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DRH1175

What size buck do you shoot?

35 posts in this topic

I have been bowhunting and rifle hunting hard for many years. After deciding I wanted to leave some of those smaller bucks go the last 4 years I have been buck less. I have passed on several 4 to 6 pointers each year opting for does instead. Yet they never really seem to get any bigger. Either the neighbors are shooting all these deer that I see or they just keep getting smarter and turn Nocturnal. What do others do?

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i only shoot a buck if he's gonna be going on my wall...otherwise i'd rather just let him live and take does for meat and to balance the herd.

if u pass on all those bucks and never see a big one, 1 of 2 things is wrong. either there is no big bucks where you are hunting or your skills are only crafty enough for the does and little bucks.

hunting mature whitetail bucks is a whole new level of the game. everything has to be perfect to get one...sure anyone can get lucky and get a big buck but to do it consistantly u have to do everything right.

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I've come to let all the smaller bucks pass now. Last year I saw 8 different bucks that were mostly 8 ptrs in the first two weeks of season but none of them were very big. I ended up taking one much nicer, actually the pic in my avatar.

If you let all those small bucks go they will eventually end up getting large unless you have a fair amount of hunting pressure in the area where they shoot any size buck.

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How big of a tract of land do you have control of? Are you the only one that hunts it? It's tough to implement QDM if you don't have a decent tract of land and/or the neighbors are hammering everything.

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No age structure in the herd... very similar to where I hunt. Each fall I pass countless spikes... many under 3", forks and scrubracks in hopes of eventually seeing something "decent." Decent for the area anyhow... wouldn't even get a raise of the binocs in Buffalo county... Anyhow the area gets hit hard from the guns with nearly all the bucks under 2 and half years old. The sex ratio is completely out of whack... Way too many does. Breeding completely dominated by immature deer. Maybe your property is in a similar situation? Until limited access and management rules are started... seeing mature deer will not become reality. Sometimes it gets frustrating but I'm just happy and thankful I have a place to hunt.

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i usually shoot the first thing i see buck/doe ...why?

here is my response. i hunt public land ALL 4 years the deer we have shot are the only ones we have seen all season.

this year i have bowhunted and that has given me more opportunity to hunt longer and if i see a small buck while firearms hunting ill PASS on it since i have the rest of the year to bowhunt but any does i see are going in the freezer

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Typically, I look for the inside spread being greater than the width of the ears, that has been my rule since 92. I was getting a buck/year before that. I've connected on 4 in the last 10 years but the quality of the deer has been much better. I'd rather shoot one good buck every 10 years than shoot 1 small buck every year. It helps to be able to shoot a doe every year to get some vension in the freezer.

There are exceptions, I did miss one in Ripley a few years back that was inside the ears but would have been on my wall. I also did shoot a very nice 2.5 year old 10 pointer that I would have let walk but I was surrounded by gun hunters so I took him.

I'd say I'm looking for at least 3.5 year old bucks and some years I don't even see one worth shooting at. I did pass on one 3-4 year old a couple years ago, he only had one antler and I had him at 5 yards! I let him go hoping I'd see him the next year!

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It depends on the time of year. If its late in the season and I am deerless. In the mean time, I give everything with horns a pass until I feel that I won't see a nice buck anymore and I am deerless. Most of the time, I'll just take a doe if I need meat. I know some people think that if they pass on a small buck, the neighbor will just shoot it. My response is always "what if they don't". The only thing you can be 100% sure of is that if YOU shoot it, it won't make it to next year. I'm all about shooting deer, to each his own, but if I want venison, I'll take the ladies.

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I would really agree with the statement of What time of the year it is. Typically, I have numerous doe tags and also a rifle buck tag. That makes it much easier to pass on some smaller bucks.

I would like to shoot a larger deer every year but after time, that I dont believe is possible without going years without a buck. If one shoots a 130pt P&Y class deer, one needs to wait for something bigger and it gets tough.

I love to shoot deer with my bow and if I harvest a smaller racked deer then so be it. Years ago it was all about shooting a deer as now its more about the hunt and friends and the good time I have enjoying the whole fall hunt.

Dont get me wrong though, man I love to shoot deer. It is very hard for me to let any deer walk by if it presents a good killing shot.

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Our area is right around Almelund. There are big bucks there. I have seen other monsters shot as well as my father in lay shot a huge 12 pointer 4 years ago. It has been a couple years since I have seen a buck. While I see many does. We do shoot as many does as we can since it is an intensive harvest area. I am just thinking the doe buck ratio is way out of wack. I just can't take it to myself to shoot any of the small bucks in hopes they will come by again in a few years when they are monsters. But at the same time There are a couple neighbors hunting that I am sure shoot anything with antlers. Well I guess I will just keeping on shooting does in hopes some year this thing will get back into wack.

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This year I have already got a doe so I'm going to wait for a bigger buck since I have only gotten a spike before that. I'm going to be patient. nothing but bigger deer unless another doe sits in front of me for any length of time. grin.gif I think I would shoot only a buck with antlers outside of his ears, but my finger may get itchy, might be limiting myself too much.

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About 4 years ago I had a spike fall asleep right below my deer stand. After about 3 hours, I finally did a snort wheeze on him to scare him away so I could leave!!! Wow did he bolt then! grin.gif

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Well once again I pass on a 4 pointer hoping to see it next year or the year after only to have my father law take it. We have plenty of does to shoot but heck lets shoot the small bucks too. I guess I will just give up. On the QDM. How come it is so hard to get this point accross.

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I have been passing on small bucks for over 7 years on my property. I'am still awaiting the reward of seeing a buck worth shooting around my area? I may have to try hunting elsewhere next year as I'm getting convinced that this land is a basket rack forever place!

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140" Minumum

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During bow season it would have to be at least a bigger racked 8, probably 3 1/2 year-old at this point. I've passed on 2 small 8's & a 7 this year (2 yearlings & 1 was probably a 2 year-old). During gun season first weekend, it depends on the situation. If I see a small buck that doesn't look like much & he's clearly going to walk right to one of the neighbor's occupied stands I shoot him. If not, I let him go. We have a big group & I know we want to kill some deer.

This year I shot a runty forky in that situation. I then shot a 2 year-old 8 pointer that I wouldn't have shot normally, but I'd just watched my brother shoot at & apparently hit him. I shot him as he acted hit, then looking at the deer it was obvious to both of us that I was the only one to hit him. Seeing the kind of shooting he had & knowing he can shoot, I still can't believe he missed him three times, but he did. We were both sure he'd hit him & just not knocked him down.

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Last 2 years I decided to only harvest 8 points or better. No luck yet. Had a chance to harvest a couple fork's during bow season and a spike last night hoping they will grow up. I will not harvest a basket rack 8 either. Average 8 or bigger.

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Thay have to be bigger than this guy-

buck005lp6.th.jpg

I saw his brother, same rack, but now a slightly bigger 10 this past weekend. Unfortunately, he decided 75 yards was a close enough look for me.

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I let everything walk that is under 130", unless it has an extremely rare trait that would be a once in a lifetime opportunity, like a droptine or extreme non-typical rack. I also hunt public land though primarily, so I should probably lower my standards a bit because most of these deer I see are usually pummled in the gun season, but it's worth a try to squeek them by for next year. If I hunted private land with neighbors willing to do QDM, I would let everything under 150" walk. Unfortunately, I have no land and don't know anyone willing to let me on their land that does QDM. frown.gif

GoggleEye

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I only shoot a nice 8 or better.

But we have neighbors that "if it is brown it is down."

I don't like them.

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I'm with Dahitman.

Its good to hear more people are at least wanting to wait for something mature. I've been eating my buck tags lately and don't really mind. I have 4 decent heads on the wall now, among the other critters and fish. Does eat just fine by me.

As was stated by another poster on the "DNR doing a good job?" thread, each hunter goes through their own evolution in regards to building their standards.

We have about 475,000 gun hunters in this state. MANY of those folks ONLY hunt firearms deer. They want to shoot something. Anything.

We took up hunting the Emily area this year. I shot my one doe I'm allowed. The big 10 I wanted is dead. The patch of cover I can hunt is rumored to have a fork, 6 and an 8 left. Not many other bucks have been seen in the area. The only reason for me to go back, outside of hanging out with friends, is for my daughter to hunt. She is waiting for a six or better. I think she should take a doe, but its her choice. She will do little other hunting this year due to her schedule.

I have no other big bucks located for this year, so I'll probably eat that tag again. Unless luck shines on me! grin.gif

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I am with you my Brother.

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this is a very tough topic, with everyone having their own opinions on, so im going to let mine fly. I feel that mn and the zones it has are tough big and to diverse for the dnr to properly manage. My feeling is there needs to be more micro manageing done, according to deer populations is that specific area, ie antler restrictions, doe harvest, etc. Now this is getting better during the last five years, but i think antler restrictions would not be a bad idea either. I would love to see them. As for how myself, and our party hunts. These are our standards. We hunt west of mille lacs, and have a decent amount of land. that is field, woods and swamp. This year, our stipulations were a buck had to have eights points over three inches. Therefore it could be a ten pointer, with shorter brow tines but if the other points were over three, then its legal. If a buck is shot that isn't big enough, the shooter pays a fifty dollar fine. So far we haven't shot a buck this year, although last weekend we passed up on fifteen, with i believe nine of them being different deer. Now some of the neighbors have the "brown its down mentalitly" and this makes it difficult, although we are slowly starting to get some to make the transition. As of now my guess is there is about 2500 acres that is being managed,between our group, and couple others.(lots of swamp) with a couple 160 thrown in there that other people own who would shoot anything. Needless to say i have high expectations for the next couple years. Now down where i hunt at home, Anoka/Elk River, the landowner that lets me bowhunt has a policy that if you shoot a buck it goes on the wall. Which i really like. there is only 200 acres down there, but we have produced some really nice deer in the last five years. Biggest problem is vehicles. Tough topic, because everyone has their own opinions. Just my thoughts.

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Quote:

I have no other big bucks located for this year, so I'll probably eat that tag again. Unless luck shines on me!
grin.gif


Keep in mind the power of the rut! You never know what big monsters you may see filtering in your area looking for a good doe to breed smile.gif From what I observed last weekend the rut is not yet in full swing, but this weekend may be a different story.

Getting back on topic, I am looking for an 8 or better outside the ears, BUT it must also be 4 1/2 or older. I'm fortunate enough to have neighbors that also practice QDM and so far it seems to be working well. My dad and I are seeing a lot of nice little guys walking around and caught a quick glimpse of 2 8's we passed on last year, which are now dandy 10's. They are both 3 1/2 this year so we are letting them walk once more. We watched the neighbor pass on one of them last weekend as well. Next year will be great and the year following even better because we should have the 2 big guys at 4 1/2 and over a dozon 2 1/2 and 3 1/2's running around. I'll shoot does to balance out the herd until then so I can still fill my freezer.

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Thanks! Yeah, keep the faith! Its just kinda hard to do when we're talking about the lowest deer density of the 4 areas I hunt.

But I have to say, its good to have choices. Bow, F/A, ML; Zone 1, 2, 3, 4? I am VERY fortunate that way.

Our Zone 3 spot was showing us MORE and BETTER bucks this year than ever before. Coincidently we found out this year that the 3 major tracts (1000+ acres) surrounding our little honey hole went QDM 2 years ago. Nothing less than 3 1/2 yrs old!

Only problem is alot of people push that farm without warning during the gun season because they know the owner just wants deer shot. They ask him once and think thats good forever. I call before I go everytime, but with him not knowing who's dropping in on the backside, I'm afraid.

Bow and smokestick there for me.

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