Will a spike always be a spike or small antlered buck?

By Grant Woods,

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← Grant's AnswersDeer Management
I am a new viewer to your website videos, so if you already answered these questions please forgive me.
Where we hunt there is an old farm field that is overgrown with Goldenrod, so much that the Goldenrod stands at near 6 feet tall until enough snow falls to knock it over. I would like to change it to a food plot but don’t know what the best way to remove the Goldenrod from the field so I can start getting some clover growing in early spring. I don’t feel comfortable enough to burn it.
My second question is a deer growth question. I am hearing a lot of talk that a spike will never grow to be bigger than a basket six, or something similar, and should be shot on site. Is there any truth to that statement?


If you have training or can get help (many state agencies offer assistance with prescribed fire) prescribed fire is a great tool to remove weeds and duff. 

The weeds can be mowed and when new growth occurs be treated with a herbicide.  A seedbed can be prepared or a no-till drill used to plant. Before planting, make sure to have the soil tested and add the appropriate amount of lime and fertilizer to insure the crop has property nutrients.  

Malnourished plants don’t produce as much forage or taste as well as healthy plants. Don’t skip the soil testing and adding nutrients phase.

It’s a horrible, old wive’s tale that spikes will always produce small antlers.  Many wild, free-ranging spikes have been captured and fitted with a radio/GPS collar and followed throughout their lives.  Many of these bucks produced great antlers, including record book bucks!  

Most spikes are yearling bucks that were born later than normal or had poor nutrition.  Once they mature and/or have access to better nutrition they produce great antlers!

Enjoy creation,


December 10, 2015