Can You Shoot Out a Deer Herd – Is it Possible?



Deer Hunting Question

Submitted: “We deer hunt a small property in Oklahoma. Wondering if shooting out a deer herd is likely. We’ve only been on this place a couple of years. I was wondering if it’s possible to shoot out or hurt the deer population or genetics of whitetail deer on a low fenced property? Just curious since we have added another hunter to our lease.”

Deer Hunting Pros


Response: First, it is not easy to change the genetics of a deer herd on any property, although shooting too many young deer or only the best deer will ultimately hurt the herd. The genetics, as related to antler quality, can be improved over time under an intensive deer management program. Even then it takes a lot of work and time and is greatly aided if the gene pool is closed, i.e. high fenced. It takes hunters that are well-versed in aging deer on the hoof to remove inferior bucks.

As for deer numbers, it is nearly impossible to shoot out a low fenced property that has any amount of deer habitat on it. Again, you may hurt future hunting and deer production by shooting too many young bucks or too many does in any single year or over the course of several years, but removing them all, at least for any amount of time, is difficult. A low fence means deer have the option of staying or leaving.

Can You Shoot Out a Deer Herd?

High hunting pressure will force deer to leave very small properties, while deer living on larger properties will simply go nocturnal. Even properties that have only 50 acres of woods and brush will be repopulated rather quickly if deer (think young deer) dispersing from other areas are looking for areas with suitable habitat.

In short, shooting out a whitetail deer herd on a low fenced property is essentially impossible, unless the property is either very small or has very little deer habitat. The genetics of the deer herd is difficult to change. This can become easier with fewer deer and very difficult with lots of deer. Properties that get involved with the management of deer can have a shot of changing the genetics of a deer herd if they lower their deer numbers and hunters know when and when not to pull the trigger.


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