I’ll bring this back to my mind-set when I was a 16-25 year old “dreamer”. Me & bros would drool over owning a big farm. Farms we knew of (in IA, KS, IL, etc) …. We said THIS STATEMENT a million times…. “If we owned a 640 here, bet we’d have a couple booners every year!!!!!” Or some version of that statement “if we could control that XYZ farm- bet we’d have 200’s”. We looked at certain farms or certain areas as if the grass was so GREEN that it just couldn’t get any greener.But I can’t imagine his farm was measurably different or better habitat wise in that stretch he had mega giants everywhere than it was those last 6-7 years though right? So it should be relative. He had a long stretch there where the deer numbers were lower than they had been and yet he still didn’t have the top end bucks. And you’ve walked his farm I haven’t so I’ll defer to you but I still think that if a guy has a 1000acres Like his in the state of Iowa then you’re gonna have some booners every year with out touching it imo. I mean the number of landowners back in the mid 2000s that were doing the kind of habitat projects and food plots was a fraction of what it is today and IL and Iowa were killing tons of giant bucks back then. Maybe even more?
well….. long story short….. many of those farms - for one reason or another we got access to them. Or became friends with the owners or helped them on those farms. Been on, hunted, owned, managed, watched - countless farms that fit that scenario of “that farm will produce mammoths!!!!” …. I’m telling folks- I WAS WRONG in my dreamer thinking. There’s just far more to it than folks can wrap their heads around…. I’ll give u a few examples…..
Big timber areas that are like Winke’s. Many areas like that maybe have TSI or logging done. That is huge for nutrition. But if no one keeps up with it & deer #’s get too high- wipe out fast & back to square one. EHD is a component but not what it hinges on. Areas like that might have any little rough crop ground enrolled into CRP & all the sudden the amount of crop ground is actually not great. Small plots that get wiped out. Natural browse is hammered. You are NOT going to have many giants consistently when that happens. There’s swings in there from: EHD, logging/TSI, shooting a pile of does, etc.
Another example is a big state park with no hunting ….. let’s say a “750 acre park, NO HUNTING”…. We all think “booners/giants all over”. Right? Deer are able to get to maturity. 95% of cases, IMO…. Over browsed timber. Not high nutrition. Lacking crops & diverse plots. Too many deer. No bully bucks or management bucks being shot. You get a few mammoths on average. MOST of those places are not near their potential and don’t kick out giants like folks think. Clearly there’s exceptions but those scenarios are not “premo” for giants IMO.
Here’s one…. Rich guy throws $ at a “big farm”…. 500-1000 - whatever….. I’ve seen this over & over…. Plots don’t get done right. Deer don’t get managed right. Timber doesn’t get managed at all or it’s not done right. Bully/management bucks & does are not shot correctly. Often several “oops” deer are shot. Turns out mediocre MOST the time unless the owner is intensely involved & a massive amount of work is done & kept up on. Countless folks in Midwest in countless states & areas I know that have been “frustrated or disappointed” with results on a premo farm. Way harder than anyone thinks.
AVERAGE SCENARIO that’s BEST, IMO…. (Of a more ideal & realistic situation - still rare but doable)…. Giant section…. Couple thousand acres. Giant timber in it. Brush, crp & nasty thick cover. Plenty of crops & alfalfa, plots, etc! One “old lady” that owns a chunk & doesn’t allow hunting. Other owners that limit things & don’t shoot young deer. Plenty does are killed. Plots & TSI done. Little to no poaching. Folks work together to kill the 4 year old 125” 8’s & pass the 165” 4 year olds. It takes some cooperation between neighbors. Now THAT is a fairly common example of a place that “regularly” has some giant deer.
My 2 cents.