Im curious as to how rare droptine whitetails (or muleys) are. I'd love to hear how long you've hunted (gun or bow) and how many you've seen or even if you've had the luck to harvest one. Post your success pics, trail cam pics, stories, etc.
Depends largely on the area and genetics. My hunting buddy has been at this game for over 25 years and just shot his first drop tine a few years ago followed up by a second one the next. That's after probably close to 50 or more Pope and Young bucks. So they are quite rare out here.
Interesting. I was watching "real hunting adventures" this am by bass pro/redhead ( i believe thats the name of the show). Bob folkrod was bow hunting a drop tine deer for the season and then finally shot the buck in december but it had broken off both drops; i couldn't belive he still shot the buck rahter than passing for another year; it was a basic 130-140 main frame 8 without the drops.
I was fortunate to take a 130 main frame 8pt as my first deer at age 15 (shotgun) and he had perfectly symmetrical 5in drop tines (basically a 130 inch main frame 8 plus a 5in drop on each side). Im blessed to have such luck but i have never seen another drop tine in the area or at all since then and its been 13 years. Always curious to know everyone elses experiences. I'll have to try and scan a picture to put up.
Drop tines are not always a genetic thing so waiting till next year does not mean he will have them again. They can be formed by a scrape on the velvet while the deer is growing antlers. Often double drops can be formed by a buck going under a fence and scraping the bottom of his horns on the ground. Thats what i have always heard at least.
I understand that logic but alot of it has to do with genetics. This buck on the show had been hunted for 3 years and they had pics with the double drops as well so i would highly doubt they would not be back the next year.
Antler damage can lead to abnormal growth but antler growth/development is largely based on genetics and animal health.
To my thinking, true drop tines project straight down off the bottom of the main beam, usually at about halfway along the length of the beam. Like the one in buckstopper's pic. The buck shown in bird dog's pic, I would call that a flyer point.
I've seen two on the farm I hunt over the years. Both bucks lived on for a couple years afterward, and never grew a drop tine again.
Here's one from 2007, that year he had no drop.
In 2008 he grew a large drop tine.
Later that season he broke off most of the right main beam. I found the broken antler while shed hunting the next spring.
Next year in 2009 he grew no trace of a drop tine. His body that year was enormous though. Notice how his right G2 was short on all the racks he grew.
only one I've seen. killed him off the ground at about 15 feet. He had a significant defect in his back which was all scared in. Based on the wound and info from other hunters near me I believe he was shot with a slug just above the spine the previous season and the drop tine is a result of that injury
I saw a city buck in my driveway. It had so many non-typical points I couldn't count. 30+ The drop wrapped around under the jaw 12 inches or so. I admit I chased it around the neighborhood a little. It was 1 am. Never found sheds either.
well now fellas this thread is really interesting . There are folks posting here from a wide range of geographic locations saying that droptines are nearly non existant in their area ............. BUT .......... watch the deer porn channel and it seems that every other "monster buck " killed on film is a drop tine ............ hmmmm ......... kinda makes ya wonder ........... could it be ....... these arent really wild deer being "harvested " on film for the express purpose of selling the salivating hoards of loyal fans the latest gizmo that practically guarantees a big buck ?????
oh Nooooooo !!!!!!! .......... say it aint so !!!!!!
We usually get a few around here in New Brunswick, my brother shot one 2 years ago off our farm, My buddy shot another the same year. The only chance I had was a number of years ago on a 180 class with double drops but I wasn't sure of the shot and didn't shoot :( Never did get another chance.
I took a buck in Central TX with double droptines. He is beautiful. That is the only droptine buck I have seen in the wild. They seem to be more common in South TX. I have never seen one taken or even on a trail cam photo where I live and hunt in East TX.
Here is a buck I killed in 2006. With Double Drop tines. Unbelievably, I have seen 2 bucks with double droptines.
Here is the Story:
A buck called Catfish Hunter. The biggest buck I have ever taken, and one that I will never top in my life. First saw him in July after coming back from Africa. My girlfriend named him Catfish Hunter after the big fish in the movie "grumpy old men" The big one nobody could catch. I pretty much obsessed over this deer, knowing it was the biggest whitetail I have ever seen in the wild, in 15 years of hard bowhunting. Based on extensive scouting, I hung some stands in the what I figured were the best places. I even enlisted Don Higgins, a frieind of mine who writes for North American Whitetail Magazine. After spending days pouring over arial photos, we both agreed on the most likely stand locations, while both of us realizing it would be unlikely that I would ever see the buck again. Obviously, bucks like this almost never move during daylight, during deer season except a little when the rut starts in November. Because this buck was using a tiny patch of cover surrounded by standing corn, we knew that the corn would be out before the rut started, and Catfish Hunter would relocate to bigger cover that I cannot hunt. Happens every year. Bow season opened on October 1st. I figured my chances of even seeing this buck outside of the November rut were pretty much none, but had to try anyway. I hunted hard the first four days of the season, without seeing any deer. On October 5th I hung a new stand based on changing wind directions as well as a hunch. I hunted the stand that same evening and did not see any deer. The next day, I was right back in the same tree, since my entrance and exit route was relatively unobtrusive, and I figured I did not disturb the area too much. Right before Dark, I heard a deer making it's way too me through the standing corn field. When he stepped out, I recognized him as a 4x4 that I had been previously hanging out with Catfish hunter. I could hear another deer behind him, and I knew it was going to be him. My heart started pounding so hard, I thought it would come out of my chest. Still, I became worried because the 4x4 was about to get downwind of me, and would surely smell me, alerting the big one that I was there. It was pretty much a miracle, that the 4x4 passed downwind of me without smelling me. Catfish Hunter got to the last row of corn, and stood there for a good 10 minutes testing the wind before commiting to stepping out in the open. The way he was standing made me think, that even if he did come out before light, he would pass by without offering an ethical shot. He finally came out and offered me a close quartering away shot. I took it, and hell broke loose. Catfish Hunter took off like a bat out of hell. It happend so fast, I could not be sure of exact shot placement, but thought I had heard a loud crack, and worried I hit him in the shoulder. Knowing, I had just shot the biggest whitetail I will ever take in my life, I started to shake uncontrollably. I wanted to climb out of the tree, but I was shaking so bad, my legs would not work. It took over an hour before, I was calmed down enough to climb down. By this time it was dark, so I went to my truck to get a flashlight to look for blood and assess the situation. When I came back, I could not find any blood, nor could I find my arrow. I decided to back off and take up the trail in the morning. My best friend Alan Harwood started to worry about me because he knew I had been out hunting and had not come home yet. He figured I had fallen out of my treestand and hurt myself, and was just getting ready to come and search for me when I pulled into the driveway. I was pretty much a mess, by the time I reached him. I could not talk correctly, and Alan was telling me to calm down. I had a few drinks to calm my nerves. I told him what happend, and immediately called off of work since I new I needed to be out there tracking this deer first thing in the morning. I also called Ryan Kramer, and told him everything. My best friends never let me down, and Ryan and Alan showed their support by also calling off work to help me. I did not sleep at all that night, and threw up multiple times. We were on the scene first thing in the morning, and were finding little blood. After 4 hours we had made it only about 80 yards down the trail, and had lost it. Fearing that I may have wounded the biggest whitetail I had ever seen, I began throwing up again. We decided to take a break. I went home and got Snuffer, my blood tracking wiener dog, and put him on the trail. While he was trained well, and was very good at finding bow shot deer without any visible blood, he eventually lost the trail, in the grass that was taller than our heads. Eventually, Ryan had to leave, so it was just myself and Alan....and we knew we were going to have to resort to grid searching. I narrowed down the cover to where I figured Catfish hunter would go if he were in fact mortally wounded. We began searching. Alan and I both went our seperate ways, and lost track of each other for hours. Eventually, I thought I saw something that looked slightly out of place, back in some thick brush near a pond. I went over there, and there he lay. I'm not too proud to admit that I started crying. Literally thousands of hours of scouting, hanging treestands, and bowhunting over 15 years had culminated in a whitetail the size that less than 1/2 of 1 percent of bowhunters will ever see in the wild...let alone get a shot. They really are the most beautiful animal in the world in my opinion. I said more prayers right there by his side, than I had in years. After awhile, I went to look for Alan. Unbeknowest to me, Alan had already found the deer and was running around looking for me. We saw each other from a couple hundred yards, and went running towards each other screaming and yelling! It was a pretty emotional time for best friends, and hunting partners. The memory of it all is something I would not trade for a million dollars. Catfish hunter was scored by official scorer Ray Hollohan and ende up grossing 197 1/8 inches non-typical as a 13 point 6x7 with billateral 10 inch drop tines. He netted 188 if you are into that sort of thing. He is by far the biggest whitetail ever taken in Kankakee county with a recurve bow. I guess sometimes even a blind hog finds an acorn.
Great deer and an even better story Jon. And i have to say that emotions are nothing to hold back; you can bet after the night you had and the hours preparing that i would be in tears of joy as well. Congrats
A buddy shot a deer with a rifle in 2008, shot was not a good one and the deer survived. In 2009 he showed and had lost his G4 and gained a 4 or 5 inch drop. This was a 145 inch 8pt with a drop for the 9th point who was 5 1/2 years old. However there was a deer far larger on that farm and my buddy let him walk at 40 yards on camera...
I've seen 2-3 with real small drops over the years. More like stickers than drops. I've only ever seen one buck with about a 5" drop in all my years bowhunting. I saw him about 2 days later and he had broken it off by then!
I've personally never seen one. My bil however missed a big main frame 8 with what he figures was about a five inch drop tine on hi right side. He had a drop away rest failure that contributed to the miss. He was still shaking and pissed when we met back at the house that night.
In 2011 I hit and lost a buck who I later saw and was doing fine (brisket). He would have probably netted low 120's but had a 9" drop tine. Never did see him again. Then this year I passed up quite a few times and got some excellent video footage of a tremendous buck who I believe to be 3.5 maybe 2,5 years old. He has a third beam and a drop 'sticker' and he's the kind of funky deer I expect might come out with a drop tine edition next year!
I know you asked about deer but a few years back I killed a big 6 x6 bull elk and he had a large drop (club) going down and one going back wards on one side. A friend of mine once he saw my bull, he gave me a shed he found the year before that matched it.
Biggest buck I saw at my last property was a double drop. Saw him with a light after dark in a soybean field. Turns out he was living two properties away. He got arrowed but after both drops had broken. I have been fortunate in my 50+ years of bowhunting especially since 2008. Never seen a mature drop tine in the woods.
Hunted this guy for 5 years, had the same drop(s) every year. Could of shot him in '09 but his right side had busted off and I gave him the pass. This was the last time we ever saw him in '11. Twenty yards in front of my stand, however I had filled my tag two days before on the best buck I've ever shot. Got him with the camera. I've seen a few droptines over my 33 years of bowhunting
In 45 yrs of hunting I've seen 1. Passed on him 3 times in bow season cause he was just a 2.5 yr old. Killed opening day of rifle season about a mile away at bottom of mountain by a rifle hunter on another farm. I should have killed him but just couldn't do it because he was only 2.5.
Never seen a drop or double drop but my dream deer is a double drop buck. If I got lucky enough to take one I could end my hunting career a happy man. A hunting buddy of mind did shoot a double drop about 8 years ago here in NJ, its the only drop tine buck that I personally know about that has been killed in my area.
I've hunted 30+ years and have seen one. Saw him at 15 yards broadside during bow season. He was a 120ish" 8 pt with matching drops. I passed on him for a number of reasons - it was lightly raining and it was 30 minutes before dark and also since he was young and only me and one other guy had permission to hunt the property. I never saw him again.
I guess I have pretty good genetics in my area. Ive killed 4 and have seen multiple others over the years. My son has 1 and my buddy from PA killed 1. All of them have come from the same area. Might have hurt the genetics though cause I havn't seen one since my buddy killed his 3 yrs ago. Also the landowner found 1 dead a few years back that I had never seen.
Very cool to see this thread alive after i started it almost 7 years ago. Here's another pic of mine; this was my first deer ever (it was a shotgun kill) and it's in one of the lowest quantity and quality whitetail deer counties in illinois. Man, wish i had weighed him...
Hunted the 100 farm and some surrounding areas for 20yrs, never saw one or harvested one till last year. My buddies son got this P&Y and one on GAME cams that made the hit list. Thousands of pics hundreds of bucks over the years but these are the first two and both last year, one is a def drop tine, the other is symmetrical w two drops... if he lived he'll be close to a #1 on the Hit list
Seen one. Scouting the day prior to the season in Saskatchewan. About a 150" 4x4 main frame with an additional double 13-15" drop tines. One on each side, one was a boot. Not till the day I die will I forget that image. Standin beside the road 75 yards...because a doe was there. Oh mama.
In 51 yrs of deer I finally took a drop tine last year. But the drop tine was only 1" long. Didn't see it at 150 yrds when I shot him. Seen a great 6-8" drop tine at 300 yds on my neighbor's hay field. Found a drop tine scull in my woods 5-6 yrs ago and no one close remembers ever seeing it.
In the course of a year I look at a lot of bucks. Have done so since the late 60's. Many hundreds or even more.
Drop tines were never common nor all that rare. I do see a few each year.
True trophy class bucks with drop tines are quite rare, just as any trophy buck is in Ks. today. When you add in a specific feature such as 10" brow tines, a drop tine, 6x6 typical antlers or a 23" inside spread the odds of seeing that feature on a huge antlered buck drop to one in tens of thousands.
Many very old bucks that never in their life grew a decent rack will often have drop tines along with other odd points and thick bases at age 7+. Still not much of a trophy. They live to an old age due to no one wanting to shoot them.
Growing up I always dreamed up killing a drop tine buck. I was lucky enough to kill an 8.5 year old buck that I named "DT" in 2015 that had a 5" drop tine and then turned around and killed another buck in 2016 with multiple drops. I am not on the hunt for a big typical...
I have a few tidbits some may find interesting. There was a buck I hunted for many years whom, when I first saw photos of him, had a small drop tine on his left antler. I figured him as age 3-4. The following season, the drop tine was gone. I hunted the deer the next 6 years before finally killing him. He never formed the drop tine again. It was a one year only feature.
I killed a buck in KS a while back that I called the double dagger, whom had what I would also call flyer points. But some have called them drops. I'll attach his photo on this post and then followup with a much more interesting story.
Several years back in Kansas, I passed on a 3-4 year old 8 point that was maybe around 130-135. I found a shed of his that following spring. But that year, I hunted Iowa and didn't think much again about that deer. Another year passes and I'm shed hunting a piece about a mile away and find a very solid 4x shed lying in an active scrape. Yes, active still in March. It wasn't until the drive home that I put together that this heavy 4x shed of what would seem to be about a 145-150 class 8 point, was familiar. I realized this was the same buck I had passed up two years earlier. That summer, I hung a trail camera on the tree where I had found the shed in the spring, pointed toward the licking branch. Sure enough, bucks were still using the licking branch, even in velvet. But what I captured on film sure caught my attention. There was an amazing buck with a couple of drop tines or what you might call a cross flyer/drop combo. I don't know. Too many points to really count in trail cam photos. Great buck!
It took me a while, again, to realize that the main frame of this outstanding nontypical buck was a perfect match to the shed I had found that spring. The buck I had passed as an 8 point had blown up into a tremendous whitetail 3 years later.
Later that hunting season, about 30 yards from that licking branch, I shot the largest whitetail I had ever had a chance to take in the woods. But it was not the nontypical. And the heartbreaking lesson came 10 minutes later when the nontypical walked by my stand at 30 yards and I was sitting there tagged out with a buck that I assumed was dead, somewhere in the creek. Yeah yeah, can't shoot a 180 when you shoot 160s. Believe me I get it now.
The following summer, I had the camera on the same tree and got more photos of this buck. This year he had added two more drops. Great looking animal. I saw him that hunting season running a doe, 100 yards from my stand. It would be the last I would ever see of this deer.
Don't know the exact number I've seen but quite a few. Watched this mulie last winter and found his drop tine shed. The double drop mulie was taken by a lucky hunter in rifle season and I never saw the whitetail in person.
I remember seeing two, maybe a couple more I am forgetting over the years. That's on live deer that I got a confirmed look and deer harvested at our camp. That involves hundreds of bucks, maybe approaching a thousand by very rough calculation. I think over 4.5 they become more common, you pretty much never see them on young bucks, and that accounts for a lot of my buck records. I would say overall bucks, less than 3%. But if you qualify that for older bucks you would see a lot higher percentage. Certainly I've seen areas carry common antler traits, so droptines could be more prevalent in a certain area. Split brows are extremely common in one area I hunt, but at our camp comparatively very rare.
I've shot 2 with drops locally here out my way... none of my buddies have... very rare out here in Western MA and Eastern NY. Not huge drops... one bigger buck had a kicker and drop (and a hole in the horn at base) all on one side! The smaller one I shot this year in NY had one on each side...
I had a 120ish” 8 point with symmetrical double drops come by me probably 15 years ago. I was the only one with permission on the 160 acres so I passed him thinking he would grow and I’d get a crack at him later. Never saw him again. A shame that I had him at 10 yards broadside, passed on him and never saw him again.
Depends where you are for sure. I shot one in 98, 02,03 and a double drop in 05. My 99 buck had a drop the year before I shot it. I’ve got a few sheds from that same time period with the best a double drop set that would score around 212. All from eastern Illinois, B.C.
Just in the last 4 years or so... Had a single drop 5-6yr old buck on cam (neighboring landowner killed). Had a friend shoot a triple drop mature buck (not sure on age). I shot a 8yr old buck that was a big handle bar type double drop. The following year I had a 2yr old buck on camera with a drop on one side and a flyer on the other side (came out the side of G2 whereas the opposite side protruded down from the beam) that a neighboring hunter shot, and a 4-5yr old single drop buck on camera which I passed my first sit of the season - but he was eventually shot. *Edit: add a buck I had in the same woodlot as the 4-5yr old I passed with the single drop which was probably a 3yr old with a drop/ club thing coming out of his base. 3 of those bucks came from a 1/2 mile radius - 2 of which were in the same woods. All of them within a 6 mile radius. Prior to those bucks, I can only recall a few bucks on camera over the years each having a small nipple of a drop. I know of a big double drop taken (inside) of that same 6 mile radius this fall.
Just talked to a friend who has probably nearly 1000 sheds from WNY and only 1 has a small drop. And he has only ever gotten 2 young bucks on cam with drops... and he runs A LOT of cameras. "His" area borders "mine".
Besides the buck I killed, out of somewhere around 380 sheds I've picked up, none have drops.
Seems like the occurrence of them is random for the most part.
I never had any pics of him before that year. I had a bunch of encounters with him that season, and he was definitely an older buck, and a bully, to boot. Every time I would see him, he seemed to have something else broken off. I decided I would kill him if given the chance. He finally came by close enough for a shot. I never scored him, but I’m guessing he’d be somewhere around -7” ;-)
In areas I have hunted and looked for sheds, predominantly mule deer, dropt tine deer are exceptionally rare. I've only seen a few, and none like you see in the pictures and movies of those amazing bucks. I have a fair amount of bucks on the wall and stacks of sheds. Only a couple have little droppers. I have probably seen as many elk with droppers as I have deer. They ain't common around areas I've been...
I am lucky enough to have three drop tine bucks in my basement. I shot a triple when I was 15, found a thrown out double in my grandparents old pig barn, and my brother found a double on a dead head. I also have a double shed that my Grandpa found on his place.
Every one of those racks are cool DropTine! Thanks for sharing the pics.
DanaC - Antler traits are genetic, but nutrition and environmental stresses can affect how they are expressed. Read up on epigentics sometime.
Genetic traits usually have a dominant and a recessive allele, with the dominant being expressed. A herd can carry a trait that is coded but seldom seen. Or a trait like your lopsided racks might show up all the time if it's the dominant version.
Both does and bucks carry genetics for antler traits. A trait like a lop sided rack might be being passed on by does as much as they are bucks.
Long way to answer but I do think certain characteristics are more common in certain areas.
We have droptine genetics in our area. We get pics of at least one every other year. Had a buck we have been following for at least 4yrs as a clean 8pt. This year he had a 5" drop at what we estimated was 8yrs old.
Wow, crazy to see this thread of mine come back up after 13 years! Since posting this i have seen 2 droptine bucks on our 700 acre property in central illinois (both smaller, older bucks). The buck below was cementum aged at 7.5 years old and had 2 drop tines (the one on his right side is not visible and is smaller). Up until 7.5 he was a main frame 8 excluding 4.5 when he was a main frame 9pt.
We picked up a new property in 2018 in northern illinois (close to home) and the spring of 2020 i found a nice set of 130" 8pt sheds. The following year that buck would be a 140" 8 pt with symmetrical 8" droptines plus a 4" droptine on his left side (so 3 droptines) and i ended up letting him go because he looked young to me (4.5yo). We hunt an area that is basically a local sanctuary and had been prior to our purchase. I thought 2021 would be the year but he was smaller with only a 3" droptine on the left side and a complete non typical right side with a large club off the base with one large spike going upwards. He was given a pass last year and we didn't hunt the property but we did find his sheds on top of each other in a field.
Of course going into 2022 we figured it was now or never; he was either going to be a small, non typical 6yo or blow up but either way it was time to get on him. He showed up in the summer as a big main frame 6pt with a 5" and a 3" droptine on the left side. We had planned to hunt him hard but very smart. I had a few oppurtunities to hunt the farm in november but never laid eyes on him although cams confirmed he was still in the area but mostly only showing at night.
Well i tagged out on 2 mature bucks in central illinois in november so my dad and i went out dec 2 and sat together in the ground blind we had setup specifically for a west wind for this deer. My dad is 69 now and it's the first time we have sat side by side deer hunting together in 20 years......well it happened and its right up there with my most memorable hunts ever as he was able to get a shot and kill (shotgun) "Drops". He had broken off the smaller droptine (closer to the base on the left beam which you can see where it broke in mid october.
Hope you like my license plate; most people that aren't hunters don't get it.
In 22 yrs. of hunting my place in KS....this is the only droptine buck I have seen and it was last year. At beginning of the video see below the left G2. It aint much...maybe 3"-4" but it's a drop, baby!
I hunt Western Massachusetts and over the line in Eastern NY where normally any buck is a good buck... drop tines are the holy grail around here... rare to get a pic of one, see one, and especially harvest one in an area where most guys shoot every 1.5 y.o. buck that walks by.
Here is a nice article about a guys life-long quest to see and try to harvest a droptine buck and join the exclusive “Drop Club.” As many years of hunting experience above have attested to…..they ain’t behind every tree and most hunters having 10-20 or more yrs. of hunting under them have seen very few in that time.
How many guys have played high school and college football? How many have made the pros? To me, the amount of drop times out there is probably like that lower percentage of football players that make the pros….hell maybe even more rare?
Earlier I posted "One place I hunt has a long history of 'lopsided' racks, see them as early as 1.5 year old. Almost always with more bone on the same side. " This is the 'grand-daddy' of them all, a pick-up from 2009 on the property across the street. I still get trail cam pix of bucks with more bone on the right than left side.
Not sure if this is of interest but I had a college professor who killed a very nice, symmetrical 10 point (eastern count) whitetail buck in the late 80s in Botetourt County VA. The buck had very long (6-7 " as I recall) "drop" brow tines. That's the only (drop tine deer) rack I've ever had hands on experience with. Thankfully I have had the chance to handle a few other impressive racks, especially in my college years.
This is the double drop I shot in Eastern NY this year... not far from the MA line... I shot this deer in an area where a 2.5+ year old deer is hard to even see since they shoot any buck that moves over there...