We all start the season out the same; claiming that we are only going to shoot a trophy buck. One with Heavy antlers that only an old mature buck carries- one that belongs on the front page of every hunting publication known to man. But once we are seated in our stands temptation rises, young nice bucks seem to just be everywhere. Deer in years past we would have lowered the boom on any day of our career- seem to be everywhere. But no we are going to wait on “Mr. Big”! But what are we looking for?
We are waiting on a buck with a deep chest, stubby looking face, sag in his back, and a pot belly that hangs low as well as his legs look in proportion to the rest of his body, all short and stubby more or less. This is where we draw the line! Correct? How many of us will stick to that pact we made with ourselves before season. What will we do as soon as a decent 130 inch 2 Â½ year old comes by? will we click the safety off or leave it on? Will we let our bow down or let the arrow fly? It's hard to say before the moment occurs. The next thing we know we are punching out tag on a deer that is much less than we wanted.
I know the exact deer I am waiting on this year. Here in Oklahoma we have a two buck limit. That means if I shoot the first decent deer that comes into range I have to hope that the one I’m “after” is the next to step into range and not settle for a lesser buck. One way to combat that urge to fill a tag is to harvest a doe with a six deer limit, which allows you to harvest four does along with your limit of two antlered deer(at least in Oklahoma). So I go with our states slogan “hunters in the know take a doe.”(ODWC) This will help with the overall structure of our states herd, as well as any other states you are hunting in harvest a doe whenever the opportunity is right, and the meat fits into the freezer! If freezer room is tight go reserve room in a hunters’ feed the hungry locker! You will get to get out to hunt and help the less fortunate.
But back to topic on harvesting a deer that you are proud of and can say you hunted that individual deer. The deer I have in mind I seen once before season last fall and possibly once during rifle season well out of range but when you can make out a bucks’ headgear at over a thousand yards away without your optics it's a good buck! (I left my binocular in the truck that morning!) He was on the move with a doe from an area that shots were ringing out from. I could only hold my breath hoping he wasn't hit and headed for a dirt nap. Then on my first shed hunt of the year what do I spy some one hundred yards away? A huge massive shed that I do not doubt was the big buck I had, had one or two encounters with! He had made it! But his core bedding area is in a super tight area that is very close to a two lane hi-way I can only hope he doesn't find the front end of a car or the bullet of an early season hunter. The deer I speak of is only a main frame eight pointer that will, without a doubt bust the 160 inch mark! I will hunt for him and him alone until I hear he has been killed or I tag out on larger bucks that I would be crazy to pass up. I have 2 more deer running around my leases that will be “trophies” this year. Both bucks will score above 150 inches if not into the 160's and with my bow in hand they better not get closer than forty yards or I will be punching a tag but I’m hoping the bruisers’ who's sheds I have is the first to cross that boundary come opening day.
Once again back to passing up smaller bucks. I did this all season long last year and gladly one of the deer I passed on was a 115 inch eight point that my young cousin put his out of state tag on! That is enough motivation for me to keep on passing on the younger deer in hopes that they reach another year of hard antler or at least someone's wall. And all and all without letting the young bucks walk what will we have, to lust for next season? So as the saying in Oklahoma goes “hunters in the know take a doe” (ODWC) so in the end do your part in ecosystem management and quality deer management if your trigger fingers will allow you too. Good luck and “may god guide your bullets and arrows making them fly true”!