What percentage of your 3+ year olds return

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Bullwinkle, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. Bullwinkle

    Bullwinkle Active Member

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    Just reviewed pictures from ‘16 and compared to ‘17

    I’ve got open communication with neighbors sharing deer killed

    I was shocked. Only 20% of my 3+ year olds returned from ‘16

    Fully know deer die, deer move, etc but 20%. Now I had a bunch of new ones I couldn’t ID. Do 3/4 year olds disperse?
     
  2. Kwood

    Kwood Active Member

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  3. SwampCat

    SwampCat Active Member

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    About 1/3. I think a lot more die than we realize. Especially in areas where there arent a lot of does per buck.
     
  4. Kwood

    Kwood Active Member

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    Lots of hunting pressure in my area. Very few people pass a 3yr old. I do, hope to see them again, rarely do. Seems I will have 2-3 mature deer make it each year on camera I recognize and then another 2-3 show up I don’t.


    Sent from my iPhone using Deer Hunter Forum
     
  5. tlh2865

    tlh2865 Member

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    I have never seen one of mine do it, small sample size given i'm just on 40 acres and 5 years. I'd say that makes 0 returners of maybe 3 bucks. Oddly though, usually my best two year olds will stick around an absolutely blow up. The buck I killed last year put on close to 40 inches of antler from 2 to 3.5. Such a big racked and big bodied deer I thought I had my first buck carry over from 3 to 4.

    Now even though I don't carry over deer, I do pick up mature deer from somewhere every year around august-october, deer I have no history at all with usually. So they are coming from somewhere. Maybe when a buck hits that 4 year mark he wants to leave home per say and find his own place in the world. Just a thought
     
  6. Bullwinkle

    Bullwinkle Active Member

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    I think they move around. Surly some get picked off or die but I seem to gain about the number I lost.

    Sometimes it’s hard to id bucks too.

    You’d think they’d be more home bodies by 3.5 and more territorial??
     
  7. catscratch

    catscratch Well-Known Member

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    Any chance some of these deer are still there, but have figured out your pattern after 3.5 years of watching you hunt and set out trail cams?

    Or in your case (Bullwinkle with your high populations) as they get older they become less tolerant of crowds and seek less populated area's?
     
  8. Bullwinkle

    Bullwinkle Active Member

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    This year no doubt number of does hurt me. Prior years no

    We have really worked on low, low pressure. On all day sits I’ve literally had does in the plots all day and actually bed in them. I’m sure I don’t have pictures of every deer but we have never shot one we didn’t have a picture of since I loaded up with cameras
     
  9. catscratch

    catscratch Well-Known Member

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    Maybe I'm confusing you with someone else, but I thought you have had major doe problems in the past. To the point of completely changing your plot plan to decrease doe usage in the summer months. I also thought you had looked for ideas on screening plantings so you could access tower stands you have in bedding areas. I thought that seemed high pressure to me, but like I said maybe I'm confusing you with someone else.

    Does in plots 24hrs a day would seem beneficial during the rut but when bucks don't want to be around does I think it would keep them skirting the area. If anything, I think it would help keep them nocturnal (I've found bachelor groups and doe family groups tend to frequent the same plots, but at different times).
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
  10. Bullwinkle

    Bullwinkle Active Member

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    I’ve been on these forums for a long time.

    I had too many does

    Sturgis redesigned my farm and I got rid of summer forage. Doe population declined nicely

    Last 3-4 years I was in balance shooting 5-7 does a year

    This year- I think it’s no acorns - I am over run with fat deer. The fat part doesn’t make sense to me either but they ate 18 acres of crops, I guess that could make them fat???

    Hope to shoot 10 does this weekend
     
  11. SwampCat

    SwampCat Active Member

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    Your bucks are killing themselves trying to breed all your does.:D
     
    Drycreek likes this.
  12. catscratch

    catscratch Well-Known Member

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    Maybe I've been here too long also... it seems like you did the Sturgis plan and removed summer forage last yr, not 4 yrs ago. Things run together when you do something long enough.

    I would say if you have no browse and no summer food plots, that your deer are not getting fat on your place. Must be doing it somewhere else. Getting fat on a fall plot doesn't make since to me. Deer only spend a partial amount of time eating on a plot, and total body wt would be function of time greater than from Sept to October.
     
  13. Hoseman

    Hoseman Member

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    IMO this is the million dollar question and one that baffles me. We do our best to let these three year old bucks go and have done so for 10 years on our farm. We have several of them around and frequently get pictures of them. But we almost never see or get pictures of these deer the next year and I have no earthly idea what happens to them or where they go when they are four years old. Assuming half of them do not survive whether through getting shot during hunting season or through natural causes we should still have several four year olds running around. It is as if they almost all vanish never to be seen again. Hunting pressure in our area is moderate. I wish someone could give me a good answer for this question!
     
  14. Kabic

    Kabic Active Member

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    110%
     
  15. Pacahunter

    Pacahunter New Member

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    I had one Whopper show up on camera Tuesday. Family member saw another no doubter this morning chasing a doe. Both different bucks, neither we're seen before.
    This goes back to a thread I started a couple weeks back. How much do these deer really move.
    Strategic habitat planning, and pressure is da bomb!
     
  16. SwampCat

    SwampCat Active Member

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    Most of My neighbors do no deer management other than being selective when they pull the trigger. I manage everything I can, provide cover, water, year round food plots, etc. We try to shoot 4.5 yr old bucks or older - as do they. They kill as many as we do. I have begun to think I could kill every legal buck off my place every year and it wouldnt make a difference on next years buck crop.
     
  17. X-farmerdan

    X-farmerdan Active Member

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    Ha! You're in Virginia Hoseman? Yes, if I remember correctly. The odds of a buck making it to 4 1/2 are really slim even if you do pass on a 3 1/2 year old. Fantastic trigger control is just one of so many things can happen. The neighbors aren't near as good. Disease. Car crashes. Poaching. Crop Damage Control. Dogs in Virginia making them hide even more successfully.

    Let's play a numbers game. You won't like mine (I think they are reasonable averages), so use your own.
    Assume we have a square mile, 640 acres. It's reasonable to assume at the beginning of the season there are 40 deer frequenting our square of America. We will go with a one-to-one ratio for anything else turns out even worse.

    Of the 40 deer, 10 are fawns, 15 are does, and 15 are bucks. Without getting into the details, your buck herd age structure is probably:
    35% - 45% 1 1/2 year old's, (6)
    30% - 40% 2 1/2 year old's, (5)
    15% - 20% 3 1/2 year old's (2)
    5% - 15% 4 1/2 year old's. (2)

    Let's kill half of them. That's 7 bucks harvested per square mile, not an unreasonable number a little on the high side here in VA.

    Now you have 3, 3, 1 ,1 heading into the next year. There's still a whopper 5 1/2 year old out there and another 1 or 2 that might be living 4 1/2 year old's next year. In a square mile. . Just imagine taking away all the bucks except the 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 year old's. It would be like hunting public land in mature forest.

    Use your own numbers, but I think it's just the nature of things that very few whitetail bucks around here make it to the 4 1/2 stage.

    How can you make it better? Fence? Just kidding sorta'. How do you control age structure? Well, yes, let 'em walk, but your neighbors say let's kill 'em all. And then there are all the other hazards mentioned above. It just ain't easy being a deer.
    Darn neighbors. Disease. Car crashes. Poaching. Crop Damage Control. Dogs in Virginia....
     
  18. Baker

    Baker Well-Known Member

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    Great example of what often happens.[ or worse ] When you start running the numbers on deer management it can be enlightening [ or discouraging ] Interestingly in a unhunted or very well managed herd a full 50%+ of the bucks will be 4 yrs old or older. Easy to understand why some choose to build a fence to create the opportunity for bucks to age. In reality that is all a game fence does.

    And the reality is that it takes much more than 640 acres to effectively manage a deer herd
     
    X-farmerdan likes this.
  19. Triple C

    Triple C Well-Known Member

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    We've killed one 4.5 yr old in 7 season on the farm. Got a number of 3.5 yr olds but man is it tough to get them to 4.5 and truthfully 3.5. They walk off the property kaboom! Best thing we have going for us is our neighbor on the east side is all high fence for the entire length of our property and most of the bucks we've harvested have came from this natural funnel.
     
  20. George

    George Well-Known Member

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    Bull could be killing 5 and 1/2 year old bucks every year if that was what he really wanted to do.

    G
     

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