This is one of 33 interesting deer-research findings in this QMDA article:
$115,000: The estimated cost to produce a 1-inch increase in average Boone & Crockett score among a localized population of free-ranging bucks by releasing pen-raised deer to improve genetics. Dr. Steve Demarais of Mississippi State University conducted the computer-model study (using existing data on natural dispersal and immigration, breeding success, recruitment, and survival, plus the costs of buying pen-raised deer) in response to recent suggestions by deer breeders that this practice would be beneficial. Most biologists laughed at the idea, but they had little data to stand on. Now they do.
That ridiculous amount of money aside, the idea of releasing tame bucks into the woods is preposterous. What about the potential spread of chronic wasting and other diseases? Plus introducing “tame” genetics into our wild and wonderful whitetails just wouldn’t be right.
I can’t imagine any state ever allowing this, and for good reason. If breeders want to release pen bucks into their high fences that is their prerogative, but into wild populations, no.
Mike, I know this has already happened and it was over 10 yrs ago! I was poor farm kid working on rich Ranch. Of course back then things where cheaper but still a shame none the less all for a part of deer you cant eat!
Big Daddy hit it on the head.
How about instead of releasing a pen-raised buck, they would tranquilize some does and artificially inseminate them with a stud pen-raised buck. Release the does back into the wild and let them have the fawns in the wild?
Danny, your point about inseminating does is done on a lot of high fence ranches here in Texas, as well as placing them into breeding enclosures with breeder bucks, then either releasing the bred does back into the wild or having them give birth in pens, and turning them and the fawns out to the wild once the fawns are a couple of months old. I do know of some low fence ranches that do the insemination or breeding pen scenarios.
Darn it, I thought I came up with a new business idea.
Aside from the very good points raised already, I have a question about what that would do to the record keeping process – who would decide if a deer could be considered for certification by Boone & Crockett, for instance. Is that trophy buck truly wild and free ranging, or is he a surviving pen raised deer harvested by a well intentioned hunter thinking he was taking the trophy of a lifetime? Will the ear tags remain in place forever, will all released deer have to be tattooed, or have PIP tags implanted to be scanned, who will make and enforce the rules? Way too much potential for abuse, confusion, and outright fraud.
This just seems like an awful idea from any angle you consider it from. Bad, bad, bad.
And from one more perspective based on personal experience down in Old Mexico – a good friend who owns an amazing property with some awesome whitetail bucks roaming it penned up some native buck fawns, fed them protein and alfalfa in a five acre enclosure, and soon had some 180-200″ bucks that all the visitors and hunters enjoyed observing and photographing. Eventually he sold most of the bucks to other ranches in neighboring Mexican states, but kept a couple. Eventually he decided not to keep any more deer in the five acre area, and turned out two beautiful 4.5 year old bucks. The deer did not fend well for themselves and kept returning to the enclosure looking for food and water. Over time both bucks withered and died from disease and starvation, one probably from injuries sustained in encounters with other bucks during the rut contributing to his demise. I don’t know if the same would hold true for all pen raised deer released into the wild, but I saw it happen in this case.
What someone does on their own private property is their business, i.e. release a hand fed breeder buck onto a 50,000 acre south Texas ranch to inject different genetics to that herd. It’s their investment in dollars and land to in MHO waste not mine.
Same goes for hunting in a fenced preserve while it may not be for me I will not look down my nose at someone else whom enjoys it for what it is. How many posters to this topic recently posted on the topic “Hunt your own way” with statements of supporting each other’s choices? The guy whom frequents preserves or releases tame deer into their own property could dismiss it all and become an anti hunter with a voice and a vote just as easily.
That’s a no brainer. No way. The obvious dangers of disease is one, but to me, it plays to the biggest disservice to whitetail hunting. Hunting whitetails puts you in some of the most beautiful scenery on earth. Each stand or groundblind is a special place to be enjoyed as the problems of the day are put on the back burner in anticipation of deer being sighted. To just grade the experience by how much the buck scores is ludicrous. Deer hunting rocks even if the deer that shows up isn’t 200 points. That;s why it is the best sport in the world. P.S. If he comes in and is 200, I wouldn’t complain though! Ha
Should pen raised deer be released into the wild? I would say no for the above listed reasons and besides……
If you released the big money, pen raised deer into the wild what would rich guys who frequent high dollar deer preserves “hunt”?
Totally bad idea- Just as you said- disease, and how many fawns would he have to sire? What would keep him from gracing soneones table before he could breed? Absurd