on Facebook
  • Deerbuilder Food Plot Website
  • Trail Cam Photos
  • Elk Section
  • Mathews Solocam
Summit Treestands Mathews Solocam Carbon Express Arrows Moultrie Game Cameras Sitka Gear
Whitetail Deer Section Elk Section Black, Brown, & Polar Bear Section Moose Section Mule Deer Section Sheep Section Bowfishing Section Mountain Goat Section Pronghorn Section Mountain Lion Section Wild Turkey Section Caribou Section Hogs & Exotics Section Small Game Forum Africa Section Food Plots on Bowhunting / Archery Equipment

Do spike bucks grow into monster bucks?



Messages posted to thread:
Neb_Bowhuntin' 05-Sep-08
Neb_Bowhuntin' 05-Sep-08
RUPE 05-Sep-08
Nate 05-Sep-08
RUPE 05-Sep-08
StickFlicker 05-Sep-08
elmer 05-Sep-08
ellis7611 06-Sep-08
Warren 06-Sep-08
goosie 06-Sep-08
LW 06-Sep-08
ridgeruler @ home 06-Sep-08
Bloodbrother 06-Sep-08
Northwoods 06-Sep-08
Bowgramps 06-Sep-08
Northwoods 06-Sep-08
Jeff270 06-Sep-08
John in MO / KY 06-Sep-08
John in MO / KY 06-Sep-08
KYhunter 06-Sep-08
John in MO / KY 06-Sep-08
Iowa bound 06-Sep-08
Nate 06-Sep-08
writer 06-Sep-08
Warren 07-Sep-08
JUSTHUNT1 07-Sep-08
Ironbow 07-Sep-08
CAS_HNTR3 07-Sep-08
bowriter 08-Sep-08
Bake 08-Sep-08
Meleagris1 08-Sep-08
JUSTHUNT1 08-Sep-08
Neb_Bowhuntin' 09-Sep-08
Ironbow 09-Sep-08
LW 09-Sep-08
Taxidermist 09-Sep-08
aggie bowhunter 09-Sep-08
ellis7611 09-Sep-08
onlybow 09-Sep-08
bowriter 09-Sep-08
BowSniper 09-Sep-08
Bambi Killer 09-Sep-08
B4LITE 09-Sep-08
dihardhunter 09-Sep-08
JUSTHUNT1 10-Sep-08
Nebhuntr06 11-Sep-08
bowriter 11-Sep-08
Neb_Bowhuntin' 11-Sep-08
Genesis 11-Sep-08
HUNTTB 12-Sep-08
HU Hunter 13-Sep-08
longboman 14-Sep-08
thesquid 14-Sep-08
tjh 15-Sep-08
rupescot 15-Sep-08

Wireless Delivery of Trail Cam Photos????
by Pat Lefemine

Kill shot
by Bucksnort32

Bowhunting big bucks in Pa.
by Dennis Razza

2015 8 Point
by Griz34

Put Your Video Clip Here!

From: Neb_Bowhuntin' Date: 05-Sep-08

Neb_Bowhuntin''s embedded Photo

Here is a question. I have heard that straight spike buck have bad genetics and should be shot to take them out of the gene pool. And when I say straight spikes I mean that they have single spikes coming up on both sides. No forks or anything. Is that true? This year, we have a bunch of straight spike bucks running around. We have alot of pictures of many different spikes running around the property. Some have really long spikes shooting straight up. Will they eventually grow in to the monster bucks? 150-170 class (if they make it that long).

Here is a pic of poss twins. We have at least 3 more differnt spikes like this.

Thanks for any insight here.

Shoot Str8 and Stay safe Jeff

From: Neb_Bowhuntin' Date: 05-Sep-08

Neb_Bowhuntin''s embedded Photo

Wrong pic..SORRY here is the right one.


From: RUPE Date: 05-Sep-08
Spike bucks can indeed grow into HUGE mature bucks if you let them get older.

There is no truth to the "rumor" that spike bucks have bad genes

From: Nate Date: 05-Sep-08

Nate's Supporting Link

I've posted this on other sites and was told it was too long to read. To me it's worth the time. Basically it states spike on average never get as large a 4 point or better yearling. When discussing harvesting recommendations with Texas Parks and Wildlife Biologists they say shoot as many spikes as you can legally because it will not hurt the deer herd.

From: RUPE Date: 05-Sep-08

RUPE's Supporting Link

Killing spikes in the belief they don't grow bigger has been proven wrong, by tagging of spike bucks. Most spike bucks in the study averaged 140 inches at 4.5 years of age.

Research from Mississippi State University suggested that yearling bucks's antlers were more a reflection of late birth date and poor nutrition rather than genetics.

Current research on the King Ranch in Texas suggests that even aggressive culling on a free-ranging deer herd at the 10,000-acre scale has little impact on antler quality.

Follow the link for the study with

From: StickFlicker Date: 05-Sep-08
Thanks Nate.

From: elmer Date: 05-Sep-08
yes they do!

From: ellis7611 Date: 06-Sep-08
"Research from Mississippi State University suggested that yearling bucks's antlers were more a reflection of late birth date and poor nutrition rather than genetics."

I strongly believe this to be the truth. I'm not the expert on this but have done extensive reading on the subject. The late birthday of the spikes is due to the fact of high doe to buck ratios. Too many does around to breed first estrous cycle..hence the other's are breed a month later..that means later birthday..not as much time to get the needed nutrition to grow better first year racks. I see a lot of spikes in areas with high doe to buck ratios. Let 'em grow.

From: Warren Date: 06-Sep-08
I would not have much hope for a Nebraska year and half old spike. He should have been exposed to the best nutrition available. I wouldn't put too much faith in pen raised buck studies since this is nothing like the real world.

From: goosie Date: 06-Sep-08
Warren, your comments show that you clearly do not understand all the principles involved. Both on account of the Nebraska spikes and the pen-raised deer.

The answer is a resounding yes for the reasons stated above...most common is late birth.

It blows my mind how many people still believe that you should shoot all spikes. They are usually the same people who say "QDM can never work where they hunt because their neighbours will shoot all the deer"

From: LW Date: 06-Sep-08
Rupe IMO is spot on from everything I have read, which is quite a bit. We see spikes in KS where we have great nutrition, food and structure. Research shows it has more to do with the birth date than anything else.

From: ridgeruler @ home Date: 06-Sep-08
Spike bucks are the result of various factors, such as late birth, poor nutrition, poor health, or bad genetics. In my opinion, only the spikes with bad genetics should be shot. The problem is, how do you tell.

First, consider the buck to doe ratio in your area. If there are not enough bucks to breed all the does, more does will get bred in their 2nd or 3rd cycle, resulting in fawns born a month or two later. The fawns need to build up their bodies first. Anters come after. Thus yearling bucks born later the previous year will not have as good of antlers their first rack.

Same with nutrition and healt. If they have poor nutrition or poor health, more goes to building up their bodies, and less is available for antler growth.

Take the UP of Michigan. I've hunted there once, and have several relatives that hunt up their annually. Spikes are real common for yearlings. This is a combination of poor buck-doe ratios and poor nutrition.

Another scenario is where doe fawns get bred before they are a year old. In some areas with great nutrition the fawns grow so fast, that it isn't that uncommon for doe fawns get bred at 6 months of age. If they get bred in Dec or Jan, their fawns won't be born until July or Aug.

We have a deer farm in Wisconsin. The deer get high quality feed. Every year we have yearling spikes. Most are the result of doe fawns being bred. As with all deer, some never reach monster status, but we have not noticed a notable difference at 3 years of age between spikes and forked yearlings. A number of years ago, we had a small spike as a yearling, and the following year, he was our best 2yr old with 14 points.

Before you anyone decides whether to cull spikes you must analyze the variables for your hunting area. Obviously, if you see a 170 pound deer with spikes, you should shoot it, but when it comes to yearlings, I'd say pass in most cases.

From: Bloodbrother Date: 06-Sep-08
what about little spikes, Im talken about stubby 3-4 inch. the antler just looks funny and around here it seems like there are a few of them, but the long spikes (5+ inches) look like healthy deer that will grow good. is there a possiblility of bad genes? not all spikes but some?

From: Northwoods Date: 06-Sep-08

Spikes can, and often do become very nice trophy bucks when allowed to live to show their potential.

Besides, "culling" bucks that are "inferior" in most situations is just a term used by people who want to justify shooting little bucks and can't hold off the trigger. If you have gotten to the point in your herd management that you feel you need to cull bucks, I'm sure there are plenty of older bucks that would indications of inferior genes show to a much greater level.


From: Bowgramps Date: 06-Sep-08
Not if their dead.

From: Northwoods Date: 06-Sep-08

Spikes can, and often do become very nice trophy bucks when allowed to live to show their potential.

Besides, "culling" bucks that are "inferior" in most situations is just a term used by people who want to justify shooting little bucks and can't hold off the trigger. If you have gotten to the point in your herd management that you feel you need to cull bucks, I'm sure there are plenty of older bucks that would indications of inferior genes show to a much greater level.


From: Jeff270 Date: 06-Sep-08
This isn't a slam on Warren, but a general question.

Why do you think so many hunters refuse to believe biologists and instead insist on going with "old wives tales"? I hear it all the time whether its about shooting does "I don't care what they say, if you shoot does your ruining the herd", to myths about once a spike always a spike. How come hunters are so skeptical about listening to those who have the degrees, and have done the research?


From: John in MO / KY Date: 06-Sep-08

John in MO / KY's embedded Photo

I took this picture off of another thread. It was originally posted by Bigdan. This is a spike that was hanging out around his place last year.

From: John in MO / KY Date: 06-Sep-08

John in MO / KY's embedded Photo

And here is the same deer this earlier this year

From: KYhunter Date: 06-Sep-08
Awesome pics! Thanks for the info.

From: SILVERADO Date: 06-Sep-08
And how do you know that that is the same deer? Thats quite a considerable jump to go from a 15" spike to a 120" 8 pt. in one year, if so whats in the bucket? I want to feed my deer the same stuff.

From: John in MO / KY Date: 06-Sep-08
I didn't take those pics. They were originally posted on an earlier thread by Bigdan. Maybe he can chime in if he's not out hunting.

From: Iowa bound Date: 06-Sep-08
If you kill them they will not. If ya let them grow they have a better chance at it. Also as stated earlier this theory has already been proven and they can grow into a monster.

From: Nate Date: 06-Sep-08
Thanks Rupe. That's an interesting link. Now I'm a little confused because Texas encourages the shooting of spikes. Either by extended doe/spike seasons or by offering an additional tag for spike in one buck counties. Maybe it's because in a good part of the state we have an overpopulation and they figure getting spikes out won't hurt the herd. I will be interested in the next couple of years if Texas P and W changes their opinion.

From: writer Date: 06-Sep-08
Interesting stuff...but can somebody explain some things.

I've been hunting Kansas deer since '73, and for about the first 15 years it was danged rare to ever see a spike. I talked with some serious bowhunters who'd never seen one.

Most of the yearlings were forkies, or six or eight pointers. A buddy in Manhattan shot a spike in about 89 and several of us drove over to see it because spikes were such a novelty. We were pretty sure it was a 2 1/2 year-old buck.

I remember bowhunting in the Ozarks in 90 and 91 and kinda hoping I'd finally get to see my first spike while I was in a treestand.

Then as time went on we all started seeing more and more spikes and sporks (1X2) and other messed-up heads.

Why? I can't believe the birth dates have changed that much through the years.

I've wondered if it was because with higher doe populations less-dominant bucks were getting to do more breeding.

Last year our farm had a huge-bodied, finger-thick spike that was probably 3 1/'re saying it'll probably grow into a 150?

From: Warren Date: 07-Sep-08
I have no biology degree, and really don't need one. I've spent 40-60 days per season in the deer woods for 25 years. I am also a member of QDMA and practice it as well as trophy hunt. I didn't say he needed to kill the spike, just that I didn't think a spike in Nebraska is showing much potential. I've spent a week in Kansas for the last four seasons and have never seen a spike there. Some of those bucks are close to spikes, but they always have four or more points. Here in Mississippi, we see a lot of spikes after years of poor nutrition (few acorns, poor browse) and not many after years of good nutrition. My take on spikes is that it is more nutrition based than anything. I've always thought that Dr. Kroll did the best deer research.

From: JUSTHUNT1 Date: 07-Sep-08
The biologist here in Moultrie/Macon county Ill. says a spike is just a late born fawn.

From: Ironbow Date: 07-Sep-08
I live in KS and have bowhunted since 1974. I shot a spike chasing does in 1983 that weighed 170# (live weight) and had two 7" spikes. I seriously doubt he was going to turn into anything much bigger.

You really don't know the trophy potential of a deer until he hits about 3.5, by then there should be good antler growth. At that age if he isn't carrying anything, it is time to start culling if you are into QDM and can manage your land.

From: CAS_HNTR3 Date: 07-Sep-08
It's genetic...some spikes will always be a spike (like Ironbow says, my uncle shot one just like that) and same may be a B&C buck. Time will tell.

From: bowriter Date: 08-Sep-08
Back in the dark ages when I was actually doing research on whitetail deer. I learned something. You had to divde bucks into two categories: Hard antlers and first antlers. I'll explain.

First antlers include button bucks and all those with antlers of less tghan 3". We used 3" because that was standard most wildlife agencies used as determining a "legal" buck. Hard antlers applied to those with antlers over 3" and most often was applied to those bucks that were 1.5 years old.


It was not at all uncommon to see bucks with from four to eight points on their first set of hard antlers. Six points being quite common. But spikes probably came in second in terms of numbers of bucks with their first ard antlers. In no way were they inferior across the board. As it is with any buck...or human, yes, some were inferior. But in areas where all deer had the same nutritional opportunities and same weather, we found that there were some superior animals and some inferior animals and some average animas.

And at 18 months we could not tell which were which. In fact, there was very little we could determine from antler growth until the third set of hard antlers.

So, bottom line, if it is legal, shoot a spike if you want to but don't do it thinking you are culling an inferior deer.

Of course that was backin the dark ages when we thought you could tell a deer's age by coutning the points. It took a while be fore C.J. taught me diferently.

From: Bake Date: 08-Sep-08
The question I always have concerning culling is. . . Why would I waste a tag on shooting a deer I don't want??? I'm in Missouri, we get two bow tags (good for one buck before rifle season, and one buck after rifle season, or any combination of buck-doe) and one rifle tag for a buck. I don't want to waste one of my 3 buck tags on a buck I don't want to hang on the wall

Besides, as RUPE showed above, studies on the King Ranch in Texas have pretty much shown that intensive culling has no effect.

Why would I want to waste a tag on a buck that I won't be proud of, when it will have no effect on the herd other than further skewing the buck-doe ratio?

From: Meleagris1 Date: 08-Sep-08
Most spikes are late born fawns as mentioned above. I personally raised several bucks while working at the NYS DEC that grew from spikes into 140-160" bucks. It is VERY rare for a spike to stay a spike beyond a 1.5 years old. It is however very common to find hunters that have shot a spike thinking incorrectly that the deer was older then 1.5.

From: JUSTHUNT1 Date: 08-Sep-08
I have two shed antlers at my house that are off of old old deer. They are both spikes but one has a seven inch base. The other is a 22" main beam with no tines and a six inch base. Bucks do go downhill in antler size over time. I have seen a buck with a 6 inch spike on one side and a real nice horn on the other. I think the majority will grow if given the chance.

From: Neb_Bowhuntin' Date: 09-Sep-08
Thanks for all the information. I really appreciate all the responses. Very good information out there.

I had a "discussion" with a friend of mine about this a while back. He was shooting all the spikes he saw because he heard that it was bad genetics. I told him that I "thought" it was due more to late breeding but had no proof to offer him.

Thanks again!


Shoot STR8 and Stay safe


From: Ironbow Date: 09-Sep-08

You make a good point, it is very hard to tell the age of a deer, even if you have studied numerous photos of deer that the age is actually known. For me in KS, body size tells me a lot. Passing up lots of smaller bucks and studying them helps too.

Good luck this fall.

From: LW Date: 09-Sep-08
I shot a spike in the late 80s in Linn county, KS. I have observed only a few in this county which I hunt hard every year, which is very undeveloped; however, I see at least one spike per year in Johnson county. JO Co is mainly suburban and the herd structure is out of whack, especially the doe/buck ratio. This has lead me to believe, in at least the portion I hunt, that some does are being bred later and this is leading to more observations of spikes.

From: Taxidermist Date: 09-Sep-08
I've had a pet buck for 4 yrs now. His first year he was just a spike. The 2nd yr he was a basket 8 and now at age 4 he is a very nice 140 class typical 8. Let those spikes walk. You never see someone bragging about shooting a spike unless it's a youth hunt or a first harvest. Although they do make decent mounts.

From: aggie bowhunter Date: 09-Sep-08
Think of it like you were judging livestock.

If you were to stand a yearling spike and a yearling 8 point side by side, and you were told to pick one that you could harvest in 4 years which one would you pick.

The idea is that there is a higher probability that a yearling racked buck will be a trophy as opposed to a spike that has been exposed to the same conditions.

That doesn't mean that there is any more or less trophy potential, but the probability is higher for the bucks that have already developed a rack.

From: ellis7611 Date: 09-Sep-08

Bowhunting World Magazine has an article this month on how to judge age. They have the pics with known ages and very good details on signs to look for. I've been seeing a nice 11 point at my state park and he looks just like the 3.5 year old in their pic. Very good article.

From: onlybow Date: 09-Sep-08
I would love to see a huge spike 15'' or something like that...i think it wold rock....

From: bowriter Date: 09-Sep-08
Edge- I can't answer your question on here. For a year or so, I did seminars on aging deer without ever looking the the antlers. You do it by simply evaluating body lines and facial lines.

I'm sure no expert, either. I have only been messing with these ole deer since 1954. But I do believe I can "field age" a deer pretty well, does or bucks either one. The antlers have zip to do with it.

It's kinda like the shower at the health club. You have to look at more than one thing.

But there is only one accurate method-jawbones and teeth-and that is accurate only up to a point.

But I do have a failsafe method to determine what deer you should kill. Kill the one you want to kill.

From: BowSniper Date: 09-Sep-08

BowSniper's embedded Photo

I thought this was an unusally long spike-only buck. Photo taken Maryland on 7/26/08. Wonder why they grow so long without any sign of a fork or split? Not sure of the age, but that same series of pics same day had these two guys locking horns.

From: Bambi Killer Date: 09-Sep-08
Had a spike within 20 yards, three years ago during muzzleloader was the biggest spike I have ever seen probably 12 inches or more tall and atleast 10-12 inches wide.

Spikes can grow into monster bucks....maybe some will stay spikes but why shoot them if there is the potential for a couple of them to grow into pope and young quality.

From: B4LITE Date: 09-Sep-08
Some do and some are average nice bucks and a couple maybe spikes. One theory is that young bucks born late in the year don't have the nutrients to produce points or large racks the first year and this is probably right.

From: dihardhunter Date: 09-Sep-08
Spikes = future monster bucks. Proved over and over again.

From: JUSTHUNT1 Date: 10-Sep-08
Shower at the health club? I better never catch anybody looking at my thing!

From: Nebhuntr06 Date: 11-Sep-08
There has got to be something bigger than that walkin around down there mr jeff. Well at least your feeding the babys with your hard work I guess. Well I dont have an answer to your question but I know that if one of those little guys walk in front of phil or chris they wont live another yr to find out haha. Adam

From: bowriter Date: 11-Sep-08
That is an interesting picture. You are looking at two deer, a year apart in age with similar antlers. From that, you can conclude, you are looking at two deer a year apart in age.

From: Neb_Bowhuntin' Date: 11-Sep-08

Neb_Bowhuntin''s embedded Photo

Adam, LOL...I know what you mean..dont forget to throw Scott in there as well. Good to see you on here.

We implemented new rules at the "Sacred Woods" this year. You must shoot a doe first. Then you can take a buck, but it has to be a mautre deer 4x4 or better and outside its ears. Even though this guy is not outside his ears, if he is in bow range, he is going down.

Talk to you later

Shoot Str8 and Stay safe


From: Genesis Date: 11-Sep-08
I bet in the hayday of KS that the does were bred earlier.In some areas,it is getting more commonplace to seeing spotted fawns during the season and yes more spike bucks from the late breeding.

No doubt to me the first rack is more indicative of drop date

From: HUNTTB Date: 12-Sep-08
research shows that a buck that is 2 years old is only showing about 40% of his potential.

From: HU Hunter Date: 13-Sep-08

HU Hunter's embedded Photo

So if you see a lot of spikes where you hunt does that mean it would be a good place to hunt during the second rut?

From: longboman Date: 14-Sep-08
Edge, over 15 years ago Dr.Kroll was saying do not shoot spikes...there was not enough info to say "once a spike always a spike" He was at the forefront against Tx parks and wildlife belief that a spike should be shot. So I guess I'm getting at is why the slam on Dr. Kroll? Your agreeing with what he was saying many years ago?????

From: thesquid Date: 14-Sep-08
We had one in the zoo here where I live and at four and five years he was a real B&C buck. Non-Typ.

From: tjh Date: 15-Sep-08
Do baby boys grow up to be grown men?

From: rupescot Date: 15-Sep-08
Now thats a loaded question. Most should. LOL.

Reply to Thread

Subject: RE: Do spike bucks grow into monster bucks?

You are not registered - please click here to register now.

Copyright © 1996-2013
No duplication without expressed written consent of the author and

Privacy and Registration Policy