Harvest really is a key management tool required to manage white-tailed deer populations. However, remember that successful management must also involve proper habitat management. The basic strategy for deer population mangaement, which involves harvest, consist of the following:
1. Deer numbers must be maintained at or below the carrying capacity of the property to maintain excellent body condition and maximum antler growth. It’s kind of like cows in a pasture. You can have more, but body condition and overall health will suffer.
2. The desired sex ratio must be achieved for proper recruitment levels and desired harvest quotas. Maintaining too many does will require harvesting many deer each year. Too few does and recruitment may not be adequate to replace deer harvested.
3). The harvest rate of bucks must be established to attain the desired age structure of bucks available for harvest (which includes spikes and other culls as part of the buck harvest quota). A lower harvest rate keeps more bucks in the older age classes.