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Herd dynamics or overall herd numbers?

Old 08-12-2008, 07:39 AM
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Default Herd dynamics or overall herd numbers?

What's more important (to keep at "natural" levels)?

An answer in another thread kinda surprised me. Let's say your land couldcarry (640 acres - square mile) 20 deer. Your herd dynamics (buck:doe ratio-wise) is 3:1.

Do you try to keep the overall numbers at the carrying capacity? Or....do you shoot does and try to get your buck:doe ratio more in balance?

I understand it would be nearly impossible to KNOW the exact numbers.....but in a perfect world....which would be your primary focus?
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Old 08-12-2008, 07:42 AM
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Default RE: Herd dynamics or overall herd numbers?

In a perfect world, buck-doe ratio.
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Old 08-12-2008, 07:42 AM
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Default RE: Herd dynamics or overall herd numbers?

Shoot does and improve the habitat. I grew up hunting deer in areas with 1-5 deer per square mile. It's tough but if your smart you can still get on them, it won't last that way for long anyhow if you have good or create good habitat. The population will bounce back and if you have good habitat other deer will relocate there as well.........chances are at least 50/50 that the new deer relocating will be a buck.
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Old 08-12-2008, 07:43 AM
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Default RE: Herd dynamics or overall herd numbers?

Was that me Jeff? If it is I knew that post would raise some eyebrows.
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Old 08-12-2008, 07:45 AM
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Default RE: Herd dynamics or overall herd numbers?

The way you wrote that ratio and descriped it means that there is 3 bucks to every 1 doe.

Buck: Doe
3:1

But a good ratio first then try try and make the herd its optimal size.
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Old 08-12-2008, 07:45 AM
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Default RE: Herd dynamics or overall herd numbers?

Was that me Jeff?
No
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Old 08-12-2008, 08:28 AM
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Default RE: Herd dynamics or overall herd numbers?

Both. They aren't mutually exclusive.
Where you get into trouble is when hunters want deer number OVER healthy carrying capacities.

The biggest thing I would like to change about the deer herd I hunt is age structure. FAR too few bucks 2.5+. And even more FAR too few bucks 4.5+.
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Old 08-12-2008, 08:36 AM
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Default RE: Herd dynamics or overall herd numbers?

Maybe Bawana will jump in here.....becasue it was his post that triggered this question.

He states that his herd dynamic (buck:doe ratio) is 1:3 or even as high as 1:4. I won't speak for him....but I also remember him saying he thought the doe numbers in the state didn't warrant more tags being issued.

So that begs the question.......

If your buck:doe ratio is out of whack......which is more important? Do you attempt to get the ratio back in sync.....OR do you let the overall carrying capacity of the lands you hunt dictate how many deer you allow to remain on your property....(and let the carrying capacity - as long as it's UNDER what is "healthy" -be your driving force for your management ideology)?
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Old 08-12-2008, 08:54 AM
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Default RE: Herd dynamics or overall herd numbers?

Where I gun hunt (U.P. of MI), I could not honestly give you the ratio with any certainty, probably somewhere the 15-20:1 (does to bucks). In such an extreme, you can kill two birds, by reducing the does, the ratio comes back in order as does the healthy carrying capacity. The gun season has historically been a kill-fest, with any antlered deer being killed, thereby greatly knocking the bucks down, when 0 does are harvested because there are not tags for them. Last year was teh first year for OTC doe tags of any quantity, and they were giving them away (yes, free) by the middle of firearm season because no one would buy them. This year, there are antler regs that hopefully keep some of those 1 1/2 y.o. bucks alive.

As for carrying capacity, is there really a way to accurately tell what it is? In IL, the crops have kind of negated the carrying capacity of small woodlots, because food is not an issue, which is really what carrying capacity is about.
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:02 AM
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Default RE: Herd dynamics or overall herd numbers?

IMO, the first driving force should be population, because overpopulation, by definition, means you are getting substandard nutrition. Forage is the limiting factor most of the time, correct? Lowered nutritional intake means antler growth IS being affected. So lower the popuplation first.

The way you lower population can also alter your buck/doe ratio and age structure, so it is a win/win situation in my opinion. To me though, it is just basic QDM I mean, basic deer management is not rocket science, no insult intended. It is really alot more simple than most folks give credit for. It is mainly getting enough peolpe in the area to do it that makes the difference.
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