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Let’s indulge ourselves in a deer-management fantasy for a moment. I’m sure it won’t be your first time! Imagine you are blessed to own and manage your own block of deer country for several years (for many fortunate readers, this is reality, not fantasy). Although the ground you purchase holds plenty of deer, the overgrown forests and grassy meadows might not be providing the nutrition necessary for these deer to achieve their genetic potential. In addition, the 6-foot high browse line resulting from extreme overabundance of deer is a likely indication of why only scrawny looking bucks are typically harvested in the area. However, you know what it takes to have healthy deer herd and grow bigger bucks, and you can see the potential your property holds. Like any responsible steward of the land, you do your homework and go the extra mile to increase the diversity of the habitat and offer more forage and browse. You establish proper food plots with forage high in digestibility and protein. You harvest numerous does each year to reduce deer numbers to a sustainable level, and conservatively harvest bucks to balance the sex ratio and develop an age structure that includes bucks of many ages. During this time, you also foster a small data-collection program framed around the close monitoring of the harvest each year, and in particular the size and age of the bucks being harvested. After a few years of intensive management, hard work, and patience, the property appears to be in better shape; a browse line is no longer evident, deer numbers are in check, bucks and does that are harvested exhibit greater fat levels, and the buck harvest is comprised mainly of mature bucks over 4½ years of age.
Quality Deer Management Association
Copyright © 2011 the author(s)
Monteith, Kevin; Delger, Joshua; Schmitz, Lowell; Monteith, Kyle; and Jenks, Jonathan A., "The Maternal Effect: Carrying the Consequences of Nutrition Across Generations" (2011). Natural Resource Management Faculty Publications. 164.