Are Deer Antlers Genetic? | Mossy Oak Gamekeeper
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Are Deer Antlers Genetic?

By: Mossy Oak GameKeeper
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Learn if deer antlers are genetic with the Gamekeepers of Mossy Oak. Be sure to subscribe to our channel, and catch GameKeepers each week on the Outdoor channel. Tuesday nights at 8pm CST.
I think that people put way more focus on genetics for antler development than it deserves. And we can estimate the proportion of all the antler development, you know, for the population that’s due to inherited genetic factors. And for young bucks, it’s maybe 25% of their, of all the differences among individuals is due to genetics. For mature bucks, it’s probably 40 to 45%. Now, that leaves another 50 plus percent, that’s due to what we call environment, part of which is nutrition. And so in some ways, people seem to, you know, the first reaction is, well, you know, we’re trying to cull and do all this genetic manipulation, and you’re telling us now that it doesn’t work, what do we do? Well, I think, actually, it’s kind of good news because that other 50 plus percent. That’s due to environment is something that managers can directly affect. And so by nutrition that means, you know, improving forges, planning food plots, all of those types of things are definitely within management control. And they can happen within a pretty short period of time within a couple of years. You know, several years of a good food plot or other nutrition program can make a huge difference in body weights and antler size and things like that. And you could never make that that fast of a leap, just by manipulating genetics alone. There’s always a bigger component to the nutrition part there and like I say, that’s something that is usually more under a manager’s control. So especially in open populations, if you’re not behind the high fence or something, is just forget about this genetic stuff. But you can do a lot of on the ground management, they can make a really meaningful difference.

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