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J's Wild Game Processing
Deer Management
Sep 08, 2011   03:08 PM
by Administrator

Management of deer populations requires making decisions based on specific information collected with consistency and not by general observations and assumptions.  The development of a successful deer management system requires planning.  Deer surveys provide managers with an important sampling of the deer population and is a method of determining ratios and trends.  There are varying methods of conducting a deer survey.


About Pronghorn Antelope
Aug 23, 2011   01:08 PM
by Administrator

The North American Pronghorn is one special animal.  They were found in most of the grasslands of the West during the 1800's.  Like most wildlife, as human populations in these areas increased and changes to the natural habitat were made to accommodate those populations, the pronghorn numbers suffered.  The invention of firearms and net wire fence also greatly decreased the pronghorn herds.  It was through modern conservation that they have recovered and are currently in abundance in the remaining grasslands of the West.

Pronghorn currently are found in about 17 million acres in Texas and about 70% of the animals are found in the Panhandle region.  Populations in the Panhandle area have grown in the past several years while the Trans-Pecos region has experienced severe declines in their pronghorn numbers.  There is currently intensive research being conducted to try and determine the reason for these declining numbers in that area. 

The pronghorn antelope is a grassland animal and require wide open spaces for habitat.  They prefer flat terrain or gently rolling hills with good ground cover and nearby water resource.  The pronghorns' use their amazing eyesight for survival and will use every effort to keep any threat in their sight. They can reach speeds of more than 50mph, earning them the nick-name "speed-goat." They also stay in large groups using their numbers as a protection strategy from danger. 

Pronghorn feed primarily on forbs and shrubs which can make up to 85% of their diet if available.  They eat very little grass and will eat broad-leafed plants.  Water consumption changes seasonally depending upon the amount of water derived from the plants they consume. 

Managers should try and ensure a good water source is within 2 miles of good pronghorn habitat and that the water is in an open area.  

Pronghorn primarily do not jump, thus fences are obstacles that prevent them from being able to protect themselves from nasty weather or look for more substantial provision to maintain their health.   

Water & Whitetail Mangement
Aug 03, 2011   07:55 AM
by Administrator

While the importance of browse and nutrition is great consideration when managing a deer herd, the availability of water is perhaps the more critical element.  Improving deer health requires a balance of protein and water. 

Liebig's Law states if we list all factors limiting a biological system, then determine which of those factors has the greatest impact, that factor is the limiting factor. The most scarce factor limits the entire system. Many time that limiting factor is water.

Whitetail deer drink .5 - 1.5 gallons water per day depending upon the time of year.  This water is consumed over 3-5 waterings throughout the day and night.  Nursing does have higher demands as they produce as much as 72 ounces of milk per day.  While they do benefit from moisture in their consumption of vegetation and even manufacture some water through digestion, the availability of free-water is one of the most important tools for a successful deer management program.



Mortality Rate of Whitetail Bucks
Jul 16, 2011   08:55 PM
by Administrator

Most hunters are surprised to learn that the natural mortality rate of mature whitetail bucks is 10 - 30 % by natural causes.  These numbers do not include death by hunting. 

Surprisingly, while predators like coyote and mountain lion are responsible for some deaths, the implementation of strong predator eradication programs do not play a significant part in keeping bucks alive. 

The highest mortality rates are with young and old bucks.  The post-rut period between January and March realizes almost 80% of these deaths which can be attributed to poorer nutritional supplementation following the rut period.  During the rut a buck may lose up to 30% of his body weight and not have proper nutrition available until spring in which to gain back the lost pounds.  During this weakened physical condition these animals are also the most susceptible to predators.

One study of buck mortality showed that with a beginning herd of 100 6 month old bucks, only 24 of those bucks lived to the age of 6 1/2 years old.  These bucks that died were all of natural causes as these bucks were not subjected to hunting at all.  That means that without any hunting pressure, 76% of bucks will die before reaching full maturity simply by natural causes. 



Drop Tine Bucks
Jul 06, 2011   09:33 PM
by Administrator

What makes a drop tine buck?  The drop tine buck has become the most sought after of all trophy whitetail bucks.  Several factors cause these antlers and mis-placed tines on the racks of deer.  While many things affect the growth of normal shaped antlers, i.e. nutrition, disease, injuries, age, genetics, hormones or parasites just to name a few, the drop tine antler doesn't show up in normal circumstances until a buck reaches about 3 years old and most usually 5 years old.  Nutrition is always a factor for maximum horn growth.  Once his body is mature, the nutrition a buck receives is allowed to benefit his horn growth making it possible to realize the genetics he has.  Poor nuitrition affects a bucks horn growth not allowing for optimum genetic horn formulation.  While the drop tine actually is penalized in the Boone and Crockett scoring system for typical antlers, most hunters do not consider the penalty of deductions when making a decision to harvest a drop tine whitetail buck - it's a no brainer! 

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