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Hill Country Bucks #5985142 10/20/15 10:57 AM
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TxHillCntry21 Offline OP
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Alright, looking for a little help from you guys. I've mentioned before that we have a couple guys on the lease that have a habit of shooting younger bucks. We decided as a group to get together on the Friday before gun opener to go over a lot of trail cam photos, in hopes to educate some of the hunters on what we are really looking for. Kind of a last ditch effort to get on board before you got to go.

That being said. I have these 3 bucks for you guys to age and score. All pics are from 2015. Keep in mind these are central Texas bucks. All input is helpful, hoping to gain more knowledge to strengthen my argument in a few weeks.

10pt








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Re: Hill Country Bucks [Re: TxHillCntry21] #5985143 10/20/15 10:59 AM
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The Almost 11









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Re: Hill Country Bucks [Re: TxHillCntry21] #5985145 10/20/15 11:01 AM
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Heavy 8






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Re: Hill Country Bucks [Re: TxHillCntry21] #5985178 10/20/15 11:41 AM
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Nice looking hill country bucks. cheers

I would guess the 10 @ 5 and lower to mid 140s.

The 11 looks 4 and mid to high 130s.

The heavy 8 5+ and low to mid 130s.


Last edited by Pitchfork Predator; 10/20/15 12:39 PM.

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Re: Hill Country Bucks [Re: TxHillCntry21] #5985183 10/20/15 11:46 AM
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The heavy 8 appears to be the oldest and most mature of the 3 but perhaps you guys could consider giving all of them a pass until next season. The first 2 bucks are still young and show some real promise and it would be interesting to see what they grow into. If your wanting to really manage for quality bucks then work on taking a few doe and some cull bucks. Just my 2 cents.


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Re: Hill Country Bucks [Re: TxHillCntry21] #5985218 10/20/15 12:13 PM
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4 on the top 10 pt, 4 on the almost 11 pt and 6 on the last 8 point. 134-137 on the 10 point, 132-134 on the almost 11 and 125-127 on the 8 point. I would shoot the 8 point and let the other 2 go at least one more year. If, if they make the season and we get our El Nino then you will be very happy you let them go till next year. 2cents

Last edited by stxranchman; 10/20/15 12:49 PM. Reason: Typo on age of first buck-4 instead of 5

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Re: Hill Country Bucks [Re: stxranchman] #5985226 10/20/15 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted By: stxranchman
5 on the top 10 pt, 4 on the almost 11 pt and 6 on the last 8 point. I would shoot the 8 point and let the other 2 go at least one more year.


See y’all around the campfire.

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Re: Hill Country Bucks [Re: TxHillCntry21] #5985264 10/20/15 12:46 PM
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The 10 is 4.5 or 5.5 (somebody get out the waffles) , but I'd still let him walk. Looks like good potential for non-typ points in future years.

The 11 is 4.5, and I'd let him walk for sure. He could blow up next year.

The 8 is 5.5+ and would be my target for this year.

Last edited by TxAg; 10/20/15 12:53 PM.

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Re: Hill Country Bucks [Re: TxAg] #5985405 10/20/15 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted By: TxAg
The 10 is 4.5 or 5.5 (somebody get out the waffles) , but I'd still let him walk. Looks like good potential for non-typ points in future years.

The 11 is 4.5, and I'd let him walk for sure. He could blow up next year.

The 8 is 5.5+ and would be my target for this year.


I agree in letting the 1st 2 walk, and I sure hope they make it. I don't think the guys on the lease feel the same way. Kind of why I'm wanting feedback from you guys.


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Re: Hill Country Bucks [Re: TxHillCntry21] #5985427 10/20/15 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted By: TxHillCntry21
Originally Posted By: TxAg
The 10 is 4.5 or 5.5 (somebody get out the waffles) , but I'd still let him walk. Looks like good potential for non-typ points in future years.

The 11 is 4.5, and I'd let him walk for sure. He could blow up next year.

The 8 is 5.5+ and would be my target for this year.


I agree in letting the 1st 2 walk, and I sure hope they make it. I don't think the guys on the lease feel the same way. Kind of why I'm wanting feedback from you guys.


What does your Management Strategy dictate? Anything documented in the Lease or Member agreement?

Good luck in getting them on board. Those are a couple fine bucks, and they could really turn into something special if they make it next year.


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Re: Hill Country Bucks [Re: TxHillCntry21] #5985491 10/20/15 03:00 PM
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Good looking bucks. It would be hard to chastise someone for shooting any of them.


Life is too short, as is. Don't chance it.
Don't text and drive.
Re: Hill Country Bucks [Re: TxAg] #5985539 10/20/15 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted By: TxAg
Originally Posted By: TxHillCntry21
Originally Posted By: TxAg
The 10 is 4.5 or 5.5 (somebody get out the waffles) , but I'd still let him walk. Looks like good potential for non-typ points in future years.

The 11 is 4.5, and I'd let him walk for sure. He could blow up next year.

The 8 is 5.5+ and would be my target for this year.


I agree in letting the 1st 2 walk, and I sure hope they make it. I don't think the guys on the lease feel the same way. Kind of why I'm wanting feedback from you guys.


What does your Management Strategy dictate? Anything documented in the Lease or Member agreement?

Good luck in getting them on board. Those are a couple fine bucks, and they could really turn into something special if they make it next year.


Management Strategy is the problem. 7 members. 5 agree that 1 trophy and 1 cull should be taken. 2 members have been embarrassed multiple times for shooting 2-3yr old 8's on opening wknd. (These 2 members are a Brother In Law -not mine, and a Grandfather-mine) They have both been on the lease for 12-15 years.

Over the last 6-7 years we have started to see more deer in the 4-5 age class. Like the ones in the pictures. About half of them are being shot. We have a Top 10 board for all deer shot on the lease. The first 2 bucks would be around 8 and 9. Guys think just because they make the board its a shooter. Also not enough does are being taken.

I'm the youngest guy on the lease and TRYING to be respectful as possible to all guys on the lease. Lease manager is too timid to kick off his BIL, and wont come up with a defined set of rules. Other than 2 bucks 3 does. He thinks the Top 10 board will give guys a goal to set and harvest that caliber buck. However that does not reward shooting a mature buck.

Looking to try and present a written set of rules opening wknd. Any suggestions.


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Re: Hill Country Bucks [Re: TxHillCntry21] #5985629 10/20/15 04:26 PM
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Looking at the age of individual deer before horn size is difficult, especially when the bucks get to the magical age where they are going to really start adding inches. Good years in regard to rainfall and browse for the deer makes the decisions more difficult because the deer have more antler inches than in bad years. Maybe you could make a rule that everyone on the lease has to take their does before you take a buck. This removes mouths from the pasture early and it also alerts the bucks that hunting season is on. Try to steer the hunters that pull the trigger too fast to hunt a certain buck and to not take any deer less than that certain buck. Some leases fine hunters that kill bucks under a certain antler size. I know of one lease that charges $100.00/inch under 140 B & C, so if you kill a 130 inch deer, you owe the lease $1000.00. Your judging skills tend to improve considerably when you owe money for deer that do not measure up to a predetermined inch rule.


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Re: Hill Country Bucks [Re: TxHillCntry21] #5985635 10/20/15 04:37 PM
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What STX said

Re: Hill Country Bucks [Re: TxHillCntry21] #5985731 10/20/15 05:42 PM
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First you have some nice hill country bucks there. We hunt in the hill country also and it takes some effort to get the age class up on the bucks and then get the planets to align and produce a wet year to get the special bucks we are all looking for. If the goal is getting maximum potential out of those bucks and assuming we are expecting a wet winter and spring then I would go for #3 only

Some ideas on strategy with your hunting partners.
- Being an old fart myself I would feel ornery about needing to sign paperwork on what bucks I shot if I have been on the lease 12-15 years so I would not pursue this idea from your position.
- Sometimes its easier to push a load downhill rather than uphill. Work with the big buck board your lease manager has already setup, but recommend cutting it to the top 3-5 bucks. Having a 10 slot big buck board with 7 hunters almost makes it a "participation" trophy to make the board. Another idea is to pick a score to make the board. Bucks have to be xxx inches to make the board. That still doesn't cover the age class issue but it gets things pointed in the right direction
- You didn't say how big your lease is or the relative hunting pressure on surrounding ranches. Adjacent ranch pressure relative to the size of your ranch impacts your ability to manage to size
- The most important thing you can do is hunt and choose your deer like you want the others to choose theirs. I could fill my tags with "nice" young 120-130 bucks most opening weekends, but I choose to wait for the special old bucks. Sometimes they are 120 inch aged out bucks on a dry year, sometimes they are the 140+ mature toads I'm really looking for and sometimes I don't kill a buck all year. I have 3 sons in their early twenties and late teens who love to hunt and they average a buck a year between all 3 of them but the bucks they take are toads. This behavior over time transfers to the other hunters and over the last 10 years we have changed our median age from about 2.5 years to 5.5 years without getting ugly with the rest of the hunters.
- Take the long view and remember hunting should be fun and enjoyed by all. 2 of 7 hunters that fill their tags with 1.5 to 2.5 year old bucks each year will not ruin the ranch's long term chances of producing great bucks as long as the other hunters are doing their part. If half of your 4-5 age class bucks are making it to next year then you will catch a year when the conditions are right to grow a few special deer. If you haven't filled your tags with young bucks on opening weekend then you may be the one to tag MR Toad.

Just some ideas. Maybe you can use a few.

Last edited by uncledeck; 10/20/15 06:22 PM.
Re: Hill Country Bucks [Re: TxHillCntry21] #5985745 10/20/15 05:54 PM
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You could start a hunting lease pot for the oldest buck taken for a trophy and oldest for the other buck taken. You can use some sort of score or measurement as the tie breaker. Post all the bucks taken on the "Wall of Fame". Seen some hunting leases with two walls-the other was the "Wall of Shame" for bucks they did not want taken.


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Re: Hill Country Bucks [Re: TxHillCntry21] #5985815 10/20/15 06:33 PM
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Just to answer a few question from UncleDeck. The lease is 700 acres, bordered by 1500 acres (same owner) and 2- 300-400 acre places with minimal hunting pressure. The guys on the 1500 acre lease are mgmt minded and try to shoot mature deer, (have been told by them that we have shot some of the PASS deer). The lease is Low Fence and I've been hunting the lease for 26 years. The 1st 20 off my dads tags.

The TOP TEN BOARD is an ALL TIME RECORD. Lease Manager came up with scoring system. (does not include any mass measurements). The lowest score on board is 117 the Highest is 133. So adding 12-15 inches for mass means you have to shoot a 130 or better to get on the board - not too bad for Hill Country.

I like the "Wall of Shame" seems like a good idea


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Re: Hill Country Bucks [Re: TxHillCntry21] #5985839 10/20/15 06:45 PM
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7 guys on 700 acres? eek2


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Re: Hill Country Bucks [Re: QuitShootinYoungBucks] #5985860 10/20/15 07:00 PM
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I think the 8 is the only shooter in the group.

It is a tough call though as I doubt we see another wet Spring like we did last year. Therefore, I doubt that the antlers will be as good next year.

Do you have any pics from the last few seasons of the first two? Compare them year over year and make the determination that way.

Re: Hill Country Bucks [Re: TxHillCntry21] #5985943 10/20/15 08:18 PM
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I would suggest going to one buck per hunter. That will always make them think more about what they kill before killing it.

Even in the hill country with higher densities, one buck per hunter on 700 acres is probably over harvest of bucks. When you think of the different age classes you have on 700 acres, I think it's unrealistic to think there are 7 bucks between 4-7 years old.

Have them kill more does. They eat better anyway.


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Re: Hill Country Bucks [Re: Pitchfork Predator] #5985993 10/20/15 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted By: QuitShootinYoungBucks
7 guys on 700 acres? eek2
Originally Posted By: Pitchfork Predator
I would suggest going to one buck per hunter. That will always make them think more about what they kill before killing it.

Even in the hill country with higher densities, one buck per hunter on 700 acres is probably over harvest of bucks. When you think of the different age classes you have on 700 acres, I think it's unrealistic to think there are 7 bucks between 4-7 years old.

Have them kill more does. They eat better anyway.


I understand 7 hunters is a little much. There are usually 8-9 bucks taken on the lease per year. I would like it to be required to take all 3 does. Hell donate the meat if you don't want it, someone is hungry. As far as the 7 hunters, I would like to get rid of the (2) that are not as mgmt minded as the rest. We only pay 1K PER GUN so to consume the cost of the 2 spots wouldn't be too ridiculous. The lease is has several hill tops and 3 creeks so the land hunts larger than it is. 3-4 good bucks killed and 3-4 cull bucks killed each year. Only about 10 does taken between us all with several hogs and Aoudad.


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