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Old 11-05-2018, 10:09 AM   #1
texsdr
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Default Why does the weight of deer matter?

This is my 8th year on a lease that does a great job with deer management. However, this year they require you to stop at the ranch headquarters and weigh the deer before gutting. What information other than the non dressed weight will this provide them? Will this help with management?
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Old 11-05-2018, 12:23 PM   #2
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It is just another way to gauge the health of the herd
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Old 11-05-2018, 12:54 PM   #3
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Yes indeed, body weight is a key indicator in the overall health. After you have several years worth of data to compare you can tell the overall health of the herd. For instance if the population gets too high body weights could go down and you'll know to take more deer.
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Old 11-07-2018, 10:10 PM   #4
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Yes, great info, IF, the property is only native rangeland. If the ranch has tons of protien feeders, then it doesn't mean squat. Weights are indicators of forage quality and abundance, which is linked back to deer density (how many deer are on the ranch), habitat quality, browse use on best forage, livestock stocking rates, and other range/forest management practices taking place. If habitat is healthy then weights should be high, and vice-versa.
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Old 11-08-2018, 07:56 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Top Of Texas View Post
Yes, great info, IF, the property is only native rangeland. If the ranch has tons of protien feeders, then it doesn't mean squat. Weights are indicators of forage quality and abundance, which is linked back to deer density (how many deer are on the ranch), habitat quality, browse use on best forage, livestock stocking rates, and other range/forest management practices taking place. If habitat is healthy then weights should be high, and vice-versa.
Unless it doesnít rain... coues deer arenít little because of high density.
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Old 11-08-2018, 10:44 AM   #6
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It is just another way to gauge the health of the herd
x2!

A good management tool
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Old 11-08-2018, 11:29 AM   #7
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With some history it can also give you another factor to consider when aging a deer. There will be outliers of course, but what you'll start to see in normal range conditions are weight tendencies based on a specific ranch, age class, and time of year. Can use that info to increase your confidence that your tooth based aging is correct or give you reason to go back and take a 2nd look.

And I disagree with the assessment that feeding protein nullifies the information you get based on weight. Weight data can confirm that your protein program is working by creating healthier, heavier does that are better able to raise healthier fawns.
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Old 11-08-2018, 11:33 AM   #8
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The more data you can collect the better. Doesn't hurt to have to much, so why not.
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Old 11-08-2018, 11:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Unless it doesnít rain... coues deer arenít little because of high density.
Black tail deer of CA, OR, AK are much smaller than mule deer farther east, yet those areas receive huge amounts of rainfall. Densities are light relative to food abundance. They're little cuz they're little.

Ok, sorry, I was being a smart-aleck. I can tell from your posts you're an experienced, knowledgeable guy.

Seriously, to all green screen readers, it is a scientifically proven fact that as deer density increases beyond resource productivity there is a decrease in body size and antler growth. Thus, field dressed weights are very important when habitat quality is the objective and supplemental feed is not available.
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Old 11-08-2018, 11:50 PM   #10
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We weigh our deer to gauge our overall health of our deer herd. We also take into consideration age and time of year (pre rut, rut, post rut), when comparing year to year.
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Old 11-08-2018, 11:54 PM   #11
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Quote:
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And I disagree with the assessment that feeding protein nullifies the information you get based on weight. Weight data can confirm that your protein program is working by creating healthier, heavier does that are better able to raise healthier fawns.
In the situation you describe, what management decisions would be impacted based on body weights? If weights increased, decreased, or stayed the same, what would you do? Add more feeders? Data is collected for the purpose of guiding management decisions and actions.

It is scientifically proven that ad lib feed can increase body weight. We already know that. More data isn't needed.

Anyone can grow huge deer in the Walmart parking lot. It's already been proven. What purpose would weights serve there?
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Old 11-09-2018, 12:26 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by capn View Post
With some history it can also give you another factor to consider when aging a deer. There will be outliers of course, but what you'll start to see in normal range conditions are weight tendencies based on a specific ranch, age class, and time of year. Can use that info to increase your confidence that your tooth based aging is correct or give you reason to go back and take a 2nd look.
One nice thing about science is that it isolates variables and removes as many biases as possible. The suggestion of altering tooth wear age determination based on body weights is in direct violation of the scientific precept. One of the aspects of weight data is how it relates back to age, not using weight to adjust ages. That's backwards.
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Old 11-09-2018, 09:55 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Top Of Texas View Post
One nice thing about science is that it isolates variables and removes as many biases as possible. The suggestion of altering tooth wear age determination based on body weights is in direct violation of the scientific precept. One of the aspects of weight data is how it relates back to age, not using weight to adjust ages. That's backwards.
That's why I cited tendencies, not absolutes. Science is now showing us that tooth aging 3-5 year old deer is, in many cases, an educated guess at best. Confidence is really high for immature and post mature deer but low in the middle. I'm not saying to go against the teeth, I'm saying that weight can be used to help build confidence that tooth based aging is correct. The more variables you have pointing at the same number, the more confident you can be in that number.

And I think you've already answered your own questions on what weight studies show on land with supplemental feed. The feed is irrelevant. You can still guage herd health based on historical trends on a specific ranch. I've never hunted at a Wallmart before, but I suppose it would still confirm that your parking lot deer are getting enough to eat.
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Old 11-09-2018, 10:46 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Top Of Texas View Post
Black tail deer of CA, OR, AK are much smaller than mule deer farther east, yet those areas receive huge amounts of rainfall. Densities are light relative to food abundance. They're little cuz they're little.

Ok, sorry, I was being a smart-aleck. I can tell from your posts you're an experienced, knowledgeable guy.

Seriously, to all green screen readers, it is a scientifically proven fact that as deer density increases beyond resource productivity there is a decrease in body size and antler growth. Thus, field dressed weights are very important when habitat quality is the objective and supplemental feed is not available.
👍🏽 Itís about food, not density.

Way to pull out different species.... grizzly bears are bigger than black bears too.
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Old 11-09-2018, 10:13 PM   #15
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For some reason, y'all aren't hearing me. My apologies if I raised the hackels on anyone's ego to the point where their minds closed.

Allow me to pay you the compliment of being blunt.

Collecting weight data for the sole purpose of determining if protein feed makes deer bigger is like dropping an egg from a roof to determine if it will break.

If an environment is arid, mesic, or tropic, the herbivorous species that inhabit that environment can experience weight fluctuations relative to natural forage availability and quality. I would monitor weights of coues deer in the desert, as well as blacktail in Oregon, as well as whitetails in Texas. All the while relating those weights back to the availability and degree of browse use on top quality forages. Then making adjustments in female harvest until I see surplus forage and resulting high weights.

Ad lib protien feed removes the possibility of large fluctuations so that body weights remain high regardless of natural forage availability and quality.

The point is, body weights are about managing habitat. If a manager prioritizes a high number of bucks with large antlers over habitat quality, then protien feed provides that as a viable option. The deer pens and HF properties with high densities across Texas prove that you can accomplish this goal with no more habitat than is provided by the Walmart parking lot. If this is the case, then body weights provide no meaningful information to impact management decisions regarding habitat.
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Old 11-10-2018, 09:53 AM   #16
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I sincerely apologize for the attitude and personal attacks in previous post. Caught me in a bad moment totally unrelated to the topic and nothing to do with the Green Screen crowd. I strive to make biologically sound comments that are reasonable and persuasive with no need to belittle anyone. Would y'all please forgive me?
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