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Acreage needed to manage deer quality?

Old 01-09-2007, 05:53 PM
Nontypical Buck
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Default Acreage needed to manage deer quality?

Okay,I'm looking at buying some property for hunting and recreational purposes and also as an investment. I'm looking in the northcentral Texas area where poor management practices are pretty common place with high doe to buck ratios and an unwillingness to cull poor bucks (only shoot the big bucks mentality).

I've been reading some deer management stuff and some of it mentions a ideal size of property for deer management as about 2,000 acres. I can't come close to affording to buy 2,000 acres, but what is a legitimate size that I could buy that I could really improve with good management? (other than the stock answer of "as much as you can possibly afford")

The big reason that I ask is because I have a couple co-workers who are also interested. I really would prefer to own the property by myself but I would be limited to 160 - 200 acres. If they go in with me would would be lookingat 450 - 600 acres. I think they would be good at following a management plan if I came up with one and gave them detailed instructions. The area I'm looking at is amixture of bottomland and uplands and will generally support about5 to7deer per 100 acres at the ideal carrying capacity.

Is 160 - 200 acres enough to manage well if your neighbors won't buy in to proper management guidelines or would I be severly limited in getting anything accomplished? (culling spikes, controling doe populations, protein feeders, etc.)

If we step up to 450 - 600 acres would this be enough to get something accomplished?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

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Old 01-09-2007, 08:45 PM
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Default RE: Acreage needed to manage deer quality?

In most parts,four sectionsisn't enough to effectively manage a deer herd. Wild animals just don't respect property lines, and it just takes one property owner with the "if it's brown, it's down" management theory to ruin his neighbors' management efforts. In some counties, > 70% of the bucks shot each year are yearlings.

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Old 01-10-2007, 07:52 AM
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Default RE: Acreage needed to manage deer quality?

I believe that 16-200 acres is enough to accomplish "some" deer management. These deer will not stay on your property all the time, but with the right food and bedding areas they will stay there most of the time. Now, take into consideration that I am from Ohio so there could be a difference in what you can do with the land, but here I can hold a good amount of deer on my 165 acres for MOST of the year. I do wonder off from time to time and most of the bucks do get axed, but there have been a lot of improvements in the number of mature bucks since I started managing my family's land for deer.
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Old 01-10-2007, 07:58 AM
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Default RE: Acreage needed to manage deer quality?

I am going to disagree with the above post. 600 acres is close to a square mile and should contain the home ranges of a few different bucks. It can be done IF you provide the deer with an abundance of food, cover and sanctuaries, and water. Sure some of those bucks will be shot, but if you keep your deer happy and safe during the season they will be less likely to roam.

It would help to find out what kind of attitude the neighbors have before purchasing the property. Sometimes attitudes can change. If you are serious about managing a property look at the book Grow'em Right and get a QDMA membership www.qdma.com
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Old 01-10-2007, 08:17 AM
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Default RE: Acreage needed to manage deer quality?

Yeah, I'm not thinking that even with 600 acres I will have deer that will never leave my land. My thoughts are with either 200 or 600 acres would I be able to accomplish anything by practicing good management. Let's say for the first 5 years I own the property I shoot only spikes and does. It is going to take longer to accomplish anything without the support of my neighbors, but I think it could slowly improve the deer in the area. Of course the neighbors would reap the rewards as much as I would without any of the effort but maybe I could work on them over that time.

It just amazes me that people are so ignorant about how relatively easily you could start to improve deer quality and quantity of decent bucks simply by concentrating on shooting the spikes and getting the right buck to doe ratio.
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Old 01-10-2007, 08:27 AM
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Default RE: Acreage needed to manage deer quality?

"I believe that 16-200 acres is enough to accomplish "some" deer management. These deer will not stay on your property all the time, but with the right food and bedding areas they will stay there most of the time."

I totally agree with you. We own 80 acres in Garvin county, OK. About half is grass and brush, the other half is woods with deep ravines. There was a big thicket that the deer loved. It was burned in a wildfire on 27 November, 2005. But it is making a remarkable recovery. We have hunting access to the neighbors adjacent 120 acres and his sons have access to ours. His property also has some thickets, a pond and deep wooded ravines.

There is a good pond on the place. We plant soy beans, turnips, blackeyed peas, wheat and oats in small plots throught the spring, summer and fall.We plant Japanese millet around the pond-the deer love it. It is easy to grow; just throw it on the ground around the pond and rake it a little by hand. This year the plots will be much larger. We have a feeder filled with apple flavored corn that the deer love. We limit ourselves to two deer from the place each year. When the first gun cracks the deer head for our place and mostly stay there. We killed one deer on the place last year, a ratty10 year old fork horn buck. On 30 December, iwatched a nice6 point and the awsome 10 point come into the feeder. The 10 point is a 160 class deer.

My son and i limit our gun hunting to a couple of days around Thanksgiving each year. i think that the secret to keeping deer on a small place lies in limiting gun hunting and doing more bow hunting coupled with limited human intrusion. We have a 200 yard firing range on the place but do not use it in the fall.
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Old 01-10-2007, 10:16 AM
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Default RE: Acreage needed to manage deer quality?

In Texas, 200 acres isn't enough to properly manage an entire herd, although you can make some progress on a portion of the herd. What it really comes down to, is what your neighbors hunting mentality is. The most important thing is letting the small ones grow to big ones, shooting plenty of does, and culling the bad ones. Will your neighbors on all 4 sides do that? That is really what it comes down to.

I will say, that we own almost 200 acres and have been managing our herd for for 5 yrs now and just this year we saw a dramatic difference. We don't have any hunting pressure on the north side of us, very little if any on the east and west, and our neighbor to the south manages like we do, spring and fall plots, shoot the does and culls, and be very selective when you take a shooter.
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Old 01-10-2007, 01:36 PM
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Default RE: Acreage needed to manage deer quality?

A deer's home range varies on age, sex, density and quality of habitat. If you manage the 200 acres well, it should be more than enough to have a good place to hunt. Of course, it would be better to have the greater amount of acreage, but with multiple owners come multiple opinions.

If you all do decide to go into a property together, I would suggest to do like you said and come up with a plan that you all will agree to follow or to divide the property up amongst you all evenly so each has their own property to own and have control over. Otherwise, there is always some sort of issue because everyone thinks they are right or just want to be the one in control.

The decisions on what to shoot are the easy ones compared to the landmanagement decisions...For example: a timber sale...1 of you may not want to cut anything and another is totally convinced that it will be beneficial to the habitat...so it may just be best to be very cooperative neighbors rather than be very uncooperative co-owners.
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Old 01-10-2007, 04:57 PM
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Default RE: Acreage needed to manage deer quality?

I only have 99 acres and i'm just beginning to manage it for QDM. If you read stuff by Charles Alsheimer he explains how he only has like 200 acres and manages that for quality deer. here's a link to one of his articles if you are interested


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Old 01-15-2007, 02:38 PM
Nontypical Buck
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Default RE: Acreage needed to manage deer quality?

That's an interesting article. I think you can do some good with whatever land you have even 160 acres. It would be nice to get the neighbors involved and it would for sure help get things accomplished quicker!

I'm leaning toward buying a smaller tract on my own. My co-workers are waffling and I don't think they are as serious about the whole thing as I am. I've found a 160 acre tract that has some really good features and is in a price range that I can afford and I may go ahead and make an offer on it.


Some of the more interesting pictures on the listing:

It's about 95 miles from my house with most of that being a divided highway. I should be able to make it there in about 1 1/2 hours.

Any tips or suggestions on due diligence before I buy the place?

Thanks, Nathan
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