Buck to Doe Ratio

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BackWoodsHunter
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Buck to Doe Ratio

Unread postby BackWoodsHunter » Tue Feb 08, 2011 2:09 pm

I feel that deer management as far as harvesting, culling and passing are land management processes as well because they affect the competition in the landscape for food, and the pressure put on native browse through over browsing or under browsing based on herd levels.

What in your opinion is an ideal buck to doe ratio and over deer ratio relative to the land you hunt? Of course an answer to this would be to describe where you hunt and what the habitat there is like.

I don't believe anything the DNR says and don't have a good handle on the deer and what they are capable of destroying but I thought our numbers were decent this year. We had about 9 does and 5 bucks frequenting our property (160 acres) and I felt those numbers were healthy. I would like to tip the ratio in favor of the bucks but am refraining from harvesting does just because of how low the overall deer population is in our area.

We were able to keep track of the does and fawns using our land because the same doe with 2 fawns would come in to the cams and two other doe/fawn combos would visit. It seemed like other than young bucks we never had any consistency on bucks there but there were 4 or 5 bucks that showed up pretty regularly.

Wish we had more deer, hopefully bigger plots this year will draw them in and hold them.


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Black Squirrel
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Re: Buck to Doe Ratio

Unread postby Black Squirrel » Wed Feb 09, 2011 3:33 am

First off, I think it depends on what your goals are for your land. Science states that a 1:1 ratio is best. If you like to just see and kill any deer, I think more does than bucks is fine, probably 3:1, as long as your land can support more deer. If your going after mature bucks, though, I think the closer you get to 1:1 the better. The more the bucks have to work at finding a doe, the more they have to expose themselves, and the more sign they will leave.
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Re: Buck to Doe Ratio

Unread postby solocam88 » Wed Feb 09, 2011 5:21 am

If a buck wants to find a doe he will go where the does are. He wouldnt search around for something that is not there, he will go to another property where their is a heavy doe population. Its like being at a tavern with no babes there and walking around in circles untill you find one. You will go to a different bar. When you have a large doe population during the rut you will see a lot more random bucks from other areas.
I dont get all bent out of shape about whacking does. Does carry the good buck genes also not just bucks. There is enough food and cover in S Wisconsin to hold a large healthy deer population. The most important thing is to know your property and the surrounding area and what kind of deer population there is before you go and start to do any kind of "managing"
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Re: Buck to Doe Ratio

Unread postby dan » Wed Feb 09, 2011 5:35 am

Solocam is right on in my opinion... I was kind of surprised to see his response, I am getting pretty used to seeing people with the belief they have to knock the doe numbers down. It really has to be looked at in a property to property situation, however a hunt on an Illinois farm managed by Andrae and a discussion afterwords really changed my beliefs in culling does for managment and made me realize I had fallen into the trap of listening to others rather than basing opinion off of experiance in this situation.
I was amazed at the population of deer on his land. I saw over 200 deer in one sitting. The buck doe ratio was probably about 20 to 1 or maybe worse.
Obviously, some deer needed to be taken out, you could see heavy browsing. However, the land was, and still does produce world class bucks that score well over 200 inches every year.
According to Andrae, the bucks are there because of the does. Both of us have noticed that the bucks are less nocturnal on the farms with more deer too. Deer weights were normal, and the deer seemed healthy.
He has done things to try and nock the doe population down a little, but it has been extremly high since he 1st started hunting there and he believes ( and so do I ) THAT THE HIGH POPULATION gives him more big bucks to hunt. His two top bucks off that farm are 217 & 190...
So those that think 20 does on there 200 acre farm are to many, are just listening to close to the DNR.. ;)
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Hodag Hunter
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Re: Buck to Doe Ratio

Unread postby Hodag Hunter » Wed Feb 09, 2011 6:18 am

dan wrote:Solocam is right on in my opinion... I was kind of surprised to see his response, I am getting pretty used to seeing people with the belief they have to knock the doe numbers down. It really has to be looked at in a property to property situation, however a hunt on an Illinois farm managed by Andrae and a discussion afterwords really changed my beliefs in culling does for managment and made me realize I had fallen into the trap of listening to others rather than basing opinion off of experiance in this situation.
I was amazed at the population of deer on his land. I saw over 200 deer in one sitting. The buck doe ratio was probably about 20 to 1 or maybe worse.
Obviously, some deer needed to be taken out, you could see heavy browsing. However, the land was, and still does produce world class bucks that score well over 200 inches every year.
According to Andrae, the bucks are there because of the does. Both of us have noticed that the bucks are less nocturnal on the farms with more deer too. Deer weights were normal, and the deer seemed healthy.
He has done things to try and nock the doe population down a little, but it has been extremly high since he 1st started hunting there and he believes ( and so do I ) THAT THE HIGH POPULATION gives him more big bucks to hunt. His two top bucks off that farm are 217 & 190...
So those that think 20 does on there 200 acre farm are to many, are just listening to close to the DNR.. ;)


BINGO!

When I had permission to hunt land in central WI on private, one of the neigbor land owners (he had 640 acres plus) was promomating doe kills. Even ran a doe contest asking guys to throw in money and who ever shot the most does took the pot. Some guys were litterly shooting in the double digits of does per year. I politely called him out saying don't do this as you will be in the same situation as the northern herd....he replied we have too many and need to cut back. I asked, says who? the dnr?

Within 2 years after seeing deer number fall drastically he stopped the pool and asked for only young kids or 1st time hunters to shoot does after your earn a buck was taken. Bucks didn't move near as much and like Dan said were turning most movement to nocturnal.We still saw good numbers of deer(compared to northern WI) just no where like before the doe slaughter.

I winked at him and again politly reminded him of our first conversation. Still keep in touch with him, this year was a good year, one of the best ever he said, for the group after just one year previous of "doe protection".
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Re: Buck to Doe Ratio

Unread postby Black Squirrel » Wed Feb 09, 2011 8:09 am

solocam88 wrote:When you have a large doe population during the rut you will see a lot more random bucks from other areas.

I have to respectfully disagree with that statement. I don't see alot of bucks moving, if there are alot of does. I see your point, if there is a pocket where there are lots of does and the surrounding area has only a few. Yes then they will go out and search, but even then, once they hook up with a doe they are not going to be running all over searching because they don't have too. At least in my little world, we either have too many or not enough deer. The question was asked about ratio, not numbers. I still stand by the fact that the closer you get to 1:1 the more buck movement you will see because they have too move to find does.
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Re: Buck to Doe Ratio

Unread postby dan » Wed Feb 09, 2011 8:55 am

I still stand by the fact that the closer you get to 1:1 the more buck movement you will see because they have too move to find does.

True, during the short window of the rut.

once they hook up with a doe they are not going to be running all over searching because they don't have too

True during that short window of lockdown...

My comments were all season based.
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Re: Buck to Doe Ratio

Unread postby Black Squirrel » Wed Feb 09, 2011 9:37 am

dan wrote:
I still stand by the fact that the closer you get to 1:1 the more buck movement you will see because they have too move to find does.

True, during the short window of the rut.

once they hook up with a doe they are not going to be running all over searching because they don't have too

True during that short window of lockdown...

My comments were all season based.

Good point, as usual :lol:
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Re: Buck to Doe Ratio

Unread postby lungbuster » Wed Feb 09, 2011 9:38 am

Ok, if we are basing this on the time of season and it is outside the rut, why would you see alot of mature buck movement during the daytime if the buck/doe ratio is so skewed? Mature bucks will generally seek out places where there are not alot of does and younger deer outside the rut in my experience. They do not want to have to compete for food and bedding with all the does.......So why would a high doe count be a good thing outside the rut?
During the rut I can see that a high number of does could keep bucks on your property, but outside the rut I don't see why they would be there?
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Re: Buck to Doe Ratio

Unread postby Zap » Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:07 am

Would a mature buck that bed's alone, not in a batchelor group, enjoy the saftey of having alot of doe's bedded near him to act as an early warning system?
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Re: Buck to Doe Ratio

Unread postby dan » Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:43 am

Zap wrote:Would a mature buck that bed's alone, not in a batchelor group, enjoy the saftey of having alot of doe's bedded near him to act as an early warning system?

Yes... I don't think its on purpose though. In hill country the does bed above the bucks at a higher elevation and to get to the bucks from above you have to go thru the does. Sometimes it can make getting close enough tough. I have also seen doe groups that bed along the transition line of a marsh or swamp and the buck be bedded deeper...
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Re: Buck to Doe Ratio

Unread postby dan » Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:46 am

lungbuster wrote:Ok, if we are basing this on the time of season and it is outside the rut, why would you see alot of mature buck movement during the daytime if the buck/doe ratio is so skewed? Mature bucks will generally seek out places where there are not alot of does and younger deer outside the rut in my experience. They do not want to have to compete for food and bedding with all the does.......So why would a high doe count be a good thing outside the rut?
During the rut I can see that a high number of does could keep bucks on your property, but outside the rut I don't see why they would be there?

Ok... Not just outside of the rut. Just prior to lockdown can be very good.
I do not know for sure why the deer move earlier, I just know they do from past experiances. My theory is that the young deer up and moving get the rest of the herd up and moving feeling safer as others are moving.
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Re: Buck to Doe Ratio

Unread postby Hodag Hunter » Wed Feb 09, 2011 11:20 am

My old situation might have been different then others but I did see a lot of does and bucks moving earlier than what I would consider normal. Like Dan mentioned could be because of if does moving earlier then the bucks moved earlier.

What I guessed or figured where I used to hunt was all the doe shooting was not only reducing the population but "boogering up" the woods. The ring leader or head guy, which was a nice guy by the way, had over a square mile himself that he let friends and relitives hunt to shoot does. The neighboring properties were about another 600 acres for about 1200+/- acres. When 60-80 does are being shot yearly mostly during bow season that's alot of tracking at night to recover those animals. Now there is human intrusion in bedding areas all over the place with deer trying to "escape" after being shot.

I only had 80 acres and seemed the deer where more calm than the other hunter's reports when we would meet and talk about once a week. It seemed on the other properties every night someone was tracking deer and that sure doesn't help the next few days hunts.

So far off topic now, but back to ratio maybe 1:1 is the "best" per the biologists but if your numbers are messed up with more does and your dusting them everytime in the woods year after year I can't see how that helps your area. I had permission on 80 acres and sure didn't want to be tromping thru all over the place recovering animals just to get a better deer ratio. The guy with 640 acres sometimes had 8-10 guys hunting on weekends. Other days only 1-3 guys and couldn't see why he wasn't seeing the quanity of deer I was seeing on the little 80 I had with cover and food being relatviely equal. Well when your draging deer out ever other night it sure doesn't help with keeping a low profile.

I dunno......I would rather leave the woods "pressure free" and a skewered ratio than tromping all over with a "better" ratio.
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Re: Buck to Doe Ratio

Unread postby dan » Wed Feb 09, 2011 11:36 am

I don't mean to offend anyone, but I kind of sense that people agree on the doe wacking because they get to shoot deer if they agree... Its like culling small freak bucks. I think its pretty much old news by now that small bucks become big bucks eventually, look at the big "Y" shed antler somebody recently posted, I would rather shoot him like that than a little fork and just claim it was a cull buck. ;)
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Re: Buck to Doe Ratio

Unread postby dan » Wed Feb 09, 2011 11:39 am

I was gouing to say that 1 to 1 ratio is best... But then I thought about it. Every place I have seen buck to do ratio's that good, the bucks always have busted up racks and get wounded fighting over the does. Lots of half rackers and missing tines during and after the rut.


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