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Author Topic: Which deer to take in an underpopulated GMU?  (Read 3208 times)

Offline yakimanoob

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Which deer to take in an underpopulated GMU?
« on: March 06, 2017, 09:58:19 AM »
FIRST: I'm not interested in talking about ethics here.  I'm interested in pragmatic cause-effect relationships, and I'm trying to learn more about deer. 

I live near Naches, and mule deer here are underpopulated according to the WDFW status and trend reports.  http://dfw.wa.gov/publications/01875/

Let's ASSUME that assessment is accurate, rather than arguing about the validity of the WDFW numbers/conclusions.  And let's assume I'm going to kill a buck.  My question is: if I have the choice between a young 3 point and a mature 4x4, which one has a higher chance of breeding more females? 

For instance, say I'm tracking a group of deer in the same area and I've identified both bucks.  Killing one during modern rifle means that animal doesn't get to make babies for next year.  So if my mind is made up to harvest one or the other, which one should I take to maximize the number of bred does in the coming rut? 

What do you think?


Side note: I was fortunate enough to harvest a cryptorchid 3x3 on Cleman Mtn last year, so there's one less sterile buck in the world and more food/ladies for the boys who can make babies  :tup:

Offline Rainier10

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Re: Which deer to take in an underpopulated GMU?
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2017, 10:16:25 AM »
My opinion is to shoot the older buck.  The younger bucks will breed just as many does and have more years ahead of them as far as breeding.  If you give the younger bucks a pass it gives them another year to get wiser.  Just my  :twocents:
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Offline Curly

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Re: Which deer to take in an underpopulated GMU?
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2017, 10:20:35 AM »
Shoot the small 3.  The meat will be more tender and taste better.
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Offline buglebuster

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Re: Which deer to take in an underpopulated GMU?
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2017, 10:23:43 AM »
You should shoot the more mature older buck every time.
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Offline yakimanoob

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Re: Which deer to take in an underpopulated GMU?
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2017, 10:28:54 AM »
You should shoot the more mature older buck every time.

Why?  Do younger bucks breed more does if the older one is not in the picture?

Offline KFhunter

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Re: Which deer to take in an underpopulated GMU?
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2017, 10:35:21 AM »
My opinion is to shoot the older buck.  The younger bucks will breed just as many does and have more years ahead of them as far as breeding.  If you give the younger bucks a pass it gives them another year to get wiser.  Just my  :twocents:

The younger bucks wouldn't travel as much and more likely to inbreed locally, they wouldn't really have a rut pattern established they'd follow like an older buck would. 

The mature buck would travel their well established rut travel/search patterns, sometimes travelling quite a ways and would cover more does.  The older buck would be more efficient as well.

Offline yakimanoob

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Re: Which deer to take in an underpopulated GMU?
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2017, 10:38:45 AM »

The younger bucks wouldn't travel as much and more likely to inbreed locally, they wouldn't really have a rut pattern established they'd follow like an older buck would. 

The mature buck would travel their well established rut patterns  sometimes travelling quite a ways and would cover more does.

Thanks KFhunter!  This is exactly the kind of learning I'm after.  Can you recommend some reading for me to learn more about these kinds of patterns/effects?

Offline KFhunter

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Re: Which deer to take in an underpopulated GMU?
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2017, 10:43:58 AM »
I might see an article while sitting in the Dr. office and that's about it.  The rags always focus on giant antlers and what latest trinket you must have to get those giant antlers.   I have no books on hunting either.   Sorry I can't make recommendations on reading material. 






Offline yakimanoob

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Re: Which deer to take in an underpopulated GMU?
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2017, 10:49:51 AM »
I might see an article while sitting in the Dr. office and that's about it.  The rags always focus on giant antlers and what latest trinket you must have to get those giant antlers.   I have no books on hunting either.   Sorry I can't make recommendations on reading material.

At the risk of taking my own thread off topic: this is a big problem in the hunting world, right?  I can find a dozen reviews on any given bolt gun, but decent information on animal behavior patterns, population dynamics, and other concepts that would make us all better hunters is nearly impossible to find.

Not that the problem is unique to hunting... 

Offline Rainier10

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Re: Which deer to take in an underpopulated GMU?
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2017, 10:51:35 AM »
My opinion is to shoot the older buck.  The younger bucks will breed just as many does and have more years ahead of them as far as breeding.  If you give the younger bucks a pass it gives them another year to get wiser.  Just my  :twocents:

The younger bucks wouldn't travel as much and more likely to inbreed locally, they wouldn't really have a rut pattern established they'd follow like an older buck would. 

The mature buck would travel their well established rut travel/search patterns, sometimes travelling quite a ways and would cover more does.  The older buck would be more efficient as well.
That is another way to look at it for sure.  I was going back and forth on this one.

I just reread the question and it raises even more questions for me because he says he has the choice to shoot a  young 3 point or a mature 4x4.

I was thinking your odds of finding and shooting a mature buck are way lower than shooting an immature buck.  If you have lower odds of shooting the mature that in itself leaves the potential for more bucks to be around breeding.

Immature bucks are easier to find and kill so your odds of success are higher thus taking out more potential breeders.

After rereading it, if there were two bucks standing side by side, one mature and one immature, I am not sure what I would do.  I think you could make a case for either option.

I am not sure there is a "right" answer to this one.  I am interested to hear what everyone's point of view is.
Pain is temporary, achieving the goal is worth it.

I didn't say it would be easy, I said it would be worth it.

Every father should remember that one day his children will follow his example instead of his advice.


The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of HuntWa or the site owner.

Offline KFhunter

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Re: Which deer to take in an underpopulated GMU?
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2017, 10:57:37 AM »
Quote
After rereading it, if there were two bucks standing side by side, one mature and one immature, I am not sure what I would do.  I think you could make a case for either option.

Assuming they're both legal take your pick.  The younger would taste better but you'd get less meat.  Fortunately we don't have to worry about shooting the mature buck because there are other mature bucks who will fill the void and until that void is filled a younger buck would sneak in and breed in a pinch.

I just don't think we need to worry about which buck to shoot other than the quantity vs quality personal choice.  If it were so under populated that does weren't getting covered then it needs to be restricted more and predators removed.

Offline DaveMonti

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Re: Which deer to take in an underpopulated GMU?
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2017, 11:11:00 AM »
It really doesn't matter which buck you take.  Breeding success is rarely, if ever, negatively impacted by a limited number of bucks.  If you kill both, there will still be plenty of other bucks in the area that will breed the available does.  Even spikes will travel miles and miles to find a hot doe. 

Offline jackelope

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Re: Which deer to take in an underpopulated GMU?
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2017, 11:14:12 AM »
There is no genetic difference between old bucks and young bucks. They either have it or they don't. I've killed enough deer in my life(really not that many compared to most here I'm guessing) that I'm not interested in shooting young bucks anymore. I just don't need to. I'm going to throw out that the old, mature bucks may or may not have worse odds of dying over winter, etc. If we're talking migration routes, mule deer seem to use the same routes and follow the does, right?
That video out of Wyoming depicting their mule deer migration seems to show they all follow roughly the same path, and the younger bucks move first, right?
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Offline KFhunter

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Re: Which deer to take in an underpopulated GMU?
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2017, 11:16:24 AM »
It really doesn't matter which buck you take.  Breeding success is rarely, if ever, negatively impacted by a limited number of bucks.  If you kill both, there will still be plenty of other bucks in the area that will breed the available does.  Even spikes will travel miles and miles to find a hot doe.

I agree, buck to doe ratio is way down on the list of things suppressing deer populations if at all.  I wouldn't worry about this.   


To the OP; if you want to make a positive impact then hunt predators.  If you seek personal justification for taking a large mature buck then make a pledge to yourself that if you take out a couple of coyotes, or any single large carnivore you've more than earned that large buck. 



Offline KFhunter

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Re: Which deer to take in an underpopulated GMU?
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2017, 11:21:00 AM »
There is no genetic difference between old bucks and young bucks. They either have it or they don't. I've killed enough deer in my life(really not that many compared to most here I'm guessing) that I'm not interested in shooting young bucks anymore. I just don't need to. I'm going to throw out that the old, mature bucks may or may not have worse odds of dying over winter, etc. If we're talking migration routes, mule deer seem to use the same routes and follow the does, right?
That video out of Wyoming depicting their mule deer migration seems to show they all follow roughly the same path, and the younger bucks move first, right?

The only thing I'd clarify (not disagreeing with you)  is that "bad genetics" wouldn't tend to make it to full maturity as often as "good genetics" would.  If a buck is an old warrior he's probably got good genetics.


I tend to shoot young bucks, I have enough trouble getting my wife and kids to eat that.  A smelly old rutted bruiser?   ....forget it.   When I was a kid if I brought home a buck with more than 3pt's I'd get chewed out.  "what you bring that nasty old thing home for boy?" 

 

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