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Old Aug 2nd 2017, 03:08 AM   #1
 
  Jul 2017
  Ohio
whats the market

Hello I am a soon to be deer farmer. I am thinking of going after the shooter buck market. My goal will be 150-180" deer. Want big wide heavy tall typicals. Pretty common want I think. My first question is what is the demand for shooters in todays market? I want to make some money not just have another hobby. I understand it takes time to make money and work. I am doing it because i love deer, everything about them. But again I don't need a big money pit. Just looking for some honest answers from you veteran farmers out there. Any things you have learned good or bad over the years that could help me out? I live in central Ohio. Please be honest, if its really tough to sell these deer please say so. Iv talked to a deer farm recently and he made it sound like he cannot keep up with the demand. Thank you for any advice about anything to do with deer farming.
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Old Aug 2nd 2017, 04:58 AM   #2
 Wicked Whitetails's Avatar
 
  Apr 2009
  Clinton, PA

Cervid: Whitetail Deer
I live in western PA and I am always up for talking deer. I have had deer for the last 10 years so I have made my share of mistakes and also stuff that worked so if you would like to talk shoot me an email jkramer105@yahoo.com or call 724-777-0727
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Old Aug 2nd 2017, 06:54 AM   #3
 IndependenceRanch's Avatar
 
  Apr 2009
  Edgar, WI

Cervid: deer
It is one thing to say he can't keep up with the demand. It is another to say the profit margins are high enough to justify the investment, the risk and the work.
You sound like you are concerned about not having it pay off decent for you. And that is a legitimate concern. You are at least in a state with fairly reasonable regulations. Ohio has always been a rather level headed state towards the industry.
If you absolutely must start with deer I suggest doing it on a very small scale for enjoyment purposes. Maybe get two or three does and one buck. Do not grow in size for at least 4 years. See what direction the industry goes and see how you feel about the return you get when it comes time to sell bucks. Growing in size is a snap so you can always add deer later.
Good luck!
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Old Aug 2nd 2017, 07:03 AM   #4
 
  Feb 2014
  Monticello Fl
My personal opinion and experience follows.
Don't buy your 1st deer from a deer farmer who is going out of business, unless you know that they were profitable and are simply retiring. If someone says "this is the most enjoyable way that I ever lost money", don't start with their deer.
Build the most "bullet proof" facility that you can afford to build. Protect your herd from dogs and people. We now have underground fencing, double fencing, and in some areas shade cloth on both fences. Plan for and budget money for airborne insect control, and for ground born bacteria, parasite, and insect control. Deer are suicidal, protect them from the dangers of the fence, if you can. The fence does not have to be super tight, brace wire can be fenced over to keep them away from it, and horizontal braces can be 6' or higher.
Purchase a gauged/scoped projector, like the Excalibur from Pneu Dart. I started with a cheaper one, and stayed frustrated with it. A good one is easy to sell if you ever close the farm.
If you want typicals, plan your breeding for 250" typicals, and be happy to get 180s @ 2. The occasional 200+ will just be a bonus. Remember that inches of bone make money. Strive for tine and beam length, and 10 point frame gets G4 & C4 measurements. A few 2-3" kickers add up, and are desired by many hunters. The air between beams only adds a few dollars, unless you get that truly wide beauty.
This is our 5th year, and 3rd fall selling stockers. This is the 1st year that our annual operating cost will be covered. We have had some back luck, and started with does that have only produced 130-150s at 2. Their doe fawns are worthless to others.
We have evolved, and see this year as the turn around year.
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Old Aug 2nd 2017, 07:56 AM   #5
 
  Apr 2009
Dont ever spend more then you can AFFORD to lose. Stick only to the stocker game and forget the BREEDER thing! Raise deer that you know you can sell and be ready for things to go BAD every once in a while! I've been doing this almost 20 years and if I truly didnt LOVE having them I wouldn't still be raising them. It's work and stressful! Work with one buyer if at all possible and be honest with everyone or your name will be black listed in a very short period of time! Call me anytime you wish to talk deer 507-227-9194 Take care and good luck with your deer!
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Old Aug 2nd 2017, 08:38 AM   #6
 FreeTown WTs's Avatar
 
  Oct 2014
  Garrettsville, OH
It is a buyers market right now. We started from the bottom with bottle feeding fawns raised them up and AId at 1 1/2. Im now seeing my girls 2 year olds.
$100 does and $100 straws have created some profitable shooters.
Selling your shooters is not hard i like to keep them in my state. (Ohio).
Also a lot of our fence was biult from recycled material keep that investment low as possible.
We purchased a doe last fall for $1900.00
She sold in 2010 as a fawn for 20k.
I couldnt see spending more than 1k for a doe.
250 for a fawn. Dont get burnt.
If you would like to see the place and visit some local farms in my area send a message i can hook you up. Near middlefield Ohio.
Ps half the farmers i talk to are dumping there does this years not because of low profit just to decrease #s. Once again buyers market.
Good luck...
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Old Aug 2nd 2017, 04:21 PM   #7
 
  Jul 2017
  Ohio
Thanks a lot guys for all the great advice! I really do appreciate the honesty here.
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Old Aug 2nd 2017, 07:28 PM   #8
 
  May 2015
  KY
I am in deer farming for 2 1/2 yrs. now (in KY), started with 2 bred does, 1 pen 330' around. The absolutely most beneficial thing is having a good vet, one that is NOT in for the money but goes the "extra mile" and a lot of health/disease/parasite knowledge. Somebody to mentor you would be a real winner. Thankfully this website exists, I learned a LOT from these forums and there are also several groups on FB where you can have a bunch of experienced farmers as friends, ask specific questions and get instant answers or advice. Priceless!!!!
My herd grew by now to 17 head, 3 pens, more pens to be build between shedding velvet and start of breeding season. I got to like my mini pens, very easy to look animals over or catch fawns. Since they're all connected and have connection doors in them, most of the time I can leave all the doors open and they all can go back and forth. When I separate them, doors close.
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Old Aug 3rd 2017, 04:45 PM   #9
 
  Jan 2011
  Houston, Texas
Study genetics and learn what works... You can buy does that produce very nice bucks for a couple hundred bucks... In Ohio you don't have the EHD worries as southern guys do so you should be able to make an income fairly easily. You've got 2 routes and 2 separate problems... Either build a facility and only use sexed male semen problem being cost of facility and AI success learning curve... alternately buy a decent buck and live breed but you have females and will grow faster than you probably want...

IMO there is no reason to raise deer of the 150-180 size. Yes they are in the most demand by hunters but there are so many does on the market that you should not have many deer meet this standard unless you stick to 100% typical breeding which again I don't understand as 99% of wild deer are typical and will be in this category at 4 years old. I have a preserve and the only reason I will have hunts on bucks 160 or less is for future business and to keep them from breeding. I loose money on this size deer so the only hunts that are this size are deer grown in the preserve, I will not buy them.
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Old Aug 5th 2017, 09:12 AM   #10
 
  Aug 2017
  Hatton, Alabama
I'm going to piggyback since I'm in the same boat...soon to be deer farmer. What size pens would you guys recommend for a new farmer? I've heard 2 acre to 3/4 acre. I have recently gotten about 10 acres of timber thinned and want to incorporate that in somehow. Would you build smaller pens or a 5-6 acre pen that would be in timber and pasture?
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Old Aug 5th 2017, 09:40 AM   #11
 Jack's Avatar
 
  Apr 2009
  Vaughn, MT 59487

Cervid: mule deer,whitetail,elk,goats,bighorn & stone sheep
I've used big pens for years. My reasoning for that is stress reduction when raising fawns. All my pens will enter a alley way so start my does at birthing in small 1 to 2 acre pens three does to a pen. When the fawns are old enough to run with the mothers I will set it up so they can go to the larger pen. Object is for better feed, less stress and learning to get along with each other. The more space the animals have the less exposure to disease.
My big pens are alfalfa, clover, grass so the feed is very high in protein. A big healthy growing fawns is what I want.
All this works well unless you get something in the fawns and that will make it hard to treat them. But in the long run their health is better with better feed and less stress.
With that said I would make some small 1 to 2 acre pens to birth in which will all empty into the larger pen.

Last edited by Jack; Aug 5th 2017 at 09:43 AM.
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Old Aug 5th 2017, 06:52 PM   #12
 R&J Whitetails's Avatar
 
  Jan 2013
  Cando, ND
I have a 3 acre pen for all of my does and fawns. My buck pen is 1.5 acres but now I'm putting the mature bucks in a bigger 3 acre pen and now the buck fawns will go in the 1.5 acre pen. I just leave the doe fawns in with the mothers and haven't had any problems.
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Old Aug 9th 2017, 11:50 AM   #13
 
  Jan 2011
  Houston, Texas
I was looking at some the other day that were 2-3 smaller front pens with a big pen in back. Really liked that idea for square pens. My favorite pens of my own have divisions and it allows me to separate or let them run under rope wicks to keep flies off. As far as bucks I'd love some 5-20 acre pens to give them space and get use to feeding from a feeder and keeping distance so they acclimate to a preserve better.
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