Contributors to this thread:
Culling bucks in free range areas
Correct me if I’m wrong. It seems all fawn bucks are driven out of a locality by their mothers each year. Therefore all the bucks we get in a particular area must have migrated in, even as a button bucks. So the immediate local doe genetics doesn’t matter either, nor does the doe nutrition. Right?
Lots and lots of research on this topic. Very regional but ~70% of bucks relocate before 1.5 years of age. The term "Culling" gets used inappropriately IMO. If you're killing a 3.5 year old deer that you don't think will ever be what you're looking for then you're possibly accomplishing your goal. One less mouth to feed. However, there are documented examples of such bucks becoming great deer with a little more age.
If you think you're changing the herd genetics then you need to study genetics a little more thoroughly. You'd have to own thousands of acres to potentially have a chance of influencing herd genetics and even then it's really complicated. Does contribute as much as bucks and even mature bucks aren't always showing what they're passing on.
I`m still trying to unmangle the word salad....not sure the questions vs. the thread title.
As far as culling bucks in the wild it`s useless.....culling will have a miniscule effect if any on a wild herd.
Meant local genetics of both bucks and does may be irrelevant. As such, culling would not have an effect. However if only 70% relocate then genetics would have a limited effect. Title of post not great.
isn't culling what they do in state parks and livewells?
I hate the term “cull buck” about as much as I can’t stand “management buck”. 99 percent of the time people use them to justify harvesting young bucks.
The other problem with culling is, by the time a buck reaches 3.5 where you realize you don’t like his genetics (assuming you don’t make a mistake on what that deer could actually turn into at 5-6) how many does has he already bread that will carry on part of his genetic? This isn’t ranching where you can pick one genetically superior animal and breed him to all the females. Culling by taking inferior animals (if you guess right) and then hoping the ones you like do the majority of the breeding is like playing the lotto. So much time wasted. All this is also based off of you being able to get shots on all your “cull” bucks, because after all, this is hunting not ranching.
If every hunter in your state or province guessed and culled the right bucks at age 1.5, it might work. Why the heck would nutrition not matter? Whether does or bucks I think the goal would be to have adequate nutrition. I'm really not sure exactly how far the fawn bucks are driven, but my take is that it isn't all that far. Certainly not so far that they couldn't impact the breeding of the same doe families. They would have to be driven many miles away. Of course, this is only my opinion and not based on scientific evidence. Again, I'm not sure why doe genetics wouldn't matter?
Geeze...stop playing God and just HUNT! They're not YOUR deer in the first place!!!
Culling a buck is an excuse to kill something. If you need an excuse you need a new hobby. You can not change a free ranging herd in any noticeable way by culling what you determine to be inferior deer.
Seeing as how, according to the "experts", does carry 50% of the antler genes, culling is futile as practiced by most. If I see a three year old spike, I'll eat him, but in forty plus years of deer hunting, I imagine I've seen about three of those. Where I used to hunt, (we had deer out the wazoo), I killed a six point with no brows, not even a bump, and had a much bigger and older one that never got close enough, but I would have killed him too. Now, I didn't call that "culling", nor did I think it would have made much difference, but we eat a lot of deer, and the groceries for deer in Central Texas ain't the greatest, so one less mouth to feed and more venison for me seemed like a great idea.
Some advocate for ten points, so they kill every 4.5 and up eight point that they legally can and call it a "management buck". I think that's dumb. My answer to that is: "What the hell is wrong with a 140" eight point?" Most guys in my neck of the woods have never killed a 140" eight point because they are just not that common here.
The buck on the left in this pic would qualify as a "management buck" if such were possible in a free range setting. He is obviously at least 3.5, maybe 4.5 years old, but he won't meet antler restrictions where I hunt. I could have killed him three weeks ago if he were legal, but not because I thought to "take him out of the gene pool", but because he would look really good on my plate. :-)
I get what the OP is saying. A major premises of habitat improvement is to decrease stress on local deer by increasing nutrition and creating more cover. A stress free doe that has ample nutrition is going to raise young-in's who have a jump start on life with a large and healthy body. It stands to reason that a deer who has all the minerals and calories it needs is going to lactate (momma) well or grow larger antlers (buck fawns) than unhealthy or starving counterparts. Epigenetics can also be considered after several generations of the "easy life". I believe the OP is asking why bother helping momma if her babies all move to the neighbors?
I don't know your answer but I do feel that the healthier the herd is in general the more able deer are to survive harsh winters, large predators, and resist disease.
To add to what Skook said to this. Very wrong.
"all" are not kicked away by the Doe... "all" do not relocate ..... it is useless to try to cull bucks in a free range herd for genetic purposes, unless you have absolute control of 10's of thousands of acres and can kill off dozens of bucks and Does yearly ... the term "cull" buck or "management" buck is pure BS IMO in a free range deer herd .....
It is much easier to kill of good genetics (or desired antler conformation) than poor genetics by using APR's because it CAN be implemented on huge tracts of land.
“I'm really not sure exactly how far the fawn bucks are driven, but my take is that it isn't all that far. Certainly not so far that they couldn't impact the breeding of the same doe families. They would have to be driven many miles away. ”
The point of dispersal is to reduce/eliminate in-breeding.
A doe will drive her own buck fawns out of HER territory, if she’s alive to do it (though maybe not ‘til they reach 1.5 YO status). Resident bucks in adjacent areas will drive those youngsters out, so like the SD Mtn Lion that was road-killed here in CT, they can end up wandering quite a ways. Exactly how far.... depends.
If you want to kill a legal animal, go for it. If you want to hold out for something larger or that will “score” better, that’s up to you, too.
I don’t get enough hunting time to have the luxury of getting too damn picky, and I don’t much care because if I let a deer walk, the guy on the next property or in the next stand down the trail may or may not... and as long as he’s hunting legally and ethically, it’s none of my business.
JMO QDM = BS
I’m 100% good with enlightened statewide management such as promoted by Gary Alt, Val Geist and other SCIENTISTS who’ve made careers of it. The Horn Porn industry makes me wanna PUKE.
They call them management bucks because that’s all they can manage to kill
When a button buck leaves his mother it is because he is a male and genetically wired to roam and get into trouble.
I was going to start a similar thread, I just hadn't thought it out enough to get it started.
QDMA magazine printed an article about young bucks relocating about a year ago. They sited 3 different studies. In wooded areas most 1 1/2 year old bucks moved an average of almost 20 miles. In open country in the Dakotas, they averaged 70 miles. I've been talking to Dr. Dave Samuel about this and he agrees with these studies. My question to him then was, "why do we see consistent genetic traits in antler growth year after year?" That question has yet to be answered. The more I see the more I realize that "culling" a buck because of antler traits is a waste of time. There are just too many variables. You hunt for a couple of decades thinking that your property just doesn't have the genetics to produce anything bigger than 165 and then a real monster shows up. I'm convinced that age is way more important than genetics. If you and everyone around you stops killing deer under 3 1/2 years old you will get bigger bucks.
Where I live, mature bucks do the lion share off the breeding. If you have a handful of mature bucks and most have good “genetics” and you have 1 mature buck with a 7 pt 110” frame. Who would you rather breed one of the 5 resident does? The 4 yr old 150”er or the 4 yr old 110”er.... Might not matter to the genetics to the neighbors herd but I’d bet my retirement it makes a difference in the buck that doe fawns...
Ambush, can you explain why because I was going to present that question. Why can you never effect genetics by killing off "cull" deer, but you can by instituting APR?
12yards, in some areas of BC we've seen this happen to elk and mule deer over a thirty plus year time frame, but it didn't take that whole time to see the result. BC has also always manged wildlife by managing hunters. Poor practice but cheap and easy.
You could use culling to "upgrade" but you can't really be sure you're killing the right deer so it would take forever and would require a huge land tract. But with APR's you can target all or most of the deer that have the traits you'd rather keep. BC is broken into seven regions and then those into smaller sub regions. But a region here could be bigger then some states. One of our very good mule deer producing areas has had a four points on one side restriction, not counting the brow for decades. So by western count, basically a 4X4 buck and that restriction is on for the month of November, encompassing the rut. The exact time that those bucks are most visible and vulnerable. particularly with long range capable optics and rifles. During that month, hunters will shoot every 4X4 they see, big or small, old or young. It's fairly wide open country with rolling grass hills and steep timbered ravines. I've glassed up many huge 3X3's and even giant forks and they are doing the breeding. We have successfully shot off the common four point genes, because most every basket 4X4 gets killed before he can breed or grow. The outfitter considers a 150" buck a real good representative mule deer for that area. Of course there is the odd wild card, but the area did and could produce them as the norm. We have done the same with 6X6 elk APR's. Lots of huge 5's around the elk pockets.
I'm saying we CAN identify and target "good" bucks but we can't do the same for "bad" bucks. And we have to have time to work through the doe's half of the contribution also, which is just as important. A great buck and a "poor" doe will get you closer and her fawn, bred to a great buck, will be even better. All this is keeping in mind that the land must have the resources to let them attain their potential.
If there were 100% baby buck dispersal then genetics for your immediate local deer herd would be irrelevant, as would doe nutrition and fawn size as far as local buck rack sizes. However the local nutrition would be important for young bucks obviously. PS I hat those antagonist assenine comments like Woods Walker makes. Just leave the thread.
The dispersal argument is the excuse people use to kill does. Even if you kill momma there is a good chance her button bucks will disperse off your farm anyway. I would prefer to have a doe on my farm that is smart enough to keep both her fawns alive.
So would this button buck be a “cull” buck? His antlers haven’t even pierced the hide and he may (with some luck) impregnate a shorter doe. I do like his attitude. He sets high goals and is aggressive about meeting his goals !!
So I'm not entitled to my opinion because I disagree with yours? Why don't YOU leave the thread?
Buffalo1 - Chances are that's his mother...
“Why can you never effect genetics by killing off ‘cull’ deer, but you can by instituting APR?”
Stop and think for a minute.....
In a lot of areas, the mortality (due to hunting) among 1.5 YO bucks will run 85%-95%.
At that rate, all a buck has to do to get mating rights is to have a pulse.
If the average age of bucks killed were allowed to rise to 3.5 years, there could be enough of them around to create competition for those breeding rights, at which point the bucks doing the breeding would in fact be the bigger, stronger, more heavily-racked bucks.
AKA Natural Selection.
We can’t do it for them, but if we allow the age structure & buck:doe ratios to approach an evolutionarily Normal state, they’ll sort it out amongst themselves....
In most cases if a guy used every tag he owned to kill "management or cull" bucks, all he'd ever do in his entire life is kill "management and cull" bucks. That's the biggest load of BS the hunting film industry has dumped on inexperienced hunters. Shoot whatever floats your boat. Inferior and superior deer will always exist.
Fence off 200 acres and you can make some changes in your own little pen. But that's about as much fun as shooting rabbits at the local pet store.
Funny how you never hear of people trying to shoot a "cull" bull moose or elk...
Drycreek, around here those deer would age at 2.5 and 1.5. And as for culling, that is nuts. Best way to manage a local herd is to not shoot young deer. Take the big meat,