Question: “Myself and 4 other guys have a 750 acre deer hunting lease. The owner of the property has decided to high fence the property, but will do it in stages over the next couple of years. One side already shares a high fence with a neighboring property. The land owner said once the fence is finished they will likely bring in some bucks with better genetics and release them on the property. We have rights to lease the property for the next 7 years, so things are looking good right now.
The fence is “in progress” so to speak for the next couple of years, before it is finished. Will the high fence have a negative effect on the deer hunting next season since the property will not be completely fenced? They owner said that after the property is totally enclosed they will have a biologist out to estimate the number of deer that should be on the property as well as get some more information about the deer herd within. What are your thoughts on releasing a few bucks on the property and the effect on the deer population and hunting down the road?”
Response: The results you will see within the deer herd and hunting on the property over next 7 years will vary greatly depending on the decisions that are made concerning herd management as well as the introduced deer. Simply adding a few bucks with genes for great antler growth into a native white-tailed deer herd will not make a big difference in the overall genetic make up of the herd. It’s kind of like peeing is a swimming pool. You know it’s in there but you won’t see it.
When it comes to bringing in bucks, killing off as much of the deer herd that is already present, then introducing genetically-better deer will make a big difference in the overall quality. In short, simply building a high fence is not going to make the bucks grow bigger antlers over the next several years, but a high fence will allow for more control and the ability to follow through with a sound deer management plan for the property. Control everything you can control and you will see the benefits of selective harvest and a healthy deer herd.
Even without the addition of bucks onto the property you could see an improvement in the antler size within just a couple of years if the management is direct and focused. With regards to hunting while the high fence is being constructed, I don’t think you will see any drastic changes in the deer hunting during this period. It will likely change up some of the deer movement onto and off of the property, but the deer that are there will adjust accordingly and they will still be around.