There are many different goals involved in owning or buying a ranch. One would have to guess that if you’re actually on this website, then one of your goals may be to have an investment in the mineral rights. Some may place more emphasis on income producing ventures like running cattle or leasing, while others want to own a ranch purely for enjoyment.
Most of the land owners and buyers I work with are interested in accomplishing several different types of goals, but the single most sought after goal is growing huge whitetail bucks. I mean, what deer hunter does not want to kill a trophy for the wall? And when there’s a goal, there’s a plan of action. Now, there are several factors such as certain soils, vegetation, water, and cover that need to be present for deer to store away protein and keep stress to a minimum, which are essential to building body weight, antler growth, and the overall health of a deer.
And then you have the factor that takes most of a rancher’s time, effort, money, and even prayers. Genetics. If you do everything else right, at the end of the day you are still at the mercy of the native deer herd’s gene pool. Many hunters, all their life, have been taught how to judge a buck and cull that buck if it did not meet the standards that they chose to set for the deer herd. This is managing the gene pool with a rifle…or a bow for those of you who think you’re in a different league than the rest of us! Seriously though, so many ranches have been managed backwards for years upon years, with most of the mature good bucks being killed and the inferior bucks being left alone to breed the does. So, a rancher whose goal is to grow a top-notch deer herd literally has years and years ahead of him to correct past mismanagement. What can be done to shave years off of reaching your goal?
Genetics, nutrition, and age are the three most important ingredients in raising a trophy whitetail buck. Of the three, genetics is by far the hardest and most time consuming to correct.
While managing your deer herd with the rifle must always be done, using “breeder deer” and introducing new, superior genetics to a ranch’s native deer herd has grown vastly popular over the last several years. In the wild, bucks are easy to cull, while does are virtually impossible. By culling both very aggressively and introducing known 200” class does from breeder pens, ranchers can now exponentially increase the quality of their deer herd and bring relief to their buck fever in a much shorter amount of time.
Some are opposed to this, but like it or not, it plays a huge role in the overall strategy of many of today’s ranchers; and that affects rural real estate. Many potential buyers are willing to pay a higher price for the deer they want to hunt now, rather than making a purchase that they know will require years of their labor. Hence the old adage “time is money, money is time”.
This last paragraph is just a side note for those that are considering introducing new genetics to their ranch. When deciding where and what to purchase, big is good but it must be something that number one has “the look” you want and most importantly will survive when released. The Texas deer breeding industry, through AI w/ northern semen, is drifting more and more toward the northern genetics. Most Texas deer breeders that I have talked to believe that the more “northern” you have in your herd the more health issues you have. I personally am turned off when I see a red, bug-eyed, long haired whitetail that does not look like a native Texas whitetail, even if he scores 300. Remember also that many breeders have full time personnel that continually monitor their deer and are capable of administering antibiotics, vaccines, and constant hands on TLC that released deer will never receive. Hence buy does that:
1. have 200” Texas sires and dams w/ 200” Texas sires
2. are bred to 200” Texas bucks
3. the bucks that they are out of and bred to have the “look” you are after