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Discussion Starter #1
So I've been thinking-- consider this your forewarning.

I was recently watching Midwest Whitetail and the thought occurred to me that the deer Bill Winke was hunting this year, while still enormous deer, seemed significantly smaller than the deer he harvested in the first few seasons of the show, specifically the G5 and double G4 bucks (if I screwed up their names, my bad, I don't name deer, but youtube search and you'll figure out what I mean).

Now if memory serves me correctly, he killed both of these deer between November 7th-November 11th several years ago.

My question is this: Could it make logical sense that the reason he has noticeably smaller deer on camera this year is because he 'reaped the crop before the seeds were sown?' Specifically, if one is practicing quality deer management, doesn't it make more sense to let the giant bucks get through breeding so their stock is in the pool for next year, rather than de-throning the king (dominant buck) before he can make it to the orgy (peak breeding)?

From my experience, peak breeding generally happens around November 14th. So as hunters, doesn't it make sense to cull smaller genetically stunted bucks and harvest does up until this time, then wait a week for the big bucks to breed the does, plant the seeds for future success, and start hunting the bigger bucks November 20th-December 15th-ish after the dance is done? Keep in mind this would be for Private Land owners only, Public Land is such a crap shoot I'd shoot anything that got my heart pumping because it's not likely to ever see that deer again. But for private land, wouldn't this strategy make more sense if you're trying to grow bigger bones and collect wallhanger trophies year after year?

Now I get that there are exceptions to everything; Bill Winke has a TV show to produce and TV shows are dependent upon results, some bucks are strictly nocturnal so you'd better shoot them when you see them, some are once in a lifetime deer, etc., but for the ranch managers and private landowners, I would appreciate if you would weigh in with your thoughts, as it seems obvious to me society has been taking kind of a bass-ackwards approach to hunting since TV shows started being produced that focus on downing monster Whitetails. Heck, I guess that would be true for Elk as well, not too far up to speed on Bear and Moose.

No offense to Bill Winke in this thread, I enjoy his TV show and I hope he has a couple aces up his sleeve for next year. Best of luck to everybody out in the woods, Merry Christmas!
 

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Reason he hasn't had much for deer with any size is he had a couple years in a row with "EHD" hitting his area pretty hard. They lost several very big deer in they're area, along with many other deer.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Reason he hasn't had much for deer with any size is he had a couple years in a row with "EHD" hitting his area pretty hard. They lost several very big deer in they're area, along with many other deer.
Totally forgot about that, I hunt Ohio and luckily didn't see much EHD if any at all.
 

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I hunt, not raise antlers.

So no help from me.
Yet you still found the time to make we all know you are a meat hunter. Thank you for that.

While the principle of killing a buck before the breeding has really started definitely eliminates that buck from breeding this year, you still have to remember that a lot of the bucks these guys are killing are 5.5, 6.5 or older. So they’ve already had several years of breeding. So the lineage is still there. You do lose one more crop of potential future heirs, but still should have several years of offspring coming up behind him. It might take a year or two for them to catch up.

Besides the EDH that hurt his farms a couple years ago, I would also mention that he killed 3 huge deer last year. That’ll put a dent in most people’s big buck options for the next year. If I remember correctly, he doesn’t have the thousands of acres that some of the other Iowa guys do. So he will probably have dips in years where he doesn’t have a whole bunch of giants running around.


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From a breeding standpoint; no, waiting a week would not make much a difference. More than 50% of the genetic potential for big bucks actually comes from the doe so while we are fascinated with the antler aspect it does not make sense to try and manage a herd based on antlers alone. Those giants he killed a few years ago were also 4-6 years old which means they had likely been breeding does for 3+ years. A giant buck has the same potential to produce giant offspring bucks when they are 1.5 (the age doesn't matter). The same buck is not going to produce more superior antlered offspring as his antlers grow, these aspects are not related.

So in conclusion, those giants were mature and probably near their peak (the G4 buck actually scored higher the year before Bill shot the buck: based on his sheds).


Bill constantly mentions EHD and the significant harm it did to his herd; it takes 3+ years to start bouncing back and he seems to be getting to that point now. You can't always hunt multiple booners year after year!
 

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The idea that when you can genetically manipulate a free ranging herd is one of the biggest misconceptions in hunting today. You are forgetting about yearling buck dispersal, almost all of the bucks on a given piece of ground were born miles from there,(5-7 on average) Also the age of a buck does not determine it's genetics, the idea that a big dominant buck is breeding 25 does a year is mostly unfounded. A buck is typically breeding only 3-4 does a season, (sometimes a little more, sometimes a less)

The term "cull buck" seems to be thrown around as an excuse to shoot a younger buck nowadays. My definition of a "cull buck" is a buck that has reached his potential that is simply taking up space. Due to the territorial nature of deer, also carrying capacity, yada yada yada... A piece of ground can only hold so many bucks, so when I shoot or instruct one of my guests to shoot a specific deer, it is because I know without a doubt that that deer has reached a specific age and he's taking up space... the last thing I'm thinking about is genetics...

I know that last part is a little off topic but whenever genetics are brought up, so does the "cull buck" argument
 

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Agree with the Cull comments; it has been proven time and time again that culling deer based solely on antler growth (in a free range herd) has no influence on genetic makeup of said herd.

That said, the "Cull" bucks should be mature deer that you (the hunter) believe will not hold traits to be genetically superior from a trophy standpoint.

Example, on my farm (700 acres) there are certain bucks (we use 4.5 years old as the minimum) that will never be monster bucks. They would meet my "cull buck" requirements; our goal is to let deer get to 4.5 before considering them genetically inferior. The last thing you need as a hunter are mature, genetically inferior, bucks that may push younger, more genetically superior bucks off of your property.

There is a lot of science behind "managing" a herd but it takes land, smart hunting (minimal pressure), and patience.
 

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Like others had said EHD wiped out most of the bucks that he had on the farm around the same time he killed the G4 buck and for a couple of years following.
 

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I always go back to livestock which let's face it that's what people are trying to treat them like. U won't go to a high fence hunt and have the guy let u kill his breeder bucks. Same as a Bull. A farmer wants his biggest baddest bull to do the breeding why??? Because of his genes. U don't want your smaller inferior animals breeding and in my eyes that's what's happening. It's a game of chance. Kill bigger bucks letting small bucks grow and breed with the mentality once a spike not always a spike. The one flaw I see is maybe that spike will be a spike or maybe he won't be maybe that 4 pt won't be more then a big 6. But that big 10 has the genes to be at least a big 10 he's showing that now. So letting small bucks grow and live is a risk but evidentally that's a risk they're willing to take
 

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I always go back to livestock which let's face it that's what people are trying to treat them like. U won't go to a high fence hunt and have the guy let u kill his breeder bucks. Same as a Bull. A farmer wants his biggest baddest bull to do the breeding why??? Because of his genes. U don't want your smaller inferior animals breeding and in my eyes that's what's happening. It's a game of chance. Kill bigger bucks letting small bucks grow and breed with the mentality once a spike not always a spike. The one flaw I see is maybe that spike will be a spike or maybe he won't be maybe that 4 pt won't be more then a big 6. But that big 10 has the genes to be at least a big 10 he's showing that now. So letting small bucks grow and live is a risk but evidentally that's a risk they're willing to take
That’s one of the reasons why so many, including Bill Winke, let bucks go until they’re 5 1/2 or older go. Then those bucks have 4 or more years to spread their genes around. The oldest bucks are not the ones who do most of the breeding. Even one year old bucks do some of it.
 

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^^^^ yep but wildlife biologists think it's smart to kill only large bucks now and not kill the small ones. To me it seems backwards. That said I do see some bigger bucks but way too many tiny ones now. Sooner or later they'll learn but it's a $$ thing
 

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^^^^ yep but wildlife biologists think it's smart to kill only large bucks now and not kill the small ones. To me it seems backwards. That said I do see some bigger bucks but way too many tiny ones now. Sooner or later they'll learn but it's a $$ thing
I’ve always understood it as shoot the older bucks and let the younger ones go.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Referencing the last 3 posts, this is more along the train of thought mentality I had going on when I was coming to this realization. I've seen huge spikes, forks, basket six's, basket 8's, and even a couple short tined 10's over the years. All of them were 3.5 year old or younger (I'm not always the best at aging deer on the hoof so I left myself some room for error by not saying exclusively 2.5). I've shot a couple deer in the 130's, many more 120's and under including does, so I'm not hunting exclusively for the biggest bone I can possibly get; however, I wouldn't mind adding a monster or two to the mantle someday.

That being said, I see the merit of both sides of this topic. Deer are absolutely free range, and the younger ones do get pushed off of their established home ranges, especially during the rut, so there's no telling where they ever end up or what genetic material will be dispersed and disseminated. So long as there are no high fences totally enclosing them, they are able to go wherever their instincts take them. I do, however, remember reading something at one time talking about whitetail home ranges. At the time I was trying to establish whether or not whitetail does migrate, which could account for the ghosting of big bucks come rut, and this particular article surmised that there are 3 classifications of bucks, long range, medium range, and home bodies, call it 10%, 60%, and 30%. Some of the bucks would travel up to 20 miles as their established territory, the 10% long trekkers that would be seen on farms and forests over a very broad range and thus be very unpredictable to pattern. Many more bucks, say 60% and the vast majority, were found to be the medium range type, covering an area up to 10 miles but usually no more than 5, as they preferred to keep tighter track of their established ranges and doe populations while still having the ability to move about and cover some ground. Then there were a group about half the size of the medium rangers, call it 30%, that were strictly home bodies. These bucks were found to travel less than a mile, sometimes even less than a couple hundred acres from their established home ranges. They stayed home, were fine with staying home, and were very predictable and almost 'easy' to pattern. I say that tongue in cheek, because no deer is ever easy to pattern unless they're really young or really dumb, most of which end up as freezer stuffers.

But keeping this article in mind, and thinking about trying to fatten the genetic stock of a given area, it still doesn't strike me as a terrible idea letting the 4.5 and even 5.5 year olds make it through the rut to give them that much more chance of enhancing future deer genetics. Sure, they might have reached their antler peak, but some deer get even bigger the older they get. Check out Drury Outdoor's video called Surprise Buck, where Mark arrows a Goliath double droptine beast that he determines to be a buck he called Hightower or Skyscraper, I don't immediately recall. This buck never appeared in daylight until he was 7.5 and got shot, was not thought to have a lot of genetic potential and never showed a drop tine in 6.5 years, then BOOM-- he shows up one day all massive and takes a white crested aluminum 2213 to the chest at 15 yards and is still one of the biggest deer he's ever killed.

Looking at it from this perspective, there's a 3 in 10 chance that monster with freakshow genetics is a homebody who stays and lives exclusively on your property, breeding does all the while and enriching the blood lines, and if he isn't a homebody but is a midrange rover there's an additional 6 in 10 chance he's in the neighborhood, bumping your odds to a 9 in 10 chance he enriches the gene pool of your property if allowed to live through the rut, so long as he doesn't get shot by someone else. Who's to say, if he were allowed to get through breeding and knock up a couple does, what could the potential be 5.5 years from now, when his offspring reach peak maturity and are kings in their own right? What if those G4 and G5 monsters Bill got had been allowed to breed that year? Could have been offset by the disease, but it also could not have, and there might be a few more of their offspring either walking around as does and taking genetic samples from other big bucks, or dishing out the lovin' themselves. Doesn't seem to me to be flawed logic towards growing bigger deer, just seems to be the other side of the coin of growing food plots, felling timber to make bedding areas, growing CRP, and establishing safe zones on your property all in an effort to make it more attractive to keeping big deer around rather than allowing it to be less than desirable real estate to the deer, and thus making it easy and thoughtless for them to move on without second thought.

I know during the rut there isn't much thinking going on, it's a mad dash for pooty-tang, which is why its so exciting to be in the woods, as you get to hear grunts, see chasing and fights and bucks dogging does, and all the stuff that makes it so exciting to be in a tree those first couple weeks. However, regarding my personal experience I will make these two points and then I'll shut up: The biggest buck I've ever seen was a main frame 12 point, absolute king of the mountain and I saw him in my first year of hunting, shook so bad I couldn't get over the break on my speed cam bow and never even got to full draw (I was stupid in my youth). He was accompanied by a harem of 7 does on November 16th, and I don't doubt he bred them all. Secondly, the three biggest deer I've ever killed were November 20th, 21st, and December 2nd, all after the peak rut, and all still super dominant and aggressive towards other deer. While they weren't running around like crazy and banging anything with fur, they were much less weary, were much more daylight active, and also were much easier to pattern and hunt than the insanity of October 31st-November 15th. Stands to reason that I might personally take my recurve to the stand for the first 3 weeks of the month and hopefully pick off a smaller deer that comes in close, or an absolute giant if he's within the 15 yard maximum effective shot distance of my Howatt Super Diablo (Bow shoots a lot farther than I can accurately i.e. user error), then bring the compound out to play when my odds increase later in the season. It's still just a theory, not 100% sold on it being a practice yet, but the more I type the more sense it's making so I'll sit back and wait for your opinions. Thanks to all those who've chimed in, Cheers!
 

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Correct but my question to u is can u tell what that bucks going to be when he's older? So if u can't your assuming he's carrying good genes. Again live stock u don't have a calf and say wel let's let him live to breed and kill our big breeder bull maybe the calf will be a good bull. To me killing your big gene pull will sooner or later give u a poor gene pool. Maybe I'm wrong but I just don't see how in the long run it'll work.



QUOTE=ego260;1106766067]I’ve always understood it as shoot the older bucks and let the younger ones go.[/QUOTE]
 

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Correct but my question to u is can u tell what that bucks going to be when he's older? So if u can't your assuming he's carrying good genes. Again live stock u don't have a calf and say wel let's let him live to breed and kill our big breeder bull maybe the calf will be a good bull. To me killing your big gene pull will sooner or later give u a poor gene pool. Maybe I'm wrong but I just don't see how in the long run it'll work.



QUOTE=ego260;1106766067]I’ve always understood it as shoot the older bucks and let the younger ones go.
[/QUOTE]

I don't raise cattle personally, so forgive me for not being able to speak specifically towards that, but I've got a 2.5 year old basket 7 that I'm absolutely stoked about. The kicker- point #7 on him is a kicker, a downward facing kicker off the back side of his left main beam, Baby Drop Tine!!! He's getting a pass. Next year if I see him and he's 120" or even 130", still getting a pass. A big non-typical is a dream buck and is on my bucket list for sure. Now if he survives other hunters including the orange army and makes it to 4.5 years old, I'll assess the situation then as to whether or not I see him before rut and also how big he is, but when it comes to this deer I'm willing to wait him out through at least next year, see what he can grow into, and see if he can plant a few more drop tines in the herd the next couple falls. I can't hit the lotto if I don't have a ticket, and I can't harvest a big drop tine unless I've got those genetics in my area, or unless a monster long range trekker hikes it 20 miles and shows up out of the blue. I'll take either, but I'm going to do everything I can in the mean time to foster those genes, aside from walling off my property with high fences.

No offense to the high fence owners, I'm just a free range guy personally, but I strongly believe in American Capitalism.
 

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Correct but my question to u is can u tell what that bucks going to be when he's older? So if u can't your assuming he's carrying good genes. Again live stock u don't have a calf and say wel let's let him live to breed and kill our big breeder bull maybe the calf will be a good bull. To me killing your big gene pull will sooner or later give u a poor gene pool. Maybe I'm wrong but I just don't see how in the long run it'll work.
There's a huge difference between a cattle operation and wild deer. In a cattle operation you might have 3-4 bulls breeding 100+ cows (if you don't AI), do the math and that's 1:20-30. In that situation you're controlling who's doing the breeding and you've hand picked the bulls. In wild deer you probably have 50 bucks breeding 100 does. Some breed one doe and some breed 5 in a year. And regardless of who you shoot, you have no control who breeds because both bucks and does go on excursions. A mile or five and breed somewhere else. Your does might breed elsewhere and your neighbor's buck might come in and breed your does. Age has only minor implications on who does the breeding. Young bucks are as likely to breed as old bucks. As for cattle you can most definitely get rid of the old bull and let a yearling bull do the breeding because you know his genetics and his line. You know who his parents are so you aren't worried about what he'll produce. There isn't any guessing and very little variation in cattle. There's widely variable genetics in deer.
 
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