Keeping Mature Bucks on 210 Acres

By GrowingDeer,

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Hi Dr. Grant,

A tough, maybe simple question.  On our farm (210 acres) we’ve been managing for 15 years and things have really improved over the years.  I never thought I would be passing up 15″ to 17″ spread deer.  The problem is every year we’ll see a couple of nice deer during the summer but nothing to really get your blood boiling.  During the rut in the fall bucks will start showing up on our farm that we hadn’t seen during the summer, but some we saw from the previous fall. They’ll stay until January and then disappear, no sheds or anything.  It’s like they left.  I’ve joked that our farm was a doe farm.  They last few years things have gotten slightly better.  A good number of 1.5, 2.5, and a few 3.5 year old deer.  The doe numbers have gone down, the problem being we can’t seem to get “Mature/Monster” bucks to call our farm home.  They visit during the rut period, but never call it home.  We manage our woods with food plots and water holes while trying not to pressure them.  The one thing we are trying this year is pushing the sanctuaries on the farm.  Is there anything that you would recommend to help mature bucks call our farm home and not just to find girlfriends?




Deer require food, cover, and water.  If you provide those habitat elements and limit disturbance, mature bucks should use your property year round.  So, ask yourself what habitat element might be better on the neighboring properties.  Consider any habitat features or actions that might discourage mature bucks from spending more time on your property.  As bucks mature their home range tends to become smaller.  By providing the better food, cover, and water sources on your property than what’s available on the neighboring properties, some of the mature bucks you are observing should be using your place year round.

One last thought…finding sheds and observing mature bucks is very difficult.  Are you using trail cameras to study the deer using your property year round?  If not, give that a try and see what you learn.

Growing Deer together,