Even though I grew up with hunting, am an avid outdoors person, and even wrote a book about food plots, I have always faced an internal dilemma with regards to the topic of hunting.
As a veterinarian, I have had a long standing problem reconciling the issue of hunting Trophy bucks while maintaining quality genetics and allowing propagation of a healthy species.
I see some whitetail Trophy and mule deer Trophy bucks roaming around freely on our property here in Alberta before hunting season. As a matter of a fact, I saw one this year that was so big, it looked like a horse.
When I see these outstanding Trophy bucks there are two thoughts that come to mind. One is “What a Monster Trophy buck” and the other is “I hope that one makes it into next year, so he can pass on good quality genes”. Both my husband and I really appreciate the majestic beauty of an animal that has been allowed to reach its full potential.
Well, in my research, I have come across a Texas deer hunting outfitter than has spent a number of years developing a program I can definitely stand behind.
The Duval County Ranch has successfully merged the two concepts of save the best quality animals while still harvesting Trophy bucks.
I love the approach on this South Texas Ranch.
You can’t shoot unless your guide indicates it is an appropriate buck. No amount of your adrenaline changes that. Despite the potential as a Trophy buck, if the deer has more genetic potential you can’t take him. This is music to my ears.
Here is an example. This buck had been watched closely since 2003. He was scoring in the 230″s last year and turned out to be 210″s this year when he was shot. He was aged at 8.5+ years old.
This is what their deer hunting program at the Duval County Ranch is all about.
This buck was protected and allowed to breed even though David Kitner (the ranch manager) knew that he would probably be smaller this year. Duval County Ranch and deer hunting outfitters want those great genes to go as far as possible.
This beautiful buck was harvested this year because he was being pushed around so much by younger bucks he was unlikely to breed. He was harvested before he was hurt or broken up by another buck. This hunter has had a rewarding experience; the buck was allowed to pass his exceptional genetics onto the rest of the herd until the time had come when even under natural selection he would be pushed out of breeding and likely injured by the younger bucks.