Harvest is the key to managing a deer population. It
maintains deer numbers
within the carrying capacity, or food supply produced by the
range. Harvest also
is used to obtain and maintain a desired adult sex ratio and a
desired age structure
of the population by adjusting both the buck and doe kill.
recommendations area made annually based upon that year’s
Composition of the herd plays a vital role in this determination
as well as your
Buck harvest will primarily be based on your goals for the
Depending on your desire for quality or quantity, buck harvest
will differ. If your
objective is to produce bucks with larger antlers, then they
must be allowed to
reach older ages. This means that the harvest of young,
immature bucks should be restricted. Restricting hunters
to mature bucks along
with the harvesting of bucks with undesirable antlers is a
recommended doe harvest will depend upon the overall deer
the estimated carrying capacity of the range, the observed sex
ratio, and fawn
production and survival.
With the knowledge of approximately how many bucks, does, and
present on your ranch at any giving time, the decision about how
should be harvested during the upcoming deer season can be made.
doe ratios and fawns to doe ratios are also good indicators of
toward obtaining your goals and objectives.
The Real World Example
Take the example of two similar ranches with 200 deer on each
ranch. Ranch A has a
of 1:1 while Ranch B has a 1:3 ratio. Ranch A has 100 bucks and
while Ranch B
has 50 bucks and 150 does. If both ranches have a 50%
Ranch A ends
up with 50 fawns and Ranch B ends up with 75. Therefore, the
of Ranch A is
250 deer the following year while it is 275 for Ranch B.
Obviously a more
effort will be needed on Ranch B to maintain the desired deer
Let us help you develop an
excellent white-tailed deer population on
ranch through sound management.