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QDM Fanatics - Read On...

687 Views 14 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  BackStrap
Gentlemen -

I am interested in managing my father's land for larger bucks and a better buck:doe ratio. How would you go about it in my case.

The facts:

70 acres - 60% high grass/shrub (3-6 feet) and 30% woods...7 ponds and a 3 acre clover field. I estimate that around 50 different deer cross/feed/bed on the land every day. In early season it is nothing to see 15 different bucks. Usually we see 1 or 2 bucks with 100"+ antler growth each year. Our neighbors for the most part won't shoot doe. They do however shoot every buck they can (yes, admittedly more than 2 each if able). By the 3rd day of gun season there isn't a buck to be seen other than buttons. This frustrates me. I will not get the DNR involved because we are bow hunters and need neighbor permission to track animals. I feel it is useless to even attempt any sort of management.

What do you suggest?
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Number One: Shoot every single doe you see; old ones, young ones, and everything in between. If you've got 50 deer spending time on your 70 acres every day, you've got WAY too many deer, and it is likely causing social stress issues within the local herd, and makes for a bad situation on multiple levels.

Other things, like working out some sort of cooperation with neighbors, education, habitat changes, etc. take a back seat until you get problem #1 solved.

Get out there and shoot some does.:cool:
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"What do you suggest?"

Since you asked, here it is. Shoot every doe you can get a permit for until your buck-doe ratio drops to below 1:2.

Create sanctuaries if possible. When the shooting starts if a buck or two has a safe place to hide you might be able to get a few into the older age classes.

What is the browse like in the 30% that is woods? You can create a lot of browse with a chain saw.
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15 different bucks. That's a little hard to believe. Anyways, 50 deer, 15 are bucks. Leaves 35 antlerless. About 7-8 would be button bucks. So you have 22 bucks and 28 does. Sounds like a good ratio to me.
70 acres isn't much land. If you want to protect some of those bucks you better start buying all of the land within a mile of your hunting area or hope we get antler restrictions within a few years.

L & O
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Liver and onions is right, your seeing a good number of deer and bucks on 70 acres, don't let anyone tell you, you have to go out and shoot every doe you can see, if it were not for those does you would not see them bucks, if you feel the herd is unbalanced a little, start taking 2-3 does a year and chart how the herd has responded over the years, you may feel you have to shoot a few more, or just be happy your seeing a lot of deer and enjoy hunting. Unfortunately, your 70 acres is not a great management tool, if you could manage 100- 250 acres you could keep deer on your property all year long with food plots and a little forest management, but your neighbors are doing the same thing, everyone wants to see big bucks, but we dont know how to get to the answer, enjoy hunting first, if your freezer is empty and you need meat shoot a doe or two, or just go and hunt and enjoy the fact that you can see that many deer.
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Originally posted by BackStrap
I estimate that around 50 different deer cross/feed/bed on the land every day.

In early season it is nothing to see 15 different bucks.
Guys, re-read the original post. BackStrap said he has 50 different deer per day on the property. He then states 15 different bucks in the early season, not 15 bucks per day. I am assuming the early season is the 6 week archery season. That would average one buck every 3 days. My public school education would make that out to be 1 buck for every 150 does and fawns. My original recommendation remains. Shoot every doe you can get a permit for until you see a buck-doe ratio of 1:2 or less.
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Bob, you beat me to it.

As one member put it (something like this):

"Oh, the weather outside is frightful,
I've got seven shells for my rifle,
and 'cause young bucks need room to grow,
kill a doe, kill a doe, kill a doe!"
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So you're thinking that he sees 50 DIFFERENT deer every day ? And this seems logical to you ? I didn't think that he saw 15 different bucks in a day during the bow season. I assumed that he saw 15 different bucks, while hunting, in bow season on his 70 acres. That still seems pretty good to me.

L & O
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He didn't say he saw 50 deer per day on his property, nor did Bob say he did. He estimated that 50 deer use his property each day. A pretty big number on 70 acres.
Bob, I did go back and read were backstrap estimated he had 50 different deer using his property, not that he has 50 different deer on his property. My guess his count could be a little high or some of these deer might be the same deer, who knows maybe he has the best 70 acres in his county and that's why the deer use his land. I also believe that if he has neighbors shooting 2-3 bucks a year you have to figure that into your ratio, what if he has 4 people on the next block of land shooting all the horns they can see in a year, you dont think that has an effect on the herd, if he has neighbors poaching this bad it will never happen, you guy's are right, if his neighbors don't learn to start shooting some doe's there will be bigger problems in the future. My point is it must be managed properly, of them 50 differnt deer how many are button bucks, or next year's 4 points.
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I also believe that if he has neighbors shooting 2-3 bucks a year you have to figure that into your ratio, what if he has 4 people on the next block of land shooting all the horns they can see in a year,
That is all the more reason he should be shooting as many does as he can. The buck to doe ratio is only getting worse if everyone around him is shooting bucks and no one is shooting does.
who knows
I am answering the question he asked. My answer is based on the informaion he provided. Maybe he only has 5 does and they walk through his property 10 times a day. But that is not what he said.
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I would take about a third of the property and keep it as a sanctuary. Never hunt, scout, or even step foot around the area during or around any deer hunting season. Deer (especially the smart ones…AKA big bucks) have a very keen sense of knowing where they are safe. Should save some of the bucks from the neighbors. Also, While determining what piece of property you would do this to, I would make sure if benefits you and not the neighbors. And yeah…It wouldn’t kill ya to shoot a few does too. 50 deer using 70 acres is a lot, but I'm not sure I agree with the stack'em like cord wood plan, because you may see a lot of duplicates or just have a highly traveled area in excellent habitat.
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Wow, thanks for all of the replies. Let me clear a few things up.

I would really estimate that 50 deer (on average) use our land each day. In fact, if any of you travel US-27 on a regular basis near the Maple River flooding...you have undoubtedly seen many deer on our land. My dad sat all day last gun opener and saw 72 deer from one stand.

This year my brother and I shot 5 doe off this land. In late gun season it is nothing to see 10-30 doe in a three hour sit.

We really do see around 15 different bucks in the first bow season. Last year I passed shots on 5 different bucks before I took a 9pt in early bow. I saw more bucks that I didn't have shots at.

We have a really good setup for a sanctuary. I think that is a great idea.

What is meant by a "browse"?

Thanks again!
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I travel that way a lot and I think I know exactly the property you have there. I have enough deer on my own property, but my love is ducks.....you say you have 7 ponds.....hmmm.....got any ducks you want shot? I hunt the state marsh by you often, but I'm always looking for other spots for ducks.
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Actually, we have considered duck hunting. Unfortunatly, duck hunting would not help out bow hunting. I'll keep it in mind in case we ever decide to pick up the sport. There are a lot of ducks and geese on those ponds...especially in the spring.
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