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To shoot or not to shoot?
I start looking forward to the next years archery season as soon as the current year season ends. I the area I hunt you are allowed only one deer and it can be either sex. My wife and I love venison so I'm more than happy to shoot a doe to fill the freezer. But.........I love deer hunting, I love sitting in the stand and enjoying all god has created. I went 3 weeks last year without seeing a deer and loved every hour in the stand, never know how many a guy has left. The last few years I've had opportunities to take a nice fat doe on my 1st or 2nd sit. But as I mentioned earlier I love deer hunting so I didn't shoot. One year I was able to fill my tag with a small doe, but last year I ate tag soup. To add more drama into it this year I have a buck on trail cam that would easily be my largest buck ever. So does anyone else run into this conundrum of to take the first good opportunity you get, hold out for a big buck or to enjoy the season for awhile before you shoot?
Only you can decide the deer you want to kill. If he's your best, kill him. If a big doe comes along and that's what trips your switch, kill her. Good luck!
Location is relative along w/ your deer hunting goals. Few people will turn down a big buck, this may be a big buck in your state, not so much in mine. From the sounds of it deer are far and few between, with that stated I'd drop the hammer on this guy all day while trying to let the does walk to increase herd numbers.
There's a lot of variables, last year I never drew my bow, lots of opportunities but I had lots of time to hunt too. This year my time will be limited and since I never killed last year maybe I'll be more hungry. As long as your happy at the end of the year.
He walks by me he's going to get the cedar! Nice deer, and who knows if he'll be around next year, wolves , cars etc...
We are a one-buck state, but luckily we can shoot multiple does to fill the freezer. That is one conundrum I would not be happy to deal with, because I love my venison. There is always out-of-state hunting, I do so almost every year on public land on a pretty tight budget.
As far as antler size/age I say absolutely shoot whatever makes you happy. Do you. I have a great amount of disdain for the internet cowboys who criticize others for shooting young deer.
Up until a few years ago I would shoot the first legal buck that came along, but now I don't. Shot a buck I kinda regretted and that was that. That was just part of my personal journey as a hunter. I got nobody to impress but myself. My standards vary based on where I am hunting and how many hunting/vacation days are left in the season.
I couldn't hardly stand the one deer a year thing. I love the prep and the stand time more than anything except the meat. Killing a deer is just what I have to do to get it. I can't answer your question though, because I just can't comprehend only one deer a year. We would eat that up in a couple months, then what do we do until deer season ? Besides that, only one deer out of all my expenses makes that meat cost almost as much as it's worth ! :-)
My solution is to increase your hunting opportunities! A one deer state/area would drive me nuts! There should be many opportunities to add a doe tag or two somewhat close if you make it happen to fill your freezer. Luckily I am able to hunt a few states every year if I want to and always am able to donate wild game to Less fortunate hunters!
ohiohunter - No that's not a big buck for Minnesota, It's a big buck for me! I've just never been fortunate enough to be able to close the deal on a big one before. My highest scoring buck wouldn't top 100! Yes I know - let them walk...........
Elk yinzer - My standards have been low in the past. If it didn't have spots and I was confident I could make a good clean shot, I would release an arrow. I've taken more than my share of grief from my friends over the size of the deer I've taken over the past 40 years of deer hunting, but in past years we've had he opportunity to take 2 or more deer. I take vacation the 2 weeks before the gun season that coincides with the pre-rut. I went on an out-of-state hunt 2 years ago with some friends, I had a blast, but they're not interested in doing it again.
Time to find some more adventurous friends! As most have pointed out it is YOUR hunt and YOUR enjoyment. I've had more fun piling up does or even popping tree rats than when I'm stressing myself over a trophy. I get far more pleasure out of my field time. As said, do you.
Only you can decide ... if your on good private land, or a state/public with plenty of deer and low pressure and bigger deer, I'd pass, but where I'm at now on public, I'd kill the damn thing as there may not be a better to come by.... but only you can decide....
I struggle with this every year. I really want to kill a deer and I really want some venison. But...
But, I'd also like to kill a great buck. I know you can kill a great buck if you kill the first good buck that walks by...
Last year, I was lucky. I didn't really see any deer before a big one walked by.
Usually, I get pretty stressed at times like now when I'm thinking about it. Things are usually clearer when sitting in my stand. When I see a deer, I immediately know if I would be happy with it or not...
ohiohunter - time afield with family holds some of my greatest hunting memories. But sadly those days are no more. My son enjoys the bright lights of the city and my daughter, who still loves to bow hunt, is a nurse at a VA hospital taking care of our veterans and our schedules rarely sync to spend much time together in the deer stand. I love sitting in the deer stand, but doing it alone without someone to come back and discuss what you saw/experienced always leaves me a bit empty.
I can relate. The "do you" statement was implying to do what you wish to do regardless of anyone else's opinion. Its your hunt, your time, and your harvest. Shoot the deer that makes the bulldog smile. Good for your daughter, I've been trying like heck to get on w/ the VA.
Passing bucks is the best teacher in the whitetail woods.....shooting does is the second best.
Doing both is an Ivy League season.
An Ivy league season for my would be for my daughter to shoot a deer while I'm in the woods with her............
One of the reasons I started expanding beyond whitetail. I shoot him, then take the dogs.
My daughter and I had this same conversation recently. The area we bowhunt is a one deer area, no antlerless tags. She gets a youth tag now that is good for antlerless statewide but that will come to an end soon as she gets older. I asked her if she would be happy to wait for a buck or if she is happier just shooting the first one that gives her an opportunity with only one tag. As she often does, she came up with the perfect response. "I'm just happy to go hunting." I think that's your answer too. Just go hunting and enjoy yourself. When the moment arrives you'll know what to do. Good luck!
There are areas not far from you that you can shoot additional antlerless deer if you kill that buck. Unfortunately in MN, that is a nice buck. Anything that makes it to 2.5 years old is a survivor here. MN has all the potential in the world, but we don't ever realize it. I would say shoot it and go and enjoy the woods somewhere else for the rest of the year. Time to do some exploring and learn a new area.
Never to old to learn new tricks. Either learn to go hunt solo to increase your opportunities in more areas and/or make new friends if you won't go without. This is a good place to start!
Over 40+ years of bow hunting, I have shot a lot of Bucks that were smaller and passed on several that were bigger. To me, it all depends on the circumstances, if I pulled off a really memoriable stalk, I shoot. If I set in a stand and Deer are moving, often nice Bucks get a pass. You know, just one more year and he may be real nice, then puff, he is never seen again.
Reminds me of this guy, he gets a pass in my state but I have other bucks running the property that are much bigger. Only you can decide what is good trophy for you. Deer that you consider trophy's change. For me several years back this would have been a big buck for me and I wouldn't have hesitated since then I have tried to increase my size as I go on, now I shoot 125" or better. Enjoy your hunt and shoot what makes you happy.