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Is there any proof that an early or wetter than usual spring, will produce bigger bucks? In theory, more greens to eat equals he

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  • Is there any proof that an early or wetter than usual spring, will produce bigger bucks? In theory, more greens to eat equals he

    Is there any proof that an early or wetter than usual spring, will produce bigger bucks? In theory, more greens to eat equals healthier bucks....right?

  • #2
    Good food will produce fatter and heaver deer, but its the minerals that produce Larger Racks, I have seen 180# Bucks with spindly 8/Pt Racks.

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    • #3
      yes and no. In western states where water is super important deer and elk will grow bigger in wetter years 99% of the times because high quality foods mean more minerals and nutrients can go to the horns opposed to keeping the animals alive. but in areas with pretty easy food but shortages in minerals like certain areas in the east then no matter how much water is the deer won't get any bigger.

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      • #4
        Antler growth is predominantly genetics. It can be affected by minerals in the soil but has little to do with water availability. We have more water than land around here but our whitetails ARE NOT generally speaking giants by anyone's standards. The whitetails in Saskatchewan are monsters but they sure don't have the water we have out there on the prairies!

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        • #5
          Green ain't necessarily groceries. Whitetailed deer are browsers not grazers and respond differently to forage availability than a grazing animal. It is true that adequate rainfall will typically provide better browse but excessive rainfall can actually reduce browse quality as said rain speeds nutrient loss in the soil through leaching. As in all things there are trade offs. Research has shown the whole issue of growing antlers depends on forage quality and availability, genetics and for the largest part age. Body size of deer is related to where they originate. Animals in colder areas tend to be bigger, hot areas smaller. You can move the genetic package around but unless it is kept separate as in captive breeding it is diluted by the standard genetics of the area and soon spread out and effectively lost.

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          • #6
            I should also mention that we get -50C winters here fairly regularly so I really don't think that accounts for size difference (both antlers and body) between our local forest whitetails and those out in Saskatchewan. The antler variations I attribute mostly to genetics and soil minerals. The body size differences I would definitely attribute to better feed (particularly availability of cultivated crops to supplement browse) and probably also genetics.

            Back home there were three main drainages that fed the main river system and each had significant elk herds. One drainage in particular produced trophy racks very regularly (including that first one in my profile - the other big boy was bagged on the border of that area). A second drainage, bordering it, produces exceptional trophies as well but not very many (mostly because the country is so rough that it's almost impossible to hunt most of it). The third drainage is essentially isolated from the other two and the racks produced up there (it is the North Fork) are typically undersized. Seldom does a trophy rack come out of that district. Geography and climate are not terribly dissimilar so I have always suspected that the major contributing factor for the notable antler variations in the three drainages has been genetics.

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            • #7
              A walk around hunting camp has considerable greening and thickening of undergrowth. That should give plenty of a variety of food as well as good cover for the fawns and other ground animals.

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