Who measures the quality of their year by the success of deer season?

Hillbilly Hunter

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Jul 15, 2005
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Branchville
Kills are definitely a factor for me. Deer passed are just as big of a factor. As long as i am seeing quality deer, I feel it is a success. This year there has been an unbelievable level of high end 2 1/2 year olds and more 3 1/2 yr olds than I can remember. In this group, I have seen four 9 pters and nine 8 pters. Some were hard to pass but their potential is very promising. If I could get them to show up next year, there is the trick!
 

41Magnum

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Feb 8, 2020
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The Birthplace of Davy Crockett
I consider it to be a success to just consistently see bucks in an area of low deer density where I hunt. Like yesterday I saw a 8pt. and at first glance thought he was a good buck from a side view but when he turned his head I could see that he wasn’t even close to being outside of his ears. I let him walk and considered the day successful. He should be a good buck next year.
 

Lost Lake

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Nov 17, 2012
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Middle Tn
Back in my 20’s and 30’s, I wore deer hunting on my sleeve like a badge of honor. In my 40’s, I learned to relax a bit, and now I’m to the point that a season or so off might do me some good. I’ve been at it crazy hard for years.

But generally speaking, if my freezer is full, it’s been a good year. If my friends have done well, it’s even better. If I manage to kill one or two bucks that are of the age that I wanted, that’s gravy.
 

Gravey

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Christiana (Rutherford County)
If I wake up to go sit in a tree and see another sunrise it’s been a successful year. My goal is one buck a year and am skunked so far this year. Blessed to have taken 2 good ones the past 2 years so if I don’t squeeze the trigger on one it’s not the end of the world. I still have a a lot to be thankful for.
 

Shooter77

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East TN
I'm like others, deer hunting is a year round thing for me. It's been my love since I was 12. 33 years later I still enjoying hunting, planning the hunts and now the habitat work for it. Every year I have different goals that make my season a success. My 12y/o son is into hunting, I like to see him enjoy the hunt. Also my dad is aging with health issues, so I'm excited to see him get one. This year has been a success for them. Dad killed a 7pt in ML while I was with him. My son has killed 3 so far. He killed his first with xbow, then scored a 9pt and doe with gun. Makes 12 deer for him at 12 years old.

1 goal I've had is to at least kill 1 deer a year. I've had a few years since 1996 that I got really close to not getting this done, '97 it was the last 10 mins of season and 17 it was the last week. This year has been a challenge. With my kids activities, this is the first year I've not bow hunted. Then ML I missed 2 does, after 2nd one, found my gun was shooting 6" low at 50. Just spent the past week being off and saw a total of 3 deer. The 2 days I've not been hunting my place, shooter bucks have walked right by my stand...lol
 

tree_ghost

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Jan 19, 2014
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6,607
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mboro, tennessee
Man I would be a liar if I said that my deer season isn’t a big measure of whether I consider my year successful or not. This year has been a roller coaster of highs and lows…I consider this year a giant success in spite of the fact that this is the first year in 5 now that I don’t already have a buck tag punched. In spite of that I feel as if I have learned more this year about mature bucks and how to get on them than I ever have and in addition to all the other great experiences I was able to have through others success’ this season has been a total success!

Highs
1-son killed his first deer
2-brother in law killed his first buck
3-I killed my first elk with my bow
4-I located and managed to get within bow range of a world class whitetail here in Tn
5-I finally got within bow range of a P&Y buck with my longbow

Lows
1- said world class whitetail that was within bow range was missed clean by me @46 yards
2-said P&Y class with tail with longbow above was shot low in the front shoulder/brisket and I wasn’t able to recover him
 

Ski

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Nov 18, 2019
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Coffee County
I consider this year a giant success in spite of the fact that this is the first year in 5 now that I don’t already have a buck tag punched. In spite of that I feel as if I have learned more this year about mature bucks and how to get on them than I ever have

THAT is key and cannot be overstated. I always used to hear that big bucks are like a different species, and you can't hunt them like you do other deer. You have to hunt big bucks if you want to kill big bucks, and once you get one or two it gets easier because now you know what you didn't know before. I believe it's true.
 

Popcorn

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Jan 30, 2019
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Cookeville, TN Cadiz, KY and random other places
I am blessed to get to do this for a living and success is multifaceted. The kill being the last on the list. Soil building, plot location & design, blind & stand placement, planting, running cameras, setting up my land owners and family for the chance, ( I don’t hunt till they have a chance at one or more), donating a few doe to folks who need and appreciate it, seeing great deer and healthy deer thru season, packing 200 lbs of blackstrap steaks and roasts in my freezer plus a doe into jerky. Oh and if a good buck happens to present a good shot during all this I’ll take it and I’ll thank God for it but it’s no measure of my successes. I have had a great year so far and just started hunting Friday.
 

Chickenrig

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Jul 19, 2018
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539
Location
Barbour County ,Al
I have to say some of the posts above really hit it out of the park.

I live in a woods farm for multiple reasons and I definitely am a hardcore hunter gatherer but I don't rate my years. I thrive as God gives.

I have goals and I measure them but my summation of each year, so far, is always excitement for the next year.

Deer goals are almost always habitat related and/or family harvest. Grandchildren as they come up to bat, each son's personal development/goals, family members respectful harvest/management, safe attitudes, etc are great plusses.

Live through it, learn from it, and hopefully don't limp too much afterwards is something I have said for many decades.
I do limp but I am still moving, the wife is still here, my boys are all good God fearing men. What a blessed year! Lord willing I look forward to next year...
Amen 🙏
 

tree_ghost

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Jan 19, 2014
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mboro, tennessee
THAT is key and cannot be overstated. I always used to hear that big bucks are like a different species, and you can't hunt them like you do other deer. You have to hunt big bucks if you want to kill big bucks, and once you get one or two it gets easier because now you know what you didn't know before. I believe it's true.
Yeah man they are for sure different than the rest of the herd. My main takeaway from the year was based on access/egress. I have become more convinced after this season that a perfectly clean entrance/exit to your stand with the minimal ground scent left is the most critical aspect of getting within range of an old buck. I purchased an ebike halfway through the season. It was used and I got it for $800. This has been a real difference maker for me and the way I hunt.
 

BSK

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Mar 11, 1999
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Nashville, TN
I'm at a point in my life where hunting no longer drives a good or bad year. Life has become too complicated for hunting to be a major factor.

However, that doesn't mean I don't put a lot of emphasis on hunting and management. As others have stated, it is a year-round endeavor and passion. Success or failure in that vein is based on 1) how the census numbers turn out; and 2) hunter sightings and harvest success. With all of the habitat changes we've made over the last 3 years, I had extremely high hopes for this year. The last two years have been record years for the number of bucks we've been able to draw to the property during deer season. However, the drought did us in this year. Zero acorns in a hardwood environment have greatly reduced the number of bucks being drawn to the property in fall. Although the total number of bucks using the property is near average, the number of older bucks is at a near record low for the 23 years we've been running a season-long census. And worse than that, the antler quality of the older bucks is atrocious. I've never seen such small, deformed racks on older bucks. For the first time ever, we don't have a buck using the place that would break 130 gross, and only one that would break 120.

Hunter sightings and success have also been poor. I haven't run the numbers yet, but I suspect our older buck sighting rate by hunters will be at a 20-year low. Harvests also poor with only 2 bucks killed (a 3 1/2 and a 2 1/2).
 

fairchaser

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Sep 13, 2011
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TN, USA
Well, the Lord blessed me today with one of my target bucks. He is a 10 point, with 6 one one side and 4 on the other. Scores 125 3/8. Thank you Lord for a real blessing today. I guess I can’t complain about my year now. 😀
 

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Longbow2240

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Nov 17, 2016
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Lincoln County
I got to go, spend time in the woods to myself and also shared the woods with my dad & my son. Bout as good as it gets in my book. A harvest or few is just an added bonus to me.
 

Mescalero

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Dec 4, 2020
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Location
Franklin TN
I don’t measure it by kills, but by sightings. I’ve sat too many days in my life not seeing deer. A good hunt is seeing deer, and killing one is icing on the cake. Last 2 seasons have been extremely slow, seeing mostly young bucks when I do see deer
Same here. I hunt public so seeing deer confirms my focus/strategy is paying off. Got a does last day of the season last year, the only deer I killed, but in a location I had seen deer. Made it successful for me. This year got a nice buck first day of rifle hunting a new area I thought had promise and that’s icing on the cake with a cherry on top for me. I can eat and remember until 2023 season now.
 

Ski

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Coffee County
Well, the Lord blessed me today with one of my target bucks. He is a 10 point, with 6 one one side and 4 on the other. Scores 125 3/8. Thank you Lord for a real blessing today. I guess I can’t complain about my year now. 😀

Now that is a dandy! 125" is a TN stud. You sir are blessed indeed.
 
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