Age, nutrition, and GENETICS are the key components to producing trophy whitetail deer. The genetic portion of the equation has grown leaps and bounds through the ability of Texans having the capability to operate whitetail breeding facilities. There are many misunderstandings of the functions of a whitetail breeding program and their practices. To be completely honest, if I were not directly involved in wildlife & fisheries management, from working with deer populations in the swamps of southeast Texas where there is not a game proof fence within 90 miles to intensely managed whitetail breeding operations, I would have questions towards the whitetail breeding industry. I truly believe the only reason anyone would not approve of this industry is due to the lack of understanding of what the primary uses of a whitetail breeding facility are and the volume of positive impacts this industry has on the overall wildlife management in the State of Texas.
One of the key misunderstandings is the primary use of the animals produced in breeding facilities. The primary usage of whitetail deer from a deer breeding facility is to supply the ranching industry with quality whitetail genetics that are bred to produce quality antlers, animals with high survivability rates, animals that are healthy and disease resistant, that will overall increase the value of the property for many generations, supply genetic diversity, and slow down the encroachment of urban sprawl. The importance of being able to supply the genetic portion of the management equation is monumental. Without the capability to supply the improved genetics, a large percentage of landowners will not invest large sums of money towards ranch habitat improvements that benefit multiple species of wildlife across the state, as well increase the quantity of acreage dedicated to wildlife management greatly, across the state. With the ability to take advantage of quality genetics from breeding facilities, numerous “dream” ranches are created for hard working Texans.
Another huge misunderstanding pertains to deer released onto a property and how they inhabit that ranch for years to come. Deer respond to pressure and their environment more than anything. Released deer are still deer, the species was not changed in a breeding facility. I have watched low fence free ranging herds become extremely tame to the point of animals eating out of people’s hands due to no pressure and their environment, as well as we have seen deer released from breeder pens become nearly impossible to get a glimpse of due to pressure and their environment. We have also seen this scenario vice versa.
Another portion of controversy encompasses the financial gain ability from the deer breeding industry. In my opinion to maintain an increase in properties dedicated to wildlife (which should be the overall goal of any wildlife enthusiast, biologist, manager, wildlife agency, wildlife association, etc.) it must function in a fiduciary aspect. The majority can’t or won’t spend the amount of money it takes to participate in the increase in lands in the state of TEXAS dedicated to wildlife improvements without the ability to re-coop some of the funds dedicated to wildlife. Something to understand is Texas is much different than most states in that it is approximately 97% privately owned. If any piece of the equation of increasing properties dedicated to wildlife is disabled, then in my opinion a high percentage of the private sector will dedicate those properties to something different eventually and in most cases that change will be dedicated towards a goal to at minimum help pay the property taxes. Money plays a significant roll into the balance of increasing lands across Texas dedicated to wildlife improvements, and rightfully so, as most cannot afford to spend a large percentage of their hard-earned income on wildlife improvements.
The final example of the positive impacts the whitetail breeding industry supplies this amazing state is, it provides approximately $1.6 Billion dollars of economic impact annually in the state of Texas and 16,892 jobs, with the majority in rural Texas.
In closing, I encourage you to exercise every opportunity to inform the public about the true validity of deer breeding.
Thank you and God Bless,