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had a trait gaining on our property a few years back. Good rack on one side and a dagger on the other. I work pretty well with the neighbors and we decided to do our best to get rid of the trait. Last year I shot one of the oldest ones we knew of and I dont have any on camera this year. I dont know if you would call them culls or selective harvesting. It didnt matter if they were 2,3,4,5 or 6 yo were we going to get rid of them.
 

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Most bucks in Arkansas dont get old enough to even know if they are a cull buck. The small tracts and overwhelming population of hunters make it hard to manage anything. I use to preach let em get old. It just falls on deaf ears. I could really care less, shoot em up! If its brown, knock em down. (For the freezer of course)
 

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Most bucks in Arkansas dont get old enough to even know if they are a cull buck. The small tracts and overwhelming population of hunters make it hard to manage anything. I use to preach let em get old. It just falls on deaf ears. I could really care less, shoot em up! If its brown, knock em down. (For the freezer of course)
I always noticed during deer season lots of folks just about to starve to death with out any deer meat in the freezer
 

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SwampCat implied that a buck needs age before being labeled a cull and SA Doc said 3.5 years before being able to see how a buck turns out. That's 3.5 years for the (mostly) full phenotypic expression of the genotype that resulted from a specific breeding.

To make an informed empirical judgment you need to know A) a certain buck bred a certain doe, and B) that's the only buck that covered that doe. Now you need to go somehow make sure those two don't breed again (3.5 years later). You were keeping track of all the offspring produced by those two deer this whole time, right? Those others might be monsters in which case you should probably "encourage" them to breed more.

(I'll also assume you checked the "cull" for an absence of other desirable traits besides inches-of-antler. Any deer that makes it to 3.5 or older clearly has a low susceptibility to disease, adequate tooth enamel thickness, good bone and muscle conformation, high survivability, alertness, good hoves and eyes on and on. ) I digress. Genetic manipulation outside of controlled breeding is a myth.

SA Doc and SwampCat, I used y'alls words because I agreed with what y'all said and I respect both of your management practices (as far as I know about them from reading here). Competition is real and you might be able to reduce it and you gotta shoot SOMETHING every once in a while. But genetics is complicated
 
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SwampCat implied that a buck needs age before being labeled a cull and SA Doc said 3.5 years before being able to see how a buck turns out. That's 3.5 years for the (mostly) full phenotypic expression of the genotype that resulted from a specific breeding.

To make an informed empirical judgment you need to know A) a certain buck bred a certain doe, and B) that's the only buck that covered that doe. Now you need to go somehow make sure those two don't breed again (3.5 years later). You were keeping track of all the offspring produced by those two deer this whole time, right? Those others might be monsters in which case you should probably "encourage" them to breed more.

(I'll also assume you checked the "cull" for an absence of other desirable traits besides inches-of-antler. Any deer that makes it to 3.5 or older clearly has a low susceptibility to disease, adequate tooth enamel thickness, good bone and muscle conformation, high survivability, alertness, good hoves and eyes on and on. ) I digress. Genetic manipulation outside of controlled breeding is a myth.

SA Doc and SwampCat, I used y'alls words because I agreed with what y'all said and I respect both of your management practices (as far as I know about them from reading here). Competition is real and you might be able to reduce it and you gotta shoot SOMETHING every once in a while. But genetics is complicated
To complicate matters, I have also read that the doe and envirinmental conditions MAY be able to supply up to 70% of a bucks future characteristics - not just 50% like we usually think as pertaining to genetic make up. Potentially, the health of the doe can give a fawn a jump start - or hold a fawn back - the results of which may stay with a fawn through life. A big healthy doe, bred early in fall, in the prime of life, after a great acorn crop, gives birth to twin buck fawns early in fawning season and a predator takes one of them soon after birth - leaving the other one to have a super supply of rich milk, a long growing season, with a wet, lush summer - gives that buck fawn a big jump on life - some of the benefits which can be carried through life.
 

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To complicate matters, I have also read that the doe and envirinmental conditions MAY be able to supply up to 70% of a bucks future characteristics - not just 50% like we usually think as pertaining to genetic make up. Potentially, the health of the doe can give a fawn a jump start - or hold a fawn back - the results of which may stay with a fawn through life. A big healthy doe, bred early in fall, in the prime of life, after a great acorn crop, gives birth to twin buck fawns early in fawning season and a predator takes one of them soon after birth - leaving the other one to have a super supply of rich milk, a long growing season, with a wet, lush summer - gives that buck fawn a big jump on life - some of the benefits which can be carried through life.
We may be in luck swampcat. We have the pressers the the wet lush summer going for us.
 

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Know a guy that works on a deer farm in Texas. They put a huge emphasis on tracking certain does and their production.
 

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I said 3 1/2 years assuming Arkansas deer. South TX deer tend to run about a year behind, which is why we shoot “culls” at 4 1/2. Any deer we think really has potential we usually try to wait until 6 1/2 to shoot ( doesn’t always work out and there’s one i saw last year if I see I’m not sure I can pass ) , and the new ranch manager is pushing for 7. 1/2.

The head guy on my lease has been there almost 35 years. When he 1st got on the place it was shot out and it took 3 years for them to see a 10 point. This is my 21st season hunting there. When I got on we would get 1 or sometimes 2 150 class deer a year ( and sometimes none). We might have had 1 deer in the low 160s the 1st 5 years I was on. We would see multiple old (6+ yo ) bucks with 5-8 points every year. At that time we only got 10 buck tags and 5 doe tags for the entire ranch. About 15 years ago we got on a management plan . We started feeding protein and culling bucks with 8 points or less scoring under 140 at 4 1/2. Most of the ones we took at 1st scored under 100. We saw a little improvement, but about 8 years ago a new guy started running cattle on the place. It was overgrazed., and He started putting up more fencing and rotating cows aggressively. He roller chopped about 800 acres around the ranch. Within a couple of years we saw a big difference. The last 4-5 years we’ve had 2-3 over 160 every year. I could count on 1 hand the number of mature 8 pointers I saw last year- pretty sure I saw more 12s than 8s.
I have no idea if the culling helped genetics. I suspect it’s a combination of age and improved nutrition.


( none of the above would be possible on a small place, or even a decent sized place with multiple small neighbors. )
 

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To complicate matters, I have also read that the doe and envirinmental conditions MAY be able to supply up to 70% of a bucks future characteristics - not just 50% like we usually think as pertaining to genetic make up. Potentially, the health of the doe can give a fawn a jump start - or hold a fawn back - the results of which may stay with a fawn through life. A big healthy doe, bred early in fall, in the prime of life, after a great acorn crop, gives birth to twin buck fawns early in fawning season and a predator takes one of them soon after birth - leaving the other one to have a super supply of rich milk, a long growing season, with a wet, lush summer - gives that buck fawn a big jump on life - some of the benefits which can be carried through life.
Spot on, in my opinion.

Epigenetics. That throws a whole nother variable into the equation. If the doe or buck was stressed in the months leading up to breeding there will be certain genes "turned on" that are different from the genes in the absence of stress. Think of it as survival vs thriving genes. Both "sets" are passed to the offspring but the survival will be expressed over the thriving. That can switch back in the next generation if the stressors are removed.

Nutrition also can't be stressed enough. It's why agriculture land has bigger deer than wooded mountain regions.
 
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I said 3 1/2 years assuming Arkansas deer. South TX deer tend to run about a year behind, which is why we shoot “culls” at 4 1/2. Any deer we think really has potential we usually try to wait until 6 1/2 to shoot ( doesn’t always work out and there’s one i saw last year if I see I’m not sure I can pass ) , and the new ranch manager is pushing for 7. 1/2.

The head guy on my lease has been there almost 35 years. When he 1st got on the place it was shot out and it took 3 years for them to see a 10 point. This is my 21st season hunting there. When I got on we would get 1 or sometimes 2 150 class deer a year ( and sometimes none). We might have had 1 deer in the low 160s the 1st 5 years I was on. We would see multiple old (6+ yo ) bucks with 5-8 points every year. At that time we only got 10 buck tags and 5 doe tags for the entire ranch. About 15 years ago we got on a management plan . We started feeding protein and culling bucks with 8 points or less scoring under 140 at 4 1/2. Most of the ones we took at 1st scored under 100. We saw a little improvement, but about 8 years ago a new guy started running cattle on the place. It was overgrazed., and He started putting up more fencing and rotating cows aggressively. He roller chopped about 800 acres around the ranch. Within a couple of years we saw a big difference. The last 4-5 years we’ve had 2-3 over 160 every year. I could count on 1 hand the number of mature 8 pointers I saw last year- pretty sure I saw more 12s than 8s.
I have no idea if the culling helped genetics. I suspect it’s a combination of age and improved nutrition.


( none of the above would be possible on a small place, or even a decent sized place with multiple small neighbors. )
It would be interesting to do a chi square test on this. Did y'all keep records of numbers of bucks seen and rough antler size?
 

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It would be interesting to do a chi square test on this. Did y'all keep records of numbers of bucks seen and rough antler size?
No records on bucks seen, but we have weighed , aged, and scored all the deer we’ve taken since we got on the management plan. It always got sent to the state biologist at the end of season. We also do deer counts every October. I’m not sure if we still have all the records. Things are a little different this year. Control of the ranch has been passed on to a different member of the family that owns it. He’s got a private biologist overseeing all the property he controls. They’re doing a helicopter survey next week ( we tried that years ago but the brush was too thick to do much good). I think we were doing a pretty good as it was and hope they don’t try to make drastic changes.
 

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No records on bucks seen, but we have weighed , aged, and scored all the deer we’ve taken since we got on the management plan. It always got sent to the state biologist at the end of season. We also do deer counts every October. I’m not sure if we still have all the records. Things are a little different this year. Control of the ranch has been passed on to a different member of the family that owns it. He’s got a private biologist overseeing all the property he controls. They’re doing a helicopter survey next week ( we tried that years ago but the brush was too thick to do much good). I think we were doing a pretty good as it was and hope they don’t try to make drastic changes.
If you recorded points for the bucks you killed you could get an idea. Actual score would be awesome, but points would give some indication

Say bucks with 8 or less points or 9 or more points
When you joined
Protein and culling
After cross fencing

I'd run the stats if you have those records
 

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I’ll check when I see him next weekend. I doubt he keeps more than a few years worth, but you never know.
 
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