John's Journal... Entry 250, Day 4
THE BUFFALO EFFECT FOR DEER MANAGEMENT
Expectations Of The Ford Ranch
Editor's Note: I've discovered the mystical Valhalla of the Vikings' dreams. In Norse mythology, Odin chose great warriors to come to his Great Hall, Valhalla, the resting place of brave Viking warriors, to rest and enjoy recreation before finally going to heaven. There they could eat, drink and fight because this magical place renewed everything the following morning, including the healing of their wounds from the "battles" of that day. At today's Valhalla for sportsmen, the Ford Ranch in Melvin, Texas, a deer hunter may say, "I can see more bucks in four hours of hunting in either the morning or the afternoon than I'll see in two to five years of hunting at home." Or, he may tell the other hunters, "I've never seen as many trophy bucks in all my life as here at the Ford Ranch. None of my friends will believe the number of bucks I've seen and passed-up." The Ford Ranch, managed by Forrest Armke produces some of the biggest trophy bucks and the largest number of turkeys of any area I know of in the nation. But what type of management program does the ranch use to yield these numbers of big bucks and gobbling birds? Come back each day this week, and I'll answer this question and more and show you how you can use the buffalo effect on your lands to improve your wildlife.
"On an average hunt, either in the morning or the afternoon, our hunters will usually see four to 10 bucks from their stands," Forrest Armke comments. The average buck taken on the Ford Ranch will score about 128 on the B&C scale. Armke explains that the average score for a buck's rack may seem somewhat low because, "most first-time hunters to the Ford Ranch shoot the first bucks they see. The first night a party of hunters arrives, we show them a slide show of approximately 120 bucks that we've photographed on the property from the air just before hunting season starts. Most of these bucks will score from 140 to 160 or better B&C. But when these hunters go to their stand sites the first morning and start seeing bucks with much bigger antlers than they've ever spotted at home, they will take the first bucks they see.
"Of course those bucks are bigger than the ones they've seen at home. But then the hunters see the really-big bucks when they are doe hunting and realize the sizes of the bucks they could have taken if they would have just waited. The hunters who wait will bag bucks scoring 140 and 150 on the B&C scale. Our best buck last season scored 162." Knowing this, I decided I wouldn't make the same mistake as my predecessors. I told myself that I would practice patience and wait to take the biggest buck I saw.
To learn more about the Ford Ranch, contact Forrest Armke at Route 1, Box 81, Melvin, Texas 76858, Phone: (325) 276-4572, or visit the Web site at www.fordranchhunting.net.
TOMORROW: MY FIRST MORNING'S HUNT