Old 6 Point

By GrowingDeer,

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Dr. Woods,

Every Monday morning when I get to my computer I check to see what new information you have on your website.  I learn a lot from you and your website.

I have emailed you before about managing my 800 acre farm.  Now my question is about trying to get rid of bad genetics.  We harvested a couple of 6 points this year during gun season that are for sure 3 year olds, if not older.  These deer both had lots of mass and had bigger bodies compared to other deer in the area.  We have also had a history of some huge 6 points on the farm.  In all the reading I’ve done harvesting and getting rid of these genetics is a good thing, but I would like to get your input on the topic.  How old should a person let a deer get when they have only 4 or 6 points?  When this is all the points they have, is this because of bad genetics or lack of food sources?  On The Proving Grounds would you harvest a 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 year old 4 or 6 point?

Thank you, I learn something new from you every week.



The “old 6 point” is a deer that nearly every property has had sometime in the past or will in the future.  They are the deer that are always joked about sitting around the campfire during hunting season.  On my property I have set my harvest standards to focus on bucks that are 4.5 years old or older.  At 4.5 years old bucks are exhibiting at least 75% of their antler potential.  At that point, no matter their antler score, I consider them a trophy if I can get a harvest opportunity.  Mature bucks, regardless of antler score, are a tremendous challenge.

I do not try to remove genetic traits from a free ranging herd because study after study has proven its ineffectiveness.  Deer herds have such diverse genetics that removing a handful of deer from a herd does little to change their genetic makeup.

In some situations a buck (whether it was 1 or 7 points) is very important to the herd.  This is the case with herds that are heavily weighted toward does.  In this situation every buck is needed to breed does during their first or second estrus cycle and not unduly prolong the rut.  With every estrus cycle that a doe does not get breed, the later her potential buck fawn is birthed and behind the rest of his age class, resulting in delayed development and possibly death during his first winter.

With that said, my personal harvest goals are different than my young children’s and my 80 year old father’s.  They have the green light to harvest whatever they desire.

Growing Deer together,