Age vs. Rack

Spurhunter

Spurhunter

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Easy's post got me thinking again about something I've wondered about many times. Hypothetically speaking, I don't get the idea of preferring to kill a 100 inch 6 year old buck over a 150 inch 3 year old buck. I've never seen a jawbone mounted on the wall. Personally I'm all about the rack and couldn't care less how old they are. Is it the idea of knowing you won the game vs. an older smarter buck?

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double browtine

double browtine

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Spurhunter":2ohjzh87 said:
Easy's post got me thinking again about something I've wondered about many times. Hypothetically speaking, I don't get the idea of preferring to kill a 100 inch 6 year old buck over a 150 inch 3 year old buck. I've never seen a jawbone mounted on the wall. Personally I'm all about the rack and couldn't care less how old they are. Is it the idea of knowing you won the game vs. an older smarter buck?

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Are you only talking about horns here? :drool:
 
cbhunter

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It is the satisfaction of knowing you killed a mature buck which is a much much harder task. It is like winning a chess match compared to winning a game of checkers. I am somewhere in between. If I see a buck over 140, chances are, I'm gonna get excited and shoot before I ask myself the age of the deer. Now I have let multiple 120" deer go because I thought they would be much bigger the following year. A lot of it depends on the success I have had over the last few years. For instance.......the only bucks I have killed the last 2 years were 2 6points. For whatever reason, I got excited when they chased does beneath my stand. I'm talking 60-80 inch 6 points lol. I can recall years ago letting a NICE 6 point walk because he only had 6 points and I figured he would be nicer next year. Seen the same buck the next year and realized he was an OLD buck that still had the same exact rack, just slightly more mass. I let him walk this time because he was headed towards my cousin and I hoped he would kill him but he never saw him. I found him dead a year or two later. Not sure if he died of old age or disease got him but I'm telling you he was probably 6.5+ by the time I found his dead head.

I get both sides and I think it boils down to shoot what makes you happy and let others do the same without criticizing one another.
 
Snake

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Uhhhh I'm shooting the 150 " buck unless I know for a fact that he will be there next year which I've never had that option where I've hunted so I'm with you Spur = Rack !!
 
T

TheLBLman

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Basically,
a young buck with an above average rack,
has great potential to become a monster buck of a lifetime, if you don't shoot him until he's older.
The larger his rack when young, the much more larger he will become if he lives another year.

An old buck with a below average rack,
antlers not getting any larger,
but the hunting challenge (opportunity to get the shot)
is typically greater with the older deer.

A 2 1/2-yr-old buck, no matter what size his antlers, is basically the dumbest deer in the woods (during the rut) and not a fraction the hunting challenge of a 4 1/2-yr-old or older buck. At least typically, this is the case. A 3 1/2 is often still pretty "dumb" during the rut.
 
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TheLBLman

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From another thread, but very fitting here . . . . .

Roost 1":2e6tmhv6 said:
The older a buck gets, the more reclusive he becomes.
David Hale put it best:
1.5yr old buck= teenage boy, will chase just about anything but dont get much action.
2.5yr old buck= late teens boy, eventually gets some action and it drives him crazy.
3.5yr old buck= man in his 30’s although he still tries to get all he can, starting to realize the dangers of it.
4.5yr old buck= man in his early 50’s, still likes some action but don’t put as much effort into it.
5.5yr old buck and older= man in 60’s still take it when offered but it’s gonna have to come to him.

Usually, a particular buck will achieve his largest (or highest scoring) rack at the age of 5 1/2 or older.
So when we shoot off the larger racked young bucks, we are killing off our best stock, so to speak.
(This is called hunter-induced antler high-grading.
It is similar to timber cutters only cutting the high-quality oaks, while leaving only the "trash" trees as the next generation for harvest.)

In TN, is very, very rare for a 3 1/2-yr-old buck to gross over 150.
Such a buck would likely become a 180-plus if he lived to 5 1/2,
likely even make Boone & Crockett minimums as a 4 1/2.

Most will never have to make this choice on a 3 1/2-yr-old buck.


A more realistic choice is whether you let walk a 110-120-class 2 1/2-yr-old buck
(equating maybe to a 150-plus 4 1/2 or older buck when he survives) . . . . .
Or maybe the choice of letting walk a 130-135-class 3 1/2-yr-old buck
(equating maybe to a 150-ish 4 1/2 or older buck when he survives just one more year.

Often, not realizing the deer's age and lack of skeletal development,
when a 120-class 2 1/2-yr-old buck is seen by a hunter,
that hunter may genuinely believe he's seeing a 150-class rack.
This is why many hunter-managers are emphasizing hunters better learn to age bucks on the hoof.
Rarely will you have any ground shrinkage on an older buck.

If you really want to kill a 150-class buck,
that journey typically begins by passing up 2 1/2 & 3 1/2 yr-old bucks that score around the parameters stated above.

But kill what makes you happy :D

I'm happiest just killing no bucks I believe are younger than 4 1/2,
and only one 4 1/2 or older when I find his antlers "appealing" to me.
My typical "target" buck is going to be 5 1/2, and yes, will typically look around 150 or better.

It's just that in the areas I hunt, very few bucks could potentially break 150
unless they live to be 5 1/2. Very, very few.
But if I were to see a 150 believed to be only 3 1/2 in these areas I hunt most,
he would get a pass from me.

We are all at different stages in our hunting with different hunting opportunities.
Whatever your stage, wherever you are,
my suggestion is to make your highest priority to enjoy your journeys.
Look at your hunting as a journey, not necessarily a destination defined by a kill.
 
Spurhunter

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cbhunter":1hgpyrce said:
I get both sides and I think it boils down to shoot what makes you happy and let others do the same without criticizing one another.

I'm definitely not criticizing the age guys. Whatever makes them happy is fine with me. I was just trying to understand their way of thinking.

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T

TheLBLman

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Spurhunter":222b4djb said:
cbhunter":222b4djb said:
I get both sides and I think it boils down to shoot what makes you happy and let others do the same without criticizing one another.

I'm definitely not criticizing the age guys. Whatever makes them happy is fine with me. I was just trying to understand their way of thinking.
I am certainly one of those "age" guys :) and certainly haven't seen any criticism in your questions :)
Good questions, imo.

However, most of us "age" guys are also "antler" guys as well as "meat" hunters.
Most of us just prefer to eat female deer instead of bucks.
Most of us just prefer to let the bucks grow bigger antlers (with age) before we kill them them.

For some of us, that simply means killing no bucks younger than 2 1/2 (which is basic QDM).
For others, we have no desire to kill any buck younger than 4 1/2, and may mainly target 5 1/2's and older.
We're all at a different stage in our hunting journeys.

But at the end of the day, we're all hunters.

Some of us might further define ourselves as "hunter-managers",
as we get comparable enjoyment to our roles as deer herd "managers"
as we get from hunting, especially since our hunting decisions (what we kill or don't kill)
is the main way we do our "managing".

For me, few things are more enjoyable over time as monitoring a particular buck from his youth to his maturity,
and then being able to kill him and eat him.
I can also say that about any particular deer, it's just that female deer are typically more challenging to specifically identify from year to year.
 
TX300mag

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I'm unsuccessful in general at killing 4.5 year-old bucks, so I'll target one that's 3.5 years old if it gets me excited. I would probably also kill a 5.5 year old buck as a target, but a 4.5 year-old buck is pretty much a ghost most places I hunt.

Ohio is a little different.
 
foodplot

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As for me I'm gonna try an kill the largest i have on my hunting property (at least 1 buck)...regardless of age...
 
cbhunter

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Spurhunter":gq1g9tee said:
cbhunter":gq1g9tee said:
I get both sides and I think it boils down to shoot what makes you happy and let others do the same without criticizing one another.

I'm definitely not criticizing the age guys. Whatever makes them happy is fine with me. I was just trying to understand their way of thinking.

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I know you weren't, just speaking in general. lol

I cant say I NEVER get aggravated when, my cousins or whoever hunts the same property as me, kill a smaller buck I have been watching on cam all year. So I am guilty of it at times but it makes no sense because if it tickles them then I should be proud of them.
 
RobbyW

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Because that’s the “in” thing. It was you killed a buck over a doe. The it went to number of points. Next was score and now it’s age. I am not saying it’s a bad thing, it’s just what I have seen


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cbhunter

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RobbyW":2spgwivt said:
Because that’s the “in” thing. It was you killed a buck over a doe. The it went to number of points. Next was score and now it’s age. I am not saying it’s a bad thing, it’s just what I have seen


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Great point. We (hunters) are always evolving.
 
rem270

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I love to kill a mature buck. But will never pass up a 150" 3.5 year old. I'm still at the point in life where I won't pass up a 140" 3.5 year old.
 
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Mike Belt

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It's very easy when asked a question about deer hunting for a hunter to begin his answer with "we". There are different opinions and goals and strategies and thoughts driving each of us and even those can change over time. "We" should actually be "for me". Just thought I'd throw that out there....

Concerning age versus rack size about the only thing I can think of that falls under "we" is that if your goal is to kill a buck sporting all of his rack potential you have to let them walk until they're at least 4.5 or older. Notice I said sporting all of his rack potential and not just big. What's big for me might not be to another. What's big where I hunt may not be for the area you hunt.

Generally speaking, the older a buck gets and having survived several hunting seasons, the harder that buck is to kill. That's the attraction to taking older bucks even if their rack size might be smaller than a younger buck's antlers. The hardest part of being a "selective" hunter is balancing the desire to take an older buck versus an above average racked younger buck. One really has to be dedicated to doing so to pass on the antlers that he may encounter with only a couple of seconds for his decision to shoot or not. I'd venture to guess that most fail.
 
fairchaser

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Many of us now have jawbones as well as antlers in our trophy rooms. An old mature buck is a trophy because it’s a challenge knowing that buck has won the chess match vs hunters many times even though his rack is not to the far right on the bell curve. But, the hunter, gets more excited seeing huge antlers going through the woods than seeing a jawbone and that will always be. My own goals are to have both although I usually fail it’s still my goal. But, unless you have a private property where you can strictly control things, only shooting 5.5 year old 150 inch bucks is a pipe dream that may only come true every other blue moon. For me 4.5 year old bucks in the 30’s is what I’m happy with.
 
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TheLBLman

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fairchaser":2ajrsqcj said:
. . . . unless you have a private property where you can strictly control things, only shooting 5.5 year old 150 inch bucks is a pipe dream that may only come true every other blue moon.
It can be a pipedream even when you do have a private property where you can strictly control things.
Location is everything, including which state, and/or which part of your state that property is located.

Then of course, the actual size of that property is a huge component, and most private properties in TN don't even approach having enough acreage to "manage" for 150-class buck of ANY age.

Even Ames, despite roughly 20,000 acres under some very intense buck management,
how many bucks over 150 are killed annually?
Do you even have trail cam pics of a half-dozen that would appear to break 150??

The odds of taking a 150-class buck (any age) can actually be higher on some "public" property than it is on most "private" property, and much of this opportunity has as much to do with geographical location as it has to do with any private management. Give me most any 50 acres in Southern Illinois, and I suspect the odds of killing a 150-class buck are greater than most intensely managed much larger properties in TN. This especially becomes the case when 150-class 3 1/2's are regularly produced in Illinois (goes back to the soil), whereas in TN, a buck with the same antler genetics at birth might need to survive to 5 1/2 to reach a 150-class rack.
 
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Winchester

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Bottom line is, at least 95% if not more deer hunters are after a BIG rack point blank period! Do lots settle for less and be happy, sure they do, and if not would go without most times. But again the BIG antlers is why deer hunting has became as big an industry as it has, NOTHING else caused it.
just giving my opinion to the original question depends on where im hunting. If im on public land or land where I dont have long term access, any buck with antlers big enough to make me happy gets shot if possible. Now on my Leases or places I hunt yearly its a different story and I will pass some really good young bucks because of their age, only because I will have an opportunity to hunt them when they get older/bigger hopefully. As for shooting the older bucks with smaller racks, im not all about this either especially since I will have to burn one of only 2 buck tags that I could possibly use on a larger racked buck. Once I have a deer close enough to pull the trigger or release, im actually happy knowing I could have killed him vs actually burning a tag on one that doesnt really make me happy!
 
ADR

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This is the best analogy that i can think of spurhunter.

Your screen name is spurhunter, therefore, i would assume you enjoy walking up on a turkey that has over an inch spurs. I’m sure as an accomplished turkey hunter you know the only way for them to grow long spurs is for them to live long enough to grow those spurs.

I’m sure you’ve also witnessed some turkeys with a long paintbrush beard but 1/2-3/4” spurs. As a young turkey hunter, i wanted to kill big bearded turkeys. Now, I immediately flip them over to look at spurs. My desire is to outsmart older turkeys, even though gobbling 2.5 year old turkeys are more “fun.” My question is, would you rather have killed a turkey with an impressive beard or impressive spurs.

I am extremely happy that a turkeys spur isnt on their head!
 
Spurhunter

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double browtine":2w3oepy0 said:
Spurhunter":2w3oepy0 said:
Easy's post got me thinking again about something I've wondered about many times. Hypothetically speaking, I don't get the idea of preferring to kill a 100 inch 6 year old buck over a 150 inch 3 year old buck. I've never seen a jawbone mounted on the wall. Personally I'm all about the rack and couldn't care less how old they are. Is it the idea of knowing you won the game vs. an older smarter buck?

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Are you only talking about horns here? :drool:

:rotf:
 

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