Should Deer Hunters Shoot ‘Cull Bucks?’
Russ Chastain 01.15.19
Here we have another video hosted by Jeff Sturgis of Whitetail Habitat Solutions, taking on the topic of “cull bucks.” Many hunters believe that whitetail bucks which have weird-looking antlers, or which only have spikes, should be killed in the interest of improving the deer herd. Jeff reveals that, for the most part, this is malarkey.
The video begins with Jeff sitting beside the rotting carcass of a buck with odd, small antlers, which may have been killed and left to rot by some “hunter” who thought he was doing the right thing.
He talks about the myth that spike bucks are somehow inferior. This has been disproven again and again… and even if they are, as suggested by one study he cites, the “inferiority” is only likely to make a 10-15 inch difference at maturity. In other words, instead of a 160, the former spike may be 145-150 class buck. Still pretty great!
He adds this in a comment:
BTW, I should have added that a lot of spike bucks were just late born fawns that will eventually catch up. Also, many goofy 1-sided bucks were just injured on the opposite side of their body the year before and their antlers will correct themselves the following year. Dang, I always seem to miss something!
As for legitimate reasons to cull a buck, he mentions putting a badly injured buck out of its misery. In other cases, mature bucks of less-than-ideal antler size for a given area can sometimes become extremely territorial “bully bucks” which make life difficult for the more-desirable bucks with larger antlers. That makes a great case for taking out a smaller-racked buck, to provide more elbow room for bigger bucks.
Enjoy the video.