Selective Whitetail Breeding Works in Texas

 Selective breeding works for genetic improvement of bucks

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? 


3 Replies to “Selective Whitetail Breeding Works in Texas”

  1. Jennifer, there were companies that manufacture deer contraception. I do not know if they currently make and sell it. The thought was that contraception would be effective at limiting deer population growth in suburban areas where deer overabundance is common. Unfortunately, many times the drugs were either too expensive or could not be delivered to all of the deer to be effective. Keep in mind that deer will move in and out of an area, and that with any drug, costs can add up. In addition, you are going to need clearance from a wildlife agency to give wild animals drugs that are not already included in feeds.

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