Summit Treestands
Cull Spike bucks - Your Opinion
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
c5ken 29-Oct-18
spike78 29-Oct-18
CAS_HNTR 29-Oct-18
Deerplotter 29-Oct-18
altitude sick 29-Oct-18
dirtclod Az. 29-Oct-18
Zbone 29-Oct-18
Buckaroo 29-Oct-18
JTV 29-Oct-18
W 29-Oct-18
T Mac 29-Oct-18
milnrick 29-Oct-18
bowhunter24 29-Oct-18
weekender21 30-Oct-18
pav 30-Oct-18
Boreal 30-Oct-18
Too Many Bows Bob 30-Oct-18
midwest 30-Oct-18
Zbone 30-Oct-18
1boonr 30-Oct-18
Zbone 30-Oct-18
njbuck 30-Oct-18
Bake 30-Oct-18
Zbone 30-Oct-18
LINK 30-Oct-18
12yards 30-Oct-18
Corn bore 30-Oct-18
skookumjt 30-Oct-18
Forester 30-Oct-18
JTV 30-Oct-18
JTV 30-Oct-18
GF 30-Oct-18
c5ken 31-Oct-18
Zbone 31-Oct-18
GF 31-Oct-18
Lever Action 01-Nov-18
oldgoat 01-Nov-18
Olink 01-Nov-18
Trial153 01-Nov-18
Arrowhead 01-Nov-18
1boonr 01-Nov-18
grubby 01-Nov-18
c5ken 01-Nov-18
c5ken 01-Nov-18
c5ken 01-Nov-18
c5ken 01-Nov-18
c5ken 01-Nov-18
c5ken 01-Nov-18
c5ken 01-Nov-18
c5ken 01-Nov-18
LINK 01-Nov-18
c5ken 01-Nov-18
1boonr 01-Nov-18
LINK 01-Nov-18
GF 01-Nov-18
spike buck 01-Nov-18
pfdhunter 01-Nov-18
oldgoat 03-Nov-18
Thornton 03-Nov-18
oldgoat 03-Nov-18
Bowman 03-Nov-18
Bowman 03-Nov-18
Bou'bound 03-Nov-18
dm/wolfskin 03-Nov-18
Jack Harris 03-Nov-18
Corn bore 05-Nov-18
Surfbow 06-Nov-18
bighorn 06-Nov-18
From: c5ken
29-Oct-18
I hunt in an area that normally has a few bucks in the 140/145 range. Rarely do I see or get cam pics of bucks in the 150 class. This year have three bucks in the 130ish range and a ton of very small spikes. When I say small, several of the spikes have horns the size of pencils and about 3" long. Also have several with one 3 or 4" horn. I have seven cameras up & there are about eight very small spikes on my hunting ground.. Question is: In your opinion, should the spikes be killed? I'm never sure if a little spike today will be a 140 in three years. Your opinion please...

From: spike78
29-Oct-18
Shoot one or two to eat but I wouldn’t go killing them cuz their spikes. Never know what size they could become.

From: CAS_HNTR
29-Oct-18
On a wild herd it won't matter....you can't control the population enough to matter in the end. Shoot what you want

From: Deerplotter
29-Oct-18
They did studies in Texas Dr Kroll on this very thing. Turns out the spike bucks that were ear tagged turned out five years later to be some of there best bucks.

29-Oct-18
I have read similar studies. That given enough age spikes catch up. Usually they are just born late. Don’t not shoot yearling spikes. If it’s 3-4 yrs old then yes shoot it. Remember does are at least half the genetics.

From: dirtclod Az.
29-Oct-18
Spikes can grow to be world records too.

From: Zbone
29-Oct-18
Give them two years, most spike bucks around here are late born fawns, many likely born from doe fawns...

From: Buckaroo
29-Oct-18
I personally never shoots spikes, they are the big buck seeds

From: JTV
29-Oct-18

JTV's embedded Photo
JTV's embedded Photo
Spikes can grow into some nice bucks, there are exceptions, but one can not control genetics in a free ranging herd

had this guy come by this morning and check out a scrape .. I wont shoot a spike nor a button buck

From: W
29-Oct-18
If you have too many bucks, then thin some spikes. Very few have that problem.

From: T Mac
29-Oct-18

T Mac's embedded Photo
T Mac's embedded Photo
This guy has walked within 10 yards of me twice this year. He has a spike on one side but I can’t bring myself to shoot him. He is young.

From: milnrick
29-Oct-18
I dont believe in shooting or culling spike bucks for a couple of reasons, the primary reason being a spike is typically 1.5 years old or less.

I've talked with several wildlife biologists about deer management over the years while living in TX. Some have said to shoot them because they have poor genetics. Others thought young bucks should be given a season or more to see what they develop into.

I also think that taking spikes out of the heard helps contribute to the buck - doe ratio being out of balance.

From: bowhunter24
29-Oct-18
In my area CWD and the dept of conservation have put a big hit on my deer population does get a free pass and some young bucks will have to do.

From: weekender21
30-Oct-18
Way too much research out there that doesn't support shooting spikes. Summarizing here but:

1) You can't control wild deer herds for many reasons.

2) Spikes often grow into great bucks.

Most spikes I've seen on social media deemed "cull bucks" are really 1.5 year old deer. It's rare but occasionally deer do grow up to be mature "cow horn" spikes. I've seen a few in mule deer country and pictures of old Whitetail spikes. You're not improving your herd genetics by taking an old spike out but you are removing one mouth that you may or may not want to feed.

One fascinating and related topic is yearling buck dispersal. In most areas roughly 70% of yearling spikes leave and find a new home range. With that, your decision to shoot or not shoot spikes really affects your neighbors and the same goes with their decisions. Those yearling bucks can travel miles in search of a new home range.

From: pav
30-Oct-18
No....IMO while some yearling spikes could be the result of inferior genetics, I believe the majority of yearling spikes are the result of late breeding (i.e. second estrous cycle or beyond). Late breeding equals late birth and those late buck fawns are playing catch up the first few years of their lives.

From: Boreal
30-Oct-18
"Cull buck" is usually a term of remorse.

30-Oct-18
Personally, I don't have a "horn obsession", I like to eat them.

That being said, all big buck start out small. Think about that.

TMBB

From: midwest
30-Oct-18
I'll shoot a spike and put my antlerless tag on it. Where I currently hunt, we need more deer, not more bucks.

From: Zbone
30-Oct-18
Unless BOTH antlers are under 3", have to use "Antlered" tag meaning your only buck tag in my state of OH... And 3" ain't very big...8^)

From: 1boonr
30-Oct-18
We never cull any deer on our farms. Management bucks are called that because that is all the guy could manage to shoot. Every cull buck is also a shotgun target to get somebody out of the woods before a good buck shows up. Our farms are strictly bow with one designated traditional only. We do however have a bunch of fence sitters waiting to capitalize on our hard work. Cull bucks are for them. You cannot change the genetics in a wild herd

From: Zbone
30-Oct-18

Zbone's embedded Photo
Zbone's embedded Photo
Too kill this half rack spiker, would cost you your buck tag here...

From: njbuck
30-Oct-18
Spikes are late born fawns, to kill them is a mistake. There have been a ton of studies that show they catch up and can be large dominant bucks when mature.

From: Bake
30-Oct-18
1boonr. . . can I steal that second sentence of yours? :) I LOVE it

You cannot manipulate genetics in a wild free roaming herd. It cannot be done. So culling a buck does nothing except take that mouth off your table

Also, you have no idea of a buck's "genes" from looking at him. Bowsite is going to get tired of this example, but here goes again. My dad is 6' tall. Average build. My mom is 5'2" tall. They had two sons. One (me), is 6' tall and basically a carbon copy of dad. My brother on the other hand, is 6'8" tall. And not a bean pole. Broad-shouldered and big-boned.

So my average mom and dad produced a B&C human. Who would have known? The genetics netted them me. We could have predicted that. The Genetic lottery wheel netted them my brother. So you never know

The deer with one normal side and one freaky side. . . . I don't believe that's a genetic anomaly. That's an antler pedical problem. A hard cast, or something similar. I once followed a buck I called Funky through 4 or 5 years. I saw him 4 or 5 times, and had thousands of pictures of him. He was a normal good looking 2 year old with 2 normal sides. He must have damaged his pedical when he cast his antlers that year, because he was never normal again. He was lopsided at 3 1/2, almost normal but not quite at 4 1/2, lopsided at 5 1/2, and really lopsided at 6 1/2. I lost him after that.

You just never know. It does nothing to cull bucks

From: Zbone
30-Oct-18
Genetics, go much deeper than mother and father...

From: LINK
30-Oct-18
A local deer farmer a few years ago had a 190” 3 year old. He was a spike his first year.

From: 12yards
30-Oct-18
No. There are several reasons why a yearling buck has spike antlers besides genetics.

From: Corn bore
30-Oct-18

Corn bore's embedded Photo
Frosty
Corn bore's embedded Photo
Frosty
This spike lost his ears somehow, makes him easy to identify. At 2 1/2 he was about a 90 to 100 inch 4 by 4. This year he is about 125 inches. So I would say no to shooting spikes. Hopefully he makes it at least another year or two. My hunting partners and I have agreed not to shoot him but he is now big enough that if he wanders very far he would be in serious danger.

From: skookumjt
30-Oct-18
No such thing as a cull buck period.

From: Forester
30-Oct-18
I would suggest that what you are seeing is a reason to look at the bigger picture. As repeated above, you will be hard pressed to have any positive effect on buck antler size through genetics and a spike culling effort.

You would likely have more success by balancing the herd with the habitat and lowering the buck:doe ratio. A balanced herd/habitat dynamic will allow more nutrition for all of the deer and lead to healthier does, healthier births, healthier buck fawns,, etc.... A tight sex ratio in a smaller population may reduce the number of late born fawns and allow the time and nutrition for yearlings to become more than spikes.

Is your deer population high - more than 20/sq.mi of habitat? What quality level is the habitat and nutrition? Are there more than 2 or 3 does per buck? These and other management questions could lead to management practices that provide optimum conditions to "improve" your bucks. And you can achieve something in this realm whereas culling spikes for genetic improvement is an exercise in futility.

Best of luck and have fun with it.

From: JTV
30-Oct-18

JTV's Link
Good article at link

http://www.deeranddeerhunting.com/deer-scouting/deer-behavior/spike-always-spike-deer-huntings-big-myth

From: JTV
30-Oct-18

JTV's Link
another good link with pics of what started out as a button/spike, look at him at 4.5 yrs and older ~!

sure good genetics help, so does good nutrition/soil/minerals and of course age ...you kill him as a button/spike or 1.5 yr old, that is all he'll ever be

https://www.realtree.com/deer-hunting/galleries/photo-gallery-from-buttons-to-booner

From: GF
30-Oct-18
JMO - if you’re interested in seeing more large, mature bucks, it’s FAR more sensible to let them walk than to think that you’re going to affect the gene pool by cropping them off.

OTOH, if all you have is a buck tag and the freezer is empty, who cares?

But you can probably help the genetics more by shooting a big-bodied, small-racked deer than a spike. You have a better idea of where the older deer is headed, and most likely he’ll outcompete the spikes for breeding rights.

But not-for- nothin’...,

Unless you kill its dam, a buck fawn is going to be driven out of its natal territory anyway. So all you really end up doing is to “improve” the genetics somewhere else no matter what you do...

From: c5ken
31-Oct-18
Thanks for all of the interesting comments. I am now convinced that killing spikes is a mistake in most incidences.. Thanks for your input! The next time I pull SD's from the several cams I have out, I'll attached some pics of the spikes I have on my hunting ground.

From: Zbone
31-Oct-18
Agree you can't control wild genetics due to buck fawn dispersal, so some of the buttons on your property may not be the bucks on your propety to reach maturity...

Few years ago read a very interesting study on the PA Game Commision site of where they radio collared a bunch of buttons in late winter and I think it was around 50% dispersed within a year... Was either 40/60% or vise a versa that dispersed, can't remember which, but do remember one actually relocated to like 26 miles which I thought was outstanding... BUT, about half stayed home... That study may still be on their website if you can find it...

From: GF
31-Oct-18
Of course, I just realized that we’re discussing this as of maternal genes have nothing to do with racks. You know, Antlers...

But the consensus view is that if you want to know whether you’re likely to keep your hair as you get older, you should look at your maternal grandfather. So it stands to reason (at least to an extent) that that the doe fawns (which don’t disperse the way that bucks do) would pass on some antler-size genes to their own offspring.

But again, the chances that a buck fawn born in your hunting area will still be there as a 4.5 aren’t good....

From: Lever Action
01-Nov-18
I had one property for 7 years that looked just like what the OP described. We shot off any spike and left anything other than a spike. In three years we had pretty much no spikes and good bucks everywhere. The last 2 years I never saw a spike on the property.

From: oldgoat
01-Nov-18
I think making a decision based strictly on antlers is a sure fire way to possibly eliminate some genetics that could be positive for other aspects of herd health!!! You could be eliminating an animal that's not susceptible to some disease, just as good as chance though that you aren't but unless you are a geneticist, and do some serious studies, you have zero idea what you are doing other than killing a deer!

From: Olink
01-Nov-18
"If you have too many bucks, then thin some spikes. Very few have that problem."

The problem isn't too many bucks, it is that there are too many DOES. When the buck/doe ratio gets way out of whack (like it is in my area), a lot of doe don't get bred during their first cycle. Therefore, as others have said, there are a lot of late fawns, and late (buck) fawns often start out as spikes.

From: Trial153
01-Nov-18
Silliness to cull spikes or any bucks for that matter. Shoot mature bucks and everything else will sort itself out

From: Arrowhead
01-Nov-18
Cant tell a bucks potential in their first year. Could be a late rut. Nutrition, Genetics or Sick and or injury. Maybe a combination. If your seeing a lot of them, it could be an indicator of a late rut or the same few passing by a lot. Shoot what makes you happy because someone posted the truth in an above post. Wild deer herds are not manageable to the extent that fenced operations are. High fencing has spoiled some hunters expectations in my opinion. We hunters are expecting too much horn on a bucks head just by feeding them and letting them grow. Genetics will always play a big part of getting that Monster Rack. No less true for the odds of a ten pound bass in natural waters. Management of such is a long process.

From: 1boonr
01-Nov-18
Don’t you get button bucks that disperse into your area?

From: grubby
01-Nov-18
most of the guys I know that "cull" any bucks do so in an attempt to justify shooting a buck they aren't proud of.

From: c5ken
01-Nov-18

c5ken's embedded Photo
c5ken's embedded Photo
Attached are some of the little guys I have hanging out on the ground that I hunt.

From: c5ken
01-Nov-18

c5ken's embedded Photo
c5ken's embedded Photo
I'm trying to attach multiple pics of little bucks to this post but It's not happening. So, I'll add one at a time.

From: c5ken
01-Nov-18

c5ken's embedded Photo
c5ken's embedded Photo

From: c5ken
01-Nov-18

c5ken's embedded Photo
c5ken's embedded Photo

From: c5ken
01-Nov-18

c5ken's embedded Photo
c5ken's embedded Photo

From: c5ken
01-Nov-18

c5ken's embedded Photo
c5ken's embedded Photo

From: c5ken
01-Nov-18

c5ken's embedded Photo
c5ken's embedded Photo

From: c5ken
01-Nov-18

c5ken's embedded Photo
c5ken's embedded Photo

From: LINK
01-Nov-18
Again I’ll say, don’t shoot spikes. I will disagree with some on culling. If you have enough tags( people) to shoot every buck that has an inferior rack, every year before breeding season on a sizeable property, your herd over time would have better genetics. I know bucks move in. I know 6’10” guys come from 5’10” parents but that’s not the norm. I know you can’t tell a does genetics. I do know in cattle when the heard is bred to proven bulls over the years the herd takes on the characteristics of those bulls. I know we are talking deer here but it’s very similar. If you continue to deprive your does of inferior bucks over years you would breed that out iof your does to a measurable extent. Again I don’t think you could do this on 200 acres with 2 tags but many ranches in Texas have proven results. Enough acres and enough tags could have a measured improvement.

From: c5ken
01-Nov-18
I have several more pics but the attached will give a good idea of what I'm talking about. Hopefully, some of these little guys will grow-up into trophy bucks (Whatever a TROPHY buck is)...i

From: 1boonr
01-Nov-18
Link- several problems with your logic. We aren’t talking about Texas high fence. Some of the bucks you think are inferior are just late born fawns. The doe gives more than 50 percent of the genetics for antler growth. Go ahead and shoot what you want but why do you have to make the excuse of culling when it is really just killing

From: LINK
01-Nov-18
I’m not talking about culling 1.5 year olds. Maybe a few 3 year olds but mostly 4 and up. Plenty of ranches in Texas that are low fenced. Culling is killing? What is shooting a non cull then? It’s all hunting to me but I don’t shoot many “cull” bucks.

From: GF
01-Nov-18
Well, they may not get any bigger if you let them walk, but they’ll NEVER get any bigger when they’re dead...

From: spike buck
01-Nov-18

spike buck's embedded Photo
spike buck's embedded Photo

From: pfdhunter
01-Nov-18
shoot a doe

From: oldgoat
03-Nov-18
Link Show me where it says antler size has any thing to do with good herd health! You mention breeding cattle, they take a whole lot of characteristics into account when breeding cattle, like birth size, growth rate and others that aren't coming to mind right now and it varies when breeding a heifer or breeding a cow. You're picking one attribute to determine your herd health! That's what is called a monoculture and that has been proven time and time again throughout history to end up being a disaster! The Irish potato famine is one that comes immediately to mind!

From: Thornton
03-Nov-18
Dumbest thing I've heard yet on here except shaving your arm hair

From: oldgoat
03-Nov-18
Thornton the arm hair gets taken care of testing broadhead sharpness, it's the rest of the body that can be weird, but I'll tell you, it makes my old lady heat up so I'll keep doing it!

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From: Bou'bound
03-Nov-18
for some spike culling is directly correlated to freezer culling.

From: dm/wolfskin
03-Nov-18
Any deer you kill is culled from the herd. Kill what you like. You are the manager of the deer herd.

From: Jack Harris
03-Nov-18
No way am I shooting a spike. First set of antlers to me could have more to do with their birthdate I just shoot what really gets me pumped which has to be a mature buck. His body, his demeanor, his posture and headgear all come into play.

From: Corn bore
05-Nov-18
So if you are culling spikes to improve future antler size by removing genetically inferior spikes wouldn't you also have to pass up very large racked yet young deer( like 140 inch 2 1/2 year olds or 168 inch 3 1/2 year olds). Uh Oh that's going through a wrench in this whole theory.

From: Surfbow
06-Nov-18

Surfbow's embedded Photo
These are genetically inferior spikes, all those other ones posted above are just young deer. "Culling" young deer just because they are spikes shows zero understanding of how an antler grows...
Surfbow's embedded Photo
These are genetically inferior spikes, all those other ones posted above are just young deer. "Culling" young deer just because they are spikes shows zero understanding of how an antler grows...

From: bighorn
06-Nov-18
In my hunting area we have good deer numbers, and a lot of good hunters, so with bow open and then the gun season usually opening during the peak of the rut sometimes,a lot of the mature breeding bucks are harvested. So I have noticed when the gun season opens during peak rut the following years I see more spikes. Making me believe the breeding cycle is disrupted a little causing does not getting bred the first breeding cycle if there seeking the mature breeding bucks that have been harvested. Just something I have been watching the last 6-7 yrs.

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