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Old Feb 15th 2012, 05:52 PM   #1
  Feb 2012
  Avilla, IN
First off I'd like to introduce myself. My name is Nate Rodenbeck. My father-in-law and I started R&L Whitetail Ranch in 2010. I wish I would have ran across this site earlier!! Things have went really well for us so far. I'd like to get some opinions on whether or not you should cut your breeder bucks antlers prior to turning them in with the does. I've heard both ways. We did have a doe get injured this year witch ended up costing us about 300 bucks. So needless to say I'm leaning towards cutting the this fall. Would love some feed back thanks!
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Old Feb 15th 2012, 06:10 PM   #2
  Apr 2009
  Fombell PA
Personally I would cut the antlers......why take the chance in getting one of your good does gored. Just my opinion.......good luck and welcome to the wonderful world of deer farming!!
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Old Feb 15th 2012, 06:25 PM   #3
  Jul 2009
  Kimbolton, Oh
Nate welcome to the site. A lot of good people and information here.

We cut the rack off of our breeder right above the bases. I did not leave hardly anything exposed. I was going to leave an inch or so but decided not to. That inch could still break a rib if he hit a doe in the side.

With that said, I hope he will still be able to knock them off.

Just my opinion.
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Old Feb 15th 2012, 06:30 PM   #4
 Four Seasons Whitetails's Avatar
  Oct 2009
  upstate ny

Cervid: Whitetail Deer
If they dont go for stockers.. I say off they go!!! They will cost you sooner or later!!
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Old Feb 16th 2012, 03:01 AM   #5
  Nov 2011
  Warriors Mark, PA
I would agree that, as a rule, cutting them off is the "better safe than sorry" way to go. But...I will state the other side of the discussion. It depends on: a) the size of your pens and b) the temperment of your buck/bucks. The back-up buck in our pen just dropped his antlers a day or two ago. He has quite a harem of does to watch over. He is not an aggressive buck by nature. We also have two pens opened up for them that total about 7 acres. Could it be a problem? Sure. Were we worried about it? Nope. He's not aggressive and the does have plenty of room to run, and there are no other bucks too close to them to make him feel "worried".

I'm not advocating anything, but every situation is different; you know your deer and your pen situation. If you have any doubts, cut them low.
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Old Feb 16th 2012, 03:04 AM   #6
 toddhoeffel's Avatar
  Oct 2011
  Columbia City, IN
In my humble opinion, I raise deer because I love the WHOLE package! If the bucks are going to fight, then I'm going to watch a fight with antlers on. At least someone has a chance of getting some leverage instead of bludgening each other with stumps. My pens are also big enough that anyone can get away if they need to(bucks or does). It's risky either way, but I prefer to look at a "sea" of antlers in my pens. Granted when I have 500 inch deer, I may cut them off to get the extra weight off, when he's chasing the does around, but I don't have to worry about that......yet!
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Old Feb 16th 2012, 03:19 AM   #7
 Four Seasons Whitetails's Avatar
  Oct 2009
  upstate ny

Cervid: Whitetail Deer
Todd just remember the first,second and third one to get gored and die are going to be your top 3 bucks that could be the bucks to take your farm to the next level. Not worth it in my opinion but thats just my way of thinking. I had 3 hard horn backup breeders in different pens but within sight of each other and they were lifting gates and tearing up buildings. To much of a pain to worry about and deal with. I agree that bigger pens do help big time but i just would not put my big yearlings or 2 year olds at risk!!!
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Old Feb 16th 2012, 03:32 AM   #8
 Wild Rivers Whitetails's Avatar
  Apr 2009
  Northeast Wisconsin

Cervid: Deer Farming
We've done it both ways. We typically do not saw the bucks in our breeder pens. There has only been a few occasions where they have injured a doe. Bucks that are in all buck pens are a different thing - they will fight. BUT you have to weigh sawing the antlers versus letting them alone. To saw the antlers you have to dart them or run them through the chute - and you could lose a buck that way. When you first cut the antlers there are sharp edges and they can do an amazing amount of damage with those. Also, sometimes when you cut them, they don't shed the stump properly causing their antlers to be messed up the next year. So it is a 50/50 proposition.
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Old Feb 16th 2012, 03:33 AM   #9
  Jul 2010
  petersburg, Michigan
A Good Freind always told me and still does...The only things that can happen with a buck with antlers are ALL BAD!! I watched one of my bucks run down two does and kill them both before I could get a dart in him. Just because he was ready and they weren't. Another lesson learned the hard way. And like Mike says.... It IS ALWAYS your best ones. So I decided I'd rather Cut than Dig! Just My Opinion though.
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Old Feb 16th 2012, 04:09 AM   #10
  Nov 2011
  Warriors Mark, PA
Stepheck: Your avatar buck has a great look! Beautiful buck!
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Old Feb 16th 2012, 04:22 AM   #11
  Jul 2010
  petersburg, Michigan
Thanks Jeff always good to hear.
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Old Feb 16th 2012, 04:28 AM   #12
  May 2009
  Northwest Illinois
Welcome Nate - I know that for us farmers it is very difficult to ''cut off'' the very element that we've waited all year long for our bucks to grow...the very element that ''trips our trigger''! But, I strongly recommend that you cut them off. In the long run, you'll be glad you did. One has to come to a place in your 'love of the antler' to be satisfied watching them grow all summer, then enjoying them in hard horn for 4-6 weeks, and call it good.

You've been given a wide spectrum of truth in all the previous posts.

Like Jeff says, some bucks are not aggressive enough to worry about(I have one), but, how many does will you lose finding this out, and what if the ''non aggressive buck'' has a bad day?

And yes, bigger pens help alot, but unless you build them round, 'bigger pens' still have corners in them.

Like Mike said, and so many others will tell you, when you lose a deer, it's always gonna be one of your best...or your best! And yes, the deer you lose could easily be the ''one'' that takes you to a new level. Most successful deer farmers have that ''one'' special deer that did in fact launch them into their success.

Hunters Dream - I've never seen a problem with them losing those nubs no matter how close I cut, but I don't think it hurts to leave an inch or so. Sounds like Gary has though.

Nate, it's all about Murphy's Law. I think that ''law'' was enacted by and for the deer farmers of the world. ''What can go wrong WILL go wrong''. And sometimes things that can't go wrong, go wrong! So...why take unnecessary chances?!

Stepheck - I think you put it best...''Better to 'cut' than to 'dig'!
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Old Feb 16th 2012, 05:13 AM   #13
  Jul 2010
  petersburg, Michigan
Mark The pen that he ran those does down in was 2 acres. And he didn't use a corner. I was amazed how much faster he was than the does!!! They didn't have a chance!!!! Just think how much of this goes on at night when we can't see them and they are most active. I think your right also...Murphy must have been a Deer Farmer!! When it Can't Happen is When It Will Happen!!
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Old Feb 16th 2012, 08:35 AM   #14
  Apr 2009
  Between shipshy and Indy
I cut most of the bucks that arent being sold. For me there are more reasons to cut that not to cut.

Breeding pen

1) Safety for myself

2) Safety for does

3) Safety for buck (getting caught in fence)

4) Temptation for poachers

I cut the breeder before he goes in the doe pen.

On the buck pens

I make sure that i havnt pulled a buck out recently and messed up the pecking order.

I also pick out the most dominant buck( not most agressive or meanest) and leave his rack on. The thinking here is he will put a stop to the other bucks when they start butting heads. This last fall after cutting the antlers I used a farriers file and rounded off all the sharp edges so they wouldnt cut each other up with the sharp corners.

I also cut them early before they start getting aggressive. This is usually when the last few start shedding their velvet. This has been working good for me so far
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Old Feb 16th 2012, 12:54 PM   #15
  Dec 2010
  Sydney, Australia
There are many ways to manage this.

What did deer do before farming?

I generally don't cut hard antler off sambar, chital or rusa stags.I only work these when the majority are in velvet.I have no problems with hundreds in the same enclosure as long as its large(at least an acre per animal)& there is good cover.If there are no hinds there is not as much to fight over.

Fallow like to blue,so I'll cut the antler if I'm working them, as quickly as I can (or use a dart). If I am not working them when in antler & they are not in a high density enclosure I'm less worried.I always keep antler on the "elite" bucks,as I believe it helps courtship with this species,& if a wild fallow or another of my own gets in with him & the girls,he can hold his own.

Red deer are managed the same way.However the best returns from reds is from velvet,so most would cut about 50 days into growth,& then the regrowth later.

If I had a high density of deer,not many deer, small enclosures & a need to yard deer often,I would cut the lot.Because I manage around the antler cycle & seasons for each species its not needed.

Here is were the dart gun earns its keep as it allows management on specific animals in any season without much disturbance,or the need to yard hard antlered stags/bucks.

Cheers Sharkey
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