What do you get out of passing bucks???........my opinions on a lost season

Discussion in 'Bowhunting Talk' started by atlasman, Feb 5, 2015.

  1. henson59

    henson59 Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Maybe I missed it but is this your first year passing bucks that don't meet your minimum standards? Also what is your minimum size for a deer?
     
  2. Skywalker

    Skywalker Grizzled Veteran

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    I don't think it has to do with working more and killing less. For me, I enjoy the hunt. I enjoy sitting in the treestand for sunrises and sunsets. I enjoy seeing nature in all it's glory. For me a successful hunt does not always in in a kill, infact 99% of the time it doesn't. The kill is not the goal for me, if it was I'd be tagged out in the first week of the season. The thrill is the hunt. I think that's what hunters are talking about when they talk about progressing as a hunter. It's the shift of importance from the kill to the hunt itself.
     
  3. uncljohn

    uncljohn Weekend Warrior

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    Ive learned how easy it is to kill a spike. So what I get is the knowledge that I didn't take the easy way.

    However its all a factor of where you are hunting and how you were raised. If you might see one buck a year, and you've been raised to fill the freezer, then your decision is going to be different. I see tons of buttons/spikes.
     
  4. muzzyman88

    muzzyman88 Die Hard Bowhunter

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    I'm a horn hunter and I know what you're talking about. I was blessed or cursed at a young age, having taken a couple of really big bucks for PA. I've since set that my own personal bar high. However, as the years have went by, I've found me adjusting it slightly. Basically, if the average good buck in my area is 130, I'll kill him every time he walks by the tree. This knowing full well there are always bigger deer around. Just playing the odds of killing one of those deer is much harder than you might think. With that said, I'm happy with my choices. I decided I wanted to be consistent on nice bucks. I figure it this way. If I can kill a nice buck every year, I'll probably have a crack at one of the bigger ones here and there as well. I went through a period where I wouldn't kill a deer less than 140. Well, after a good number of dry spell years, it was becoming obvious that I wasn't enjoying myself as much because of the self imposed pressure.

    Its really all about what you're happy doing. If you are content letting those 120-130 class deer walk in hopes they'll either get bigger or you have a bigger one walk by that year, good for you. My advice though, is to not get too wrapped up in it to the point where hunting becomes more failure than success and it makes it less enjoyable for you.
     
  5. Lester

    Lester Grizzled Veteran

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    There is no simple answer to this question. Location, amount of acres, how your neighbors hunt but most importantly your hunting party help decide what you should do. I am not saying you have to be a bigger man or a better hunter to try and only hunt 150" bucks but you do have to be able to go years sometimes with that tag in your pocket. If you feel like it was a lot of wasted time and money then you just are not at the point of being able to let 120-130 inch bucks walk, and there is nothing wrong with that. I haven't hunted the east coast in years and I know it is not the same as the Midwest, you have WAY more hunters and just not as many 150" bucks. If you saw a number of 120-130 inch bucks and you passed them all then I would think next year things should be better. To me some people want to jump the progression into hunting BIG bucks too soon from what they see on websites, facebook and TV. I think the time to pass the 120-130 inch bucks is when you start thinking to yourself I wish I passed him and let him live one more year after shooting those bucks. Good luck figuring out what your plans are for next year and above everything else remember to have fun.
     
  6. Lester

    Lester Grizzled Veteran

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    Also to get an idea of how hard it is to hunt and kill 150"+ bucks almost every year just look at this forum. There are a lot of really good hunters but very few that consistently kill bucks like that. Just a few that I can think of off the top of my head are Fletch, Buckeye, Lady Forge, Todd and Clinton. I am sure I am missing a couple but you get my point it is a VERY small number compared to the thousands of members here.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2015
  7. MartinHunter

    MartinHunter Die Hard Bowhunter

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    that is the price you pay on a trophy lease you are not going to kill a big buck every year... A QDM style lease is a better way to go for most.
     
  8. Tony

    Tony Legendary Woodsman

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    I don't know, Bro....you have me arguing with myself over here :D

    I shot a small buck that I thought was bigger last year ...I had the one I thought he was the next time out broadside at 18 yards... honestly, I am glad I killed him as he was the first of 2 deer killed last year and I want 2 minimum for the freezer...I can't seem to get doe in front of me during bow ...I can kill yearling bucks 90% of the time I hunt ... I can't see myself EVER passing a 130" deer in NY ....ever. But I don't have them on the properties I hunt, often ...tho there are some, they are often on the adjacent property.

    We don't live in Iowa....if I could consistently drop 120+ inch bucks in NY ...I would. I just picked up a 200 acre property to hunt 4 minutes from my house ...maybe that will hold them ... maybe that is enough property where I will have a few good core buck areas and doe bedding grounds... if it's horn that cranks you guys up, go get 'em....

    It almost sounds like the property you own has made killing doe and "smallish" bucks too easy...
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2015
  9. Shane0709

    Shane0709 Die Hard Bowhunter

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    That really is up to you. It all depends on where you and what your neighbors are like. The 2 bucks in my profile pic are my first two with a bow. I shot them both this year. My perspective on this is different than most. Did that 26" 4 point get my heart going? Absolutely. Did that 103" 13 point get my heart going? Of course. I havent yet reached the level of hunting that guys like justin have where im willing to pass up sure pope and young deer to shoot a monster. To me its all about having fun and shooting what makes you happy. Dont let what others say or do influence your hunting. Personally, I would have shot that buck as soon as he walked past my stand, and I lease prime whitetail land in illinois. I shot 7 bucks and a doe this year, and my biggest was a 145" and a 138" buck that I shot in texas. It was a ton of fun, but yet shooting those big ones with a gun didnt even come close to providing me with the satisfaction and pride that my two smaller bow bucks did. My only advice to you is shoot what makes you happy. If you are out for a 150"+ giant, then I would wait, but if you know your neighbors and know they would shoot it first chance they got then I would say shoot it. My question to you is what puts a smile on your face? If you shot a 110-120" would you look up at it on you wall and smile, or would you be full of regret that you didnt meet your trophy standars. Im surrounded by people who look down on guys like me who shoot small bucks, but im not gonna let that change the way I do things. In my opinion if you have to shoot a booner to have fun, you are crazy. Goodluck and I hope this helps.
     
  10. Tony

    Tony Legendary Woodsman

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    What you want to make you feel like your season was a success just may change from year to year...
     
  11. Mathewshooter

    Mathewshooter Weekend Warrior

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    I've been hunting central NY and the finger lakes area for over 30 years. I currently hunt public land and pass yearling bucks but I would never pass a 120+ buck in NY. A 130 around here is equal to a 150 in the Midwest. I was lucky enough to shoot a gross 170 on public land in NY and that is like shooting a 200 incher in the Midwest. I guess what I'm saying is you may have your sights set a little high. A 130 inch deer in NY is a big deer. I also don't think you have enough property to keep the deer from going elsewhere and getting killed unless your neighbors are all on board. You could try making a large portion of your property into a thick sanctuary and never go into it. That may keep some of the bigger bucks on your land. Personally, I would lower your standards slightly (120-130ish) and give it a few years and see if it gets better. If not, try something else or go back to shooting whatever you were before. It took a few years of passing yearling bucks on the chunk of public that I hunt before I started seeing more and bigger bucks. I passed 10 different small bucks this year and saw 3 what I would consider shooter bucks that I could not get a shot at. Again, this is on public land....it should work a lot better on your private property.
     
  12. trial153

    trial153 Grizzled Veteran

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    I think until you experience the sheer amount of hunting pressure in a state like NY its hard to appreciate atlasman's level of frustration.

    I know I how dealt with it. Almost all my deer hunting now takes place out of NY, So much so that I sold a sizeable amount of my land. My only regret was not doing it sooner.
     
  13. CoveyMaster

    CoveyMaster Grizzled Veteran

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    Management for better deer (healthier and larger) is a long game...if you want immediate gratification and does don't do it for you...then go back to shooting whatever makes you happy.

    350 acres is plenty and worrying about what neighbors do now is silly. The fact that you all changed from your old mindset and were able to agree to let smaller bucks walk proves that everyone's mindset is changeable. If you don't change your methods thinking the neighbors will never change and then they change next year unexpectedly...then you are 'that neighbor' that won't change their methods. Change has to start somewhere, if everyone is afraid to be the first then be happy with smaller bucks as the norm.
     
  14. MartinHunter

    MartinHunter Die Hard Bowhunter

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    which is it in a nutshell...unless you can get the adjoining landowners to go in on a CO-OP with you it is almost counter productive to let a good buck walk in hopes he will be bigger next year, unless you are managing a huge piece of property..
     
  15. trial153

    trial153 Grizzled Veteran

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    With hunter densities in the southern tier hovering at 10-15 per square mile. ...managing deer on even sizable properties in NY is an effort in frustration ...even more so when you look at that up hill battle considering NY states current regulations
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2015
  16. Jake/PA

    Jake/PA Grizzled Veteran

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    This is PA too.

    I've tried the past few years to pass up younger deer and I've been been content with eating my tag. But like Atlas, I found myself being frustrated with the lack of improvement. At one point I was getting a very nice mature buck on camera but my patience took a nose dive when I found two young bucks that were killed but not recovered. At that moment I realized that letting them go so they can grow sounds great but it's going against the grain in a state like PA.

    After this season, I decided to try and get some neighbors on board. The plan is to send out letters with little QDMA booklets. I am sure most will ignore it all together but hopefully a few decide to try it. I love improving habitat and helping the herd but I'm honestly tired of dumping money down the drain.

    Expecting the neighbors to ignore the letter, I plan on scouting out of state this year and hunting out West. There are greater opportunities out there compared to PA and the other pressured states.
     
  17. trial153

    trial153 Grizzled Veteran

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    New York State deer regulations make it almost impossible for QDM to be successfulon a small to moderate scale.

    Maybe, maybe if you had several square mile in GOOD habitat. You would be able to overcome NY management practices.
    ( good deer habitat is limited to about 10 counties in western NY and two three counties in extreme southern NY with little to no access)
    The rest of NY is fair to poor at best.

    Let's look at what you would need to overcome in NY.

    Several guys touched on the brown is down mind set..no sense expounding on it.

    But to reiterate hunter densities are insanely high, and maybe even understated because they are calculated on the state level. Which included the ADK park which for the most park is barren of hunter compared to the southern tier.


    A rifle season in southern NY that last 31 days and starts mid rut.

    Potentially two buck tags, archery and regular season.

    Liberal either sex tags, potentially two. Why do I say they are liberal? Because they can be used in units with zero DMP's( antler less tags). So basically they let you kill does in areas that they say that no does needed to or should be killed.

    This is going to be controversial. But I don't care, NY bucks don't have the genetic potential, coupled with poor nutrition and marginal habitat. Lots of bucks aren't getting bigger then that 120 mark no matter how much age is on them in some areas.

    While we are on nutrition. NY soils is poor except for very limited areas. The amount of money it takes to change that makes it reach a point of negative returns.
    NY also doesn't allow any ssupplemental feeding and or minerals.

    So when we add all these things together it's easy to answer the original question.

    What is gained by Atlasman, for the example passing up a buck on his well managed 350ac?

    Nothing. Except some very long odds that you see any significant improvement in that deer if your lucky enough to see him again next year.

    That's a big if.
     
  18. bucksnbears

    bucksnbears Grizzled Veteran

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    sounds too me like you really don't WANT too shoot a 120" but perhaps feel the need so you can at least tell people you shot a "nice one".

    this was not posted to sound rude. perhaps just some inner emotion type thing.. i've gone through it myself.

    keep in mind. a 3.5 year old buck is NO SMARTER than a 3.5 doe

    edited to add:. if you are worried about your neighbors doing the brown and down thing and you are seeing decent bucks, well they made it through a couple seasons already. there is a decent chance some will make it a few more
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2015
  19. MartinHunter

    MartinHunter Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Now you guys know why I love hunting in KY....
     
  20. buckeye

    buckeye Grizzled Veteran

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    I have changed a lot over the years as well Atlas, 6-8-10 years ago I was only hung up on "the score". That's all I cared about. I had around 10 trail cams up all over the place, obsessed with chasing inches... I decided I just wanted to "hunt" again. I haven't put up any trail cams since the summer of '11 and have had some great seasons since... Just hunting.

    Now post trail camera obsession the first encounter I have from stand is my true first encounter with that animal (per year obviously). I have evolved mostly into "look and feel" when it comes to selection, if I have any uncertainty or second thoughts when I see one I hang the bow back up.. If I like the way a buck looks and he gets me excited I am going to try to take him.

    I passed some really great bucks this year and ended my season putting down an injured buck not 30 minutes after I had an opportunity at a solid 9 I would have tried to take no questions asked a few years ago (based on inches) and selfishly I would have never taken that injured buck. I'd have let him go by and suffer.

    Having said all of that , it still takes a lot of antler to get me excited, honestly more than it used to take. But, no longer do I gauge a shooter strictly on inches. Do I still measure bucks... Yes. Do I still refer to scores... Yes. The score just isn't the factor it used to be.

    Basically what I am most likely unsuccessfully trying to say in this string of incomplete and run-on sentences here is... Don't let a score make a buck a shooter or not. Enjoy your hunts and if that buck looks good to you and fits the bill for what gets you EXCITED... I say he is a shooter.

    Sorry, I can only imagine how painful this poorly written and communicated post most have been to read. I still do not think I got my thoughts properly convened.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2015

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