What About Those Spikes While Whitetail Deer Hunting?



Whitetailed Deer


Just a reminder: This is third in a series of postings about hunting spikes while whitetail deer hunting. The conclusions highlighted in orange are from the Texas Parks & Wildlife.

Texas A&M University’s Kerr Deer Management Facility was part of this study. The facility has deer from 20 generations, to watch the effects of variables on the evolution of the herd.  These same results were repeated in a Louisiana university study.


(8) “Even when most bucks are spikes, removing them will not endanger the breeding potential.” Texas Parks and Wildlife researchers have proven that massive removal of spikes does not affect deer production. They’ve shown that a single buck can breed with as many as 40 does in a season.

(9) “Antler development improves with age up to a point.” Amazingly, you can expect antler production to improve until about the age of 6 1/2. After that time, the deer’s teeth deteriorate and older deer don’t intake sufficient nutrition (even in nutrition-rich climes) to develop large racks.

The deer with the best – most dense – antlers are usually between 4 1/2 – 6 1/2 years old.

(10) The best time to manage for genetic improvement is during periods of nutritional stress.  With less food available, it is important to feed breeding deer first – and best. Watch for young antlered bucks and make them your future breeding stock.

~~~What Does This Mean to the Hunter & Landowner?~~~

Harvesting spikes is good for herd development. In fact, they state clearly: “Consistently removing spikes from the herd will eventually improve the antler quality if the range is in good condition.”

A balance must be maintained between numbers of deer and food available. The best way to do that is through harvesting. By selecting young deer with poor antlers, you are allowing  deer with more genetically desirable traits (full antlers) to become the breeding stock.

An Interesting Aside –

According to Texas Parks statistics, hunters snag over 60% of the yearling bucks each year. Of those, about 60% are ‘fork-antlered deer.’


Come back for the “Conclusion of the Conclusions.” If Texas Parks & Wildlife’s recommendations had any teeth (were law) there would be a howl of protest from hunters.


This Series:

Part 1: Should I Shoot a Spike While Hunting White-Tailed Deer? (intro & item #1)

Part 2:  Why Don’t We Just Let That Little Spike Grow Up?  (items #2 thru #7)

Part 3:  What About Spikes While White-tail Deer Hunting?  (Commandments 8 thru 10, conclusions)

Part 4: “This Spike is Better Lookin’ than Any Ol’ 6 Point Deer! Sure it is.” (Conclusions)


This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com