Better Deer Hunting Through Management

Question: “I just got a 430 acre pasture for the upcoming whitetail hunting season in South Texas. The property is actually part of a 3,000 acre ranch that is all being leased out for deer hunting. I have been hunting for several years, but I want to know how I can manage the place properly to get some good bucks next season. I understand that it will not happen in a single year, but want to see a bit of improvement over a series of years, especially with regard to antler quality.

The lease is mostly heavily brushed with mesquite and huisache. There are cleared shooting lanes. I do have a water well and access to tanks to provide the deer with water. In addition, I plan on feeding corn year-round and supplying “all they can eat” protein until the end of September. What else can I do?”

Answer: There are a number of things you can do to improve the quality of deer and the whitetail deer hunting on your South Texas lease. First and foremost, allow the bucks found on your property to mature. This is the single easiest way to produce good quality deer. It’s also the easiest. I would cull some inferior deer, but don’t get carried away unless your place is covered up with animals. Continue reading Better Deer Hunting Through Management

Buck Harvest to Improve Whitetail Deer Herd

Question: “We are interested in deer herd improvement. We are interested in selective harvest so that we can make the whitetail deer hunting better. We just got a pic of a whitetail buck that looks like a 6 point, but may be a 5 point. The buck’s antler spread is outside the ears and his horns are very tall. The camera angle makes it look like his right side is just a main beam with a very small brow tine and the left side is a fork with a small brow tine.

The photo of the buck looks like a very young deer and I am wondering if he will put on some more points with age and good nutrition? If he is just a large 5 point buck, will he fill out into an 8 point deer? Or is a good candidate to be culled? Again, this buck looks very young.” Continue reading Buck Harvest to Improve Whitetail Deer Herd

Caught on Game Camera: Coyotes Kill Buck!

It’s almost mid-December and much of the whitetail deer hunting action is heating up and the temperatures cool down. There are still some hunters with deer tags to fill, so get to work before winter sets in! As we spend time in the woods each year, hunters see quite a few deer predators. Although we don’t like to think about it, predators can impact local whitetail deer numbers. Coyotes are the ones we worry about the most, and in a good example caught on game camera, check out the photos of two coyotes that kill a buck!

A good percentage of whitetail deer hunters simply hate coyotes. They dislike even the thought of a coy dog killing a fawn, yet these same hunters will not blink a eye and will shoot any deer that presents itself—even that same fawn! I know the majority of “hunters” are not like this, but there are some killers out there that live my the mantra “if it’s brown, it’s down.” If it sets foot on their food plot it is BLAM! At least coyotes are selective hunters, right? Continue reading Caught on Game Camera: Coyotes Kill Buck!

Deer Diseases: EHD Impacts Hunting in Pennsylvania

The white-tailed deer hunting season is almost here, but hunters may find a few less deer in the woods this year, especially in Pennsylvania. State officials announced that test results from a wild whitetail deer have confirmed that epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) has been found in Northampton County in August. A this time, wildlife personnel is encouraging anyone finding a dead or sick deer to call their respective Game Commission region office.

EHD is a common but sporadic disease in white-tailed deer populations of the United States, and is contracted by the bite of insects called biting midges. In more northern states, EHD occurs less often and affected deer are less likely to mount an effective immune response. The deer virus usually kills the deer quickly, within five to 10 days. The disease is not spread from deer to deer by contact. While EHD is not infectious to humans, deer displaying severe symptoms of EHD are usually not suitable for consumption because of the rapid deterioration of the meat and secondary bacterial infection. Continue reading Deer Diseases: EHD Impacts Hunting in Pennsylvania

Deer With Broken Leg: Survival is Likely!

Question: “A two year old eight point buck on my ranch showed up limping the other evening. Today I got a better look at the buck and it appears he has broken his ankle on his rear hind leg. The whitetail hunting season starts in a few weeks and we are thinking about harvesting him. What should we do with this deer with a broken leg? Will this deer survive and will he participate in the rut and breeding ?”

Response: White-tailed deer are tough and can bounce back and heal from many types of broken bones. For what it’s worth, we have a 4 1/2 year old buck on a ranch that’s been missing part of a hind leg from just below the hock for over two years. The deer is in good body condition and is quite mobile, but the antler located on the opposite side from the bad leg is deformed. It is common that bucks with injuries to their hind legs have deformed antlers on the opposite sides. Continue reading Deer With Broken Leg: Survival is Likely!

Review: Deer Smoke Screen Eliminates Odor

One of the biggest factors impacting the success of whitetail hunting is odor elimination—or better stated, scent control. A new product on the market that claims to eliminate alarming downwind scent is Deer Smoke Screen. A few days ago, I received the opportunity to try this this product free of charge. It arrived well-packaged on Saturday. Sunday was my testing day and my goal was not to influence the results one way or another, but rather only give a fair and accurate account of my experience with the product.

Fellow hunters, take from it what you will. I arrived at my deer lease at before sunrise with hog hunting on my mind. There was a small tank that had been covered in hog sign, so I knew where I wanted to set up. There are no game cameras in this area so I did not know when these pigs were frequenting the water source. I got settled in, unloaded a few supplies and I was ready for the hunt. I wanted to test this product prior to the deer hunting season and we all know that pigs have darn good sniffers too. Continue reading Review: Deer Smoke Screen Eliminates Odor

Buck Harvest and Deer Herd Management

Question: “The guys that I deer hunt with on our deer lease always say that we should only shoot whitetail bucks that are 3.5+ years older or those that are 130+ Boone and Crockett inches or bigger. These guys say that if we hold our buck harvest this strategy our deer management plan will benefit and we will have bigger and better bucks for each whitetail hunting season. Do you think this is a good plan for improving our deer herd?”

Answer: From my experience, this is the wrong way to think about buck harvest and it will not help the overall deer management program or the whitetail hunting on your property. At 3.5 years old, whitetail bucks have a lot of unseen potential left in them and are not really what most hunters would consider mature. Some bucks will reach the 130 inch mark at 2.5, 3.5, 4.5 years old, or maybe even older; maybe never. Continue reading Buck Harvest and Deer Herd Management

Blue Tongue in Llano County, Texas?

Question: “I live in Llano County and have a whitetail deer feeder in my back yard. We watch the whitetail throughout the year and they will let us get pretty close too. Yesterday, we were watching the deer eat at the feeder when one came from over the tank dam. I thought it was a small buck with its head down, but when it came up to the feeder the other deer ran off, like it had some kind of disease. It was not a buck, but I actually thought the deer had been shot in the head.

I grabbed my binoculars and looked and the doe’s tongue was huge, hanging out at least 6 inches! She looked bad, so I got my gun and put her down. I was still thinking that it was a shot deer so I got a tag and walked outside. I got up to her and she had no marks or entry wounds on her what so ever. The doe was very skinny and the tongue was huge. Do you think this is blue tongue?” Continue reading Blue Tongue in Llano County, Texas?