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Old 12-25-2020, 07:47 AM   #51
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This couldnít be farther from the truth about the deer down south.
Maybe easier to kill is a better?

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Old 12-25-2020, 08:01 AM   #52
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Guajilla and black brush


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This.
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Old 12-25-2020, 08:34 AM   #53
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Everything that grows in South Texas is high in protein.
Yup.
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Old 12-25-2020, 08:46 AM   #54
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Shot 2 does in northwest Texas on TPW hunt. Both 2.5yrs old, but had a 25# spread on body weight and considerable size different. Different subspecies is my bit as they looked different but both WT.


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Old 12-25-2020, 08:57 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by panhandlehunter View Post
No way. Go look at Los Cazadores low fence. All over 200” Webb, LaSalle, Dimmit. I bet there wasn’t one low fence 200” deer taken anywhere in the hill country.
How much you want to bet? I know of a 200". Along with 187" and a 193". All three were in NW Hill Country and low fence. Its notnthe norm but it happens.
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Old 12-25-2020, 10:56 AM   #56
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Originally Posted by Longue Carabine View Post
Bone structure is a product of nutrition over multiple generations. There was a great "common garden" experiment done in South Dakota that addressed this.

https://openprairie.sdstate.edu/etd/392/
Without reading all of that, I can see how nutrition plays in a role in survival of the fittest where the healthiest, largest deer survive to produce more large, healthy deer. Over several generations, you would have a population of bigger deer. Small, unhealthy deer are more likely to succumb to malnutrition or fall victim to predators.
However, genetic factors largely account for the body size. You could take a bunch of Llano county fawns and drop them in a high fence in Webb county. At full maturity they would still not rival native South Texas bucks. Even when maximum body weight and antler size are achieved, genetics are a limiting factor, not just antlers but skeletally as well.
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Old 12-25-2020, 11:16 AM   #57
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Without reading all of that, I can see how nutrition plays in a role in survival of the fittest where the healthiest, largest deer survive to produce more large, healthy deer. Over several generations, you would have a population of bigger deer. Small, unhealthy deer are more likely to succumb to malnutrition or fall victim to predators.
However, genetic factors largely account for the body size. You could take a bunch of Llano county fawns and drop them in a high fence in Webb county. At full maturity they would still not rival native South Texas bucks. Even when maximum body weight and antler size are achieved, genetics are a limiting factor, not just antlers but skeletally as well.

Agreed, no different from Humans.


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Old 12-25-2020, 11:18 AM   #58
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Maybe easier to kill is a better?

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I still strongly disagree. Maybe itís relative to individual experience. For me, the deer in South Texas are the smartest deer I have ever hunted. Especially when compared to the hill country. LF of course.
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Old 12-25-2020, 11:29 AM   #59
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Originally Posted by Sika View Post
Without reading all of that, I can see how nutrition plays in a role in survival of the fittest where the healthiest, largest deer survive to produce more large, healthy deer. Over several generations, you would have a population of bigger deer. Small, unhealthy deer are more likely to succumb to malnutrition or fall victim to predators.
However, genetic factors largely account for the body size. You could take a bunch of Llano county fawns and drop them in a high fence in Webb county. At full maturity they would still not rival native South Texas bucks. Even when maximum body weight and antler size are achieved, genetics are a limiting factor, not just antlers but skeletally as well.
The key to understanding this is something called epigenetics. Epigenetics can manifest in a single lifetime or over several generations, and to varying degrees in between. I will summarize what happened in South Dakota because it answers EXACTLY the question posed by this thread, and your hypothetical example. Whitetail deer in the black hills were small in comparison to the whitetail deer in the southeast of the state. So much so that many suspected they were different subspecies. So they designed an experiment to find out. They created two enclosures in the same place, one for a population of black hills deer and one for a population of southeast whitetails from SD. They lived in identical conditions, were fed identical feed, had no predation, etc. Within one generation, the size difference continued, but during the second generation the black hills deer began to close the gap, and by the third generation they were about the same size. There are two hypotheses about why this happened. Both could be true or just one of them may be true. The first is maternal nutrition. This theory says that the future potential off the offspring in adulthood is determined by how healthy the mother has been her entire life and the positive effects that imparts on the fetus. Each generation of lifelong excellent health contributes to added benefit (up to a plateau). The other theory is epigenetics, which are changes that your genes can exert on you IN RESPONSE to external stimuli. This can happen in many ways and diffent ways depending on species, but in this case it's all about size and cost vs benefit. If a deer lives in the black hills where nutrition is less abundant than the SE of the state, then it is disadvantageous to be big because big bodies are more expensive in terms of food. So being unable to keep a larger body well fed would lead to a less successful, fatigued, disease prone individual. So their genes regulate body size based on food available. And because it is a life or death commitment, the genes won't commit to dramatic size increases skeletally unless that increased nutrition has been consistently present over several generations.

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Old 12-25-2020, 11:39 AM   #60
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Think it is not genetics Its high protein and managing herds. There is hunter on here that is growing 200 class deer in Louisiana with natural genetics using food plots feed and letting deer reach proper age class. I bet the average age deer killed on most ranches in hill country are lower than STX.
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Old 12-25-2020, 12:18 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by 88 Bound View Post
I still strongly disagree. Maybe itís relative to individual experience. For me, the deer in South Texas are the smartest deer I have ever hunted. Especially when compared to the hill country. LF of course.
Anything is smart compared to a hill country deer.
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Old 12-25-2020, 12:27 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by DedDuk View Post
Anything is smart compared to a hill country deer.

I just donít think they have many places to hide in comparison to East Texas deer and thick south Texas brush. Also there is so many women (does) in the hill country I think during the rut they are all running wild not knowing what to do with themselves haha


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Old 12-25-2020, 12:28 PM   #63
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Our south Texas deer are dumb till they hit 5 or so. After that, good luck.
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Old 12-25-2020, 12:28 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by Longue Carabine View Post
Deer in east Texas are generally thriving to a lesser degree because of tree cover. East Texas has much better soil and rainfall which leads to better potential, but that potential ends up producing tons of tree cover that reduces browse within reach of the deer. And generally areas that are cleared of tree cover are growing hay etc for cattle, which is useless to deer.
East Texas suck! No deer here.
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Old 12-25-2020, 02:22 PM   #65
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Our south Texas deer are dumb till they hit 5 or so. After that, good luck.
Agreed
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Old 12-25-2020, 08:48 PM   #66
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Think it is not genetics Its high protein and managing herds. There is hunter on here that is growing 200 class deer in Louisiana with natural genetics using food plots feed and letting deer reach proper age class. I bet the average age deer killed on most ranches in hill country are lower than STX.

Exactly. Feed them for generations and let them get old and they all can be big!


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Old 12-25-2020, 09:09 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by TalonErickson7 View Post
So you think you could have 5,000 acres in South Texas and 5,000 acres in the Hill Country and produce the same quality of deer on each place?


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If you let them mature yes sir.
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Old 12-25-2020, 09:16 PM   #68
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I have been hunting in the hill country for 30 years and have seen some monster bucks over the years. The problem with the hill country is most ranches never let the deer mature and lack of feed. If you have a big enough ranch and you let the deer get age on them they can get big. Like I said Age,Food and water you got big deer with proper management.
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Old 12-25-2020, 09:30 PM   #69
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I have been hunting in the hill country for 30 years and have seen some monster bucks over the years. The problem with the hill country is most ranches never let the deer mature and lack of feed. If you have a big enough ranch and you let the deer get age on them they can get big. Like I said Age,Food and water you got big deer with proper management.

But like I questioned before...

5,000 acres place in the hill country and 5,000 acre place in south Texas.. in a 15 year span who is going to have bigger deer and why?


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Old 12-25-2020, 09:41 PM   #70
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As a young kid I was told the growing season. Rattle snakes are lots bigger down there. No clue because deer north of the hill country are bigger.
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Old 12-25-2020, 09:45 PM   #71
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Originally Posted by TalonErickson7 View Post
But like I questioned before...

5,000 acres place in the hill country and 5,000 acre place in south Texas.. in a 15 year span who is going to have bigger deer and why?


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Old 12-25-2020, 09:53 PM   #72
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Originally Posted by TalonErickson7 View Post
But like I questioned before...

5,000 acres place in the hill country and 5,000 acre place in south Texas.. in a 15 year span who is going to have bigger deer and why?


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I have already said it age,food and water you have big deer no matter where you hunt hill country or south Texas. We have shot several deer over 200 pounds this year in the hill country because they are managed right. You will not see the amount of 200Ē deer in the hill country because most 90% never reach maturity.
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Old 12-25-2020, 10:16 PM   #73
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I have already said it age,food and water you have big deer no matter where you hunt hill country or south Texas. We have shot several deer over 200 pounds this year in the hill country because they are managed right. You will not see the amount of 200Ē deer in the hill country because most 90% never reach maturity.

You must be on a well managed ranch with great genetics.
Very seldom do I hear anything about a Hill Country deer being 200+ pounds and have seen or heard personally of a free range 170+ deer coming from the hill country..
Iím sure itís possible but like Iím saying which you can disagree.
If you are given 5,000 acres in the hill country.. and you are in control of food, water and management
And same for the 5,000 acres in South Texas..
Which place will hold more 170+ deer in 10 years...

My answer.. (South Texas, simply just because IMO I believe the deer have a more natural browse with high protein due to the soil down south, high protein browse + protein us hunters provide + age = Muy Grande)

As far as Hill Country, I believe you will have to rely on your bucks to really hit your protein feeders hard and keep feeding them it relentlessly.


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Old 12-25-2020, 10:22 PM   #74
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You do realize there is a whole lot of ground in South Texas that sucks right? There are far more ranches in South Texas NOT growing 170" deer than are.
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Old 12-25-2020, 10:27 PM   #75
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I think it's very in obvious hill country deer are genetically inferior.
Two hours east , a 5 year old buck looks completely different. Brazos county has 180# deer and Blanco county has 130# 5 year olds. Both places have tons of water and food.
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Old 12-25-2020, 10:31 PM   #76
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Originally Posted by Coastal Ducks View Post
You do realize there is a whole lot of ground in South Texas that sucks right? There are far more ranches in South Texas NOT growing 170" deer than are.

Iím aware and Iím not targeting one particular part of South Texas just as Iím not targeting one particular part of the Hill Country..
I think we all know what Iím getting at.


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Old 12-25-2020, 10:53 PM   #77
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As everyone has said, South Texas has some the best Forbs and Shrubs in Texas which produce annually about 15-18% crude protein. Most are also very drought tolerant. The problem with the Hill Country which I haven’t seen posted is posted is Cedar. Cedar is horrible if not kept in check. Sucks the water out the soil and basically kills everything. Harper Texas is a prime example. That road from Fredericksburg to I10 is loaded with cedar and the deer along that road look like baby goats. Cedar has basically canopied the whole land. Well, just something to think about. Get rid of cedar, and the grass and weeds will start to show. In return, will saturate the soils and fill the water sheds. Lots of dry creeks will start running again.
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Old 12-25-2020, 11:05 PM   #78
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https://youtu.be/ovvpgyUWGSQ

Here's a pretty good video on the subject

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Old 12-26-2020, 08:17 AM   #79
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If you let them mature yes sir.
This is just incorrect.

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Old 12-26-2020, 08:36 AM   #80
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Does anyone have pics of a 200+lb hill country deer. Never would have thought they got that heavy in that area. Not saying they won’t but be nice to see one. Live or dead. Also letting every deer reach maturity doesn’t guarantee big deer. Some times it just guarantees a big fat 7 yr old cull that’s just another mouth to feed.
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Old 12-26-2020, 08:50 AM   #81
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The wide buck weighed 180lb and the spike weighed right at 200lb, low fence hill country but we do feed a lot of protein and let the bucks peak.

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Old 12-26-2020, 08:50 AM   #82
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I’m not sure why I’m like a moth to a flame with this thread. So much bad information. Deer density is the #1 reason Hill Country deer have lower body weights and less quality antlers compared to other parts of the state. Deer density and overstocking by goats and sheep over the last 100 years is why most ranches are devoid of primary and secondary choice shrubs. This is why ranches who keep their deer numbers in check, haven’t overgrazed/browsed their forage, and only shoot mature bucks grow monster deer every year. Deer density is so bad, that a high fence to keep deer OUT is one of the best practices to grow large bucks in this region. It is why these ranches, with no improved genetics or DMP, can grow 170”+ deer regularly. Too many hunters, too many young bucks being shot, and too many animals fighting over the now limited resources have created a major problem. The good thing is now a lot of people are realizing this, and the Hill Country is growing some great bucks again.
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Old 12-26-2020, 08:51 AM   #83
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Originally Posted by Coastal Ducks View Post
You do realize there is a whole lot of ground in South Texas that sucks right? There are far more ranches in South Texas NOT growing 170" deer than are.
That depends on what you are calling South Texas. The brush country south of San Antonio does not suck.

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Old 12-26-2020, 08:58 AM   #84
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Originally Posted by panhandlehunter View Post
Our south Texas deer are dumb till they hit 5 or so. After that, good luck.
Amen... can we throw those Mexico deer in this group as well? Seems when they hit 6 they're a completely new animal.

BUT we have some Mexico deer so dumb I've shot management deer out of my truck with my bow. I've literally stepped out and shanked wild free range deer by hunting out of my truck.
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Old 12-26-2020, 09:40 AM   #85
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Originally Posted by TXhoghunter94 View Post
The wide buck weighed 180lb and the spike weighed right at 200lb, low fence hill country but we do feed a lot of protein and let the bucks peak.

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Canít see the pics but if your getting them you guys must be doing something right. The heaviest buck Iíve taken in the hill country was a 6 yr old ten that went 135 lbs.
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Old 12-26-2020, 10:39 AM   #86
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Amen... can we throw those Mexico deer in this group as well? Seems when they hit 6 they're a completely new animal.

BUT we have some Mexico deer so dumb I've shot management deer out of my truck with my bow. I've literally stepped out and shanked wild free range deer by hunting out of my truck.

Trans pecos deer get 5 and they become a aberration.


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Old 12-26-2020, 12:47 PM   #87
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Hopefully these load correctly

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Old 12-26-2020, 01:09 PM   #88
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Hopefully these load correctly

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Still donít believe you. Haha just kidding.
Which part of the Hill Country are those fat things from?


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Old 12-26-2020, 01:12 PM   #89
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Still donít believe you. Haha just kidding.
Which part of the Hill Country are those fat things from?


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We are in llano, we feed a ton of protein and stay on top of our deer numbers

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Old 12-26-2020, 01:27 PM   #90
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Originally Posted by TalonErickson7 View Post
So you think you could have 5,000 acres in South Texas and 5,000 acres in the Hill Country and produce the same quality of deer on each place?


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Originally Posted by panhandlehunter View Post
No way. Go look at Los Cazadores low fence. All over 200Ē Webb, LaSalle, Dimmit. I bet there wasnít one low fence 200Ē deer taken anywhere in the hill country.
Yes absolutely with the same genetics.

There are 200Ē deer killed every year in the hill country.
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Old 12-26-2020, 01:36 PM   #91
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In the HC there isn't as good of browse available for the capacity of the land. goats and sheep prefer to eat the same things as WT as do a lot of exotics. In some places the axis are beginning to outnumber them. if you look around when driving through the HC and the oaks look like parkland, its due to overgrazing.
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Old 12-26-2020, 02:45 PM   #92
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200 lb deer in Llano?

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Old 12-26-2020, 02:46 PM   #93
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Yes absolutely with the same genetics.



There are 200Ē deer killed every year in the hill country.
Maybe a couple high fence ones with genetics from other areas in the breeding programs.

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Old 12-26-2020, 03:03 PM   #94
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Maybe a couple high fence ones with genetics from other areas in the breeding programs.

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Mason county. Menard county.

And youíd be awfully surprised what comes out of Llano lol
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Old 12-26-2020, 03:25 PM   #95
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Mason county. Menard county.



And youíd be awfully surprised what comes out of Llano lol
A bunch 70 lb does. Lol.

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Old 12-26-2020, 04:02 PM   #96
TalonErickson7
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We are in llano, we feed a ton of protein and stay on top of our deer numbers

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Where at in Llano I was on a lease there for 5 years.


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Old 12-26-2020, 04:04 PM   #97
Burntorange Bowhunter
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Where at in Llano I was on a lease there for 5 years.


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The area that produces 200" deer with bodies of Minnesota deer. Lol.

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Old 12-26-2020, 04:08 PM   #98
TalonErickson7
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The area that produces 200" deer with bodies of Minnesota deer. Lol.

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Just producing land whales over there


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Old 12-26-2020, 04:17 PM   #99
panhandlehunter
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Yes absolutely with the same genetics.

There are 200Ē deer killed every year in the hill country.
There are multiple 200Ē deer killed all over south Texas. Iím not saying you canít pop one every now and then in the hill country, but it ainít nowhere close to south Texas. Show proof of one low fence 200Ē low fence buck.
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Old 12-26-2020, 04:20 PM   #100
Jimbo47
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It's not that the HC can't produce huge bucks comparable to south Texas deer, but it's the fact that you have to artificially supply the supplements on a continuous basis to KEEP producing quality deer in the HC as compared to south Texas.
Stop feeding the supplements on those HC deer and the body size and antlers will also decline back to what the land can naturally produce.
Take the same size ranch in south Texas that is natural without any supplements, and a HC ranch the same size, the deer on the south Texas ranch will be bigger period.
Growing large deer in the HC, you better be in it for the long haul and have deep pockets.

Personal experience here:
I hunted a ranch where the deer were typical HC deer, and after a few years a supplemental feeding program was started and the deer would rival anything that south Texas could produce.
New management took over and they reverted back to natural land management, no supplemental feeding and cedar removal and the deer reverted back to typical hill country size deer of a little better than average size and antlers, but still nothing like a south Texas deer.
All this was observed personally over 17 years of hunting the ranch.
I'm now hunting south Texas low fence with no supplemental feeding and yes, the deer are bigger in body, and larger racks than a natural hill country deer.
Location, location, location!

Last edited by Jimbo47; 12-26-2020 at 04:46 PM.
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