Abstract

Title:  Can culling bucks lead to genetic change on large acreages?
Author(s): Don A. Draeger, T. Dan Friedkin, Charles A. DeYoung, Mitch Lockwood, Jimmy Rutledge, Don B. Frels Jr.
Year: 2010
Abstract: Abstract: In the fall of 2006 Comanche Ranch initiated the most aggressive selective harvest program ever subjugated to a free ranging white-tailed deer herd. The designed 10-year buck culling study will help clarify manager’s expectations from different culling criteria. From October 2006 to January 2010 using a helicopter and net gun we captured 2,113 white-tailed bucks on the 113,000 acre ranch in Maverick County Texas. Bucks are captured at random on 3 areas within a 28,500 acre study area. All captured bucks are aged, and measured for Boone and Crockett (B&C) score. Bucks meeting culling criteria are sacrificed, and the meat donated to worthy users. Bucks not meeting the culling criteria are released. On one area the following bucks are culled: yearlings with less than 6 points, 2-year olds with less than 8 points, 3- and 4-year olds less than 9 points, and 5-year olds and older with a gross B&C score of less than 145. On another area, all yearlings and 2-year olds are released, and the older deer are culled by the same criteria as above. Finally, the third area serves as a control and all bucks captured are released. Seven hundred fifty nine bucks have met the culling criteria (41%) on the 2 treatment areas. We are using the gross B&C score for the yearling age class as one indicator for genetic change. The results after 4 years of culling show no changes in the average B&C score for the yearling age class among treatments.

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