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#2951301 - 09/21/12 07:58 AM Re: A Great Quote on the Need to Harvest Does [Re: Boll Weevil]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
Non-Typical


Registered: 03/11/99
Posts: 65411
Loc: Nashville, TN

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 Originally Posted By: Boll Weevil
A camera inventory for this year's fawn recruitment/survival has been perfectly dismal on my place. Crazy as it may sound I've gotten more photos of coyotes than fawns this summer...WAY more. The neighbor even found a partially eaten fawn half-buried while bushhogging.

Don't know if it's an effect of the drought, neighbors pulling the trigger, or yotes but we'll likely adjust our doe harvest down a bit (and absolutely go to town on the yodelers). The coyotes seem to have really made a dent.


Excellent post Boll Weevil. Appropriate doe harvests must be developed using a wide variety of information sources. First, how is the current herd density affecting the availability of food during the lowest food resource time of year (late winter)? Second, how is fawn production and survival? Under poor fawn survival, not as many does need to be removed each year. In fact, in some locations, predation of fawns is so high that few adult does need to be removed each year (no more does than the number of bucks harvested). Several of my clients in the western Highland Rim area experienced low fawn survival in the years following the '07 EHD outbreak. I recommended they back way off of their doe harvest policies until fawn production increased. Fawn recruitment rates jumped considerably last year, and appear to be exceptionally high this year, allowing for a return to higher doe harvests this year.

However, to properly assess fawn production and survival, I would NOT use camera data from late summer. Often fawn numbers are vastly under-represented in August camera censuses. I would point cameras into food plots during October (to get adult doe versus fawn numbers) and compare that to hunter observations of of doe-fawn ratios during bow season (when fawns are easiest to identify from adult does).

Your observation of many, many coyote pictures is an important one. Watch these numbers over time. Generally, coyote populations go through "boom and bust" patterns, as high coyote densities usually crash due to disease problems.

And by the way, the "half-buried" fawn carcass is a sign of a bobcat kill, not a coyote kill. Members of the cat species bury their prey (to hide it from scavengers) for later consumption.
_________________________
"Know where you stand, and stand there" --Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan

"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." --Clive James

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#2951310 - 09/21/12 08:03 AM Re: A Great Quote on the Need to Harvest Does [Re: Boll Weevil]
tellico4x4
6 Point


Registered: 11/29/04
Posts: 938
Loc: Killen, AL

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 Originally Posted By: Boll Weevil
A camera inventory for this year's fawn recruitment/survival has been perfectly dismal on my place. Crazy as it may sound I've gotten more photos of coyotes than fawns this summer...WAY more. The neighbor even found a partially eaten fawn half-buried while bushhogging.

Don't know if it's an effect of the drought, neighbors pulling the trigger, or yotes but we'll likely adjust our doe harvest down a bit (and absolutely go to town on the yodelers). The coyotes seem to have really made a dent.


Thankfully, our coyote numbers seem to be down this year. A couple of weeks ago, I got a pic of one that was eaten up with mange. I bet he didn't have a handful of hair on him. Maybe all the others have gotten it too! Also, I have set on the porch a couple of times right at dark here recently and have not heard a single coyote, where I usually hear 3-4 diff packs sound off.
More pics of fawns and baby turkeys this year than we have had in the past 5 yrs.
_________________________
BulletHuntingClub.com

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#2951338 - 09/21/12 08:17 AM Re: A Great Quote on the Need to Harvest Does [Re: Football Hunter]
RobbyW
4 Point


Registered: 09/19/11
Posts: 255
Loc: Dickson County TN

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Something I was told years ago by a biologist was, having the right amount of does, helps the herd quality by only letting the more dominate bucks to breed. If you have a large number of does,every buck in the heard can breed, therefor passing on weak genes. If the number of does are down, then there is more competition and only the dominate bucks will breed. He also said this actually makes the rut more active, because bucks have to search and compete harder.

BSK, would you say this is correct?

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#2951436 - 09/21/12 09:08 AM Re: A Great Quote on the Need to Harvest Does [Re: RobbyW]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
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Registered: 03/11/99
Posts: 65411
Loc: Nashville, TN

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 Originally Posted By: RobbyW
BSK, would you say this is correct?


Partially.

DNA parentage studies find that successful breedings are spread through the buck population far more evenly than what was originally assumed (all age bucks are successful breeders), but when competition for estrus does is highest, older to mature bucks are the most successful breeders. So a more balanced adult sex ratio will mean that older bucks do far more breeding than young bucks, but some young bucks are still successful breeders, just at a far lower rate than older bucks.

This concentration of older males conducting more of the breeding isn't so much about ensuring the best genetics get passed on (in fact, whitetailed deer breeding behavior appears to be designed to maximize genetic diversity within the population, unlike "bull and harem" systems that other ungulates use). The focus of breeding on the older males is more about driving the intense stress of being an active breeder onto the males that can survive the process and not be as harmed by the stresses over the long-term. Rut stress--the physical demands of being an active breeder--is far more intense than most would assume. Active breeding bucks often lose 30% of their entire body weight during the 5-6 weeks of the rut. This means a buck weighing 200 lbs going into the rut can be only 140 lbs coming out of the rut just 6 weeks later. Older to mature bucks have already finished growing their full skelatal system, hence this type of stress doesn't have any long-term growth ramifications (although it can literally kill bucks during the post-rut winter months). A young buck--such as a yearling--is still growing his skelatal system, and losing that much body weight just as they are going into winter can have a profound effect on that buck's growth the following summer. Instead of directing spring and early summer food resources into further body size increases, they must use all those food resources to rebuild the weight they lost during the rut and winter months. This can literally stunt the buck for life. Missed body growth potential at a young age is lost forever.

These biological benefits of a balanced sex ratio can be seen over time on a managed property. Once the sex ratio is balanced, and the buck age structure increased, observations of young bucks participating in the rut will be greatly reduced. This lower participation in rutting behavior by young bucks will be displayed in larger bodied 2 1/2 year-old bucks (because young bucks are not having to waste summer food resources rebuilding weight lost during the rut). These body weight increases then move up through the age-classes over time. Larger 2 1/2 year-old bucks mean larger 3 1/2 year-old bucks the following year, and so on.

Other benefits of a balanced sex ratio include a short and more intense rut, so that all the does are bred during their first estrus cycle. Not only does this reduce rut stress (bucks don't have to extend breeding activity over a long period of time), fawns produced in spring all hit the ground at about the same time, greatly reducing predators ability to impact fawn survival (this is called "prey saturation"--too many fawns on the ground for coyotes, dogs, and bobcat to be able to impact their numbers before they are old enough to run and escape these predators).
_________________________
"Know where you stand, and stand there" --Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan

"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." --Clive James

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#2951759 - 09/21/12 01:48 PM Re: A Great Quote on the Need to Harvest Does [Re: BSK]
Boll Weevil
8 Point


Registered: 06/26/11
Posts: 1227
Loc: Hardeman

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 Originally Posted By: BSK
And by the way, the "half-buried" fawn carcass is a sign of a bobcat kill, not a coyote kill.

Right on...now that you mention it I recall reading this somewhere awhile back.

I've relocated all but 1 camera to plots and will make the first pull in a month so hopefully there's a few more fawns on there.

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#2951998 - 09/21/12 06:40 PM Re: A Great Quote on the Need to Harvest Does [Re: Bucks & Beards]
jar
4 Point


Registered: 08/06/12
Posts: 311
Loc: tn, rutherford county

content Online
BSK, a few weeks ago you were saying that if a neighbor tends to shoot small bucks it was no ones business because it was a legal deer. Now you are saying that neighbors not shooting does is takeing advantage of another land owners hard work. IMO shooting small bucks is way worse than not shooting does. Im not talking about a farm that is being damaged by the deer numbers just an average TN piece of prop.
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#2952351 - 09/22/12 06:23 AM Re: A Great Quote on the Need to Harvest Does [Re: jar]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
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Registered: 03/11/99
Posts: 65411
Loc: Nashville, TN

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jar,

As the managers of a resource we care a great deal about, we hunters have a responsibility to manage the deer herds wisely instead of simply exploiting them. Over-exploiting (over-killing) young bucks is not responsible management. However, TN hunters--on a statewide level--have been doing a very good job of late NOT over-exploiting young bucks. The number of yearling bucks killed each year continues to decline. Now that doesn't mean there aren't areas in the state where young bucks are still being over-exploited. There certainly are counties scattered all over the state where the yearling buck kill is still too high. But there are an equal number of counties scattered all over the state--east to west--where hunters are doing a fantastic job limiting the kill of young bucks (counties where 20+% of all harvested bucks are 3 1/2+). The trick is figuring out why hunters in some counties are doing so well and hunters in other counties--often directly adjacent--are not, and figuring out a way to help those poorly performing counties.

What I'm getting at is it is OK to kill some young bucks. Nature does so. Young bucks have the highest rate of natural mortality. But it is not OK to slaughter young bucks.

A second part of responsible management is controlling herd growth. Healthy deer herds grow explosively. They can double in size every two years. Doubling the size of a healthy deer herd will quickly turn it into an unhealthy deer herd that is damaging the habitat. A hunter suggesting to other hunters they NOT shoot does because it will make their buck hunting better is irresponsible management advice. That is the epitome of exploitation.
_________________________
"Know where you stand, and stand there" --Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan

"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." --Clive James

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#2954732 - 09/24/12 04:47 AM Re: A Great Quote on the Need to Harvest Does [Re: Boll Weevil]
TOW
10 Point


Registered: 06/29/05
Posts: 4246
Loc: Back 40

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Cant speak for Tennessee but I try and shoot enough does to balance the herd somewhat. It should not be not be an automatic war on does.
_________________________
HUNT-INDIANA

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#2954979 - 09/24/12 08:38 AM Re: A Great Quote on the Need to Harvest Does [Re: TOW]
8 POINTS OR BETTER
10 Point


Registered: 08/15/07
Posts: 4086
Loc: Hardin, Co.

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 Originally Posted By: TOW
Cant speak for Tennessee but I try and shoot enough does to balance the herd somewhat. It should not be not be an automatic war on does.


We do the same, we try to kill the same amount of does as we do bucks. But we kill most of the does late season so that we don't put a lot of pressure on the deer untill the rut is over.
_________________________
" Some localities are willing to work for their sport, and have plenty. Others are willing merely to take what comes easy, and have little or none." - Aldo Leopold

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#2955015 - 09/24/12 08:57 AM Re: A Great Quote on the Need to Harvest Does [Re: TOW]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
Non-Typical


Registered: 03/11/99
Posts: 65411
Loc: Nashville, TN

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 Originally Posted By: TOW
Cant speak for Tennessee but I try and shoot enough does to balance the herd somewhat. It should not be not be an automatic war on does.


Doe harvests should be based on the needs of the area in question. I agree, no automatic need for a war on does. Some areas need high doe harvests and some don't. The answer will always be site specific.
_________________________
"Know where you stand, and stand there" --Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan

"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." --Clive James

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