Question: I have just recently received permission to whitetail hunt a piece of property but it has livestock on it, goats in particular. What I was wondering was if goats would affect the whitetail deer hunting a lot or would they be able to co-exist. I am looking to find out if it’s worth my time to look at hunting this ranch property?
Answer: Personally, I would not waste my time deer hunting a property that is stocked with goats, especially a ranch that is heavily stocked. And let’s face it, all ranches with goats are heavily stocked and offer poor deer habitat. If you are looking to put some deer meat in the the freezer then you can probably shoot some deer if you set up a feeder in one corner of the ranch. This will allow you to lure deer from the neighbors, but the neighbors won’t like you.
I looked at a lease several years back that was way overstocked with goats and every bit of forage they could get to was gone. You could see right through all the cover up to about eye level; even the ground was eroding. Of course, this is a severe example of too many animals and not a great example of deer habitat management–quite the opposite.
A white-tailed deer would have no natural reason to come there and stay. Little cover and almost no natural food because goats eat the same foods deer would want.
In short, whitetail and goats compete for the same plant species in just about every way. I suggests that you would be better off looking for another place for whitetail hunting and a better place to invest your time. Otherwise, you will end up spinning your wheels instead of enjoying a quality hunting experience.