Doe population vs. Antler growth

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EatDeer
 
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Doe population vs. Antler growth

Postby EatDeer » Tue Sep 16, 2008 4:58 pm

Has anyone else ever heard of the buck/doe ratios affecting the growth of antlers? I was told that if a herd has ample doe's the bucks antlers won't grow as large. The reasoning behind the therory is that a lack of competetion among the bucks for doe's, results in less need for impressive head gear.
"Let a young buck go, so he can grow."

schlupis
 
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RE: Doe population vs. Antler growth

Postby schlupis » Tue Sep 16, 2008 5:31 pm

I have heard about this and in fact just read a article in north american whitetail (october issue)written by les davenport called the 200 inch zone. in the article i gather that hunters who want to harvest bigger deer should aggresivly harvest does.. If you dont kill some does there will be to much compatition for food and bucks cant grow to their potential. This is why I and the guys I hunt with have planted food plots to help with nutrition for the deer and have started a aggresive doe killing program.. We want to take 6 -8 does off our 200 acres this year... Maybe we can kill a 200 incher here one of these years....

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PrairieShadow
 
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RE: Doe population vs. Antler growth

Postby PrairieShadow » Tue Sep 16, 2008 7:39 pm

I think it has more to do with nutrition factor than the competition factor.
 
In fact i have read about deer fighting more when #'s are out of wack because there are more does that each buck wants in its entourage.

schlupis
 
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RE: Doe population vs. Antler growth

Postby schlupis » Tue Sep 16, 2008 10:19 pm

Yes but even with good nutrition if you have too many does because people wont shoot them then you will have the does eating most of the food and the buck may not be able to get all the nutrition he needs to get the big antlers like he would if there was not so many mouths to feed. I believe it is stated in just about every deer hunting mag that if you want big bucks you got to kill more does.

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EatDeer
 
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RE: Doe population vs. Antler growth

Postby EatDeer » Wed Sep 17, 2008 1:19 am

While I do not doubt for one minute that poor herd nutrition directly affects antler size. I was under the impression that some of the smaller racks, were produced in area's with too many doe's, but more than enough food for good herd health. I believe this would be hard to disprove or prove, unless a study is done in a penned setting.
"Let a young buck go, so he can grow."

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ranwin33
 
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RE: Doe population vs. Antler growth

Postby ranwin33 » Wed Sep 17, 2008 2:28 am

ORIGINAL: EatDeer

Has anyone else ever heard of the buck/doe ratios affecting the growth of antlers? I was told that if a herd has ample doe's the bucks antlers won't grow as large. The reasoning behind the therory is that a lack of competetion among the bucks for doe's, results in less need for impressive head gear.

Can't say as I've ever heard this.  My understanding is that genes, nutrition, and age are the factors that determine antler growth.  It would seem under the "competition" scenario that antler growth would be within a bucks ability to voluntarily control - something that isn't possible. 
 
My guess would be, that all things being equal - genes, nutrition, age, a buck will grow the same set of antlers no matter what the competition is for does.
“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

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JPH
 
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RE: Doe population vs. Antler growth

Postby JPH » Wed Sep 17, 2008 3:00 am

I have certainly heard/read about a correlation between sex ratio and antler size. However, I always thought it was stress related, or possibly nutritional. I suppose a combo. of the two makes the most sense. I had not heard of it being related to competition, but I wouldn't ignore the idea.
 
Oddly enough, the property I hunt in Iowa is (IMO) overpopulated with does and has what I consider to be a slightly skewed sex ratio, but holds some tremendous antlers. I credit that to late gun season, selective hunters, good genetics and excellent nutrition (in that order).

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passin through
 
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RE: Doe population vs. Antler growth

Postby passin through » Wed Sep 17, 2008 3:43 am

I haven't ever heard of it based on competition but see it everywhere as to a nutrtional and stress factor.  With much more focus on the nutritional factor.  I will say this, for my own experience, since we really started laying down does and watching a few more 1 & 2 year old bucks rather than rolling them; we have really seen a good increase in horn sizes for all age groups.  This has happen in the last 4-5 years and we went from an average of 55-65 does per year to a avg of 75-85.  Basically taking out 20 more per year.

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RE: Doe population vs. Antler growth

Postby schlupis » Wed Sep 17, 2008 4:12 am

JPH please explain how a late gun season helps with antler growth more than good nutrition.. I get the good genetics, and selective hunters passing young bucks helps them get into older age classes just not sure I understand the late gun season...
 
I would put your order in just the opposite format meaning excellent nutrition good genetics selective hunters and then maybe a late guns season once I fully understand the logic behind it...
 
Just need to add this is a good topic of discussion.

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JPH
 
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RE: Doe population vs. Antler growth

Postby JPH » Wed Sep 17, 2008 4:39 am

ORIGINAL: schlupis

JPH please explain how a late gun season helps with antler growth more than good nutrition.. I get the good genetics, and selective hunters passing young bucks helps them get into older age classes just not sure I understand the late gun season...


 
It is my belief that late gun seasons improve the size and age of bucks in a herd because they allow deer to survive the rut without the pressure and danger of gun season. The rut forces bucks to be on their feet and roaming during daylight hours and makes them more vulnerable to hunters. Placing the season in early Dec. has allowed more Iowa deer to survive the rut and puts hunters and bucks on a more even playing field.
 
My obestvations have indicated that bucks take a real pounding during peak rut gun seasons. If more bucks can survive that critical time, their chances of reaching "adulthood" improve greatly.
 
Again, it is simply my opinion, but I am in good company.

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