nuttyspaniel said:Take the crap out, and the beasts going back and try and leave the good uns until the rut has passed! But if your in a forestry patch you may have to adopt the policy of if its brown its down mate to keep the cull targets up!!
devilishdave said:The way I see it is it depends on what pressure you have to reach your cull and the likely hood of some one else taking the good bucks any way. The reason for leaving the good bucks is two fold, it gives them the chance to spread their geans and a large buck will hold a larger teratorie and be less likely to thrash the trees as much as some young upstart. Thats just my take on it. I will be leaving anything that looks a bit special until after the rut.
GOOD BUCKS SHOULD BE SHOT AFTER THE RUT
For the motion: Richard Whiteley – Professional Stalking Guide
How do you define the term ‘a good buck’. As far as this debate is concerned, it almost certainly boils down to quality of antler configuration. Good bucks will have the heads that warrant being put on the wall as trophies.
If you have a stalker willing to pay the price, why not strike when the opportunity arises, you may say? Why wait for the upheaval of the rut – during and after which you may never see this particular good buck again? Or worse still, your client has a golden opportunity for a shot only to see the big fella has been fighting hard and snapped off a tine. Far better to take him earlier in the season and earn top dollar.
The argument over financial value is mercenary, however, and may lead to occasions when stalkers cross the dubiously thin line that distinguishes a ‘good’ buck from a ‘best’ buck. Once you have started grading bucks by value, rather than future genetic worth, there is the temptation to make extra profit.
This argue holds similarities with .22 centrefire rifles being used for smaller deer species. It is undoubtedly true that many experienced stalkers can do the job properly – but there are even more who cannot. Ultimately the decision on whether to shoot early should rest on the quality of deer management on each estate.
Should you be fortunate enough to manage the stalking on a substantial acreage with good numbers of deer locations that are familiar to you, there is a change that you may be able to leave individual best bucks in peace. However, for the majority of leisure stalkers hunting small areas, this is not an option. They will most likely be sitting in their high seats dreaming of gold medal bucks.
You have to ensure that a nucleus of top-quality bucks is still around during the rut. By harassing the big boys ahead of this period, you at least run the risk of pushing them out of the area. Shoot them early, and they are not going to be about when the does are receptive.
Time taken before the rut looking for and stalking a good buck, could have been far better expended culling a couple of less than worthy trophies. Stalkers without the time, competence or size of estate on which to maintain a thorough cull programme will end up with a scattered prime gene pool. These poorly antlered examples will be free to procreate, ensuring their spindly antlers reappear in future generations.
Against the Motion: Richard Prior – Rod deer expert and stalker
It’s an admirable idea letting the best stock pass on their genes to the next generation, but unfortunately there is a world of difference between theory (and there’s plenty of that floating about in the deer business) and the practicalities of day-to-day management. There are some fallacies too.
Selection should start well before this stage – weeding out the unpromising yearling bucks for a start. Make a mistake in that and you have eliminated good stock before they have a chance to breed at all. Fail to weed out enough of the lesser middle-aged males and your youngsters will be driven out by the resident mature bucks in late spring.
Then again, a lusty buck will have started rutting long before the age of five or six years old. If you shoot your best bucks when they are six or more years old, they will have had at least three seasons already to pass on their genes even if they finally get culled before the rut.
Like it or not, much of the motivation behind the improvement in roe management in recent years has been the fact that they are now worth money. For at least a couple of weeks following the rut, bucks are exceptionally hard to find because they are resting, so to keep every worthwhile buck until after the rut effectively restricts the pay-stalking season to September and possibly October, by which time the russet coloured coat of summer is already fading and some of the older bucks may be near to casting. The pleasant early-summer days are when the majority of stalkers want to come, or during the rut when calling can be a tremendous asset and excitement.
Culling mature bucks is as much part of logical management as selecting yearlings or ensuring that sufficient does are shot in the winter. By early autumn, the stalker’s time may be taken up with the fallow rut and the amount of time he can spare in order to achieve his entire cull of mature roebucks may be so limited that it become impossible.
Theory is fine in place. We base our efforts on what we learn from lectures, courses and books, but theory has to be moulded by the needs and manifold difficulties the working stalker has to content with. He must keep the farm manager and forester reasonably content with his efforts, let alone the land owner and his demand for cash-flow. It’s a time-consuming task, which has to be spread through the open season.