## Buck/Doe and Hunter/Acre Ratio

Your place to discuss ways the habitats for deer can be improved!
DeanoZ

Posts: 1114
Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2008 10:06 am

### Buck/Doe and Hunter/Acre Ratio

Just curious what an acceptable Buck to doe ratio is on a given property as well as the optimum number of acres/ hunter a given habitat can support without overly pressuring deer?  I know this can vary by locale but just looking for a planning guide at this point.

Wanderer

Posts: 557
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:35 am

### RE: Buck/Doe and Hunter/Acre Ratio

DeanoZ,
The Nov 2009 issue of American Hunter (from NRA) has an article on pressured deer. In it, they refer to three different surveys done on the subject. In 1967 a report on hunting pressure at Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge in IL , it showed that .39 hours of hunting activity per hectare per day was harassing to deer.(A hectare is about 2.47 acres) Their rough translation would be about 6.25 hours of hunting daily spread over 40 acres. Another study done in Missouri put the figure at .45 hours per hectare or 7.25 hours of activity per 40 acres. The third study, also in Missouri, described "intensive hunting pressure" as 1.39 hours per hectare or about 21 hours per 40 acres per day.(Or 2 hunters all day on a 40 acre parcel dawn to dusk) The good news here is these studies showed that deer seldom leave their home range. They also conclude that deer are more active in the afternoons than mornings after experiencing excessive pressure.

ranwin33

Posts: 2110
Joined: Sun May 04, 2008 2:12 pm
Location: Kansas and Missouri

### RE: Buck/Doe and Hunter/Acre Ratio

I've always heard that optimal buck to doe ratio was 1:1 or 1.5:1.  I believe mathematically it is impossible to get much beyond a 1:3 ratio, although you hear all the time about much higher ratios, they are probably not accurate.  I think does are easier to find so that's one of the reasons people think the buck to doe ratios are beyond the 1:3 ratio.  For example, we have a group of 5-7 does that regularly travel our property.  We also have game camera photos of at least 7 different bucks this year.  That would put the buck to doe ratio at 1:1 or better.  Yet when we hunt, we always see the does, but the bucks are pretty scarce, and if we didn't have the cameras we'd probably be talking about how we have a 1:5 buck to doe ratio when in fact it isn't.

As far a hunters/acre.  All I can tell you is what I know from my own experience.  My brother and I have 100 acres of very hilly property with a mix of 75% timber and 25% pasture.  The two of us hunt this property and sometimes his son joins us.  We have owned the property since 2002 and have yet to hunt every part of it in 8 seasons.  Deer have ample places to go on our property where they will feel no pressure.  So I'd say you could probably go 1 hunter per 20 acres or so and you would not overly pressure deer.  I know at 1 hunter per 50 acres we have the same deer traveling our area when we're hunting as when we're not so I'm guessing they aren't feeling all that pressured and we could go with more hunters if we wanted.  Pressure can also be effected by how quietly you enter and exit the stands you hunt.
“There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.”
Aldo Leopold

Goose

Posts: 2804
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2008 6:36 pm

### RE: Buck/Doe and Hunter/Acre Ratio

I will just add that the biggest factor will be who the hunters are and how they hunt. If you practice scent control, good entrance and exit routes, and play the wind--you can get away with a lot more than if you dismiss those measures.
Ideally you want to go as low-impact as possible.
Jake

Genesis 27:3 Take your bow and quiver full of arrows out into the open country, and hunt some wild game.....

DeanoZ

Posts: 1114
Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2008 10:06 am

### RE: Buck/Doe and Hunter/Acre Ratio

Wander, yes I read the same article which is what prompted this post.  In doing the math (based on that article) on the 185 acres of public land that I hunt would mean it could support no more than 3-10 hunters (depending on which report you go by) hunting all day...wow that's not a lot to pressure deer!  I see at least that many people on any given hunt so I guess they are pressured to some extent and I know deer sightings/encounters are down compared to the beginning of the season...although with the rut they are certainly on the increase.  Goose/Ranwin33, all good points and since this is public land I'm hunting and I've personally experienced the not so "stealthy" entrance/exits of other hunters in these woods my guess is the deer are feeling pressured.  I would have also guessed the BTD ratio as 1:5, lol purely on sightings...but as you were quick to point out its because the bucks are in hiding.  1 to 20 or even 30 hunters per acre sounds reasonable to me...but that's still not alot, especially when you facotr public hunting land and its draw to the equation.  Thanks for the feedback fellas!

buckhunter21

Posts: 2980
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2008 7:28 pm

### RE: Buck/Doe and Hunter/Acre Ratio

Lots of factors involved, as has been stated, but I go for low-impact as Goose stated.  The less hunters the better IMO (makes practical sense).  But, this all depends on the habitat your hunting, as well as hunting practices as has already been stated.  As far as the buck to doe ratio, there are a lot of factors that go into this too, but ideally, you'd like something close to 1:1 or 1:1.5.  I'd say very few properties are even close to this except for the ones that are managed somewhat.  It's even more tough to get to this ratio when you have a smaller property and the neighboring landowners are doing their own thing as well.  My thought is to do the best you can with the property you have, and go from there...That's the only thing in your control!  Best of luck!
QDM!

DeanoZ

Posts: 1114
Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2008 10:06 am

### RE: Buck/Doe and Hunter/Acre Ratio

As far as the buck to doe ratio, there are a lot of factors that go into this too, but ideally, you'd like something close to 1:1 or 1:1.5. I'd say very few properties are even close to this except for the ones that are managed somewhat.

...and there-in lies the rub (excuse the pun!), realistically I think there are very few habitats that come close to this...just too many external and uncontrollable factors (like neighbors) that can change the course of a hunt or habitat.  I tell ya if you've never hunted public land I recommend everyone do so if for no other reason than the entertainment value and eye opening experience.  Like the guy who starts rattling before legal shooting light...or the two kids who go traipsing through the woods (by your stand) early monring, white lights blazing, tripping over every piece of lumber in the forest...or they old guy who wants to carry-on a full fledged conversation as your trying to stealthily walk to your stand in the wee hours of the morning!  Not to digress, but BTD ratios and hectares/hunter aside its a wonder the deer don't go into hibernation!

jsjandro

Posts: 147
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2009 3:29 pm

### RE: Buck/Doe and Hunter/Acre Ratio

as for hunter numbers some good comments have been made, no doubt, but the most important thing to ask is this, how many from what direction before who cuts off who? think it over carefully. every deer's home range is like a spiderweb, they dont use it all and sometimes where they are isnt where they were just days before. its a series of pathes. the deer are no doubt somewhere in this maze everytime people take to the woods, where the deer end up after that depends on their travel route and final destination. long answer short, one hunter "hunting obviously" is pressuring deer. if you owned land you would learn this quickly. allowing hunters placement in certain spots curtails deer showing up elsewhere. case in point, no one hunts my land gun season between the mega funnel and my sancuary. why? because if the wind is wrong, timing wrong, anything wrong, and the deer wont flee the neighbors woods the way they will if otherwise. and a safe spot and safe route there gives you the ability to have a deer calm down and move to the place you call checkmate.

bdr, i usually disagree with most people. ranwin33 and i usually share concepts right on but this time we dont, sorry buddy.  i am a firm believer that the reason does arent sighted as "often" as bucks during season is that bucks are rare in numbers compared to does and bucks are following the wrong head when most hunters are persuing them.  anyone who has had a doe property and then changed it to a buck property knows how many more does are on the landscape than you ever think are. bucks are easily idable, does arent. bucks in their comfort zone dont move much during the day outside rut, again making hunters think they aint there. but does never get stupid for a couple months, and they know all the stumps in their smaller home ranges.  cite ozoga's resaearch, you will see he confirms this in his ear tag observations, does can dissappear for long time, not die and show up again. bucks arent as smooth as they get credit for.
only if we had antler point restrictions...

try not to become a man of success, but a man of value.

logawhit01

Posts: 48
Joined: Wed Oct 28, 2009 11:29 am

### RE: Buck/Doe and Hunter/Acre Ratio

Could the reason that you don't see as many does durring daylight hours is because they got spooked? I believe when any deer gets pressured they will begin to turn more nocturnal!

Bucks will break that pattern when they get stupid durring the rut.

And then, Can you really ever know what the ration of bucks to does is? with the way and distance that bucks travel durring the rut I don't think we can get a very accurate number at that time of year!

jsjandro

Posts: 147
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2009 3:29 pm

### RE: Buck/Doe and Hunter/Acre Ratio

loga, you are right that deer go noc. but in simple terms all noc is is the deer fleeing to part of its home where there is least disturbance and/or the illusion of security(deer thinks they can observe their surroundings safely).

they dont move till its dark and human noise, smell, ect settle down.

about knowing the ratios are right, its a question of segregation. doe and bucks sometimes share the same food source in the summer ie field, but often bed in wholely different parts of the same swamp or in another swamp altogether.  and then there are places where its just does or bucks summering.  the key is in summer find out whats around a mile or more away, its a large scale balance that without large scale cooperation small scale success will even be tough. hence most cited qdm shortcomings.

if the doe buck ratios are right, balanced, bucks WILL work for breeding rights. if your not seeing breeding parties, mega rubs and scapes, lots of chasing starting early, then you have too many does for the amount of bucks, whatever that number may be. its tricky, isnt it.

if you have does and bucks on your land, and the bachelor group of the area is this group of bucks,  and then down the road in the next field there are a bunch of does and no bucks and the same keeps going for a while, then how do you think the rut will play out? SLOW. seems people want both on their land and when their "land" is balanced so to say, they dont understand that because the area is mostly does the bucks will leave and your gonna have a slow one.  sometimes balance in your area means you have all the bucks and zero does and the neighbor has all the does and no bucks, it just depends on your situation. confused yet? sorry.
only if we had antler point restrictions...

try not to become a man of success, but a man of value.