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Whitetail Wisdom

Whitetail Wisdom articles and tips from some of the finest Whitetail authorities in the country.

Monday, September 12, 2011
Data & Censusing

Ok, you’re sold on deer management. You’ve taken stock of what you’ve got to work with, set your goals and laid out a strategy. Now, you need good data to establish your baseline, guide your decisions and monitor your progress. Let’s now take a look at the data you need and how to get it.

Deer data can be divided two ways – harvest data and herd data. Data taken from harvested deer tell us about deer size and condition by age class and sex and is essential in monitoring herd quality. Key data from harvested deer include sex, age (somebody needs to be able to age harvested deer by tooth wear and replacement), weight (live and dressed), the gross B&C score of bucks (or some other standard means of measuring antler size and dimensions) and, of course, the total number of each sex taken. When and where deer were harvested and who took them is also important. I like to keep notes on injuries, parasite loads and other pertinent observations. Some managers also keep records on the weather conditions and hunting circumstances to help determine movement patterns and hunting trends.

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Posted by David Morris on 09/12 at 10:49 AM
Whitetail WisdomPermalink

Thursday, September 01, 2011
Be There When It’s Happening!
Photo by Hardy Jackson
Photo By Hardy Jackson

How many stories have you read in outdoor magazines over the years that say something like, “Unraveling The Mysteries of The Rut?” Why do we call it a mystery and why does it have to be unraveled? Okay, I’ll admit there are some mysterious aspects of the rut. For instance, bucks oftentimes seem to disappear for days at a time in late October during time that is often referred to as the “October lull.” This disappearing act usually occurs in late October a week to 10 days before “normal” peak breeding dates.  I’ll talk more about that in a moment, but first I want to define what we are talking about. For our purposes here, I’m talking about the peak of the rut, that frenzied period that lasts approximately two weeks each fall when most of the does get bred by bucks that have gone a little crazy.

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Posted by Duncan Dobie on 09/01 at 01:34 AM
Whitetail Wisdom Big Buck Hunting Permalink

Monday, August 22, 2011
Buck Mortality - Death in the Brush Country

As soon as I dialed in the radio frequency to buck #0083 and picked-up the antenna, I knew the 6.5-year-old buck was dead.  Instead of hearing the characteristic “beep….beep….beep” from his collar, I heard a signal that was twice as fast, “beep, beep, beep, beep.”  I jumped down from the truck bed and walked in the direction where the signal was strongest.  After walking only 100 yards, there he was.  His tall-tined rack, with trailing skeleton, stood out like a sore thumb in the open brush country.

It was still March, only three months into my telemetry study, and already nine of the 44 bucks that we had captured the previous October had died!  None of these bucks were killed by hunters, so why were they dying?

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Posted by Dr. Mickey W. Hellickson on 08/22 at 01:28 AM
Whitetail WisdomPermalink

Monday, August 15, 2011
Antlers

The Antler Cycle
Antlers - there is something magical and mystical about deer antlers.  Part of their allure is that every antler is different and unique.  However, our fascination with deer antlers has its roots deep in our psyche, from our ancestors, who have hunted antlered game since man’s existence.  Our ancestors used antlers for tools and in religious ceremonies.  Today, we are still captivated by antlers.

How antlers grow and why they are shed each year is a source of wonder and curiosity.  Antlers are one of nature’s most remarkable accomplishments.  Deer, which are capable of re-growing antlers every year, are the only mammals with this capacity to regenerate these complex appendages.  The speed at which antlers grow, also makes them the fastest growing structures in the animal kingdom.

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Posted by Dr. Mickey W. Hellickson on 08/15 at 01:39 AM
Featured Articles Whitetail WisdomPermalink

Sunday, August 14, 2011
Herd Management
Photo by Hardy Jackson
Photo By Hardy Jackson

One on the first and foremost goals of deer management is to restore out-of-whack herds to proper balance. There are several keys to doing this, and today, we’re going to look at some of them. 

A common ill of unbalanced herds is the lack of older bucks. Biologists would say the herd has a poor buck age structure. We hunters would just call it sorry hunting. Ideally, bucks of all ages should be present in a herd, but that’s seldom the case, mostly because of excessive and nonselective hunting pressure on bucks. A realistic target would be for at least 30 percent of the antlered bucks to be 3.5 years old and older. That would guarantee pretty good hunting, assuming the bucks have enough food to grow quality antlers. How do you get there? Stop shooting the youngsters and limit the buck harvest to a sustainable number!

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Posted by David Morris on 08/14 at 08:59 PM
Whitetail WisdomPermalink

Monday, August 08, 2011
Seeing is Believing
Photo by Hardy Jackson
Photo By Hardy Jackson

Would you like to determine how many deer live on the property you hunt or own? Or how many big bucks are roaming around? Trying this deer survey method will help you achieve both goals. 

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO SURVEY DEER HERDS?
In order to manage your deer herd efficiently and effectively, it’s important to know about your deer population.  It is especially important to be able to estimate population size and determine the trend (increasing, decreasing, or stable) in the population so proper harvest levels can be established for the upcoming hunting season.

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Posted by Dr. Mickey W. Hellickson on 08/08 at 02:03 AM
Whitetail WisdomPermalink

Thursday, August 04, 2011
Return To Natural
Photo by Hardy Jackson
Photo By Hardy Jackson

Recently, a frustrated hunter called to bemoan his lack of success, and in the course of his moanings, he said to me, “If you had to hunt a ‘natural’ deer herd like the one I hunt, you wouldn’t have all those big bucks on your wall.”

Then, he went on to describe the deer herd he hunted, which, like all too many around the country, turned out to be half-starved, doe-heavy and buck-depleted. Well, the beleaguered caller was right about one thing – if I had to hunt a herd like the one he hunted, my wall would be darned near empty. But, he was dead wrong about another thing – the herd he hunted definitely was NOT NATURAL!

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Posted by David Morris on 08/04 at 09:01 PM
Whitetail WisdomPermalink

Monday, July 18, 2011
Management Goals & Possibilities
Photo by Hardy Jackson
Photo By Hardy Jackson

I’ve got a question for you. Can management really improve your hunting? You bet it can! And, one of the best things about management is that it’s like a well-stocked cafeteria, there’s something in it for everyone!

At one end of the spectrum are the simple things, like laying off the trigger on young bucks or taking that doe that’s on your license to help hold numbers down or growing a small food plot on the “Back 40” just to attract deer or putting out a mineral lick.

At the other extreme are the full-blown programs aimed at growing more and bigger bucks. This may include all-out herd management – like aggressively controlling doe numbers, predator control to enhance reproduction and limiting the number of bucks harvested and only taking the right ones at the right age – and an ambitious nutritional program targeted at vastly improving the food supply through natural habitat improvement, food plots and/or supplemental feeding.

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Posted by David Morris on 07/18 at 08:58 PM
Food Plot Management Whitetail Wisdom • (0) CommentsPermalink

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