Nutrition is key to growing trophy bucks
Feb 24th, 2019 by Keith Worrall 352
Modified Feb 24th, 2019 at 6:41 PM
JULIAN — If David Miller ever needs reassurance that he’s managing his land properly for trophy deer, all he has to do is look at his family-room wall.
There hangs the mounted head of the largest buck ever taken by bow and arrow in Boone County. Miller killed it last fall, on the opening day of West Virginia’s archery season.
“I’d been watching that buck for the past three years,” Miller said. “Every year, his antlers got a little bigger. This year, when he was 51/2 years old, I finally decided to go after him.”
It wouldn’t have taken much to prevent Miller from bagging the big 12-pointer. The buck could have wandered off the property to find more food, or to look for potential mates.
It could have, but it didn’t — because Miller managed his property in a way that made the buck want to stay put.
It’s easier for Miller because he’s biologist; he as a better-than-average understanding of why deer do what they do. He says, however, that anyone willing to invest the time, effort and money can grow big whitetails on their own lands.
“Number one on the list of things to do is to create sanctuary areas for the deer,” he explained. “Second is to evaluate the available food and see if there’s enough to support the deer you’d like to attract. Third is make sure you have a good water source. And fourth is to cooperate with surrounding landowners to improve the age structure of the local deer herd.”