Long Range Deer Culling

Dave King

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2001
I've got my crop damage permits for two farms and expect to have two more farms on-line in a month. The bucks have sprouted some new growth but it's still too early to easily identify a buck from a doe at significant distances. The older (2yr) does are quite large with the unborn fawns so they are a little noticable but the yearling does and the perhaps one fawn aren't quite so big and blend in too well with the bucks.

I intend to do some long range muzzleloader culling (200 to 300 yards) as well as some true rifle culling with a .223 I'm having built. I'll use my old standby 308 Win for the real long range stuff and I have a new shooter that will be using a 6mm/06.

Anyone else do any deer crop damage shooting? I'm looking for some new tricks to be a little more efficient with the does and ways to not scare the bucks out of the area.
I am going to get involved in a little culling this year.

I have a very good relationship with my neighboring farmer. He grows corn on 2 small fields of mine totalling 30 acres. I get to hunt on 60 acres of his. Added to my own 170 I have plenty of land for deer hunting. So far, I have not bothered actually using his 60 acres for hunting but was glad that our agreement meant no other hunters would be stirring up things right next to me.

He owns a total of 360 acres adjacent to me and I just learned from him this past winter that he has been shooting about 16 deer per year over at least the last 3 years under a state crop damage program. That's quite a few to shoot in our neighborhood as we don't have deer just running all over the place as in some other areas of Wisconsin where clipped-off browse in the woods is a sign of over-population.

He does not like the conditions the DNR attaches to his use of their crop damage program in order to collect money from the state. He is ending his participation in the program and yet still wants to have some of the does harvested with T-zone hunting season tags. Normally, I shoot 1 or 2 does on my land. One with my bow and one at around 500 yards with a rifle. This year, however, I am going to start shooting some does on his land, too. I figure that if I still have had enough deer on my land in recent years when he has been shooting 16 does, I can afford to take maybe 2 or 3 off his adjacent land now that he is ending that practice.

I have been setting up some long range scenarios for this fall's T-zone antlerless season on his land. One of them is a bipod, prone location on a hill shooting 500 to 700 yards out over a pasture to the edge of a field that will be corn this fall.One major complication in my T-zone hunts is that the season is only 5 days long. I could have a dozen or more shot opportunities in that time frame but it is much harder to find just the right challenging setup. I look for a shot from 500 yards out (this year) to about 700 or so. Has to have manageable winds, safe direction, standing broadside pose, etc.

Your comment about not scaring off the bucks is most interesting. One of my considerations is to not harvest too many does just before the rut. My theory is that the more mature does there are on my land during the rut, the more cruising bucks I will have on my land. There is a new, late T-zone season also, just after the gun-buck season. I may try that this year, too.

In any case, I find this antlerless shooting to be great experience for more serious game hunting. Last fall my heart raced slightly for all of the 15 minutes while watching my 513 yard doe just before tripping the trigger. I might watch dozens of deer over a couple days without emotion while waiting for the right challenging shot. Only when you think you are ready to choose one do you get excited.

[ 05-04-2001: Message edited by: Len Backus ]
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