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Thread: Improving Heads

  1. #1

    Improving Heads

    Just wondering about what ways I can go to improving the quality of Roe heads in the local area and population numbers for the quality of deer to be at good level. Cheers Jom

  2. #2
    What we did was shoot every buck on the estate one year to allow better heads from outside to come in,the next year we hit the does very hard every yearling and doe seen was shot, this has worked either by luck or judgement, this will depend on the size of your area as well, but there again they don,t taste any better.
    where in Cornwall are you, I have seen some nice heads down there.

  3. #3
    SD Regular willie_gunn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caerhays sniper View Post
    Just wondering about what ways I can go to improving the quality of Roe heads in the local area and population numbers for the quality of deer to be at good level. Cheers Jom
    Jom

    Antler development in deer is down to the interplay of three main factors; age, genetics and - most importantly - nutrition. So those are the things you're going to need to consider in terms of if and how to improve antler quality in your local population.

    Age - constantly culling bucks when you see them means those larger antlered roe will never get a chance to develop. Where the pressure tends to come from is when stalkers on your neighbouring ground are following this policy, as then you start to think "I might as well shoot them as if they go off my ground my neighbour is going to shoot them anyway". If you have enough ground, or limited stalking on neighbouring ground, then you can perhaps start to think of a more structured cull plan that will allow a good proportion of middle aged and older bucks

    Genetics - any deer's potential to grow large antlers is influenced by the genetics passed on from both parents. It's important to recognise, however, that this genetic potential will only be realised if sufficient nutrition is available. For those stalkers who are trying to improve trophy quality, many will seek to cull middle aged bucks if their antler development appears poor, leaving instead those that perhaps have developed better quality antlers (weight, pearling, shape) in their second or third years.

    Nutrition - being the single most important factor in antler development, nutrition is also a factor that may be within your control. The difficulty comes from the fact that changing the nutritional value of the land under cultivation is a long term project. You could consider supplementary feeding or planting high nutrition crops, but if you can't influence the cropping policy you're frankly facing an uphill battle. At the end of the day nutritional value is dependent upon the quality of the ground itself, and if it's poor quality soil any ability to influence nutrition is limited. Another factor affecting nutrition will be the density of deer on the ground, which leads us into the area of determining both the current and the desired population, as well as an understanding of the optimum population that the ground can support, given all the other demands placed on it. Again, your ability to influence this might be limited.

    If you're willing to experiment, and to view this as a project to be undertaken over a number of years, it would be an interesting exercise to see how the quality improves. Just keep in mind that this is nature you're dealing with, so even the best laid plans can fall apart for reasons outside of your control.

    willie_gunn
    O wad some Power the giftie gie us to see oursels as ithers see us!

  4. #4
    The Estate covers 4500 acres. In the last 15 months we have taken 7 does and 5 bucks out. 3 were 6 pointers and ok the others were rubbish probably damaged in velvet.Nobody shoots around the outside of the estate really as it's a lot of plain farmland.

  5. #5
    Sniper first off you will need to realise that not every area will produce Massive roe heads but most if not all can be improved. If we go on Willies three main needs for good heads lets start with.

    Genetics and how they will effect your local deer. To many deer of varying quality will produce many youngsters of the same. So you need to remove the crap to do that you need to know what crap is and I have took many out that would not be able to identify a good roe from a pour one. (Problem).

    Age as a deer gets older he will get bigger just like humans once he gets really old he will start to thin and wither. If you can leave a genetically strong group of male deer as long as you can you will put the best in to your females. Females very important and identifying a good doe is more important than a good buck. Small thin does with one kid must be removed on sight Old does must also be shot on sight.(INSEASON OF COARSE). When you shoot your does look at what you are removing eg Big doe two kids leave the best kid and Mum remove the smallest weakest.

    Food Roe deer are very fussy and trying to feed the nutritious food is a no brainer let them decide. We have bramble ,Hawthorn mix and mixed grasses and herbage. Cut the hawthorn bramble and grass in patchs on the ground this should offer very high nutrient rich food. Then as winter sets in and the bucks are growing there now genetically enriched heads. Pull down some of the ever green plants that have been nibbled to a browse line Like evy holly and may more . That will work but we work on a 300 acre area and get some good results I certainly don't have time for very large areas.

    The results are clear,


  6. #6
    SD Regular willie_gunn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caerhays sniper View Post
    The Estate covers 4500 acres. In the last 15 months we have taken 7 does and 5 bucks out. 3 were 6 pointers and ok the others were rubbish probably damaged in velvet.Nobody shoots around the outside of the estate really as it's a lot of plain farmland.
    If no one shoots around the outside of the estate, and presuming you are culling the poorer quality bucks on your land, bear in mind you will be attracting bucks of indeterminate quality from outside your boundaries. That works both ways of course - they may be cr@p but they may also be stonkers
    O wad some Power the giftie gie us to see oursels as ithers see us!

  7. #7
    Yeah the does taken this year were all carrying twins and in good condition. As stated knowing a good deer seems to be the key which for a novice isn't the easiest thing. Policy for the last 2 years has been shoot crap bucks and when shooting does we normally take 1 if 2 are seen together. Are population is ok but certainly not high. I shot a tidy buck the other day which I think was an older 1 and had been around that wood for several years. I felt it was time to let 1 of the younger 1's take it on. Hopefully it works!

  8. #8
    Dominic Griffiths book, Deer Management in UK is certainly worth a read.


    Deer Management in the UK : Hardback : Dominic Griffith, Alois K. Prince, Marco Pierre White : 9781846891083

    Moose
    Last edited by moose; 19-05-2014 at 11:14.

  9. #9
    SD Regular teyhan1's Avatar
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    1st thing I'd say is to get a good idea of the population size.
    If your not growing good heads it can be because there are just too many deer for that area given the quality food availability. This is regardless of the size of the place.
    Your cull should be aiming at reducing the number of Roe deer by a 1/3 per year or your population will continue to grow and the habitat and quality food availability will fall.
    Quality food is very important as the bucks do their growing in winter and it is then that they need the good food. If there are too many does and youngsters eating it then they just won't grow.
    My guess is that you are under culling as only taking 12 animals on 4500 acres would equate to a total population of 36 on 4500 acres if you were to apply the 1/3 rule. That would be a very low density population.
    Give us some numbers and we'll see if we can come up with a cull plan.
    We need
    How many of the does that you shot were pregnant?
    How many does had young with them and how many young were there with them?
    How many deer are there (ish) and in what proportions? i.e. Bucks/Does/Yearlings
    Last edited by teyhan1; 19-05-2014 at 12:30.
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  10. #10
    SD Regular willie_gunn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teyhan1 View Post
    We need
    How many of the does that you shot were pregnant?
    Would also be useful to know the average number of foeti per doe for the ones you've culled.

    willie_gunn
    O wad some Power the giftie gie us to see oursels as ithers see us!

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