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Thread: Deer Management advice please.

  1. #1

    Deer Management advice please.

    I'm looking for some advice on the best way to manage the deer on my piece of ground if possible.

    I'll make it clear that I'm no deer manager and my stalking is done for my recreational sport and to fill my table. I don't have any agenda laid out by the land owner or any rules to stick to, the ground is there for me to stalk over whenever I am down that way.

    That said, I would really like to improve the quality of deer on the ground, it's all Roe by the way.

    I generally shoot three bucks and three does on average throughout the year, certainly no more than that.

    I've only ever shot one decent head off the ground and that was in April this year. Most of the bucks I take are small four pointers, either yearlings or maybe up to three years old. I never see any decent bucks although I know gold medals have been taken less than a mile away.

    There seems (to me) to be a large number of does on the ground as opposed to bucks, I would estimate approx four to one based upon what I see on average when stalking. The bucks I do see are not good quality in terms of antlers, a six point buck is a rarity, I've only shot five in fifteen years, as I said, most are four pointers and small. I try, wherever possible to shoot the smalleest bucks hoping the slightly better ones will improve in terms of head quality but I never see any gains in that department.

    So, to improve the quality of deer on the ground, should I be taking out more bucks or less? Hitting the does harder?

    Any advice would be appreciated and as I said, I'm just a recreational stalker trying to improve the deer on my patch.
    Best Regards,
    Adrian.

    Jedward. The reason why there are two barrels on a shotgun.

  2. #2
    How large an acerage is it, are the deer moving on and off your ground, on a piece of ground I have we never had good heads, so I shot as many does and bucks as I could to bring in new blood, heads have improved either by luck or skill I don,t know

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by AdrianC View Post
    I'm looking for some advice on the best way to manage the deer on my piece of ground if possible.

    I'll make it clear that I'm no deer manager and my stalking is done for my recreational sport and to fill my table. I don't have any agenda laid out by the land owner or any rules to stick to, the ground is there for me to stalk over whenever I am down that way.

    That said, I would really like to improve the quality of deer on the ground, it's all Roe by the way.

    I generally shoot three bucks and three does on average throughout the year, certainly no more than that.

    I've only ever shot one decent head off the ground and that was in April this year. Most of the bucks I take are small four pointers, either yearlings or maybe up to three years old. I never see any decent bucks although I know gold medals have been taken less than a mile away.

    There seems (to me) to be a large number of does on the ground as opposed to bucks, I would estimate approx four to one based upon what I see on average when stalking. The bucks I do see are not good quality in terms of antlers, a six point buck is a rarity, I've only shot five in fifteen years, as I said, most are four pointers and small. I try, wherever possible to shoot the smalleest bucks hoping the slightly better ones will improve in terms of head quality but I never see any gains in that department.

    So, to improve the quality of deer on the ground, should I be taking out more bucks or less? Hitting the does harder?

    Any advice would be appreciated and as I said, I'm just a recreational stalker trying to improve the deer on my patch.
    Deer management has nothing to do with medal heads, it is about sustainable deer population for the lands there on , reducing populations to curd damage, save deer traffic accidents etc .

    Improving the population can help produce good heads but that can be down to the stalkers, on the ground giving bucks time to develop.

    Get out do a deer count split them buck, doe giving you numbers to work with then build a sustainable management plan .

  4. #4
    SD Regular teyhan1's Avatar
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    Managing Roe populations generally revolves around the figure of a 1/3. This is the maximum amount you should cull in 1 year. Trophy quality is mainly achieved with good food availability and not too much disturbance. So here's how I would set about it.
    1. Survey your population, best done Feb/March
    2. Split your figures into Doe Fawns (1yr olds) Doe Mature (2-5 yr olds) and Doe old (5+), Buck Fawns (1yr), Buck mature (2-5yr) and Buck (5+) This will also allow you to see your annual recruitment rate and also your post winter survival rate ( kinda the same thing really).

    Okay you got your figures let's just say 21 to make it easy. Made up of DF (does fawns) 5 DM (doe mature) 4 DO (doe old) 4 and BF 4, BM 3 and BO 1. So you have 8x bucks and 13x does. You now want to cull 1/3. You should try to aim for a 1:1 ratio but this difficult to achieve in reality so try to remember that deer management is and has to be very fluid. So the cull figure is 7x animals. Also remember that if you want better heads then your cull for the first 2-3 years has to be doe biased. Remember that the does eat eat food too and in the winter when quality food is at its lowest is when the bucks are growing their heads.

    So yr1 I would cull 3x DF , 1xDM 2x DO and 1x BF
    Your now left with 2x DF, 3xDM and 2x DO and 2x BF 3x BM and 1x BO
    You have learnt from your winter count that your annual recruitment rate was 9x young from 6x does so about 150% of adult breeding doe population. All DM group will all be mated this year and so you can guess that with 5x breeding does left you will or should have 7x youngsters left at next winter with normal 1:1 split slightly biased towards the does.
    You obviously can then start to do the new figures remembering that last years fawns become this years mature animals and some animals will also move into the old group too.
    Slowly your population will start to balance and obviously you will be able to take more bucks.
    However..............I suspect that there is some one or some stalking operation on your boundary/s and this will make all the above totally irrelevant.

  5. #5
    It is possible for a roe buck to throw a 6 point head in its second year (first year of being in hard antler). Poor feeding or over population would not I would imagine have an effect on the number of points they grow, but certainly would effect the quality/weight of the head. It is not the number of deer as such but the lack of (because of overpopulation) quality food/minerals to allow bucks to grow quality heads by packing in the good stuff.

    However, one thing you do mention is the quality of the bucks shot not far from you (a mile away). It could be the case that the mature bigger bucks are holding better neighbouring ground if the environment on your land is not as desirable to them.

    What kind of body weights do you see compared to perhaps ground around you that is stalked (if you indeed know that info), and are the does seen more regularly with single fawns, twins or any triplets?

  6. #6
    How seriously do you want to do it?

    First thing I would do is find out who shoots the ground next to you.

    You could have the best plan in the world but if matey boy next door on three sides shoots with the selective prowess of Dirty Harry then you plans are scuppered.

    As above highly unlikely "your deer" are observing "your boundaries" which puts them in someone else's cull plan.

    IMO I view cull plans like business plans.
    You should never write one and try to stick to it rigidly regardless of any external factors changing. if you factor 10 deer and start seeing a noticeable drop off in numbers when you hit 6, shooting 4 more puts the population under pressure unless you know why you are not seeing them.

    A fair few days stalking without a rifle to get an idea of where the deer are moving to and from and the rough numbers.
    You will never get the number absolute. whatever I count I assume it is +/- 30% the actual figure (at best!)

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Taff View Post
    How large an acerage is it, are the deer moving on and off your ground, on a piece of ground I have we never had good heads, so I shot as many does and bucks as I could to bring in new blood, heads have improved either by luck or skill I don,t know
    Thank you for your reply, there is roughly 50 acres of woodland and fields - no crops. Every time I've shot an older buck I've hoped new blood will come onto the land but if they do, they don't stick around.

    Quote Originally Posted by widows son View Post
    Deer management has nothing to do with medal heads, it is about sustainable deer population for the lands there on , reducing populations to curd damage, save deer traffic accidents etc .

    Improving the population can help produce good heads but that can be down to the stalkers, on the ground giving bucks time to develop.

    Get out do a deer count split them buck, doe giving you numbers to work with then build a sustainable management plan .
    Thank you, just for clarification, I'm not worried about medal heads but I know they're in the locality yet I don't see anything decent on my patch. The population just seems to be small deer with the occasional bigger one moving through. I'm just interested in establishing and maintaining a stable population of healthy deer, improving what's on the land.

    Quote Originally Posted by teyhan1 View Post
    Managing Roe populations generally revolves around the figure of a 1/3. This is the maximum amount you should cull in 1 year. Trophy quality is mainly achieved with good food availability and not too much disturbance. So here's how I would set about it.
    1. Survey your population, best done Feb/March
    2. Split your figures into Doe Fawns (1yr olds) Doe Mature (2-5 yr olds) and Doe old (5+), Buck Fawns (1yr), Buck mature (2-5yr) and Buck (5+) This will also allow you to see your annual recruitment rate and also your post winter survival rate ( kinda the same thing really).

    Okay you got your figures let's just say 21 to make it easy. Made up of DF (does fawns) 5 DM (doe mature) 4 DO (doe old) 4 and BF 4, BM 3 and BO 1. So you have 8x bucks and 13x does. You now want to cull 1/3. You should try to aim for a 1:1 ratio but this difficult to achieve in reality so try to remember that deer management is and has to be very fluid. So the cull figure is 7x animals. Also remember that if you want better heads then your cull for the first 2-3 years has to be doe biased. Remember that the does eat eat food too and in the winter when quality food is at its lowest is when the bucks are growing their heads.

    So yr1 I would cull 3x DF , 1xDM 2x DO and 1x BF
    Your now left with 2x DF, 3xDM and 2x DO and 2x BF 3x BM and 1x BO
    You have learnt from your winter count that your annual recruitment rate was 9x young from 6x does so about 150% of adult breeding doe population. All DM group will all be mated this year and so you can guess that with 5x breeding does left you will or should have 7x youngsters left at next winter with normal 1:1 split slightly biased towards the does.
    You obviously can then start to do the new figures remembering that last years fawns become this years mature animals and some animals will also move into the old group too.
    Slowly your population will start to balance and obviously you will be able to take more bucks.
    However..............I suspect that there is some one or some stalking operation on your boundary/s and this will make all the above totally irrelevant.
    I appreciate your reply, it was exactly what I was looking for and and easy formula to start off with. Thank you.

    There is no stalking on the boundaries as they are bound by roads on three sides with dwellings on the other side of the roads. The ground behind these houses isn't stalked as the landowner likes to see the deer and therefore won't let anyone shoot them, he is also the landowner who makes up my fourth boundary. The land the medal heads were taken on is beyond this ground, so a mile away and I'm very good friends with the guy who occasionally stalks there.

    I believe any new blood that comes onto my patch comes via the safe haven between the two areas of stalking.
    Best Regards,
    Adrian.

    Jedward. The reason why there are two barrels on a shotgun.

  8. #8
    SD Regular teyhan1's Avatar
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    Sorry to say this, but there really isn't too much point in trying to manage 50 acres, at least not in the way my plan detailed. You may well have a resident doe or two but most of your deer will be transitory. The larger buck you mentioned having taken was your one and probably only large resident buck. The others are always going to be small as they are trying to take over the area and scrapping it out to see who gets it. The choice is yours, fill your boots or leave a buck to come on. It sounds like a fill your boots job to me.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by jamross65 View Post
    It is possible for a roe buck to throw a 6 point head in its second year (first year of being in hard antler). Poor feeding or over population would not I would imagine have an effect on the number of points they grow, but certainly would effect the quality/weight of the head. It is not the number of deer as such but the lack of (because of overpopulation) quality food/minerals to allow bucks to grow quality heads by packing in the good stuff.

    However, one thing you do mention is the quality of the bucks shot not far from you (a mile away). It could be the case that the mature bigger bucks are holding better neighbouring ground if the environment on your land is not as desirable to them.

    What kind of body weights do you see compared to perhaps ground around you that is stalked (if you indeed know that info), and are the does seen more regularly with single fawns, twins or any triplets?
    The ground in the area is all very similar, farmland and mixed broadleaf woodland with hedges, the occasional crop of maize so I don't believe neighbouring ground is vastly more attractive or better than my piece.

    I don't know the exact body weights unfortunately. With regards to the does, they nearly all produce twins and the occasional triplet. I have never seen a doe on the ground with a single fawn.

    Quote Originally Posted by bewsher500 View Post
    How seriously do you want to do it?

    First thing I would do is find out who shoots the ground next to you.

    You could have the best plan in the world but if matey boy next door on three sides shoots with the selective prowess of Dirty Harry then you plans are scuppered.

    As above highly unlikely "your deer" are observing "your boundaries" which puts them in someone else's cull plan.

    IMO I view cull plans like business plans.
    You should never write one and try to stick to it rigidly regardless of any external factors changing. if you factor 10 deer and start seeing a noticeable drop off in numbers when you hit 6, shooting 4 more puts the population under pressure unless you know why you are not seeing them.

    A fair few days stalking without a rifle to get an idea of where the deer are moving to and from and the rough numbers.
    You will never get the number absolute. whatever I count I assume it is +/- 30% the actual figure (at best!)
    As I said, I'm a recreational stalker so this isn't a serious management plan but as I mentioned earlier to improve the quality of deer on the ground. It's more from a sporting point of view. I have the ground, I have the deer, I just want to get the best out of it and manage the deer as best I can in a way which is beneficial to them.

    The boundaries aren't stalked and the nearest ground that is, is stalked by my very good friend who I do go out with on that land when we can both fit the time in.
    Best Regards,
    Adrian.

    Jedward. The reason why there are two barrels on a shotgun.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by teyhan1 View Post
    Sorry to say this, but there really isn't too much point in trying to manage 50 acres, at least not in the way my plan detailed. You may well have a resident doe or two but most of your deer will be transitory. The larger buck you mentioned having taken was your one and probably only large resident buck. The others are always going to be small as they are trying to take over the area and scrapping it out to see who gets it. The choice is yours, fill your boots or leave a buck to come on. It sounds like a fill your boots job to me.
    That's fair enough, I appreciate your time in replying. I asked the question as I just want to make the best from what I've got.
    Best Regards,
    Adrian.

    Jedward. The reason why there are two barrels on a shotgun.

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