The Texas Deer Association estimates the impact of breeding and hunting of deer at an annual $1.6 billion on the Texas economy, but for local ranchers, the boom in popularity has provided an alternative choice for livestock outside of the cattle and equine industry.
Sullivan Whitetail Ranch in Montague County has become a leader in the business of breeding deer since its beginnings in 2003. Whitetail are the main species bred on the property, along with kudu, transcaspian and fallow, while axis, black buck and nylghia can be found on the 500 acres of land that makes up the ranch.
The property was high fenced in the year 2000, and in 2003, owners realized the genetics on the property weren’t what they had hoped, and the decision was made to start breeding.
“We got 20 bred doe and four pens with a goal to turn out the offspring when they had their babies. They had their babies and we didn’t turn them out. We bought a breed buck and for years never turned anything out. Finally in 2008, or 2009, we started releasing some animals and building up genetics on the ranch equal to what we were raising in the pens and selling,” explained Jeff Dean, who operates Sullivan Whitetail Ranch.
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