Deer & Deer Hunting

THINKING PAST THE POINTS

Deer hunting is often a game that comes down to mere seconds. A buck pops out of thick cover, making its way across a hardwood bottom to another patch of thick cover, not to be seen again in daylight for the entire season. The hunter has just a few seconds to make the decision to shoot or not. While the binocular closes the distance and reveals clues about the buck, questions race through a hunter’s mind at light speed: “Is the buck large enough to shoot? How many points does he have? What does he score?”

That split-second decision has important consequences for a deer manager. Dead is dead, so when you harvest a buck, the decision is final. If you have a genuine interest in growing large, mature bucks and maximizing buck potential, your question should be, “How old?” not, “What does he score?”

For the vast majority of bucks, the factors that limit antler growth are nutrition and age. Food plots, habitat management and, more importantly, controlling overall deer populations by harvesting the right number of does each season will help provide the nutrition a buck needs to maintain its body condition and grow a quality set of antlers each season. Another equally important part of that equation

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