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Food for Thought #7579795 08/14/19 02:53 PM
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As we quickly approach the opening of deer season, I sit here wondering and pondering the following. "What do you think the typical deer hunter in TX, hunting an average size (300-500 acres), LF ranch feels is a nice buck"? "Would it be a 4yo, 120" or greater, 110" or greater". Personally, and after 40+ years of hunting South and NW Texas, I feel that a 4.5yo+ buck at 125" or more is a nice buck with 5-6yo+ and 140"+ being a trophy class. What say the forum without throwing in umTeenth variables to the inquiry? Thanks.

Re: Food for Thought [Re: DQ Kid] #7579799 08/14/19 02:57 PM
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Agree with your assessment. Bucks are bodily mature at 4.5. While I only shoot culls in that age class, many people consider a 4.5 yr old buck on low-fenced, smaller country to be a candidate for harvest.

Re: Food for Thought [Re: DQ Kid] #7579824 08/14/19 03:22 PM
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It really depends on size and neighbors for me. My place is smaller than your average size listed above but I have deer every year in all ages classes up to 7+. More in the younger but still quite a few bucks in the 5+ age class. So since I bought it, I have tried to only take 5.5 or older bucks that are over 130 gross. Been successful other than one year I took a 4 yr old with my bow that was the largest bodied buck I have killed on my place. I was certain he was 4 when I shot him and was fine with killing him. I knew that with him having 3 kickers and around 140 gross he was going to get shot by someone.... based off of similar age/looking bucks that I let go in the past. I had 3 yrs of TC pics of him also, so I had the history. Having good neighbors is key to getting the age classes you want to kill bucks at. Be it 2 or 3 or whatever age your goal is. Some places consider a 3 yr old buck old enough to shoot. I do not have a problem with people shooting bucks they like and when they like them....no matter what age they are. I can only control what I do.



Re: Food for Thought [Re: DQ Kid] #7579843 08/14/19 03:44 PM
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On my low fence place in southern OK that I have had for going on three hunting seasons, I was really happy we were able to shoot two old bucks last year. I was pretty certain both were over 5 at the minimum and almost certain one was closer to 7 than 5, but either way they were old and not huge racks, but good racks with some good character/junk.

My definition of a "good buck" on my place is 5yo around 120' and a "great buck" is 5yo 150'-160'+ while the "awesome buck" status is reserved for something I have not seen yet, but know the potential is there.

My neighbors for the most part are trophy hunters, they have all shot great bucks and are looking for the really spectacular bucks. They also are good with shooting doe, so our numbers aren't way skewed. We try to take one doe for every buck dead. last year I believe we did a little more than that, maybe 4 doe to three bucks.

Re: Food for Thought [Re: DQ Kid] #7579878 08/14/19 04:44 PM
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Our place is a little over 300 acres LF, we shoot for our good bucks to be a min 4.5 years old and I prefer 5.5 but we do have hunting pressure so we take it play by play. If its a home body deer we will roll the dice and let him have another year, if not we would probably take him. Have shot a good handful of bucks in the 140's and shot several other 4+ year old 6/7/lesser 8 pts in the 100-120 range.


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Re: Food for Thought [Re: DQ Kid] #7579887 08/14/19 04:55 PM
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Most average hunters will tell you an 8 point buck with 3.5-4" of mass and decent tine length is a 'good buck'. 100-110", likely. If they are pleased with the deer, then I am happy for them.

What grinds my gears is when they show up with a 2.5 yr old 10pt, thin horns, 14" spread, 5" tines and talk about 'there just aren't any good bucks out there, I had to shoot this one'. Guess what, there still aren't any good ones out there and you've insured that will continue.


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Re: Food for Thought [Re: DQ Kid] #7579899 08/14/19 05:12 PM
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A very wise rancher who managed his large ranch for trophy whitetails told me many years ago that the "average" trophy buck in South Texas is 5.5 years old, has 9 points and scores 125-130. On well managed country with good neighbors, that may have changed some. But I'll bet not by much.

I once asked him, if you didn't have hunters who would pay a trophy fee for a 130 in buck, how would your culling criteria change on the top end.? His reply was, "if I was simply trying to grow the biggest deer possible, I'd kill any deer 4.5 or older that didn't score at least 145 inches.

Re: Food for Thought [Re: fouzman] #7579904 08/14/19 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by fouzman
A very wise rancher who managed his large ranch for trophy whitetails told me many years ago that the "average" trophy buck in South Texas is 5.5 years old, has 9 points and scores 125-130. On well managed country with good neighbors, that may have changed some. But I'll bet not by much.

Agree with you here...

Re: Food for Thought [Re: fouzman] #7579909 08/14/19 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by fouzman
A very wise rancher who managed his large ranch for trophy whitetails told me many years ago that the "average" trophy buck in South Texas is 5.5 years old, has 9 points and scores 125-130. On well managed country with good neighbors, that may have changed some. But I'll bet not by much.

I'll just leave this name here..... tlk. A lot has changed in the last 10 yrs on what quality lies on LF ranches with great management practices....even on smaller places. Good age structure, with great habitat/supplemental feed and average or above rainfall show that. The key words are "average" trophy shot. People are letting deer walk today that would not have gotten that pass 20 or 30 yrs ago. Age structure on bucks is key IMO on any size place. How you achieve it is the tough part.



Re: Food for Thought [Re: DQ Kid] #7579917 08/14/19 05:29 PM
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Agree completely, stx. But tlk's group is still the exception, not the rule.

Re: Food for Thought [Re: fouzman] #7579933 08/14/19 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by fouzman
Agree completely, stx. But tlk's group is still the exception, not the rule.

There a lot of groups like his all over the state the are killing really big deer (for their area) that are never entered in any contest or any book or ever viewed publicly. They are doing it on various sized acreages from what would be deemed to small to the normal larger ones. Neighbors are key. The "Good Old Days" of whitetail hunting are today. The only times years ago you would see numbers of great bucks killed in an area was when it was way above average rainfall year. Today we are seeing large numbers of great bucks(for there area) killed every year with average rainfall in all regions of the state. We only see the publicized ones and many of them never publicized.... so no one knows the real numbers. I have a lot friend who get pics of great deer sent to them and no one ever sees those deer. I see a few of them myself.



Re: Food for Thought [Re: stxranchman] #7579970 08/14/19 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by stxranchman
Originally Posted by fouzman
Agree completely, stx. But tlk's group is still the exception, not the rule.

There a lot of groups like his all over the state the are killing really big deer (for their area) that are never entered in any contest or any book or ever viewed publicly. They are doing it on various sized acreages from what would be deemed to small to the normal larger ones. Neighbors are key. The "Good Old Days" of whitetail hunting are today. The only times years ago you would see numbers of great bucks killed in an area was when it was way above average rainfall year. Today we are seeing large numbers of great bucks(for there area) killed every year with average rainfall in all regions of the state. We only see the publicized ones and many of them never publicized.... so no one knows the real numbers. I have a lot friend who get pics of great deer sent to them and no one ever sees those deer. I see a few of them myself.


X2, this forum is a perfect example. TLK happens to post his, couple others won’t, and I don’t blame them.


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Re: Food for Thought [Re: DQ Kid] #7579994 08/14/19 06:40 PM
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4-1/2 and over 130


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Re: Food for Thought [Re: DQ Kid] #7580115 08/14/19 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by DQ Kid
As we quickly approach the opening of deer season, I sit here wondering and pondering the following. "What do you think the typical deer hunter in TX, hunting an average size (300-500 acres), LF ranch feels is a nice buck"? "Would it be a 4yo, 120" or greater, 110" or greater". Personally, and after 40+ years of hunting South and NW Texas, I feel that a 4.5yo+ buck at 125" or more is a nice buck with 5-6yo+ and 140"+ being a trophy class. What say the forum without throwing in umTeenth variables to the inquiry? Thanks.

I agree with your assessment. Most bucks just don't get the age on them required to grow more before they get shot. Especially on smaller properties which are growing in number by the day and large properties shrinking by the day. You will never see the true potential of a buck until it gets 6 years old. Most bucks that are considered trophy on these type of properties get shot at 4 or 5. If you hunt on a property that the deer live on and observe the jump they make from 5 to 6, patience is much easier to come by. You end up seeing alot more bucks and can learn so much more about mature buck behavior and how to assess them quickly from their body language etc.....


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Re: Food for Thought [Re: Pitchfork Predator] #7580124 08/14/19 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Pitchfork Predator
Originally Posted by DQ Kid
As we quickly approach the opening of deer season, I sit here wondering and pondering the following. "What do you think the typical deer hunter in TX, hunting an average size (300-500 acres), LF ranch feels is a nice buck"? "Would it be a 4yo, 120" or greater, 110" or greater". Personally, and after 40+ years of hunting South and NW Texas, I feel that a 4.5yo+ buck at 125" or more is a nice buck with 5-6yo+ and 140"+ being a trophy class. What say the forum without throwing in umTeenth variables to the inquiry? Thanks.

I agree with your assessment. Most bucks just don't get the age on them required to grow more before they get shot. Especially on smaller properties which are growing in number by the day and large properties shrinking by the day. You will never see the true potential of a buck until it gets 6 years old. Most bucks that are considered trophy on these type of properties get shot at 4 or 5. If you hunt on a property that the deer live on and observe the jump they make from 5 to 6, patience is much easier to come by. You end up seeing alot more bucks and can learn so much more about mature buck behavior and how to assess them quickly from their body language etc.....

well stated ... let them grow old and they will be in a different class ... getting that thru some people's head is virtually impossible though.


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Re: Food for Thought [Re: DQ Kid] #7580131 08/14/19 09:27 PM
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Hunting in east Texas only, if I can find a buck that’s 3.5+ and legal it’s a good buck. A 5 year old 125 + is a trophy.

Average hunter across the state is looking for a 4.5+ year old scoring 130+.


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Re: Food for Thought [Re: PMK] #7580143 08/14/19 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by PMK
Originally Posted by Pitchfork Predator
Originally Posted by DQ Kid
As we quickly approach the opening of deer season, I sit here wondering and pondering the following. "What do you think the typical deer hunter in TX, hunting an average size (300-500 acres), LF ranch feels is a nice buck"? "Would it be a 4yo, 120" or greater, 110" or greater". Personally, and after 40+ years of hunting South and NW Texas, I feel that a 4.5yo+ buck at 125" or more is a nice buck with 5-6yo+ and 140"+ being a trophy class. What say the forum without throwing in umTeenth variables to the inquiry? Thanks.

I agree with your assessment. Most bucks just don't get the age on them required to grow more before they get shot. Especially on smaller properties which are growing in number by the day and large properties shrinking by the day. You will never see the true potential of a buck until it gets 6 years old. Most bucks that are considered trophy on these type of properties get shot at 4 or 5. If you hunt on a property that the deer live on and observe the jump they make from 5 to 6, patience is much easier to come by. You end up seeing alot more bucks and can learn so much more about mature buck behavior and how to assess them quickly from their body language etc.....

well stated ... let them grow old and they will be in a different class ... getting that thru some people's head is virtually impossible though.

I tend to believe that there is also a bit of evidence to support and a train of thought that the best antler year will likely be the best rainfall year from 4.5+.

I'd think it is fair to say a large portion of the properties are not supplementally fed etc. to a degree to negate mother nature. Deer my dad shot last year probably lost 10 inches from 4 to 5 due to a good drought year.


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Re: Food for Thought [Re: redchevy] #7580165 08/14/19 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by redchevy
Originally Posted by PMK
Originally Posted by Pitchfork Predator
Originally Posted by DQ Kid
As we quickly approach the opening of deer season, I sit here wondering and pondering the following. "What do you think the typical deer hunter in TX, hunting an average size (300-500 acres), LF ranch feels is a nice buck"? "Would it be a 4yo, 120" or greater, 110" or greater". Personally, and after 40+ years of hunting South and NW Texas, I feel that a 4.5yo+ buck at 125" or more is a nice buck with 5-6yo+ and 140"+ being a trophy class. What say the forum without throwing in umTeenth variables to the inquiry? Thanks.

I agree with your assessment. Most bucks just don't get the age on them required to grow more before they get shot. Especially on smaller properties which are growing in number by the day and large properties shrinking by the day. You will never see the true potential of a buck until it gets 6 years old. Most bucks that are considered trophy on these type of properties get shot at 4 or 5. If you hunt on a property that the deer live on and observe the jump they make from 5 to 6, patience is much easier to come by. You end up seeing alot more bucks and can learn so much more about mature buck behavior and how to assess them quickly from their body language etc.....

well stated ... let them grow old and they will be in a different class ... getting that thru some people's head is virtually impossible though.

I tend to believe that there is also a bit of evidence to support and a train of thought that the best antler year will likely be the best rainfall year from 4.5+.

I'd think it is fair to say a large portion of the properties are not supplementally fed etc. to a degree to negate mother nature. Deer my dad shot last year probably lost 10 inches from 4 to 5 due to a good drought year.

Well he'll never know now that he's dead at 5, will he? I've rarely seen bucks not make a big jump from 5 to 6 unless there is severe drought. Most bucks are still growing their bodies at 5. That's why they make a big jump at 6 because all the nutrition is going to the antlers now, not body and antlers. That's also why they have bellies sagging because nutrition goes to putting on fat and antler mass IMO.


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Re: Food for Thought [Re: BOBO the Clown] #7580212 08/14/19 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by BOBO the Clown
Originally Posted by stxranchman
Originally Posted by fouzman
Agree completely, stx. But tlk's group is still the exception, not the rule.

There a lot of groups like his all over the state the are killing really big deer (for their area) that are never entered in any contest or any book or ever viewed publicly. They are doing it on various sized acreages from what would be deemed to small to the normal larger ones. Neighbors are key. The "Good Old Days" of whitetail hunting are today. The only times years ago you would see numbers of great bucks killed in an area was when it was way above average rainfall year. Today we are seeing large numbers of great bucks(for there area) killed every year with average rainfall in all regions of the state. We only see the publicized ones and many of them never publicized.... so no one knows the real numbers. I have a lot friend who get pics of great deer sent to them and no one ever sees those deer. I see a few of them myself.


X2, this forum is a perfect example. TLK happens to post his, couple others won’t, and I don’t blame them.


No doubt there are other LF ranches producing quality deer that we never see pics of. By the same token I am proud of what our ranch owners and our lease members have produced. It is not bragging - it is simply to show others that if you are in for the long haul, find the proper hunters, have great land owners, and follow the program then you can see results. I have an awesome relationship with our LO's - they respect me and I respect them. We also have a long term contract in place. So why not share with others? Maybe I will regret it some day but I doubt it

End of the day it is still pretty simple - nutrition, age, genetics - period. Been that way for many years. What has been tweaked is the nutrition (protein, etc.) and IMO culling mouths from the herd. Fewer mouths to feed the more food for those who are left.



Last edited by tlk; 08/14/19 11:31 PM.

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Re: Food for Thought [Re: tlk] #7580225 08/14/19 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by tlk
Originally Posted by BOBO the Clown
Originally Posted by stxranchman
Originally Posted by fouzman
Agree completely, stx. But tlk's group is still the exception, not the rule.

There a lot of groups like his all over the state the are killing really big deer (for their area) that are never entered in any contest or any book or ever viewed publicly. They are doing it on various sized acreages from what would be deemed to small to the normal larger ones. Neighbors are key. The "Good Old Days" of whitetail hunting are today. The only times years ago you would see numbers of great bucks killed in an area was when it was way above average rainfall year. Today we are seeing large numbers of great bucks(for there area) killed every year with average rainfall in all regions of the state. We only see the publicized ones and many of them never publicized.... so no one knows the real numbers. I have a lot friend who get pics of great deer sent to them and no one ever sees those deer. I see a few of them myself.


X2, this forum is a perfect example. TLK happens to post his, couple others won’t, and I don’t blame them.


No doubt there are other LF ranches producing quality deer that we never see pics of. By the same token I am proud of what our ranch owners and our lease members have produced. It is not bragging - it is simply to show others that if you are in for the long haul, find the proper hunters, have great land owners, and follow the program then you can see results. I have an awesome relationship with our LO's - they respect me and I respect them. We also have a long term contract in place. So why not share with others? Maybe I will regret it some day but I doubt it


I’m not chastising for sharing, I’m simply saying I don’t blame others for not sharing. As a landowner I’ve had outfitters call me after an unscrubbed picture was sent/posted. It takes three minutes to find landowner and contact info if a picture still has GPS info on it. Most times those deer didn’t get to the age class it takes to consistently produce with out a superb landowner relationship to begin with, but I Personally won’t be the one to lay out a red carpet




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Re: Food for Thought [Re: DQ Kid] #7580233 08/14/19 11:48 PM
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The average hunter is looking for the first legal deer that steps out that day.

Re: Food for Thought [Re: maximus_flavius] #7580519 08/15/19 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by maximus_flavius
The average hunter is looking for the first legal deer that steps out that day.

For a large portion of the state your saying everyone is a "brown its down" hunter? Every deer on our property is a legal deer till I run out of tags.


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Re: Food for Thought [Re: Pitchfork Predator] #7580599 08/15/19 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Pitchfork Predator

Well he'll never know now that he's dead at 5, will he? I've rarely seen bucks not make a big jump from 5 to 6 unless there is severe drought. Most bucks are still growing their bodies at 5. That's why they make a big jump at 6 because all the nutrition is going to the antlers now, not body and antlers. That's also why they have bellies sagging because nutrition goes to putting on fat and antler mass IMO.

Maybe we will. he could very well have been 6. We sent the teeth off.


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Re: Food for Thought [Re: BOBO the Clown] #7581114 08/16/19 12:30 AM
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Originally Posted by BOBO the Clown
Originally Posted by tlk
Originally Posted by BOBO the Clown
[quote=stxranchman][quote=fouzman]Agree completely, stx. But tlk's group is still the exception, not the rule.

There a lot of groups like his all over the state the are killing really big deer (for their area) that are never entered in any contest or any book or ever viewed publicly. They are doing it on various sized acreages from what would be deemed to small to the normal larger ones. Neighbors are key. The "Good Old Days" of whitetail hunting are today. The only times years ago you would see numbers of great bucks killed in an area was when it was way above average rainfall year. Today we are seeing large numbers of great bucks(for there area) killed every year with average rainfall in all regions of the state. We only see the publicized ones and many of them never publicized.... so no one knows the real numbers. I have a lot friend who get pics of great deer sent to them and no one ever sees those deer. I see a few of them myself.


I’m not chastising for sharing, I’m simply saying I don’t blame others for not sharing. As a landowner I’ve had outfitters call me after an unscrubbed picture was sent/posted. It takes three minutes to find landowner and contact info if a picture still has GPS info on it. Most times those deer didn’t get to the age class it takes to consistently produce with out a superb landowner relationship to begin with, but I Personally won’t be the one to lay out a red carpet




Bobo I know you were not chastising - and believe me I understand some not wanting to share pics - just because someone contacts a landowner however does not mean that all landowners will take the bait.

I would think most LO's would be looking for someone who will stay long term, make their payments on time, take care of their place as though it was their own, and follow the LO's wishes. To find someone like that is gold and in many cases worth more than a few extra bucks. Just my opinion.


Last edited by tlk; 08/16/19 01:23 AM.

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Re: Food for Thought [Re: redchevy] #7598308 09/05/19 01:26 AM
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Originally Posted by redchevy
Originally Posted by Pitchfork Predator

Well he'll never know now that he's dead at 5, will he? I've rarely seen bucks not make a big jump from 5 to 6 unless there is severe drought. Most bucks are still growing their bodies at 5. That's why they make a big jump at 6 because all the nutrition is going to the antlers now, not body and antlers. That's also why they have bellies sagging because nutrition goes to putting on fat and antler mass IMO.

Maybe we will. he could very well have been 6. We sent the teeth off.

Well I know it’s dragging something back from the depths but your response irked me. Dad texted me a few minutes ago the deer was aged 6 years old.
He went down hill in score from 5 to 6 in my opinion due to poor rain fall year even with free choice 20% protein.


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