Spike buck culling seldom provides benefits

Should spike bucks be culled? It depends, but in most situations with white-tailed deer, the answer is no. There are two situations where the answer can be yes: in a penned-deer situation where a manager determines breeding pairings and in a few high-fenced populations where some buck harvest may be necessary when populations have more bucks than does. If a buck must be harvested in these uncommon latter situations, a spike suffices as well as any other buck.

The Eight Point Rule

The eight point rule is the primary harvest strategy of some managers trying to increase buck antler size. Managers using the eight point rule allow harvest of bucks with eight or more antler points while protecting bucks with fewer points. Although intentions are good, the eight point rule is minimally effective for protecting superior bucks. Many yearling bucks with superior genetics and good nutrition have eight or more points on their first set of antlers. Nearly all bucks with superior genetics and adequate nutrition have eight or more points when 2 years old. Bucks with inferior antler genetics may never have more than seven points, even when mature. So, the eight point rule basically gives little or no protection to the superior bucks while it protects and promotes the inferior ones.