Journal... Entry 16 - Day 1
George Mayfield, the owner of The Roost Hunting Lodge near Aliceville, Alabama, is a longtime deer hunter who carefully manages his land to produce the largest number of and biggest deer and turkey as well as the most doves.
QUESTION: How many 120-point class Boone & Crockett bucks does The Roost produce each year?
QUESTION: How long have you run a deer-management program at The Roost?
ANSWER: We've conducted a management program on 8,500 of our acres for about 10 years.
QUESTION: What's the number-one secret to raising and producing trophy bucks?
ANSWER: Our first management goal is to produce quality bucks but not necessarily what we consider to be trophy bucks. By our definition, a quality buck is a 3-1/2-year-old buck. We harvest deer by age class rather than horn confirmation. I personally don't care what the horns look like as long as the deer is a buck you'll want to mount and the deer is at least 3-1/2-years old. Some people initiate strategies to harvest deer by saying, "We're going to shoot bucks 6 points or better, or 8 points or better." But the problem with this philosophy is you may harvest deer that are genetically superior from those 2-1/2- or 1-1/2-year-old classes. And you can't recognize the genetic potential of a deer until he's at least 3-1/2-years old.
QUESTION: What do you tell hunters to look for when they're hunting 3-1/2-year-old deer?
ANSWER: At The Roost, a 3-1/2-year-old deer will weigh more than 200 pounds. He'll have an inside spread of 17 to 18 inches or greater. He'll have 8 or more points and a beam length of 19 to 21 inches. And usually the tine lengths on the G-2s will be 7 to 9 inches. The mass at the bases of the horns will be 4-3/4 to 5-1/4 inches, and the mass usually will reach past the G-2s. If a deer meets those qualifications, then without a doubt he'll be 3-1/2-years old. If you see a deer older than that, your first reaction will be to shoot it because you won't have to stop and judge it. A lot of people who hunt at The Roost don't have the ability to judge age class. They want to count points. So we have a short course for hunters at The Roost and teach them this rule of thumb. For instance, if you're sitting in a stand, a deer walks out and you think, "He needs to turn his head so I can count his points," or, "He needs to turn and give me another look at him to make sure he's got the right width," then that deer isn't big enough. But when a deer walks out and the first thing you do is say, "Oh, shoot," then reach for your rifle and shoot him. He's big enough to shoot.
Contact George Mayfield at The Roost, P.O. Box 509, Aliceville, AL 35442, (205) 373-3147 for more information.
TOMORROW: HOW THE ROOST RAISES DEER TO REACH 200 POUNDS AND 8 POINTS IN 3-1/2 YEARS
Check back each day this week for more from George Mayfield...
Day One - Visiting The Roost
In Aliceville, AL