Regarding culling

My only point with this thread is the question: Would you rather shoot this deer as a youngster believing you make any impact in the genetic diversity of a deer herd or let him grow older where he will invariably be a more attractive harvest?

Let him grow. In Kansas where we only get one buck tag, a guy could spend his lifetime "culling" genetically inferior bucks and never reap the benefits. I am not the sharpest tool in the shed, but my biggest problem with culling is the does. If she carries half the genes, how on earth could you ever predict what impact is possible. By harvesting does for population control you could also be taking out some of your best genetics without even knowing it. Keep them healthy and let them get old. I hunt hard for the biggest buck I can find. There are a lot of years I never see a buck that I want to take. It has never crossed my mind to cull a buck I don't like. Maybe it is because I am an optimist and would like to think they all have a chance to be something special someday. Mother Nature has a way of make us look silly all too often.
Our goal is 4.5 or older, period. We don't have any "big" deer anyway so antler score has no bearing. At 4 they go on the hunt list. Doesn't mean they will be a target deer but doesn't mean they won't be shot at either.

I think the more important evaluation is the individual property than the deer that live on it. Until such time as the habitat is at least nearing its potential, we can't possibly make accurate decisions along the lines of culling because we do not yet know what the animal is capable of becoming.
This is a very interesting thread. We do not do any culling activity here and have never taken a deer to "cull" it from the herd;most of the deer in this area are taken regardless of their age or antler size so very few make it to 3 1/2 thus making age the determinate factor in a specific deer being above the rest. I could see where as in OKie's lease case that letting the ten pointer on the lease walk indefinitely would up the odds of having more ten pointers down the road. It could take at minimum two deer generations to have a chance of producing even one ten as a result of the original ten pointer having passed on its genes. It is possible that crossing that ten pointer with every doe on the lease would result in all six pointers but the offspring would then have the ten point gene mixed into their arsenal; and when those off springs cross to each other there would be a better chance of producing an additional ten. So any improvement would be slow (many, many years) and thus it would be difficult to keep everybody in the lease on board with letting the original ten or it's offspring walk even if everyone in the club thought ten points to be important.

I agree with the decision not to have culled that deer in the pic when it was young. Since it would not have been culled before three years old why not keep the investment and take him at 5 years old or older as you did. The fact that it took two years to take him overshadows any perceived antler deficiency. It looks like a great deer to me.
. Secondly, there may be genetic coding in a buck that is repressed or dormant [ my words ] that simply isn't expressed in that specific deer but shows up in his progeny.

That is a very good assessment. From my experience with line breeding (not deer) the parents genetics looked less than stellar but the offspring were top notch. There is just no way to tell until it happens and when superior genes do show themselves there is no guarantee they will be passed on without total manipulation of the breeding over time.