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#6422931 - 08/24/16 05:17 PM I need some pointers here......shoot or no? (pic heavy)
1972dfins Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 08/23/16
Posts: 6
So here's my dilemma. All of these deer would be the largest deer I've ever shot. This is only my 3rd year in Texas hunting. I hunt a ranch that's about 900 acres with 4 other guys. We don't have a ton of deer, but we have some nice deer, a great group of guys, and I really enjoy it. Now to the dilemma. How do you decide what a "shooter" is? We've done a good job not shooting young deer, and improving the herd the last 3 years. With that being said I've paid some good money to shoot a cull buck and a doe. I don't want money to get in the way of doing the right thing, but how long do you let them grow up? Most of these deer are 4.5 now. I have some pics below. I want to do the right thing, and shoot the right deer for the right reason. The guy that runs my lease is super nice and says "if you think it's a wallhanger, you paid for this lease then go for it." But we all have also talked and said to only shoot mature deer, or a cull. Basically, from my experience and itchy trigger finger almost all of these are wallhangers because they'd be my personal best. But I want to do the right thing. Enough rambling. I think you get the drift. How do you decide if a deer is mature enough? I know this answer may be different for everyone, but I would appreciate your opinion. Both in theory, and the deer below.




This guy below is my favorite. he's an 11 because of the split tine. he's 4.5 or older in age. Last year he was a 10. Taller, but not quite as wide. Do you pass on that?



I really like this 8 below (center). His 2's are nice. I think he's 4.5 also. I was told once an 8 always an 8, but I don't know if that's true or not.


Your thoughts on any of these deer, or how to decide if it's a shooter with the idea of you only want to shoot mature deer? These are the most mature deer we have (on camera, and I haven't seen anything else either), but are they mature enough?

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#6422944 - 08/24/16 05:24 PM Re: I need some pointers here......shoot or no? (pic heavy) [Re: 1972dfins]
Tff caribou Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 08/27/12
Posts: 2996
Loc: Watauga, TX
There is no "right thing to do". If you like him, shoot him. You've already gotten the green light from the lease manager.

Basically, if you look at a deer, and you get butterflies, he's probably worthy of being shot.
_________________________
The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference. -George Washington

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#6422945 - 08/24/16 05:25 PM Re: I need some pointers here......shoot or no? (pic heavy) [Re: 1972dfins]
fredeboy Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 12/03/11
Posts: 126
Loc: Burleson TX
I can assure you Most of these deer would be shooters if I am on the lease!

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#6422947 - 08/24/16 05:26 PM Re: I need some pointers here......shoot or no? (pic heavy) [Re: 1972dfins]
Tff caribou Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 08/27/12
Posts: 2996
Loc: Watauga, TX
Btw, every one of those deer would be shootable on my place.
_________________________
The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference. -George Washington

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#6422967 - 08/24/16 05:32 PM Re: I need some pointers here......shoot or no? (pic heavy) [Re: 1972dfins]
Tff caribou Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 08/27/12
Posts: 2996
Loc: Watauga, TX
Here is my longer answer. I think too many new hunters take all of the fun out of hunting. They are so worried about only shooting the right deer. And they get confused. They post a picture of a deer, half the guys here say it's 2 years old, and they wouldn't dream of shooting it, and half the guys say it's 5 years old, and they would shoot it. Then you get to your stand opening morning, and a good deer walks out that you would be ecstatic to shoot normally. But now you are so worried about what others will say about your deer that you end up passing on a deer you should be thrilled to shoot.

Save the serious management and trophy hunting for later. You have been hunting for 3 years. If a deer stirs something inside of you, don't worry about it. Shoot it.
_________________________
The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference. -George Washington

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#6422968 - 08/24/16 05:32 PM Re: I need some pointers here......shoot or no? (pic heavy) [Re: 1972dfins]
TyBU Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 11/12/08
Posts: 196
Loc: Houston, Tx
Tff caribou said it perfectly.If you like that 8pt and you would not be breaking any lease rules and the lease manager has already given you the green light then you should take that deer. Another great point made in the above post is that if that deer gets you going and excited then that is the deer you want to shoot because you will enjoy that moment for a long time and it's extremely rewarding. I shot a 9pt a couple of years ago that had some broken tines on one side and he was a mature deer. He definitely wasn't my biggest but the thing that stuck out to me the most was that he had 10" brow tines and that got me real excited instantly and based on that feeling there was no 2nd guessing or hesitation on deciding that I wanted to take that deer.


Edited by TyBU (08/24/16 05:33 PM)

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#6422969 - 08/24/16 05:33 PM Re: I need some pointers here......shoot or no? (pic heavy) [Re: 1972dfins]
1972dfins Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 08/23/16
Posts: 6
Thank you both.

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#6422973 - 08/24/16 05:35 PM Re: I need some pointers here......shoot or no? (pic heavy) [Re: Tff caribou]
1972dfins Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 08/23/16
Posts: 6
That is literally the exact thing I did last year. I passed on that 10 thinking he may be too young. He's now the 11 from the morning photo. I appreciate it.

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#6422977 - 08/24/16 05:39 PM Re: I need some pointers here......shoot or no? (pic heavy) [Re: 1972dfins]
Tff caribou Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 08/27/12
Posts: 2996
Loc: Watauga, TX
Originally Posted By: 1972dfins
That is literally the exact thing I did last year. I passed on that 10 thinking he may be too young. He's now the 11 from the morning photo. I appreciate it.


I was speaking from experience too. Last year I passed on a 10pt that would have easily been my best deer. I second guessed myself trying to decide if he was old enough. I never saw him again, and kicked myself all season. I got butterflies the second I saw him. I was telling the neighbor about it, and he told me it sounded like the same deer he'd been watching for atleast 4 years...
_________________________
The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference. -George Washington

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#6423189 - 08/24/16 07:57 PM Re: I need some pointers here......shoot or no? (pic heavy) [Re: 1972dfins]
CGB Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 07/28/10
Posts: 141
Loc: Lewisville, TX
I've enjoyed reading this post and agree with all the comments made. One thing you might consider is talking with your fellow lease members. Decide together if a certain deer gets a pass or can be taken. You might avoid future problems that way. Let's say you pass that 11 and another member takes him. Communication is a very important part of having a good lease in my opinion.

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#6423279 - 08/24/16 08:54 PM Re: I need some pointers here......shoot or no? (pic heavy) [Re: Tff caribou]
jakebunch Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 04/08/10
Posts: 213
Originally Posted By: Tff caribou
Here is my longer answer. I think too many new hunters take all of the fun out of hunting. They are so worried about only shooting the right deer. And they get confused. They post a picture of a deer, half the guys here say it's 2 years old, and they wouldn't dream of shooting it, and half the guys say it's 5 years old, and they would shoot it. Then you get to your stand opening morning, and a good deer walks out that you would be ecstatic to shoot normally. But now you are so worried about what others will say about your deer that you end up passing on a deer you should be thrilled to shoot.

Save the serious management and trophy hunting for later. You have been hunting for 3 years. If a deer stirs something inside of you, don't worry about it. Shoot it.



This...and very well said.

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#6423374 - 08/24/16 09:35 PM Re: I need some pointers here......shoot or no? (pic heavy) [Re: 1972dfins]
Cslate Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 09/02/12
Posts: 66
Loc: Texas
Man that 11 is gonna be hard to pass up when u see him. If I'm on that lease I'm not gonna be mad at you for shooting a deer like that. Jealous for sure but not mad haha...the 8 is pretty but I may let him walk to see if he gets to be a bigger 8..I'm a suckered for bug 8s

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#6423488 - 08/24/16 10:45 PM Re: I need some pointers here......shoot or no? (pic heavy) [Re: 1972dfins]
Big_Ag Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/23/12
Posts: 1010
Loc: Denton or Knox County
Looks like a wide range of ages . Some of those skinny looking long pencil legged deer are probably two. Hard to say on some of the deer because of the angle, but the deer under the feeder in the second photo, tne deer in the third photo and the deer in the back left of the fourth photo all look like they are mature. A couple of others may be, but would need better shots.

I read somewhere about the stages of a deer hunter. I can't remember exactly how it goes, but something like the initial stage, you just want a deer. Then horns, any horns. Next a buck with a decent rack. Then the stage where you only want one bigger than any previous deer, progressing to a true trophy hunter and then the point where you are content in just enjoying the deer and not necessarily needing to kill one. Each stage is part of progressing as a hunter. Sounds like you are at the stage of getting your best buck to date. I think that is where the article said most hunters remain the longest.

You and your lease members agree to shoot mature bucks and based on the photos, you have at least 3 or 4 that would satisfy both your best buck and being mature. Good luck, and if you connect with one of these guys, post photos and show him off.

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#6423829 - 08/25/16 09:31 AM Re: I need some pointers here......shoot or no? (pic heavy) [Re: 1972dfins]
ThreePeppers Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 11/06/06
Posts: 368
Loc: Fort Worth/Kent County
One thing I would recommend doing is lowering your camera a few inches. You seem to be getting a lot of head shots and missing the belly line and the length of their legs. If you moved it to where you could just see the bottom of the barrel I think you'd have a better angle for judging them.

As far as telling if they're mature look for short wide faces, sagging bellies, sway backs, and short legs. A young deer will look like a race horse while a mature deer more resembles a mule.

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#6423952 - 08/25/16 10:27 AM Re: I need some pointers here......shoot or no? (pic heavy) [Re: 1972dfins]
Herbie Hancock Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 08/23/16
Posts: 459
Loc: Cypress, Texas
Yes definitely discuss with the other lease members so that all of y'all are on the same page on what to take and what to let bread another year or so.

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