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What's a mature buck?


Nova

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Just browsing around at different post and I got to wondering. What is a mature buck to you? Is it at least 2.5 years old. Does it have to have a rack outside the ears, is it a certain number of points, or a measurement thing? How many of you would pass on a 2.5 year old outside the ears 10 point to wait for a bigger one? Is body size or head gear size more important to you? With QDM becoming more popular all the time I wonder how many guys wait for just one more year until the bucks are 2.5 years old and how many actually give the buck 4.5 or even 5.5 years to get to full maturity. Not trying to get anyone rilled up, just curious what everyone else does.

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Tough one.

For me:

Is it early in the season?

Do I know of a nicer one in the area?

What weapon do I have in my hands? (I have yet to take a buck with my bow or muzzleloader, so my standards are a bit lower with those 2 weapons)

So much depends on what comes by me too.

Is it a buck thats got a real funky rack but not exactly huge? I think I would take it.

Some people like a combination of wide and tall racks. I gotta tell you, if a buck comes by with a 15 inch spread and he is sporting some long tines, he will go down.

As far as age, yes, absolute minimum 2.5 year olds, but we cant determine that until the deer is down. Lots of guesses as to a deers age on the hoof.

Dang I miss deer hunting now... smirk.gif

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Good topic, Nova. Hard question to answer for sure.

Let's try a photo. Here is a fella that I have been getting a some pictures of over at a friends place. Nice buck to be sure, next year he should be really nice.

I have to say, I would probably have taken him this year should I have had the chance. Nice spread, handsome rack, but not much mass.

Some QDM programs would let this deer walk, which is also cool.

shooter or not.jpg

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I'd pretty much echo BLB's sentiments except that I have gotten one buck with the muzzleloader before so I'd have a bit higher standards then. It also depends upon the meat in the freezer status too. If its 4:00 on the last day of the muzzleloader season and a buck I wouldn't have shot opening day of the gun season comes when I still have no meat in the freezer, he's probably going to have to go down (although with the all season I should have gotten a doe by then...).

As to a general rule, I can't hardly imagine myself shooting a 1 1/2 year old under any circumstances, but all 2 1/2 year olds are probably fair game with the muzzleloader and definitely would be with the bow. In the gun season, I'm pretty darn picky though, it would have to really be something beyond the ordinary 2 1/2 year old befor I'd drop him. Equal to or bigger than the one in my avator or he's walking.

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Nova Good post,

I look at the back and gut of a mautre buck, when the back is sagging and he has a stomach that stands out, my opinion is he's at least 3 1/2 years old, I also like what BLB said about which weapon you have, all that said I ate my Buck tag this year, missed the buck I wanted and never had a respectable buck show up again.

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Ate my tag this year too. Dang it.

Really thought the ML season would bring something decent out. Only antlerless deer though. smirk.gif

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Did you try olive oil and some garlic? My buck tag was pretty good eating this year without the stickum of past years.

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One more thing I would consider is how the hunt shaped up. If you have spent a long time on stand and scouted and earned it, plus it was cool how the event unfolded...ie he came in to grunts or playing the horns I might whack him. On the other hand, if you see him from the truck and he stands there while you get out (obviously on land you can hunt), then I think the standards go up quite a bit. generally speaking, it will take a 2.5 yr old or more for me. At least as wide as the ears, at least 8 points, and decent mass and length. There are many in the gray area however. The good news is, if you pass up a gray area buck, it is not a bad thing, he will get even bigger the next year.

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A very small percentage of Minnesota bucks make it to a "mature" level, which I believe to be at least 3.5 years old. Most bucks shot are 1.5 years and 2.5 years old. It seems once they make it past that second season, they become extremely wary and therefore more difficult to kill.

That's a mature buck, now a trophy buck is whatever the hunters believes it to be. Two different subjects. The first has a definate answer, the second has many.

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In my opinion a mature buck is one that lives long enough to reach his potential, usually 4.5 to 5.5 years. I have not tagged a buck in the past 5 years due to none being mature, watched several cross the fence and "BANG" The neighbor has another 130 class "whoop de doo" buck for his game room. Trophys are however in the eye of the beholder, and it is his right to take them, Not his right to complain about never getting a 160 class.

If you take any almost any buck in MN give him proper nutrition and 5.5 years to "mature" there are not many that wouldnt be real trophys. QDM in MN is hampered only by the fact that there is a " I might not see a bigger one" "BANG" mentality.

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I have a 10 pointer coming in the feeder and I say hes 3 1/2 years old and is a nice buck that would go down for me. He does not have alot mass but he was pretty wide. --I have pictures so if anyone is willing to put them up for me here, let me know--

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Quote:

In my opinion a mature buck is one that lives long enough to reach his potential, usually 4.5 to 5.5 years.


That's an ultra extreme definition. If you aren't going to shoot anything under a 150-160 class buck, you are just trophy hunting which is considerably different than doing QDM I think. A 130" buck is also not going to be on the "need to get passed on" list in any QDM program I've ever looked at, that's a good solid shooter animal just about anywhere.

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I think Quack has a "Mature Buck" here. Dang. He will be something next year.

What kind of camera Quack? Or maybe I should ask if its a trail camera, or is it something you took with a normal camera?

deer3medium8ca.jpg

deer5medium0zv.jpg

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man i didnt think the pictures were going to be too big. oh well.

Ah I took it with a Kodak digital camera that my dad got for christmas. I had a hard time getting pictures of him through the window in the cabin but i guess some turned out fine. He was feeding just out of the cabin in the corn, He is wide but I could not get a good picture of him facing toward to me with heads up. I have a short video clip on the camera and you could say he was wide and tall. I might have seen him before a few times in a field close to my property at night with the spotlight? I am guessing hes in the 150 class, only that if he can put a good 20 inches for next fall and some mass on the base, he'll be a good 4 1/2 year old buck... and a shooter!

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I resized them so they would fit the screen.

Your welcome Q

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Nice specimen, note his gut he's starting to show a paunch, but his back is straight line, As LD said hard to let this dude walk, but my opinion he's going to be a monster next year as he turns 4 1/2 grin.gif

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I agree this is a nice buck with a lot of potential. With a deer like this in your yard, I would recommend that you scout the bedding areas this late winter, early spring and see if you can find his sheds. Then hunt him next fall. If you are lucky enough to see him again take note of the increase in mass he will have as a 4.5 year old deer. The ultimate deer hunting challenge has got to be hunting one particular animal.

lawdog, I am extreme in that I know the potential of the bucks in my area and in my opinion a 130 is not a shooter, for you thats ok, for me it will take a 160. As I said before the trophy is in the eyes of the beholder. I've shot my share of nice bucks, none that reach 160, and every 130 I shoot will not get there. My neighbor has at least 12 130-135 class bucks on his wall, and can't get enough of them. For me the time has come to set my goals higher, I do not care what the others choose to do. You gotta admit that a 5.5 year old 160 plus looks a lot more impressive than a 3.5 year old 130.

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Quote:

lawdog, I am extreme in that I know the potential of the bucks in my area and in my opinion a 130 is not a shooter, for you thats ok, for me it will take a 160.


And you just confirmed what I was saying, that you are defining a trophy and not just a mature buck as the post asks about. I'm not saying you are right or wrong as to what you want to shoot, I'm just saying that defining and hunting for only trophy deer is a different question than what was asked. In a QDM type setting, its not JUST trophy bucks that are shootable. If you are going to pass up a 150" buck to wait out a 160", more power to you, but don't expect to ever shoot many and don't complain when you don't (not saying that you would by the way). 160" deer are not easy to come by, I've only shot one that topped 160 ever and I've hunted at least two sometimes three states every year for about two decades and I don't expect I'll ever get another anytime soon(hope so yes but don't expect too), but I do know I'll shoot more real good shooter bucks and piles of does for the freezer too before I'm done with this hunting game...

So now, answer me this, are you saying you'd pass on this buck? I don't honestly think that many, if any, people would, and I don't think it'd be a smart move to pass him in hopes of a bigger one in 99% of hunting situations (fair chase no fence hunting situations which are all that I even count by the way).

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I wish more people would pass on 150 inch bucks.

More chance for me to harvest it... grin.gifgrin.gifgrin.gif

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yes, I would pass, tough to tell from a pic like this but I would guess him around 135-140. I honestly don't expect to see a bigger one, but would look at his potential. We don't eat a lot of venison, and if I'm taking one for the freezer, it would not be this one. Shoot as many as you wish, but you reafirm my beleif, and yours that you may never get another shot at a 160, cause you shoot em at 130. It's a vicious cycle, just two different opinions on a mature buck, in all reality they breed at 1.5 years.

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I guess I don't know what a mature buck is, maturity really is a word that describes actions more than physical conditions in my book, but that's just symantics anyway.

To me a "shooter" buck is probably most 2 1/2 year-old bucks. I see gobs of 1 1/2 year-olds & not a lot beyond that. I'm not saying I wouldn't shoot a yearling, but it's certainly not my plan & most times I won't. If I look around my area & what most other hunters shoot there aren't many that shoot bucks over 1 1/2 years old consistently, some think they do, but they don't really know much about deer age, obviously. Naturally there's some guys that consistently do shoot older bucks, but not the average, more casual hunter. I'd love a 160 class buck, but in reality he's going to have to slip by me a few seasons on his own skills for me not to take him before that & then chances are he'll be too smart for me to kill anyway.

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Quote:

A very small percentage of Minnesota bucks make it to a "mature" level, which I believe to be at least 3.5 years old. Most bucks shot are 1.5 years and 2.5 years old. It seems once they make it past that second season, they become extremely wary and therefore more difficult to kill.

That's a mature buck, now a trophy buck is whatever the hunters believes it to be. Two different subjects. The first has a definate answer, the second has many.


Well said! Good topic here Nova. This conversation has evolved into what your definition of a trophy is. There are many factors to be considered here. I hunt in an area where deer are miles away from any type of agriculture to help supplement antler growth. In order for me to see a 160 class buck, there are many, many variables that would all have to come together perfectly. My personal goal in the area that I hunt is to get a 130. This may seem a little low to some of you, but this would be a trophy in my book.

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To me a mature buck is the one I put in the freezer because he just isn't going to get any older. lol If I think it is more then a forker I take it. Where I hunt you dont get the time to count points,look at the back and belly or do any of that ageing and trophy sizzing stuff. Now if I was taking a test and had to pick one year I would say 3 1/2.

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Mature according to the dictionary:

Complete and finished in natural growth and development.

Fully developed.

Yep you're right it's developed into opinions of trophy. There are many opinions on mature also, if you follow the dictionary meaning of mature, what do you get? You get a buck that has grown to it's potential.

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