Everyone who likes whitetail deer is drawn to a specific aspect of them. Some people may love the thrill of the hunt, from preparation to payoff. Others may appreciate they way a group of them look standing congregated in a sendero and may enjoy nothing as much as snapping a few pictures. Whatever the draw is, I think we can all be pretty jazzed about living in a time where landowners and ranchers share easy access to premiere breeder deer.
The state of Texas, by most accounts, does a pretty good job of maintaining deer populations. But even a forward thinking wildlife department can’t control the weather. I say this figuratively, but it’s true. The drought of 2011 ravaged deer populations statewide, leaving many areas bereft of much deer activity at all. But where ranchers, landowners and hunters were once helpless, now there are experts to which they can turn. Trophy breeder deer and their impressive offspring are around and able to transform a landscape.
Whitetail breeders sometimes make substantial investments in acquiring extraordinary breeder deer. These deer carry very high pedigrees and each, male and female, serve a function. Over the last five years, the importance of the female genetic component to male antler development has been fully realized. Breeders keep pedigreed breeder does for artificial insemination with semen from an equally genetically superior buck. Male breeder deer serve the naturally opposite function. They are sold and kept as sires, able to be mixed in with an existing herd or become a sire in another program.
It really is fascinating to observe how technology and careful observation allows so many breeders to comfortably and humanely house such quality breeder deer. With the rise of computer-based DNA records, breeders are able to purchase very specific and thoroughly tested lines of whitetails. These deer are housed in penthouse-like accommodations, eat nothing but the best food, and are cared for by highly trained staffs. They are the resident studs, lording over programs that they help make great. Their presence is a physical representation of their superb DNA and a constant reminder of what everyone is working towards.
Among breeder deer, the bucks already have a vaunted place in folklore. The relatively recent discovery that a female deer contributes over 60% of antler genetics has increased their profile a bit. Breeder does now hold their own ground on premises, the resident matriarchs and overall architects of the entire program. As more than equal contributors, they are coveted and showcased. Breeders proudly display female pedigrees as firm indicators that their line of deer has been carefully developed in a way that ensures elite genetics.
Breeder deer are the flagships of any program. Whether it’s the two enormous four year-old males lurking under the shade of a tree or a group of developed females grazing in the distance, there is no mistaking them if you ever step foot on a whitetail breeding facility. They capture your attention and immediately stand out among groups of yearlings. These deer are worth a lot of money and should be. They’re capable of transferring genetics as undiluted as Johnny Walker neat.