New to game mgmt. and need help.
I am just starting to game manage a small land tract in "almost" South Texas. I have about 150 acres of mostly brush and I need to know about how many deer can I expect to feed and keep on this amount of land. The land is not game fenced. I have (4) feeders right now. I am planning on feeding year round.
Does anyone know:
How far do deer roam?
Do they return to their birthland after the rut?
How many bucks can 150 acres maintain?
I ask as I am trying to limit the amount of bucks taken off the property in a given year.
Any advise would be helpful.
The key to holding deer on your property is to have a safe, undisturbed bedding area and also a large, varied food source. Deer will roam an area that can stretch 2-3 miles but they generally have one main loop (from bedding to food) that you could consider their home. However, if the deer become pressured then they will often move to places they don't regularly travel.
As for deer population that you can hold, with 150 acres you can have plenty of area for more bucks and does then you will ever need. Also, if you have a deer's preferred food source, you are likely (even if they don't bed on your property) to pull deer from surrounding lands or areas.
Limiting the number of bucks that are taken a year will definitely help to establish a large number of bucks, however, you need to set limits on what kind of bucks can be taken. The rule on my farm is no bucks below an 8pt with a 16" inside and 7" pts can be taken. It is best to watch your deer population and see which deer of 2-3 yr old have less than desirable racks and take them out.
I do not care what anyone says IF YOU PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR DEER IN YOUR AREA, YOU CAN TELL THE AGE!!!! There are ways depending on the coat, neck size, rack size, etc.....you CAN guess a deers age without looking at the teeth, you just need to gauge what your own herd looks like. Even looking at the teeth cannot definitely tell you a deers age because different deer have different wear and tear on their teeth depending on their diet and genetics! The way they say that a deer is old is by looking at deer's teeth of what they think is the same age as another,and they compare what teeth are there and how worn they are...and if you get a very old deer, the experts can't even tell you because the teeth are gone past the point of comparision so even teeth aren't a sure fire way of aging deer...if you can compare the teeth and get a reading, you can tell by comparing the outside appearances as well...my dad is now retired from TWRA and used to score and age deer every sat and sun at a local check station, so its not like I do not know what Im talking about
sorry, that is just my rant.....anyways, you need to cull the bucks that have the weaker genetics. After 2-3 years you will be seeing so many 110-120 class 8 pts they they will start looking like spikes to ya. Let all your young bucks walk...most of those 4s, 6s, and 15" inside 8pts have A LOT of potential so LET THEM WALK....when they reach 2-3 years old and just haven't produced, take them out....
Managing a deer herd can be kinda a bore sometimes because you end up letting so many deer walk you get annoyed, however, after a few years, it starts paying off...you see the value of your work. Its neat to see GOOD bucks walking around everywhere you look. Its still hard to shoot because you know that if there are sooo many 120 class deer, there is probably several 150-180 class deer just waiting to come out.
You need to make sure you take out a decent number of does each year too. If there are too many does, there will be less competition during the rut and those younger, less desirable bucks will be more likely to breed and pass on their genetics.
The first step to any good management program is to supply the right food. Such as clover, alphalfa, chicory, and soybeans. You want high protein and nutrient contents in whatever you plant. Something my dad and I are doing this year is feeding soybean seeds and cotton seeds during the harsher winter months. This helps the deer keep their body weight up (high fat content in cotton seeds) and gives them the nutrients they need (soybean seeds). After the rut is some of the best time to feed the deer because they have been running and expending a lot of their energy for several weeks.
This is just my $.02 but it has worked for my property. Good Luck!
Normally by about 2.5 yrs old a buck will have moved off from his "birthland" because for one his mother doesn't want him and he is then being harrased by the big bucks running him off all the time....
It all depends on how much vegitation you have in your area, a lot of veggies, the more deer/bucks your 150 acres can hold....if you go to the QDMA (Quality Deer Managment Assoc.) they have maps of the U.S. and Texas that go by county and give you a rough estimate on how many deer you have in that area....
Also, I'm sure you know this but taking does is also an excelent management tool...
join the qdma. loads of help there has well as info on co-ops for tracks of land like yours and maybe your neighbors.
There is so much involved and with out fences, 150 acres in Texas will be tough. I would find out what will grow in your area with highest protien quality and plant as much as you can. As far as trying to control the buck quality you won't unless all the surrounding properties do the same. I wish I had 150 acres, but the real truth is its not enough to do all that you want. Give the deer something good to eat/drink and they will stay around your property for the most part. Try to get your neighbors on board to control the does. In PA we know bucks travel well over a mile pre rut, who knows how far during the rut.
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