The notion of herd balance is one that not all deer hunters consider. The term "herd balance" most commonly refers to the ratio of bucks to does in a given area, but it is also related to a deer's habitat. The overarching goal of herd balance is to have a quality deer herd. A quality deer herd means that the population of deer is in balance with the available forage and cover. A balanced herd has deer that are healthy, well nourished, and the herd has a well-balanced ratio of bucks to does. A balanced herd will produce healthy fawns that survive winter and will also have an even distribution of deer age classes.
A significant number of hunters prefer to harvest antlered deer in comparison to antlerless deer, which leads to unbalanced sex ratios in the population. Dr. Dave Guynn, professor in the Department of Forestry, Clemson University and a member of the QDMA's Executive Board posted a great article on herd balance on QDMA's web site. In his article he asked the question "Why should we concern ourselves with maintaining a natural social balance in a managed deer herd? Because, to survive as long as they have, deer long ago developed social rules or mechanisms that would keep deer herds and their individual members fit and competitive. However, when harvest regulations allow hunters to deplete certain social classes (with deer, this is usually most or all bucks 1.5 years old or older) in an unscientific, haphazard manner, the herd's social mechanisms can become stressed". As hunters harvesting deer every year we should keep the concept of these social classes in mind. If we only harvest the largest bucks we see then we?re causing an imbalance in the herd that can have longer-term effects on the quality of deer in a given area.
In this blog series we're looking at concepts, practices, and approaches that can aid in managing game in a hunter's area. "Game management" in our approach stems from the perspective of "the everyday hunter" rather than someone who owns a ranch and is managing game as a business. We've looked at food plots in depth already in this series and in this entry we?ll look into the concept of "Selective Harvest".
As you would imagine, "selective harvest" simply means what you would expect, being selective about the deer that you shoot. This concept goes against the grain for some hunters because it means not shooting every deer that you see. Given a normal scenario, in order to have mature deer with good genetics on your land, a hunter simply can't shoot every deer he/she sees and expect to see a lot of "Monster Bucks" on the same land. Letting young bucks walk is critical in order to get mature bucks to hold on your land. I have been surprised at the number of bucks we're seeing now simply from practicing selective harvest on our hunting land for a few years.
If you read my blog "Shed Crazy" you would have seen a shed that we found this past year of a buck that we later named the Brow Tine Buck. This deer had unusually long brow tines that measured approximately 9 inches. For that reason, this deer was on the top of the hit list for the 2011 season. Fast forward to October 29th.
When the alarm clock sounded at 5:30 a.m. on October 29th the sound of rain was tapping steady on the window by my bed. Without much thought I quickly turned it off and drifted back into oblivion. What only seemed like a minute later, alarm number two sounded off on my Timex Ironman watch. It was now 6:30 a.m. As I lay there for a few seconds a couple thoughts drifted through my mind. The first was the rain and the second was the rut. After a few more seconds went by I figured that I better get up and check the weather. After checking weatherchannel.com and taking a peek outside I decided that my thoughts of the rut outweighed the rain that seemed to be on its way out of town. It was time to go hunting.
One thing I've enjoyed about this season has been using the Mckenzie Scent Fan Duffle. It has allowed me to store all of my gear in one spot and has kept my Crossover Camo suit ready at a moments notice. Because I was running a little behind on this morning it was important that I have all of my gear ready to go in order to get ready quicker and get in the stand faster. Did I mention that it's nice not to have to worry about cover scents. The bag takes care of all that for me. There's nothing like a good mixture of fresh earth and pine.
As I made my way to my stand I thought that with the storm moving out the deer should be on the move. I had a good wind as I walked in and I had a good feeling about the hunt. Since I was late walking in I didn't have to sit long before the sky started to lighten up. At about 7:30 a.m. I caught a glimpse of a deer moving through the cotton field. I quickly turned to get my rifle ready. The first deer was a doe. I knew this could get good quick. The doe was moving at a steady pace through the field so I scanned back across the field and there he was. My first thought was what the heck is that. I immediately knew the deer had a big body, but his rack was very unusual. As the deer moved through the field I knew my window was closing fast. I had to make a decision quick. The deer then stopped and looked my direction. That's when it hit me. This was the Brow Tine Buck. I quickly clicked off the safety and put the crosshairs behind his shoulder. A loud crack and the buck jolted out of sight. I couldn't see him crash but I could tell he didn't go too far. What a feeling! The Brow Tine Buck was down!
As I sat in my stand after making the shot I thought to myself this must be the Year of the Brow Tine. First we found his shed antler in March. Then I picked up an awesome knife from CRKT. Coincidently the knife is called the Kommer "Brow Tine". And then it all comes together on October 29th with the "Brow Tine Buck" on the ground. Awesome!
The buck was definitely a good one to get out of the herd. He ended up being a 187 # 7 point and a trophy in my book. This year his brow tines measured close to 12 inches. Crazy is all I can say!
Due to the rain I left my video camera at the house, but once the buck was on the ground a made the quick trip back to the house and got the camera. Check out some of the footage.
Yellow Cape Communications is a communications firm based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Yellow Cape specializes in television production, multi-media for web, still photography, communications consulting, marketing communications services and all things web. You've seen Yellow Cape?s work before when you first come to the site and see the girls in camo introducing our site. You may also have seen the 2010 Central Eagles State Championship Documentary or the Chesterfield County Career and Technology Education video. I also had Jason produce a DotNetNuke SuperFan Video for me and it turned out really good!
Jason Fararooei and his team at Yellow Cape Communications create top notch multi-media communications - so if you work for an organization that may need multi-media creation, photography or communications consulting services, check Jason out www.YellowCapeCommunications.com
Yellow Cape Communications has partnered with WeHuntSC.com on 5 quick-tip video segments to promote the basics in hunting and outdoor safety. Over the course of this deer hunting season we will be releasing the videos in this blog series. The below video, Buddy Stand Benefits is the 2nd video of the series.
Just wanted to make sure you knew about Schofield's Duck Hunter Extravaganza that's going on this weekend. If you're into waterfowl hunting, and you like good deals, then you'll want to check this out.
There is more in the air than just a little chill. There is an excitement that only the opening of duck season can bring.
This year, we have an added element to amp up the fast approaching season. On November 5, 2011, Sandhills Ducks Unlimited would like to invite you to the 1st Annual Conservation Banquet held at Windy Hill Manor in Pageland. The night will begin at 6:00 pm with a buffet dinner served at 7:00 pm. A live auction will start between 8:00 and 8:30 pm. There will be a silent auction, many door prizes and raffle prizes. There will also be an all you can eat BBQ buffet and an open bar. The auction will consist of DU premium artwork, many guns, hand carved decoys, several hunts, sculptures, knives, jewelry, hunting accessories, and greenwing merchandise. Wrecking Crew Guide Service and Quack ?Em Back Duck Calls & Merchandise will also be set up as vendors at the banquet. Blake Hodge, duck and goose calling champion, will be giving a calling demonstration. It will be an entertaining evening with family, friends, fellowship and lots of fun!
All proceeds benefit the conservation of wetlands across America. Since 1989, DU has conserved nearly 160,000 acres across the Palmetto State, investing more than $40,000,000.00 in South Carolina projects through DU and its partners. During the past year we conserved 2,034 acres through conservation easements and habitat restoration projects on Santee National Wildlife Refuge, ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge, and Botany Wildlife Management Area.
Saturday, November 5, 2011 6:00 pm
Windy Hill Manor
158 High Point Church Road
Pageland, SC 29728
$35.00 single ticket / $65.00 couple ticket / $20.00 greenwing ticket
*Includes annual membership
Tickets may also be purchased online here.
For more information, please contact me at (843)622-4938.
We look forward to seeing you all there!