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Deet

Does/Bucks ratio

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What's considered a healthy or sustainable ratio of does to bucks? I always wonder how many does each buck is assumed to breed, or capable of breeding. Where I'm going with this: the premise is that harvesting only bucks helps bring back the deer population, because you don't need a bunch of bucks for good reproduction, but you do need a bunch of does. But how many bucks, relative to does, is enough?

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I thought it was 2:1, but that was ideal for the hunter not for regenerating a decimated herd.   Keep in mind that's reproducing does not fawns.  

The fact of the matter is, and I think this is part of the question is that does don't necessarily pick out old Mossy Horn to reproduce with.  Old Mossy horn may be better at fighting and finding does but a doe will "do the deal" with just about any buck when she's ready .  She doesn't look and say "wow, look at his antlers and how big and strong he is" or "look at his basket rack and how skinny he is, I'm out of here."

When Old Mossy Horn is locked down with a doe the other lowly bucks are still mating with the other does.  They aren't all waiting for him to come out of the bedroom for doe #2 with his smoking jacket on.

Good question as it pertains to getting deer numbers back up.  I'd guess it's the total deer that the land can feed.

 

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That is a good question. Hard to get a definite answer.  I'm sure biologists and groups like qdma have some answers to this.  

A couple things that come to my mind are a bucks genetic makeup is the same regardless of their age.

Another, is does that don't get bred do have another estrus cycle a month later.

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Seems like I read somewhere that it's rare for a buck to breed more than 4-5 does a season.  That said, they should be able to handle a 3-1 ratio relatively easily.  I also read recently that some biologists suspect most doe fawns that get bred are bred by buck fawns, which kind of makes sense to me.

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From what I've read, even in the most unbalanced deer herds it is hard to get a doe to buck ratio much higher than 2:1.  That is because they are born at a 50:50 ratio.  Every year there are a bunch of bucks born.  The only time you really see bad doe to buck ratios is when you have really abnormally high fawn mortality.  I've also read that even in the most unbalanced situations, almost every doe still gets bred.

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 The deer holocaust brought our buck/doe ratio to about as good as you can get in a wild herd, but now with  conservative doe harvest and 480,000 buck tags for 300,000 bucks in the deer population, the buck doe ratio will take a hit along with any sort of age class of bucks except for zone 3 where they actually have deer management.
 

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Agree smellesox exactly what's happened the past couple years in my area fawns are not surviving at all. Bears, Bobcats, Wolves, Coyotes, and stray dogs have all been seen off and on in or adjacent to the section I live in, it's a bad time for it to be predator central after a mild winter but it is. Had 7 bucks and 2 does and 1 fawn on camera here since July 1st, maybe the predators pushed them out but talking to many guys they don't have much for deer either. Spot #2 many counties away on a salt block since July 1st had about 8-10 antlerless deer on camera and 15 bucks of varying sizes. Spot #3 15 miles from there had 9 bucks and 2 does and 1 fawn on that camera. Camera's aren't the tell all but talking to local people etc. in all three of these counties close to where I hunt they're all reporting the same thing, not a whole lot of antlerless deer around, seem quite spread out and about. Lack of fawns and they should've had twins for sure this spring. The buck to doe ratio I think where I'm hunting there's no doubt there's at least as many bucks around as does, hopefully that'll work itself out but there isn't much a guy can do predator wise other then the coyotes and I think as thick as they are running hard every night they are the main culprit for sure.

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