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What approach do you take in moderately high hunting pressured areas? #8431135 10/27/21 01:18 PM
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Just curious what others do in their area? We have antler restrictions in my county but I have a neighbor who shoots young deer that are barely legal. I passed on a young 9 and another 10 point last year and both were shot. Do you just keep passing them up and hoping that one will make it through or do you go ahead and harvest knowing that he will probably be shot? Just curious about other's approach to attempting to let bucks mature.

I passed on this buck last year which was shot by neighbor:
10pt

I'll pass on this racehorse buck too this year:
[Linked Image]

Attached Files 10180957.JPG
Re: What approach do you take in moderately high hunting pressured areas? [Re: feralcreek] #8431170 10/27/21 01:46 PM
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What are you hunting on, how many acres?

The 10 doesnt look like a young deer to me, I'd have shot him likely.


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Re: What approach do you take in moderately high hunting pressured areas? [Re: feralcreek] #8431183 10/27/21 01:57 PM
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Keep passing on the young ones and eventually it will pay off for you.
It did for me at my little place we own in 2019 and Lord knows I passed on a lot of good 3 & 4 year olds that I never saw again.

It sucks to have neighbors that just keep piling up small cut off horns in a garage or barn, but if you don't pass them they certainly are not getting older and bigger.
Some folks just have to kill a buck I think.....not sure the reason, they just do. bang


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Re: What approach do you take in moderately high hunting pressured areas? [Re: feralcreek] #8431194 10/27/21 02:05 PM
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"If you only shoot a buck because if you don't, your neighbor will - then you are that neighbor." I read that somewhere years ago, maybe here, but it always stood out to me.
That being said, if you hunt in an area that likely won't allow for a long term management plan, I'd focus on what makes you (legally) enjoy hunting the most. If you feel a buck is worth taking, take him. If you think you'd feel regret about it, give him a pass. My take is you're in it for the long haul, so the more "smaller" bucks you pass will provide better opportunities next year. Hopefully you're allowed some doe in your area so at least you can keep the freezer full until patience pays off.

Re: What approach do you take in moderately high hunting pressured areas? [Re: feralcreek] #8431218 10/27/21 02:20 PM
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Hunt elsewhere.


Keep your gratitude higher than your expectations. RWH
Re: What approach do you take in moderately high hunting pressured areas? [Re: feralcreek] #8431219 10/27/21 02:20 PM
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It is your choice what to do with a deer on your land or your lease. It is the choice of your neighbor to do as he chooses on his side of the fence. Until TPWD changes the wording on all the tags to suit your or my needs that they allot you to use in your county, then I have no issue what someone else can do legally on their side of the fence. You just have to learn to live with your decision. If you can't, then shoot the deer and be done with worrying about the neighbor.


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Re: What approach do you take in moderately high hunting pressured areas? [Re: feralcreek] #8431244 10/27/21 02:37 PM
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Life is too short to worry about the neighbors. Do what makes you feel good about your hunting experiences that you can control. If it is causing you stress and worry, then start looking for another place to hunt. These days I let a lot of mature deer walk that I know others on my lease will take if seen or probably by a neighboring hunter but our pressure is low and neighbor hunting is normally opening weekend and around the holidays. 6 hunters on 2500 low fence acres of good land and high deer population with good genetics

Re: What approach do you take in moderately high hunting pressured areas? [Re: feralcreek] #8431304 10/27/21 03:28 PM
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You made a mistake on last year's deer, he was 5+. This year's deer is 3.5-4.5.

Re: What approach do you take in moderately high hunting pressured areas? [Re: feralcreek] #8431315 10/27/21 03:39 PM
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[Linked Image]

I like all these tips and advice coming. It's tough to make a decision sometimes. I felt like the deer was a 3.5 year old but i'm no expert. You still think that the deer was mature? By all means, I would be glad that the neighbor shot him if he was 5+.

Re: What approach do you take in moderately high hunting pressured areas? [Re: feralcreek] #8431341 10/27/21 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by feralcreek
[Linked Image]

I like all these tips and advice coming. It's tough to make a decision sometimes. I felt like the deer was a 3.5 year old but i'm no expert. You still think that the deer was mature? By all means, I would be glad that the neighbor shot him if he was 5+.

No he was not a 5+ yr old buck IMO. You have to shoot what you are happy with in the end. You were not happy with this buck so nothing wrong with passing on him. At the same time you cannot fault your neighbor for shooting him. You had your chance and chose to let him walk. We only have so many tags you can use during the season. I am in the same boat as you, just a little different scenario. I shot the buck I was after early in archery season. Now I have one buck tag left, do I shoot the next on my list or wait for something new or larger or older to show up? Any deer I pass on is fair game to my neighbors. For all I know, they may be doing the same as I am.


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Re: What approach do you take in moderately high hunting pressured areas? [Re: stxranchman] #8431436 10/27/21 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by stxranchman
Originally Posted by feralcreek
[Linked Image]

I like all these tips and advice coming. It's tough to make a decision sometimes. I felt like the deer was a 3.5 year old but i'm no expert. You still think that the deer was mature? By all means, I would be glad that the neighbor shot him if he was 5+.

No he was not a 5+ yr old buck IMO. You have to shoot what you are happy with in the end. You were not happy with this buck so nothing wrong with passing on him. At the same time you cannot fault your neighbor for shooting him. You had your chance and chose to let him walk. We only have so many tags you can use during the season. I am in the same boat as you, just a little different scenario. I shot the buck I was after early in archery season. Now I have one buck tag left, do I shoot the next on my list or wait for something new or larger or older to show up? Any deer I pass on is fair game to my neighbors. For all I know, they may be doing the same as I am.

I completely agree! I was just curious how others handle it. No right or wrong answer obviously. I don't feel like I own any deer. I lean towards passing and hoping and in the right circumstances seeing if neighbors willing to try to stick to harvesting mature deer as a goal but not a rule. I have a pretty nice 11 on camera that I think is mature.

[Linked Image]

Re: What approach do you take in moderately high hunting pressured areas? [Re: freerange] #8431453 10/27/21 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by freerange
Hunt elsewhere.


Or do some soul searching to decide if simply altering your expectations might be an easier approach.

You might also compare holistically what you're doing and what your neighbors are doing and discover something that adds greater value to you personally in terms of the overall experience. After all, antlers are not everything when it comes to measuring success.

As I heard it once said, focus on the food on your own plate and you'll be happier with the meal.

Last edited by Texas Dan; 10/27/21 06:29 PM.

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Re: What approach do you take in moderately high hunting pressured areas? [Re: feralcreek] #8431514 10/27/21 06:57 PM
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Also in AR County with neighbors whom I actively worked to meet and get their opinions and buy in on what we were targeting - in a polite, collaborative way. Fortunately we have similar approaches, and as far as I know, between the 4 adjacent properties, only two bucks were taken over a 4 year span. We saw many, but focused on does and spikes. I personally went 4 years shooting does only, and in my opinion, the restrictions and our approach made a significant impact to antler quality with several mature bucks taken over the past two years.

This year we have an informal agreement to go back to does with a heavy emphasis on hogs. Of course, if a monster buck appears, it will get taken, but not the young bucks.

Now, if your neighbors are not on the same page, I suggest you shoot what makes you happy and ignore what they may take.


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Re: What approach do you take in moderately high hunting pressured areas? [Re: feralcreek] #8431523 10/27/21 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by feralcreek
I have a pretty nice 11 on camera that I think is mature.

[Linked Image]

Great looking deer and IMO, MATURE.
He'd be the one I'd go after for sure and be reaching for my rifle or bow the minute he stepped out!


High fence, low fence, no fence, it really doesn't matter as long as you're hunting!
Re: What approach do you take in moderately high hunting pressured areas? [Re: feralcreek] #8431577 10/27/21 08:10 PM
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OP said “hunting mature deer as a goal and not a rule”. I’m not sure I’ve heard it said exactly like that, but I think I like it. We may be a little more committed than that, but may be a good way for many to look at it. up


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Re: What approach do you take in moderately high hunting pressured areas? [Re: ILUVBIGBUCKS] #8431771 10/27/21 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by ILUVBIGBUCKS
Originally Posted by feralcreek
I have a pretty nice 11 on camera that I think is mature.

[Linked Image]

Great looking deer and IMO, MATURE.
He'd be the one I'd go after for sure and be reaching for my rifle or bow the minute he stepped out!


That is a mature deer no doubt.


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Re: What approach do you take in moderately high hunting pressured areas? [Re: stxranchman] #8431833 10/28/21 12:36 AM
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Originally Posted by stxranchman
Originally Posted by feralcreek
[Linked Image]

I like all these tips and advice coming. It's tough to make a decision sometimes. I felt like the deer was a 3.5 year old but i'm no expert. You still think that the deer was mature? By all means, I would be glad that the neighbor shot him if he was 5+.

No he was not a 5+ yr old buck IMO. You have to shoot what you are happy with in the end. You were not happy with this buck so nothing wrong with passing on him. At the same time you cannot fault your neighbor for shooting him. You had your chance and chose to let him walk. We only have so many tags you can use during the season. I am in the same boat as you, just a little different scenario. I shot the buck I was after early in archery season. Now I have one buck tag left, do I shoot the next on my list or wait for something new or larger or older to show up? Any deer I pass on is fair game to my neighbors. For all I know, they may be doing the same as I am.

I was basing my aging on the link picture, not the picture above which may or may not be the same deer. Deer in link is pushing 5, maybe 4.5. This deer in picture looks 4-5yo.

Re: What approach do you take in moderately high hunting pressured areas? [Re: freerange] #8431906 10/28/21 01:38 AM
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Originally Posted by freerange
OP said “hunting mature deer as a goal and not a rule”. I’m not sure I’ve heard it said exactly like that, but I think I like it. We may be a little more committed than that, but may be a good way for many to look at it. up

I too like that wording, a philosophy but not an absolute....

Re: What approach do you take in moderately high hunting pressured areas? [Re: feralcreek] #8431940 10/28/21 01:59 AM
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This may be going off topic but going off topic would probably be a philosophy and not an absolute, so here goes.
On our 18 man lease we have a "rule" to let bucks get to 5. The biggest we had killed in 12 years was a 159 and several 150s. Well, a typical 12 scoring 167 shows up and we all think hes 4. No one on the lease has ever killed a buck that big. So I give the green light to hunt him. Why? Because the reason we have a 5 year old "rule" is cause we want to kill big deer. Well, HERE HE IS, the very reason for our rules, sacrifices and efforts for years. Our most deserved lease member killed him with a bow and it may be the biggest bow kill in that county. Some will say that once you bend a rule you open up a can of worms. Maybe so, but in this case, everyone has lived happily ever after.
I have another story from another lease of a 181 that was 4 and no one on that lease had killed anything close to that....


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Re: What approach do you take in moderately high hunting pressured areas? [Re: freerange] #8431976 10/28/21 02:22 AM
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Originally Posted by freerange
This may be going off topic but going off topic would probably be a philosophy and not an absolute, so here goes.
On our 18 man lease we have a "rule" to let bucks get to 5. The biggest we had killed in 12 years was a 159 and several 150s. Well, a typical 12 scoring 167 shows up and we all think hes 4. No one on the lease has ever killed a buck that big. So I give the green light to hunt him. Why? Because the reason we have a 5 year old "rule" is cause we want to kill big deer. Well, HERE HE IS, the very reason for our rules, sacrifices and efforts for years. Our most deserved lease member killed him with a bow and it may be the biggest bow kill in that county. Some will say that once you bend a rule you open up a can of worms. Maybe so, but in this case, everyone has lived happily ever after.
I have another story from another lease of a 181 that was 4 and no one on that lease had killed anything close to that....


It's called following the purpose or "spirit" of a rule rather than trying to follow it to the letter.


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Re: What approach do you take in moderately high hunting pressured areas? [Re: feralcreek] #8432029 10/28/21 03:39 AM
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Obie Juan (stxranchman) gave some great advice. You do you and don't let anything suck the happiness out of hunting.

I spent 25 yrs on a place in Duval County (~700 acres). Had leases elsewhere over the years but this was home base. We eventually got together and set some rules on what deer can and cannot be killed, this was an agreement between all folks on the place and a few of the neighbors. The goal was to grow bigger deer. All of that went out the window quick, nobody kept their damn word.

I passed 95% of the bucks I saw on that place. Watched quite a few young bucks with potential jump the fence and get shot. Hey, what a neighbor does on his/her place is none of my business. They are killing legal animals and I hope that was a kid's first deer. What pizzed me off was that my own compadres didn't keep their word and stick to the deal, and land owner's non contributing family members would show up with their kids and shoot whatever they wanted despite being told the rules. I was literally the ONLY person following the rules that we all agreed to. Made my kids pass many deer that were shot by others not keeping their word, kid's & I went home empty handed many times while "someone else" was cleaning the same deer we passed 10 times. Seeing that disappointment on their faces really started to burn a hole. I just wanted to let my kid shoot a deer and follow the rules.

It got to the point to where this drama was sucking the fun out of it for me and my kids. Don't let that happen to you.

You've posted some pics of mature deer, shoot em' or put a kid on them.

Have fun and enjoy hunting. If it's not fun, then it's not worth doing.

up

Re: What approach do you take in moderately high hunting pressured areas? [Re: feralcreek] #8432038 10/28/21 04:10 AM
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I’m not hunting a big place but I have two guidelines I implement....feed protein more or less year round ( my protein feeders are currently empty but I’ll fill them up again here soon ) to try and hold deer as best I can and don’t shoot immature deer unless he is just a junk buck. Like ILBB mentioned, some people just have to shoot a buck just cause.

I pass on young deer and hope my neighbors do the same. I am not nearly as concerned with score as I am with age.


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Re: What approach do you take in moderately high hunting pressured areas? [Re: skinnerback] #8432115 10/28/21 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by skinnerback
Obie Juan (stxranchman) gave some great advice. You do you and don't let anything suck the happiness out of hunting.

I spent 25 yrs on a place in Duval County (~700 acres). Had leases elsewhere over the years but this was home base. We eventually got together and set some rules on what deer can and cannot be killed, this was an agreement between all folks on the place and a few of the neighbors. The goal was to grow bigger deer. All of that went out the window quick, nobody kept their damn word.

I passed 95% of the bucks I saw on that place. Watched quite a few young bucks with potential jump the fence and get shot. Hey, what a neighbor does on his/her place is none of my business. They are killing legal animals and I hope that was a kid's first deer. What pizzed me off was that my own compadres didn't keep their word and stick to the deal, and land owner's non contributing family members would show up with their kids and shoot whatever they wanted despite being told the rules. I was literally the ONLY person following the rules that we all agreed to. Made my kids pass many deer that were shot by others not keeping their word, kid's & I went home empty handed many times while "someone else" was cleaning the same deer we passed 10 times. Seeing that disappointment on their faces really started to burn a hole. I just wanted to let my kid shoot a deer and follow the rules.

It got to the point to where this drama was sucking the fun out of it for me and my kids. Don't let that happen to you.

You've posted some pics of mature deer, shoot em' or put a kid on them.

Have fun and enjoy hunting. If it's not fun, then it's not worth doing.

up

No truer words spoken, ultimately you can only somewhat control your self happiness and actions. You see a deer you like and want, shoot it and don't get overly worked up about what happens around U; can't really force control of it anyhow.

Re: What approach do you take in moderately high hunting pressured areas? [Re: feralcreek] #8432134 10/28/21 11:49 AM
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It's good to have goals and self-control, but...on a small place, you are pissing in the wind. I hunted one for many years. Shoot what makes you happy and don't discuss it with the neighbors. This is deer hunting, not some grand moral code. Lots of deer "experts" talk a good game, but when a good, possibly not ancient buck steps in front of them, all their talk goes out the window, especially if no one else is on the lease that day! One of the reasons I got off a lease was when I showed the resident deer "expert" a game camera pic (all the other hunters, including the "expert" had grown tired of checking cameras, but I digress) of the best deer any of us had seen on the place, I could see the shock in his eyes. Then he stammered and said "Oh, we need to let him walk to breed!". A few days later I showed him another, similar deer. Same response. Yeah, I'm outa here. realmad

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Re: What approach do you take in moderately high hunting pressured areas? [Re: feralcreek] #8432220 10/28/21 01:20 PM
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Quote
I completely agree! I was just curious how others handle it. No right or wrong answer obviously. I don't feel like I own any deer. I lean towards passing and hoping and in the right circumstances seeing if neighbors willing to try to stick to harvesting mature deer as a goal but not a rule. I have a pretty nice 11 on camera that I think is mature.
[Linked Image]

This buck is a perfect example of a mature, the other buck in the video link which is the same buck in the TC pic, is not mature. If you have mature bucks running around like this one and are looking to shoot mature deer, then there was nothing wrong with letting the other bucks pass. Someone somewhere is on the same page you are.
There are two ways you can manage any size property....one is by example or the other one is by trying to tell the neighbors how to manage their own land. One works well for a non-local and the other one won't get you are warm welcome from the locals. They tend to bow up pretty quickly to someone telling them how manage their own place. I manage by example.


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