Shoot or Don’t Shoot Spikes

By GrowingDeer,

  Filed under: , ,

← Grant's AnswersAsk Grant


Years ago, a biologist in Texas wrote a book, “The King Of Deer”, and in it he wrote that his studies show that spikes are simply yearlings that did not get the right diet.  Now a number of Texas authorities say that is bunk and they tell everyone to shoot them.  I imagine that some of the spikes will never develop to be a 20″ 10 point, but they may grow to be good legal bucks. Have you done any studies on this?  Where does your research take place?



Several researchers including Drs. Harry Jacobson, Mickey Hellickson, myself, etc., have researched both captive and free-ranging yearly bucks and without question spike bucks can and most often do produce average or better antlers as they mature!  In fact, some of Dr. Hellickson’s research in Texas shows that the difference in antler size, once allowed to mature, between bucks whose first set of antlers were spikes and those with 10 points is not substantially different when they are 4.5 years old.  The conclusion to his research was that shooting spikes only resulted in fewer bucks for hunters to harvest three years later.  Based on that and several other research projects I never recommend hunters harvest yearling bucks with spike antlers as a means to improve the herd’s average antler size.

Growing Deer together,