Question: “We deer hunt in Uvalde County and have been trying to manage our deer. This year we have seen a 3 1/2 year old buck that would be a main frame 7 point deer if he had brow tines, but he is missing his G1s. The buck has decent beam lengths and the mass is pretty good. Will this whitetail buck ever produce brow tines in the future? The guys on our deer lease are trying to decide if we want cull this buck or leave him until next year. Should we shoot all bucks that have no brow tines to improve the deer herd or should we just wait until they are at least 4 1/2 years old?”
Response: The only way to improve the buck component of your deer herd will be to remove the bucks with unwanted antler characteristics. These deer that hunters refer to as management or cull bucks. Young bucks that have missing brow tines turn into old bucks with missing brow tines. But it gets worse. They breed each fall, spreading the gene for missing brow tines. I’ve seen ranches where most of the bucks had missing brow tines. Don’t go there!!!
The presence or absence of a brow tine, or the G-1 as they are referred to on a score sheet, are the most inheritable trait for antlers. Bucks that are missing one or both brow tines should be candidates for management by harvest. You don’t want the gene for missing G-1 passed on. The next time one of the hunters sees him while deer hunting they need to remove this buck as quick as possible.
Buck management or culling must begin as soon as possible. The big mistake in letting undesirable bucks get to 4 1/2 years of age or older before removal is that they have at least 3 years to spread their unwanted genes around the deer herd. Judge all of the bucks on your deer lease against one another by age and remove the animals that are obviously lower in quality. Deer management only works when the entire herd is managed, but decisions must be made on an animal by animal basis. Shoot your buck with missing brow tines the next chance you get.