Andy R. from Georgia
writes to ask about improving the genetics of wild deer. "I see hunters
shooting cull bucks to improve antlers on some television hunting shows filmed
in Texas, but will that work in
my state? Actually, is it possible to improve antlers by shooting inferior
small bucks anywhere?"
These researchers than developed a computer model and found that using this
same approach of selecting good bucks and good does for breeding, in a wild
situation, there was no increase in antler size, even after 20 years. They
concluded that selective harvest to improve antler size in the wild doesn't
work. One probable reason is that you just can't duplicate what it took in
a penned herd to get antler improvement. You can't select does at all, and
you probably can't select the bucks as they did in the pen. So, bottom
line, if you want to improve antler size, focus on age and nutrition. We
know that works.
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Dr. Dave writes a weekly column for sportsmansguide.com. If you have a question for Dr. Dave, e-mail your question to Dr. Dave in care of Tom Kacheroski, manager of Guide Outdoors & Social Content at www.sportsmansguide.com to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Dave studied deer for 30 years as a wildlife management professor at West Virginia University. In addition he has been a bowhunter for over 40 years, with deer being his main prey. He's also an outdoor writer and has been with "Bowhunter" magazine for 31 years.