Tough to say. I let a lot of bucks walk last year and I see the results this year with much bigger bucks.. Last year I went with out a buck because I was holding off on Mr. Big, he never came. If I go without a buck again this year then so be it. I don't set unreasonable goals for myself but I know I have a lot of good bucks in my spot. Just have to wait for the right one to come in. [up]
I DONT like Shooting Small Deer, thats why my Family & I Hunt on Private Proprety, and we NEVER Shoot Fawns, Button Bucks, or anything else thats Small. We have Great Bucks year after Year, because if you want to Kill the Big Ones... You have to let the Small ones walk.
I have no private land to hunt anymore only public. All the private land I did have was sold and new owners had their own people to hunt. For the time being I am only hunting public land. Unfortunately, with that type of land, if you let it walk, someone else is gonna wack it. I just try to practice Quality Shot Placement for the time being.
Has to be a large adult doe and I won't take a doe with young ones tagging along until after October 15th. Bucks...need to be 7 point or better and not too thin antlers. Many years ago I would have been happy with a spike or 5 pointer, but now I have graduated to better deer after a few years. In time, I will probably be upwards of 8 pointers....
This year after hearing N.J.F+W div. biologists say that the 6 buck limit in NJ "Has no bearing on buck quality" NOTHING will be getting past me if I can prevent that from happening.
As a counter to Joe I may only be shooting bucks if their rack is somthing I will only throw in the trash.
OBTW Coyotes,unlimited doe kill and Crossbows are not considderd "anything that will have an effect either" but Sunday bow is bound to have an impact and will be watched and it's impact addressed".
Thats where trail cams come in .......We target a few deer and those are the only deer we shoot. Mostly 8pt wider than ears (no basket racks) We do have a huge 6pt that will be taken. During the rut we obviously see deer we don't have on camera so the rule stands 8pt wider than ears or it better be a hell of a 6pt! AND NO BASKET RACKS
I try to judge a buck by body for his age. Like people have said here I have seen some nice 2.5 year old 8 pointers that have potential to be monsters. On the flip side I have seen 4 pointers that would be 4.5 years old or older and that is all they will be.
If you learn to judge by body and face. You can harvest mature deer and take out bucks that are mature and just don't have it. I shot a 5 point in turkey swamp last year that was 3.5 years old and would never have been anything.
I will be holding out for a mountable deer outside his ears I dont know if some of you remember I shot a decent little 8 with a dark rack probably 2.5 no older hunted the rest of the rut and saw PY class deer and could not shoot them[wallmad] but I was still proud of the buck I shot because it was my biggest
An old timer told me you can't eat the antlers but don't take away from those that hunt for the purpose of meat and trophies. so when I was on my parents property which bordered other properties with hunters on it I tended to let the smaller bucks go,yearlings and does with massive bucks.once i seen that buck get busy,or they have obviously been busy he was dead. If i was on property where the owner wanted any and all deer shot i would let yearlings go (usually orchards) In some cases if there was a huge amount of bucks in the area that was causing a nutritional problem for the antler growth any deer that wasn't a yearling would be taken. It all depended on the land owners wishes,the population in the area and so on.
Those guidlines can and will change season to season depending on what has occured with the deer population.It for me is a proper balance and conservation issue.