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Bucks fighting, why the Increase?

jkratz5

Super Moderator
Our Illinois farm has become quite the gladiator arena and I am hoping to get some thoughts on why. It has gotten so bad in the last few years that many of our good bucks end up busted up by the rut!

I know fighting is part of the game, but I am talking really aggressive fighting from October all the way up til now, every time we hunt. Also these are not just horn tickle fights, these are often times those fights where you are hoping both deer come out alive. I have never seen this amount of fighting activity nor for the extended periods of the year.

historically our farm has not been like this, I can remember 10 years ago you would rarely see or hear bucks getting after it, now it is commonplace.

Our heard is healthy, buck to doe ratio is high 4:1 likely. We have food galore, 200acres of tillable on our farm and surrounded by 1000s. Never see unhealthy deer and our stress on our deer from hunting is also low.

Any thoughts why we are seeing this?
 

Hardwood11

It is going to be a good fall!
I would guess it’s based on the number of mature bucks on your farm? Has that increased?
 

bigbuckhunter88

PMA Member
Is your buck to doe truly 4:1? As in 4 bucks to 1 doe? If so I'd say that's a big part of it. That was my initial thought anyway before I got to that sentence. Fewer does would mean the bucks really gotta establish the pecking order for breeding
 

JNRBRONC

Moderator
I’ve questioned some who argue that a person needs to aggressively harvest does to get the “buck:doe” ratio “in-line”. What is the magic balance?

Winke had a good show on his turn around from too many does. Still, need to take into consideration the carrying capacity of the property.

I guess most hunters would welcome buck aggression and tolerate busted racks if it was easier to punch a tag.


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Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
i think he means 4 does to 1 buck?

here’s my WILD guess....
IL is coming off of bad EHD - let’s say about 6-7 years ago. If u r in a good pocket - buck #’s have come up great since then. Lots more mature bucks & maybe had some years with lower pressure after ehd hit. Maybe u got the does at just the right level & the bucks have matured and recovered in a great balance. A “balance” that has a higher # of mature bucks competing.
doesn’t answer for 10 years ago though... was there this many mature or bucks or deer #’s 10 years ago? **& for FIGHTING - u can throw 3 & for sure 4 year olds in there as they can be very aggressive & sometimes dominant. Wonder if anything different 10 years ago with #’s, pressure, ratios, amount of mature bucks.
that is bizarre. U must be feeding steroids to the deer & they are just on steroid rages!

“Good doe to buck ratios”..... I’m gonna throw out... around the range of 2-4 to 1. U start getting 6-12 to 1 & it causes a lot of other issues IMO.
 

IowaBowHunter1983

Super Moderator
Staff member
The buck to doe ratio is a fascinating conundrum. My farms, an exponentially higher amount of does get shot and yet every year it seems like the does outnumber the bucks 10-1. It's hard to comprehend.
 

bigbuckhunter88

PMA Member
i think he means 4 does to 1 buck?

here’s my WILD guess....
IL is coming off of bad EHD - let’s say about 6-7 years ago. If u r in a good pocket - buck #’s have come up great since then. Lots more mature bucks & maybe had some years with lower pressure after ehd hit. Maybe u got the does at just the right level & the bucks have matured and recovered in a great balance. A “balance” that has a higher # of mature bucks competing.
doesn’t answer for 10 years ago though... was there this many mature or bucks or deer #’s 10 years ago? **& for FIGHTING - u can throw 3 & for sure 4 year olds in there as they can be very aggressive & sometimes dominant. Wonder if anything different 10 years ago with #’s, pressure, ratios, amount of mature bucks.
that is bizarre. U must be feeding steroids to the deer & they are just on steroid rages!

“Good doe to buck ratios”..... I’m gonna throw out... around the range of 2-4 to 1. U start getting 6-12 to 1 & it causes a lot of other issues IMO.
Thats what I assumed but he said buck to doe is 4:1.
As far as the ratios we hardly ever shoot any because we have neighbors and others who go crazy on them. Drive by during the winter and it looks like we need to shoot 100 does but during summer and fall there's not that many. Now that there is more does I've seen more fighting and sparring during this late season tho.
 

jkratz5

Super Moderator
Doe to buck is 4:1 sorry about that.

farm has always had good numbers of bucks, we did get he’d slammed 6 years ago, maybe everything is just hitting right. We do keep the pressure low, never even really step on the farm until first week of November and it gets “pressure” for maybe 10 days a year (400 acres and 3 of us hunting). Not really
Much pressure and we hunt smart.

it is really bizarre, even the biggest racks on the farm were snapped this year (wish I knew what snapped a 170” heavy deer off just after the brow).

I just have never seen anything like what we see there. I can honestly say here in Indiana I am lucky to see 3 fights all year including the little guys and we have similar buck numbers, ratios and really a similar mature buck population.
 

bigbuckhunter88

PMA Member
Doe to buck is 4:1 sorry about that.

farm has always had good numbers of bucks, we did get he’d slammed 6 years ago, maybe everything is just hitting right. We do keep the pressure low, never even really step on the farm until first week of November and it gets “pressure” for maybe 10 days a year (400 acres and 3 of us hunting). Not really
Much pressure and we hunt smart.

it is really bizarre, even the biggest racks on the farm were snapped this year (wish I knew what snapped a 170” heavy deer off just after the brow).

I just have never seen anything like what we see there. I can honestly say here in Indiana I am lucky to see 3 fights all year including the little guys and we have similar buck numbers, ratios and really a similar mature buck population.
Are you allowed to put out mineral? Anything to due with a lack of Calcium or Phosphorus intake causing weaker antlers? I dont know if thats a thing but I know those are the main minerals for antler growth and health and would relate it to bone health and lacking minerals making them weaker
 

Wi transplant

PMA Member
Too many same age/rank bucks in your area. Might have to thin some of the older dominant bucks with lesser racks to ease social stress . I did same thing this yr had three 3yr olds that looked fantastic and a lesser bully 4 yr old that tried pushing everyone around. Even couple of older bucks ! So He not there anymore!

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Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
Too many same age/rank bucks in your area. Might have to thin some of the older dominant bucks with lesser racks to ease social stress . I did same thing this yr had three 3yr olds that looked fantastic and a lesser bully 4 yr old that tried pushing everyone around. Even couple of older bucks ! So He not there anymore!

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That’s a good point....
u think that maybe a lot of, say, 115-130” basic 8’s or not impressive bucks may be in decent #’s? Bucks that some folks overlook and don’t wanna shoot? Takes 2-3 of those bad boys to really mess some stuff up.
 

Obsessed

Well-Known Member
It's possible that you have an agressive family genetic trait on your farm? Are you or a neighbor putting down a certain mineral that could be promoting agression in the bucks? The broken antlers could be due to a mineral deficiency? If the doe to buck ratio is truly 4:1, then these three things are what I'd hang my hat on.
 

jkratz5

Super Moderator
Lots of 2-3 year olds, only a few deer over 4 on the farm.

This is die to the EHD a few years back. We have harvested 5 bucks 4yrs and older the last 3 years.
I am wondering if this is part of it.

we cannot put mineral out in IL.

The genetics angle is interesting, IL is known to have a bunch of a$$es around but mainly up north
 
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