Deer Herd Management for Georgia Hunters
Comparison of Records
If you have kept accurate age, antler and weight records, then these can be compared with the charts (yearling buck field dressed weights and yearling buck antler beam length) taken from many years of data on many Georgia Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) in all Physiographic Regions. Bar graphs show the average and range of condition indicators for yearling buck antler beam measurements and weights found on Georgia WMAs.
If your club harvests yearlings (1.5 year old bucks) without regard to antler configuration and if you have at least 5 yearling bucks in your harvest, compare the averages of these versus those shown for Georgia WMAs and see if yours fit in the best, average, or worst categories. If you have a "selective" harvest (i.e. passing up spikes or any other antler selection), then comparisons with WMA charts are not valid. If you accumulate 2 or more years of accurate records on your own area, then comparisons from one year to the next become valuable in understanding your deer herd. For example, a 3-year downward trend in average antler main beam lengths of 1.5 year old bucks often indicates a growing population which is short of food and is reducing the long term carrying capacity of the area. This strongly indicates a need for increased doe harvest the following year.
Obviously, the amount and quality of information you have collected from your deer herd will now become extremely important in determining how your deer herd compares with these ranges and what you can do to influence the future direction of your herd. Even with very little information, some basic rules of thumb can be applied to determine your present herd status and future management direction.
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