Managing the Carrying Capacity of your Ranch

Is your ranch currently at carrying capacity? Are there too many whitetail deer crowding your property? Whitetail deer are amazing creatures. Due to the high demand for whitetail it is easy for ranch owners to over crowd their land, but it is important to keep it mind that it is not necessarily the number of deer on your lands, but the health of the deer that you have. A successful deer population will have healthy animals. If you notice that a few of your trophy whitetail deer look to be in poor health then it is likely that your land is overcrowded and nutrition is not obtainable for all of your whitetail deer.
While it is only human for hunters to want to maximize the number of whitetail on their land, it is important to know the maximum number of animals your land can sustain. Carrying capacity is referred to as the number of living organisms that a region can support without environmental degradation. There are a variety of factors involving environmental and habitat conditions that ranch owners can use to determine if they have reached carrying capacity.
One key sign that ensures that you have not reached carrying capacity is if your deer population has a high reproduction rate. If the production rate of fawns is high that means that the health of your herd and habitat are good. If you notice a drop in reproduction your herd’s healthy and fertility could be at risk. High levels of reproduction occur where there are abundant sources of food, water and cover. For new fawns look for a survival rate of 80% to ensure your herd is healthy.


The availability of both food and water are imperative when it comes to having a healthy herd. As a ranch owner it is important for you to note the different types of vegetation that your deer seem to eat most frequently. Make sure the plants that provide deer with the most nutrition are readily available to them. Additionally ensure water is a plentiful resource on your land so that deer remain properly hydrated.
When you are quickly looking to find out if your ranch has reached carrying capacity look no further than the weight of your deer. A standard rule-of-thumb is that mature male deer should have a minimum weight of 125 pounds. A mature doe should have a minimum of 80 pounds. If the deer on your land are not hitting these marks this is a huge sign that something is not right. Trophy whitetail deer need to gain nutrition from food plots, supplements and pellets in addition to foliage. If you are noticing that a majority of your deer are underweight you have most likely reached carrying capacity for your land.
If you are looking to visit a ranch where all of the animals are in superior condition and the owners are friendly look no further than Cotton Mesa Whitetail. Whether looking for an exotic or whitetail hunt, Robert and his staff have exactly what you are looking for. For more information call (903)872-6626.



Get In Touch

Cotton Mesa Trophy Whitetail
9066 FM 3194 Richland, TX 76693

Phone: (903) 654-3416
Fax: (903) 874-4399