Breeder Bucks: Top Genetics on the Hoof

Whitetail breeding facilities come in all shapes and sizes.  Some focus more strongly on certain types of genetics than others, some operate at larger capacities than others, and other may vary in their choice of protein feed.  But at the end of the day, they are all really measured by the same yardstick: their ability to consistently produce premiere breeder bucks with long lineages of proven genetics. 

Breeders exist to serve demand from two types of markets.  One is providing landowners with larger deer to be used as stocker bucks.  These deer carry affordable price tags, involve deer usually within the 140-180pt range, and are marketed to ranchers and landowners as an affordable way to give their herd a quick genetic shot in the arm.  While these stocker bucks are impressive deer, they do not possess the massive qualities demanded in high-end breeder deer.

The other market served by breeders is providing genetically proven breeder bucks to other upstart breeding programs, or to other established breeders looking to diversify their genetic portfolio.  An array of buck lines is usually desirable, and breeders frequently look to each other for product.  Smaller operators may just be looking for a sire buck to begin a fledgling program, breeding them with an existing group of does.  Either way, breeder bucks are in a class all their own, an elite class of whitetail designed to produce equally elite progeny.

Breeder bucks dominate the whitetail breeding market.  This is true in that these bucks not only dictate the gold standard for male offspring, but females as well.  With a heightened demand for highly pedigreed female breeder deer, the elite males take care of that end too, producing a class of females that rival their male siblings in importance and sometimes even price.

While breeder does play host mothers and ultimately put together the finished product, it’s the breeder males that have the biggest earning capacity.  Not only are male breeder whitetails responsible for siring on site, their semen is also incredibly valuable and can be sold remotely by the “straw”, usually fetching a hefty price.  Strict state laws prohibiting the transfer of whitetails across state lines give this market a boost, making long distance purchasing of breeder buck semen the easiest and most sought after method of acquiring significant genetics.

Over time, a certain class of legendary breeder bucks has established themselves.  These bucks have breathtakingly enormous antlers, rivaled only by their formidable names like X-Factor, Slingblade and Bambi Double Drop.  Their legacy and genetics are coveted within the industry as bastions of genetic superiority.  The offspring of such legendary bucks become highly prized breeder bucks in their own right and create entirely new markets for genetic hybrids.

Massive breeder bucks can come with a hefty price tag.  They are serious investments, taken on by only serious breeders.  These deer are meant for the secondary breeder market and would be an impractical investment for a landowner looking to spice up the back pasture.  Breeder deer are sacred cows that live long lives in comfortable surroundings, earning their keep by tending to equally impressive herds of breeder does.  All in all, not a bad gig.