If so what are they?
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Replies

  • mattb78mattb78 Posts: 209 Deckhand
    Dear Walker,

    What you are getting age is "a balanced age structure", and yes its important to the herd for a few reasons. Research suggests that hormones put out by older bucks help trigger estrus in does, hence the rut "tightens up" with more mature bucks making for more exciting hunting. Secondly, when the rut tightens up, the does give birth in a narrower time frame, which helps more fawns escape predators.

    These are just a few of the biological advantages of a balanced age structure. There are alot of articles out there about this. We may never know all the advantages of a balanced age structure, but doesn't it make sense to have the population the way mother nature intended?
  • Derek ArsuaDerek Arsua Posts: 2,474 Officer
    I would say yes it hurts the herd as they have not reached maturity and bred any does. There is a happy ratio of how many does to bucks it takes to make up a healthy herd I think the number is like 3:1 or so. If you have too many does and not enough bucks the bucks either A try to spread themselves too thin which can cause health issues for him and bad genetics for his young. B not all does will be bred leaving the potential of more deer ruined or C the mature bucks will be so spread out that they won't have to compete with other bucks and will be less aggressive in his rut activities leading to leisurely breeding and again not all does getting bred and eventually you will have Inbreeding that again affects a herds health and a deers antler formation. I'm no biologist but it has all been told to me and it all makes perfect sense
  • rrbgttrrbgtt Posts: 6,758 Admiral
    I don't really know if I believe the "helps the herd" theory, unless bigger horns means better herd to you.

    I think that is just a "feel good" idea designed to sound better than let 'em walk so you can have bigger horns on the wall.

    For the record, I'm all about letting them walk. I just do it because, it's easier to kill big ones for the wall if you let the smaller one's walk.
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  • PalmettoKidPalmettoKid Posts: 847 Officer
    I have gone back and forth on this.

    Really it doesn't matter. The overall harvest % of antlered bucks is what matters.
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  • Reel TealReel Teal Posts: 3,925 Captain
    Does it hurt the herd?
  • CyclistCyclist Posts: 23,346 AG
    Shoot the little ones and the sick looking ones and leave the big boys alone if you really want to improve the herd. :)
  • huntmstrhuntmstr Posts: 6,290 Admiral
    Cyclist wrote: »
    Shoot the little ones and the sick looking ones and leave the big boys alone if you really want to improve the herd. :)

    Thank God you're not in charge of deer management in FL. Take a good look at your statement and tell me you actually believe the crap you just spewed forth.
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  • KamoKamo Posts: 27 Greenhorn
    Cyclist wrote: »
    Shoot the little ones and the sick looking ones and leave the big boys alone if you really want to improve the herd. :)

    Ahh yes the ol' "survival of the fittest" Darwinian theory stuff.
  • gladesmangladesman Posts: 1,362 Officer
    rrbgtt wrote: »
    I don't really know if I believe the "helps the herd" theory, unless bigger horns means better herd to you.

    I think that is just a "feel good" idea designed to sound better than let 'em walk so you can have bigger horns on the wall.

    For the record, I'm all about letting them walk. I just do it because, it's easier to kill big ones for the wall if you let the smaller one's walk.

    Agree 100% w/bold print and that it is the current management trend de jour that that supports the new QDM industry philosophy which is turning whitetail deer into a commodity (e.g. 250,000 dollar breeder bucks and minimal concerns about CWD transfer to Fl.)

    Private business doing what it wants and the integral profit motive is OK but when their concepts migrate to our public lands as it is doing in Fla I do not agree one bit especially since the migration is premised upon iffie biased toward "we want big buck" surveys in large part.

    Former FWC State Biologist Frank Montalbano said it like it is - We can choose to manage deer in Fl either for antlers or numbers of deer (almost a quote). Fla is now doing the former - How can it be anything else when unavoidable definition of the "quality deer" is based on number of antler points. Sooooo Squirrely!
  • CyclistCyclist Posts: 23,346 AG
    Age, Nutrition and Genetics.

    Two things you can change. One you can't, unless you hunt in big fences.

    Deer management in Florida?!?!!? Surely you jest.
  • Walker DogWalker Dog Posts: 2,155 Captain
    Interesting comments so far.

    I asked because it seems hunters often don't consider that their harvest decisions might produce costs or benefits for the deer herd that remains after the harvest is done for the year. The herd is mostly a reflection of the "trigger management" decisions that are made in the field. Not trying to say that anyones decision to harvest a deer of any sex or age is good or bad. Just that our harvest decisions do have an effect on what the herd looks like in the future.
  • Walker DogWalker Dog Posts: 2,155 Captain
    gladesman wrote: »
    it is the current management trend de jour that that supports the new QDM industry philosophy which is turning whitetail deer into a commodity (e.g. 250,000 dollar breeder bucks and minimal concerns about CWD transfer to Fl.)

    You're venturing off topic, but I hope you don't seriously have the misconception that QDM is synonomous with $250K breeder bucks.

    When QDM was first being practiced almost 40 years ago, deer farms were not even on the radar screen, let alone high dollar breeder bucks.

    QDM is not even remotely like the deer farming industry. The association that promotes QDM (the QDMA) has been one of the (if not THE) strongest and most active voices against the deer farming industry, for the same disease concern you incorrectly attribute to the management philosophy they promote, as well as other equally important reasons.

    Back to the original question
  • binellishtrbinellishtr Posts: 8,797 Admiral
    Ask the guy who successfully managed the Fipps Plantation his thoughts about shooting bucks? And Doe deer. Again, it was for private management.

    Florida should only be managed for Max sus quantity,let the rest take care of itself as it has been doing successfully for generations.

    Are 5 inch forked horn, or 10inch bucks immune to disease in FLorida?
  • pbsnookerpbsnooker Posts: 882 Officer
    Hunter x is sitting in his stand, he is going to kill a deer today. His quota allows 1 deer. What's the difference to the deer heard if he kills a 1 1/2 deer 4pt verses a 2 1/2 yr old 6 pt. If he kills the 4 pt the 2 1/2 year old gets to see 3 1/2. If he kills the 2 1/2 yr old the young buck just replaces him the fallowing year. I almost see more benefit for you trophy hunters and the heard by hunter x killing the younger deer.
  • Skunk ApeSkunk Ape Posts: 3,855 Captain
    It's just an antler thing. There's no reason whatsoever that a spike breeding a doe can hurt the deer herd. And what if you shoot the doe that's carrying the big antler gene? I will never buy into this, only reason to let them walk is so you can kill a trophy in a few years.
  • jamesfreddycjamesfreddyc Posts: 960 Officer
    I was always under the impression that generally poor soils across the state has far greater influence on deer herd health, quality, etc... The success of the herd of indians is not as significant. It's also why you can grow "quality" deer on private lands --- you can improve soils and resulting browse in a controlled and localized manner as compared to the hundreds of thousands of public land acreage, focused on smaller herds of deer (that would be affected by hunting activities).
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  • binellishtrbinellishtr Posts: 8,797 Admiral
    Florida is allowing too much input from Private land biologists...none of which have ever had any success in a public WMA. No offense to any of our in house experts, but public land should be managed for Max sustainability. Pick a few special opp places to impose restrictions like they have done for yrs and yrs like Joe Budd and others. Remember AR's were an experiment at one time(anyone remember that??)...kind of like the love bug experiment gone wild!
  • GRIZZLGRIZZL Posts: 822 Officer
    pbsnooker wrote: »
    Hunter x is sitting in his stand, he is going to kill a deer today. His quota allows 1 deer. What's the difference to the deer heard if he kills a 1 1/2 deer 4pt verses a 2 1/2 yr old 6 pt. If he kills the 4 pt the 2 1/2 year old gets to see 3 1/2. If he kills the 2 1/2 yr old the young buck just replaces him the fallowing year. I almost see more benefit for you trophy hunters and the heard by hunter x killing the younger deer.

    True...if I NEED/WANT MEAT..I'll take a doe/spike/small buck. If I see a 6...I'll pass and try and see what he looks like as an 8 or better. I think only 1 in 10 get to a 100inch or better during their life span...I'm working that right now at a WMA...saw passed as a 6 in 2012...didn't see in 2013 but pretty sure he's still alive with his sign (size of pellets, Rubs and a big scrape line still active after the last hunt of 2013)...tried like heck to get in on every hunt and got 3 of the 4...the first hunt never got through...spinning wheel of death...and no lotto...I'd prefer to take him with a bow...but only have 4 days for that...hope to get lucky with wind direction...and this friggin RAIN not flood me out...

    6's small 8's are scrubs...have to pass if you want something good to make it..but that has nothing to do with herd health that I know of except the bigger bucks are allowed fight and breed..which is MORE fun...
  • james 14james 14 Posts: 3,021 Moderator
    pbsnooker wrote: »
    Hunter x is sitting in his stand, he is going to kill a deer today. His quota allows 1 deer. What's the difference to the deer heard if he kills a 1 1/2 deer 4pt verses a 2 1/2 yr old 6 pt. If he kills the 4 pt the 2 1/2 year old gets to see 3 1/2. If he kills the 2 1/2 yr old the young buck just replaces him the fallowing year. I almost see more benefit for you trophy hunters and the heard by hunter x killing the younger deer.

    Letting all 1.5 yr olds walk means there are more TOTAL bucks on the area. It makes no difference if that ONE hunter shoots ONE buck but it makes a huge difference if every hunter shoots the first stupid little 1.5 yr old that runs by their stand and most of them die.
    More TOTAL bucks on the area increases competition for does which tightens up the breeding window and ensures higher fawn survival rates. Letting 1.5 yr olds walk is NOT trophy management.

    Shooting every 5" buck you see is not managing for max sustainability.
  • GRIZZLGRIZZL Posts: 822 Officer
    I don't think we're AT Carrying Capacity Plus+. The deer I've taken HAD *SOME* fat on the back straps...no allot like up north but they weren't starving so there IS food out there..so the animals *should* grow...the antlers I've seen on the young bucks show some mass too so the potential is there...

    Dang Hogs are fat a ticks and the Cattle seem to be eating too...
  • DoradoDreaminDoradoDreamin Posts: 2,020 Captain
    james 14 wrote: »
    Letting all 1.5 yr olds walk means there are more TOTAL bucks on the area. It makes no difference if that ONE hunter shoots ONE buck but it makes a huge difference if every hunter shoots the first stupid little 1.5 yr old that runs by their stand and most of them die. More TOTAL bucks on the area increases competition for does which tightens up the breeding window and ensures higher fawn survival rates. Letting 1.5 yr olds walk is NOT trophy management.

    Bingo. Plus, if the herd does get hit by disease or really severe weather (think hurricane and high water in South FL), the middle aged bucks are stronger than the 1.5 y/o bucks and are more likely to survive.
  • Florida BullfrogFlorida Bullfrog Posts: 2,908 Captain
    gladesman wrote: »
    Former FWC State Biologist Frank Montalbano said it like it is - We can choose to manage deer in Fl either for antlers or numbers of deer (almost a quote). Fla is now doing the former - How can it be anything else when unavoidable definition of the "quality deer" is based on number of antler points. Sooooo Squirrely!

    I've had the pleasure of hunting with Mr. Montalbano for several years. We used to do hunts in SC 2-3 times a year. I think very highly of him.

    I'm in favor of having as many mature bucks as reasonably possible in the deer herd. I can't help but believe that any deer herd is better off having lots a mature bucks running around. Shooting less young bucks is bound to lead to more mature bucks.

    I also don't want to see deer in Florida managed for sport and the expense of sustenance. When I quit my government job last year I did something I've never done before... I hunted for sustenance instead of pleasure. It wasn't that my wife and I became dirt poor, but it seemed like a good way to manage our resources by trying to become as self-sustaining as possible. From October of last year to turkey season of this year we bought no beef. Instead we substituted venison for beef in all of our home meals. I had never been more satisfied with the deer I killed than those deer I killed last year that fed and sustained us.

    I'm all for walking young bucks but the trade off needs to be liberal doe harvest. I won't support protecting both young bucks and does. I'll support protecting one at the expense of the other so that anyone who wants venison can get. Trying to get venison from a mature buck is a losing proposition. They're too shy and nocturnal to wager your meat for the year on them. That makes them great to hunt for pleasure but poor to hunt for sustenance.
  • ReelAffair23ReelAffair23 Posts: 788 Officer
    Cyclist wrote: »
    Shoot the little ones and the sick looking ones and leave the big boys alone if you really want to improve the herd. :)

    Why leave the big ones alone, the little ones have genetic traits already, just saying.......
  • WildLinesWildLines Posts: 551 Officer
    my thought has been if you want to hunt mature 3+ year old deer then you have to let the deer get that old. On a private lease that may mean passing on several bucks for a few years and then you will have nice deer each year. I think the key is keeping the deer on your property with plots and etc because your neighbor may shoot everything.
  • binellishtrbinellishtr Posts: 8,797 Admiral
    I'm not so sure a lot of people commenting here have actually seen a FULL RUT in progress? A lot of it happens at night, and rest assured if given the proper access, the mature buck will mount every receptive doe each and every day she is able to receive a buck...till the point his peckr is about to fall off.

    Also, can someone tell me the diff between 1.5 yr old semen from a good trait deer and a 2,3,4,5 or 10 yr old buck from the same genetics...besides the amount of yrs?

    A 1.5 yr old deer is no stronger then a 5 yr old deer when it comes to hi water,disease etc. Predators yes,anything else no. Just ask Frank Montalbano
  • binellishtrbinellishtr Posts: 8,797 Admiral
    Again, FWC isn't managing for antlers according to them. So someone tell me how increasing the mature buck ratio increases the herd?

    I keep hearing about this fawn dropping week that goes on, but I'm kind of curious about this dedicated breeding period throughout Florida?

    IMO, if the buffet is open in S Fl in May, and june is in the neighboring county, and so on, it would appear to me that good fawn eating would be like a fat guy scheduling buffets from Mon-Sunday?
  • binellishtrbinellishtr Posts: 8,797 Admiral
    Anyone here ever watch the mullet run in E Florida?

    When the mullet are at their thickest, man o man are the predators on their ***.... but somedays the mullet are here and there,but no fish seem to be busting them up? I don't know, just an observation from a guy who has been around for a long tooth while?
  • binellishtrbinellishtr Posts: 8,797 Admiral
    One more thing .... anyone heard what the new regulations are for the hunting of predators in FL? Pick one of the newfound DMU's and let me know the new regulations/limits/tooth length.to protect these new deer regulations/unmeasurable goals set forth.
  • Walker DogWalker Dog Posts: 2,155 Captain
    Makes no difference to the fawn what the age of the buck is that breeds a doe. But it does make a difference if you have 10 bucks available to breed 100 does or if you have 30 bucks available to do it or 50 to do it. The more competition, the better the chance that natural selection will occur as nature intended it to.

    The more bucks available to cover the does, the sooner they will get the job done so fawns will be born over a shorter time which means there is a shorter time frame where they are prone to being eaten by predators.

    The less time it takes for fawns to be dropped, the closer their birth is to when conditions are optimum for the habitat to be able to support their mothers while they nurse them.

    Lots of other benefits too like less stress on the bucks doing the breeding if they finish sooner.
  • pbsnookerpbsnooker Posts: 882 Officer
    Exactly, more prey equals more predators, probably more hunters for a little while, when there is plenty of eight points frolicking around the woods, then when they get knocked back to previous levels, they will have to think of more restrictions to put in place. Eventually it will come down to one or two buck tags a year. It will make the wife happy, tag out in archery. Definitely by muzzle. She will be able to plan more Disney land trips, can't wait!
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