Texas allows the owners of high-fenced (game fenced) properties to operate under a Deer Management Permit (DMP) after meeting specific requirements. This permit allows DMP property owners to place 1 white-tailed buck and up to 20 white-tailed does in a breeding enclosure ranging between 5 to 100 acres for genetic “improvement” with the ultimate goal of increasing antler quality in bucks. After breeding, the deer must then be released onto the property and are considered “wild,” meaning they can not be recaptured.
A recent study at the King Ranch attempted to assess the effectiveness of the DMP by comparing antler scores of between pastures including DMP offspring and pastures without DMP offspring. To collect antler measurements by age class, white-tailed bucks were captured using helicopters and nets guns.
In order for the DMP to work, the general idea would be that bucks from DMP pastures would have considerably larger Boone and Crockett (B&C) scores than bucks from non-DMP pastures by age class. The data showed that gross B&C scores for yearling (1.5) bucks in DMP pastures was 37 3/8 inches versus 31 2/8 in non-DMP pastures.
In addition, 2.5 year old bucks from DMP pastures gross scored an average of 88 6/8 inches and 2.5 year old bucks from non-DMP pastures averaged a gross of 74 3/8 B&C inches. The results for 3.5 year old bucks was similar. Bucks that were 3.5 years old scored 121 3/8 in DMP pastures versus 102 2/8 for non-DMP pastures.
By looking at the data collecting during this study, the results indicate that the genetic based DMP program on this south Texas ranch is positively affecting the gross B&C scores for offspring released from these pens. Now, is a DMP feasible for you?