Monday, October 24, 2011

I choose to manage!

2010 success!
My Dad and I have been fortunate enough to lease the same piece of property for the past 20 years.  In fact, we have seen the property as a clear cut twice.  Deer like you see in the picture above were once a very rare site on our club.  Sure someone would kill a nice one every other year or so, but for the most part, we had members that shot any buck that walked, no matter what the size.  As time has moved on and members as well, some changes have been made that have made all the difference in our hunting success.  We started to manage our deer herd.

Our club once had 8 members.  We are now where we want to be at 4, and all of us recognize the rewards that come with a good management program.  Several years ago we starting talking to each other about the size deer that we wanted to shoot.  We decided on an 8 point or better with an inside spread of at least 15 inches (outside his ears).  By letting the smaller bucks go, we started to see bigger bucks in only the second year of our management program.  If you have followed my blog for any time, then you have seen some of the deer that we have caught on camera or harvested including this very nice drop tine 11 point killed by my Dad 4 years ago.

Terrible picture, but you get the idea!
This is the first big buck that came out of our management program and the buck that got everyone on our club thinking bigger and better things.  In the last 4 years the members of our club have taken more 10 point or better bucks than in the first 16 years that we held the lease.  Management works!  Especially if you can talk your neighbors into managing the same way, which we have.

I tell you all this to make myself feel better about not shooting this buck this past Saturday!

I had this bad boy just 100 yards from my stand for half an hour Saturday night.  I studied him long and hard through my binoculars and even checked out his front shoulder with the cross-hairs of my scope.  I admit that I even flicked off the safety.  But I just couldn't bring myself to shoot this deer as I though about all of our management efforts.  What you can't see in this picture is that he has small little kickers on his end beams making him a "want to be" 10 point.  The more I looked at him, the more I realized that he was not a mature deer.  Sure he is a stud 8 pointer, but I think I would have been mad at myself if I shot him based on the potential of what he could be next year or the year after.

Now I know what some of you might say!  "Somebody else is just going to shoot him for you!"  That may be the case, but at least I am giving him another chance to make it until next year.  I'm hoping that he will just stay around our place.  He has all he needs!  Food, shelter and a bunch of does to service him.  Beside, I know there is a bigger boy out there.  One of our members has a definite shooter on his camera not far from this location shown above.  Hopefully I can show you a picture of him in the same manner as the picture below!

Management works!!


Steve said...

Seems like your management style will pass along many rewards to you and you son.

Tom Ham said...

good job! way to work together!

Erin said...

Awesome. Do all 4 of you decide where/when to hunt or is it a big enough piece of land that you dont need to worry about running into one another? Great work!!!

Trey said...

Thanks Guys!

Erin- We hunt on a 400 acre tract. We each have our own stand sites that do not bother each other. It works out pretty well.

Main Line Sportsman said...

Nice rack!

Emily said...

Good like this season - hopefully you will get a chance like "the one pictured below"! It must have been hard to not pull that trigger, but I think you made the right choice.

LB @ Bullets And Biscuits said...

Boy, you do have some willpower!

The Gang said...

Thanks for taking the time to write that post. It is great to hear about game management successes.

River Mud said...

Awesome Trey. You wouldn't cut your September corn in June, so why would you kill a 3-pointer if you are trying to grow a 10-pointer?

Quality deer management has its faults, but it is SOOOOOOO far superior to the "brown and down" philosophy of the last generation.

We grew up in the swamp and came to accept that we never had bucks because we had malnourished "swamp deer." What a bunch of baloney! What we had were poachers and button buck killers! (the place is now overrun with big bucks, and is archery-only).

The Downeast Duck Hunter said...

The only time I have available for game management is to pull the trigger on the first set of antlers I see, providing I can make that happen in the three days I'll get out this season.

Does this "raise them big" policy apply to largemouth bass as well?

I've been on the ten point two hundred pound end all the way to the 93 pound spikehorn side of the spectrum. I don't shoot for racks, but for the freezer in the quickest "I've got other shit to do" manner possible. Plus, deer hunting cuts into my duck season.

Trey said...

I understand that everyone does not have the benefit of being able to watch these bucks grow because they are not on a lease or own their own land. If you are a meat hunter, then I have no right to judge you or your hunting tactics. I just happen to hunt on a property where I see 8-10 does on each hunting trip and I am allowed to be selective on the bucks that I want to take.