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Harvesting Long Horn Spikes/Does for Management

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Harvesting Long Horn Spikes/Does for Management

Old 11-30-2016, 07:00 PM
  #1  
Spike
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Default Harvesting Long Horn Spikes/Does for Management

Harvesting Long Horn Spikes/Does for Management

Hey Guys,

I'm new here, and would like your opinion on something I've been thinking about lately. Hope you're ready to read

We lease 500 acres to a small group of hunters. I also hunt the property. We've been implementing a management program where we only kill mountable or what they consider "cull" bucks the past 3-4 years. The deer population has grown quite a bit from a few years back. When we first started, we'd be lucky to see a deer on any given hunt. Now it's common to see 3-7 deer per hunt.

Like I said, we have only been killing "cull" and mountable bucks the past few years. Probably average 5-9 deer per year taken from the property that I'm aware of.

Last year was the best year as far as consistent deer sightings go. And this year, even though it's still early, seems like it's going to be even better, because we're already seeing numerous deer everytime we hit the stand, and the temp has been hovering at 70 degrees. They normally don't start really moving well until mid December.

Our hunters have the property surrounded with cameras, and one estimated (by camera) we have around 50 does, and around 12 bucks. I have no way to verify, as I just put my cameras out last week at 2 different stands, and have not and probably will not sift through their pictures. Though I can verify 15 deer at those 2 stands that I put out cameras. 12 does, a long horn spike, a yearling 6 pt, and a nubby buck.

The guys still do not want to kill any does, but I'm at the point where I believe we should take at least a few out to keep the buck to doe ratio pretty close. It's pretty cool to watch bucks chasing does, last year was the first time I'd ever seen it live - literally watch him run her into the bushes, do the bangity bang, and part ways.

Anyway, I was reading this article last night:

http://www.huntingnet.com/forum/whit...-him-grow.html

Spike History on Property: Last year I hunted just 1 stand all year. On this stand, I could verify 8 different yearling spikes roaming the area, all of which must have been born late, because they were really small deer.

According to user PIKE in the link above, bucks travel/have home range of 20-30 miles? I thought it was more along the lines of 8-10 miles, but either way, these spike bucks will eventually leave if they haven't already.

The issue: Our hunters believe that if they put out enough feed, the bucks will stay on the property, so they still don't want to kill anything except mountable deer or what they consider culls.

My way of thinking, if these spikes are going to leave and go to another property anyway, why not just take them out? Especially since even though a study by Texas A&M documents that while a spike will eventually grow respectable horns, they are more likely to have an inferior rack even in their prime.

So there are 2 reasons IMO to take them out:

1) If they breed our does, we'll continue to produce spikes and inferior racks even at 3-5 yrs, assuming they stick around.

2) Even if they breed, they're more than likely going to leave the property anyway.

To my way of thinking, if these 8 spikes stayed around our property despite studies stating otherwise, we should have at minimum 8 small rack 2 1/2- 3 1/2 yr old bucks roaming.

Any thoughts on this?


DOE Harvest:

If their estimations are correct, we have 50 does & around 12 bucks. Only one of which is a shooter. I'm also trusting that they are telling the truth, which could be questionable (I was raised to shoot anything that moves, so they have reason to want to hold back info that I do not have myself).

Based on those figures, if correct, the doe to buck ratio would be right at 4.3 does to 1 buck. (note: yearling does are included in the 50 count, because I'm not sure how many we have).

Growing up, the property we hunted had TONS of does, I mean we'd see 15-20 at every hunt (morning & evening). I got to where I wouldn't shoot does, but would not discriminate on horns. If it had bone sticking out its head, it was gonna at least get lead slung at it. I can't remember that well (it's been 20+ years), but I recall shooter buck sightings not being that often (shooter buck as defined by our strategy today - mountable only), and I never saw a buck giving chase to a doe like I did this past year.

So the main reason I'd like to take a few does is to try to get the ratio to around 3:1 or 2:1.

I believe we're at a fork in the road as far as getting over run by does. A few more years of not taking does, I fear it will turn into our old woods, seeing tons of does and rarely seeing shooter bucks because of the abundant opportunity to mate in hiding. I mean, with 50 does & 12 or so bucks, the bucks wouldn't have to work too hard or have to give open chase to mate.


Any thoughts or opinions?

Thanks!
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Old 11-30-2016, 07:27 PM
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First question---What do you mean by a "small group of hunters"? What is the number?
Second question---Whoever this guy is that came up with a buck ranging over 20-30 miles is nuts! Many deer don't roam more than a mile if the habitat and forage is appropriate for the number of animals. A mature buck may go a mile or 3 to breed does if there aren't enough on his home turf, which generally isn't that big of an area. Your property is less than 1 square mile, so if you do have that many does then by all means a bunch need to be taken out of the herd, preferably the oldest that may not be producing any fawns and are only eating forage that the younger animals need. I am for taking spikes out of the herd unless you know for sure a particular animal was born so late that he needs a year to actually show his potential. In good areas with the proper number of animals and good forage a buck should never grow spikes. What state are you in and what is the terrain in that 500 acres you have?

Last edited by Topgun 3006; 11-30-2016 at 07:34 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 11-30-2016, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Topgun 3006 View Post
First question---What do you mean by a "small group of hunters"? What is the number?
Second question---Whoever this guy is that came up with a buck ranging over 20-30 miles is nuts! Many deer don't roam more than a mile if the habitat and forage is appropriate for the number of animals. A mature buck may go a mile or 3 to breed does if there aren't enough on his home turf, which generally isn't that big of an area. Your property is less than 1 square mile, so if you do have that many does then by all means a bunch need to be taken out of the herd, preferably the oldest that may not be producing any fawns and are only eating forage that the younger animals need. I am for taking spikes out of the herd unless you know for sure a particular animal was born so late that he needs a year to actually show his potential. In good areas with the proper number of animals and good forage a buck should never grow spikes. What state are you in and what is the terrain in that 500 acres you have?
3 members. Allowed 2 guests each. The area isn't over hunted, but they come in every weekend. Sometimes they have 2 guests, sometimes just 1.

I was thinking the same thing on the 20-30 mile area. Although, I do know of a record buck killed a few years ago that was seen on camera by every club within an 8 mile radius. It was killed about 4 miles from us, and we had him on our cameras as well. (just a side story).

In Louisiana, in one of the best deer parishes in the state. Property was designed by ducks unlimited as a wild life habitat. We have small ponds, big ponds, thick timber, light timber, oak flats, small ridges, shallow bottoms, 24 acres of food plots... damn near everything a deer would want or need - although we're not the only club in the area that was designed this way.

As far as taking the does, that's what I was thinking. More on the conservative side of 6 or so, but I'm no expert and currently I cannot confirm the exact number of deer or does (as stated above) - just going by what they've told me. Does on our property are pretty large too, 150-170lb is not uncommon.

We do have late rut here every year for some reason. Back in the 70's they imported deer from other areas hoping to change the rut cycle. It didn't help. They were rutting last year into late january, and that's pretty much every year.

As far as the spikes go, all 8 that I watched last year had to be born late, because they were very small. That's what had me wondering that if they stayed around, and produced their first real set of horns, we should have at the very least 8 basket racks roaming around the area. And they should show up on most of our cameras. I can accurately estimate we had around 15 of these type of deer on the property last year that were seen by hunters. I may be jumping the gun thinking they're gone since I only just put out my cameras last week - but if they don't show up, then I'd tend to believe a change in strategy could be in order.

EDIT: These spikes I'm referring to are basically button bucks. The only way to tell they were bucks was to put a scope on them. This is how young they were.

I have 1 long horn spike on camera from a few days ago. From the side, they look to be about 8-10 inches long and straight (this is just a guess). Looking head on, the horns have grown straight up 3inches or so, and have a slight outward curve to them. Pretty sure this is the first set of horns, but I accidentally deleted the picture before really looking at the details to attempt to size its body. There were no other deer around in the pictures to compare it to.

Last edited by Clover7; 11-30-2016 at 09:41 PM.
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Old 12-01-2016, 02:04 AM
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One thing weíve learned is that bucks are individuals With their own personalities. And to my knowledge, no one has put a tracking collar on a wild, world-class buck in Midwest farmland habitat. Iíve seen too many situations in which a huge buck just showed up on a camera, never seen before and then never shot or even seen again. Nor is either of his shed antlers found. Itís as if he simply appeared out of thin air . . . and then vanished in the same fashion

Home ranges of whitetail bucks in excellent habitat with plenty of food available can be quite small. GPS studies in prime areas of Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Maryland have shown home ranges averaging from 269 to 559 acres; not even as much as a square mile (640 acres).

In many parts of the West, in fact, whitetails routinely make treks of 2-3 miles between preferred bedding areas in timbered hills to feed on alfalfa in the lowlands.



Several DMU areas of Michigan restrict the harvesting of a buck to Have a minimum of 3 points per side. In other words you can never harvest a spike buck in those DMU areas.


Al
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Old 12-01-2016, 02:45 AM
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I don't know how far they travel, But I do know almost every season I'll get a few bucks that show up on camera one time, and never see again. Or hear about from any of the neighbors. I think some of them get around.
-Jake
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Old 12-01-2016, 06:03 AM
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we call these spikes button bucks up here in the north country--these are prized animals here in wi. These are your future big bucks---spikes you are talking about in articles have horns anywhere from 3 inches to up to 12 inches these are generally 1 and 1/2 years old sometime older---some studies say yes cull some d o not, what I see is most smallish spikes grow bigger but not trophy status ! leave the button bucks alone shoot the short horned spikes is my opinion H H
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Old 12-01-2016, 06:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Clover7 View Post
3 members. Allowed 2 guests each. The area isn't over hunted, but they come in every weekend. Sometimes they have 2 guests, sometimes just 1.

***IMHO allowing a person to have 2 guests any time they are on the property is too many people. That would mean that at any given time if you're also there that there could be at least 10 people and that is getting to be more like hunting public land. If all of you are happy with that scenario, then so be it, but I would limit it to no more than one guest at a time if I was involved with managing the property.

I was thinking the same thing on the 20-30 mile area. Although, I do know of a record buck killed a few years ago that was seen on camera by every club within an 8 mile radius. It was killed about 4 miles from us, and we had him on our cameras as well. (just a side story).

***Bucks will travel like that, as I mentioned, but it is normally during the rut when they have one thing on their mind and that is breeding as many does as they can during that time of the year. If they have forage and cover, there is no need for them to cover large areas the rest of the year.

In Louisiana, in one of the best deer parishes in the state. Property was designed by ducks unlimited as a wild life habitat. We have small ponds, big ponds, thick timber, light timber, oak flats, small ridges, shallow bottoms, 24 acres of food plots... damn near everything a deer would want or need - although we're not the only club in the area that was designed this way.

***Sounds like a great piece of property.

As far as taking the does, that's what I was thinking. More on the conservative side of 6 or so, but I'm no expert and currently I cannot confirm the exact number of deer or does (as stated above) - just going by what they've told me. Does on our property are pretty large too, 150-170lb is not uncommon.

***IMHO 60+ deer is too many for 500 acres no matter how good it is and I think the doe to buck ratio needs to be brought down to more like a 2 to 1 or 3 to 1 than what it appears to be from what you mentioned.

We do have late rut here every year for some reason. Back in the 70's they imported deer from other areas hoping to change the rut cycle. It didn't help. They were rutting last year into late january, and that's pretty much every year.

***That is not uncommon in the southern states, as the rut is timed mainly by the photoperiod at the latitiude where the animal lives. In south Texas where I used to hunt we didn't get serious on big buck until about Christmas time and then for the next several weeks on into the new year. The rut is timed in an area so that when fawns are born they have the best chance at survival. Our rut in Mi is generally about the last few days of October on into the first couple weeks of November and it tapers off quickly. That means that most fawns are born in late May to the middle of June as the temperatures are favorable for them and the vegetation is greening up so the does have good forage to produce milk for the first couple months of the fawn's life.

As far as the spikes go, all 8 that I watched last year had to be born late, because they were very small. That's what had me wondering that if they stayed around, and produced their first real set of horns, we should have at the very least 8 basket racks roaming around the area. And they should show up on most of our cameras. I can accurately estimate we had around 15 of these type of deer on the property last year that were seen by hunters. I may be jumping the gun thinking they're gone since I only just put out my cameras last week - but if they don't show up, then I'd tend to believe a change in strategy could be in order.

EDIT: These spikes I'm referring to are basically button bucks. The only way to tell they were bucks was to put a scope on them. This is how young they were.

***Those would be fawns born that year if they just have buttons and not actually horns protruding from their pedicels. Once in a while a fawn that is born earlier than most in an area and has a very good first six months may break through and try to sprout, but you need to look closely to distinguish button bucks from does, especially during late doe hunts where anything without visible horns is legal to shoot.

I have 1 long horn spike on camera from a few days ago. From the side, they look to be about 8-10 inches long and straight (this is just a guess). Looking head on, the horns have grown straight up 3inches or so, and have a slight outward curve to them. Pretty sure this is the first set of horns, but I accidentally deleted the picture before really looking at the details to attempt to size its body. There were no other deer around in the pictures to compare it to.

***That buck would probably be a yearling born last year and like you stated it is probably his first set of horns. That is a deer that some would say to shoot and take out of the herd. I would probably let him walk and see what he looks like the following year and if he hasn't developed at least a decent little rack to show he has potential would then take him out.


Edit: ***These are my thoughts on your various comments.

Last edited by Topgun 3006; 12-01-2016 at 06:27 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 12-01-2016, 08:56 AM
  #8  
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Agree with you guys. I saw a few young basket bucks last year hunting that we never caught on camera. Saw 'em once and they were gone.

Checked cameras again this morning.

Hatfield: Yes, all the "spikes" I was referring to from last year were button bucks. No real horns, some hadn't broken skin if I recall correctly.

TopGun: Caught yet another long horned 3pt on camera when I checked this morning. Same location as the other. It's a full grown deer, probably 2 1/2 y.o. or so. If I see him, prolly gonna just take him down.

Still waiting to get the initial long horned on camera again so I can size him up.

Also have 4 new button bucks at the 2 different locations. Though I believe the initial buck may be like you said, first year horns. His body size didn't really stand out, even though there was nothing to really compare him to. The 2nd one definitely stood out.

We shall see fellas. Thanks for your input!

Last edited by Clover7; 12-01-2016 at 08:58 AM.
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Old 12-01-2016, 10:07 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by Topgun 3006 View Post
***That buck would probably be a yearling born last year and like you stated it is probably his first set of horns. That is a deer that some would say to shoot and take out of the herd. I would probably let him walk and see what he looks like the following year and if he hasn't developed at least a decent little rack to show he has potential would then take him out.


Edit: ***These are my thoughts on your various comments.
Thanks. I just noticed your comments in the quoted text.

Yes, agree with the guest thing. So far it hasn't really been a problem, because it's rare when everyone hunts at the same time and brings 2 guests. It was set up this way, because 2 have a wife and a son that hunt. This year will be the first for each of the children to hold stands alone, so we'll see how that pans out. Could be an issue. But that's a whole different can of worms HA HA.

***IMHO 60+ deer is too many for 500 acres no matter how good it is and I think the doe to buck ratio needs to be brought down to more like a 2 to 1 or 3 to 1 than what it appears to be from what you mentioned.

Also agree 100%. Now that I'm able to gather more data from cameras, it appears I have 20+ deer at just 2 locations (does, yearlings, & button bucks). They're not gonna like it, but I will have to take some does out myself; because I'm positive they will not.


***Those would be fawns born that year if they just have buttons and not actually horns protruding from their pedicels. Once in a while a fawn that is born earlier than most in an area and has a very good first six months may break through and try to sprout, but you need to look closely to distinguish button bucks from does, especially during late doe hunts where anything without visible horns is legal to shoot.


That makes perfect sense. I suppose late rut is why we have so many button bucks each year.
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Old 12-01-2016, 11:49 AM
  #10  
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For what it's worth, I've never seen a button buck that wasn't a fawn. Also, I've never seen a fawn buck that wasn't a button buck, that is, I've never seen a fawn buck with visible spikes.
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