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Bucks or Does ??

4190 Views 34 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  SWO1
When the conversation turns to WhiteTail Deer hunting it seems the first question always asked is "How many points did he have". What is the allure of the average hunter to taking an antlererd deer over a non-antlered one ?

The Missouri hunting regulations allow only "One" antlered deer per gun season. Not a Buck but Antlered. Yes females do on occasion have antlers. A few years back a young girl a few counties over took a female deer with a Massive Non-Typical spread. My thoughts on the subject are:

1. During the Rut (mating season) Male Deer (Bucks) are a lot easier to take than females. They have only one thing on their mind, causing them to be less wary. They tend to ignore typical danger signs and pursue does with reckless abandon. They also challange other males for mating rights and will respond to calls of grunts, antler rattling, doe bleats, and scent trails and lures.

2. Meat for an average (2 year old) buck is less tasty than a doe. I'm a meat hunter and always perfer a doe over a buck. Have never found a good receipe for antlers.

3. A BIG misconception is you can tell the age of a buck by the number of spikes on his rack. Not true at all. Deer DO NOT put on a spike a year. The average life span of a Wild Deer is 10 years. Some may put on a couple and never get any more the rest of their lives. The only sure way to tell is to check their teeth, like a horse. Kind of hard to do before you take them.

So whats the driving force behind The Hunt. Is it the Primal Instinct to elimate other Male competition ? Or the satification of having that trophy Mount hanging on the wall ? Or is it another driving force to privide FOOD. I guess is a little of them all......:)
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I started deer hunting in 1973. Was invited to an annual hunting trip to Pa. by a friends. That adventure lasted 8 years until I changed jobs and had a couple years w/o enough vacation time. The laws in Pa. allowed for two weeks of Buck Season and then a third week for Does. We always hunted the opening week, Buck only. I had good success by bagging 5 deer in 8 years, (above average). The hunting was good and there were thousands of acres of National Forest to wander through. Although there were some patterns, the deer could be anywhere.
I have returned 3 times since 1981 but it's not the same. (another story)
Then I started hunting Ohio. A totally different type of hunt, to which I've never totally adjusted. Permission to hunt is required and the farms may range from 40 to 200 acres. And permission may not be available for the farm next door. Most farms are 80% tillable so there are "wood lots" spotted everywhere. The deer travel for area to area and without permission, finding their bedding and feeding area is tough. This research phase has been made easier with the introduction of Trail Cameras.
Here in Ohio, I dedicate 1-2 days in the blind to looking for a bigger than ever Buck. Just to put a smile on my face. Then I focus on putting meat in the freezer. Actually, my last deer was a medium size Doe. That is my preference because they taste better, in my opinion. And the farmers prefer that the Does be taken. After they have mated, they usually conceive twins so for each Doe taken, you reduce the herd by 3.
There seems to be 2 types of successful hunts. Either find a well used path where they travel from their beds to their feeding areas and set up a tree stand or a blind. This often requires hours and hours of scouting, sitting and waiting :eek:. Something that I'm not good at. Or, be part of a group hunt (which I am not) whereas you have Drivers and Standers. I was involved in this type of hunt in the early 80s and nearly got shot. :eek:
One of the keys to success is to find a good spot with limited pressure. Hopefully, I've found just that spot this year.
As for processing deer, I have done my own since 1974. My first job out of high school was as a meat cutter for 2 years. My first deer was processed in a butcher shop and wasn't fit to eat. The source of the strong gamey taste is from the fat and the bone marrow. The butcher shop used a band saw which wiped the marrow across every cut. Yuck!!
If Ya'll want, for Windy's sake, we can discuss what we believe to be true or not true about Deer and the means by which we harvest them. Or do we need a separate thread??
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Well said SWO1
I have to agree, with only one exception. McKean County Pa. The over harvest policy of that area has reduced the herd size to a point that I may well never go back. (another story)
In this area, I don't remember when the state started an open season for deer. I know it was after 1970 and the gun season was only 3 days, limit of one. There were extra days for archery and the firearms were limited to a shotgun with a single slug only.
Now, the deer are everywhere in abundant numbers. When you figure that a Doe conceives her first time, she generally has a single fawn. Every year thereafter, she will conceive twins and sometimes triplets. Start out with a herd of 4 Doe and a Buck, using a calculator and see what you get in 10 years. The numbers are staggering.
We understand that a deer's best means of defense is their sense of smell and their hearing. Their hearing can be defeated by ambient noise i.e rain and wind. Their sense of smell is less defeat-able. A debate looms on but I believe that deer are color blind. I think that what they see would be similar to us watching black and white TV. They have excellent night vision, therefore they have many more Rods (light detectors) in their eyes and less or no Cones (color detectors) I also believe that, to a deer, Solid Blaze Orange appears as bright white. Like a florescent light walking through the woods. That is why I use Camo Blaze Orange when I hunt during gun season. I also believe that deer have very poor depth perception. I have seen Does standing on a logging trail in Pa. at a distance of 100 yards. I've walked straight towards them to half that distance before they bolted. But they will detect lateral motion in a heartbeat. I believe that they have a photographic memory. They look at you, look away, look back, and if the picture isn't the same, they are gone.
And as for their situational awareness, superb. I believe that they live and die in an area about 1 mile by 1.5 miles. And they know every inch of that area. It would be like you or me living in a 3000 sg. ft. house and an intruder enters. Their awareness is that keen.
What thoughts do others have????
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I have known of deer that would crawl on their knees to avoid detection. Even back up into a brush pile or hide in a Red Briar Patch to conceal their antlers. They will even lay down during a snow storm and become totally covered with snow so they look like a snow covered rock. If they know that there is someone around, they can pass through a wood without a sound. They are smart animals and if a mature buck can make it through 3 seasons, he will most likely die of old age. They don't get old by being dumb.
Not to hijack the thread but this was a trail cam pic. taken in Ohio in Sept. 2009.
Virtually unheard of in this state.
Coyotes are becoming a problem in our state. A friend confirmed that the ODNR introduced them from Mich. in an attempt to control the deer population. They deny it but he shot one with a Mich. I.D. tag attached so he called the numbers and they confirmed his suspicions.


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I believe deer are color blind. I also believe they along with a lot of other animals can sence IR beams, weather sensors or flashes. When deer hunting i dont pay a whole lot of attention to clothing, except to keep warm. Of course I wear Blaze Orange just because its required by LAW. Cap and Vest. Sence of smell YES..sounds Im not so sure about. I have been working a chain saw in the timber, looked up and there is a deer standing 20 yards from me, just watching.

Good information;
Color blind - agreed.
IR beams - sounds right. They sure get curious about my game cam with IR.
UV - could be why blaze orange looks like a fluorescent light. They say that a UV Killer detergent will solve that problem???
Sense of hearing. - I believe it is excellent, but they know what is normal. Most sounds are recognized as normal and passed off. Some sounds cause them to be on alert, engage their other senses and take a closer look. However, abnormal sounds i.e. metallic sound made by working the action or even the hammer/safety on a rifle will cause them to bolt.
We have a Shorty Jack Russell. She is an excellent alert dog. About a year ago, my daughter and her family moved in with us. Our granddaughter was 17 and had a boyfriend. It was amazing how fast she picked up on the sounds in the night that were made by family and those that weren't.
Chain saws and 2 stroke engines were illegal in Pa. during deer season. When the loggers would do their clear-cuts, the deer would move in at night and feed on the wood chips. Heard reports of deer standing back and waiting until the loggers left so they could feed. Two Stroke engines were considered an attractant.
Like you say, THEY KNOW much more than we give them credit for.
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SWO1, very good advise.
Don't remember what year but I was hunting Pa. with a 10" T/C Contender 30-30. A small buck approached heading right to left at about 40 yards. I was nestled in a pile of downed limbs and was well hidden. Resting the pistol across a limb, I let off a shot. I knew immediately that I had pulled the shot and shot too far back. The deer bolted. I was so mad at myself because I knew better. :mad:
I waited about 5 minutes and then heard a shot from the direction that he had gone. I just knew that another hunter had taken that buck. Then I really didn't know what to do. As I waited and thought it over, I decided to follow the tracks to the deer and help the successful hunter drag him out. About 20 minutes had passed and I started that way. As I walked slowly up the ridge, something to my right caught my eye. I slowly turned my head to see the buck that I had gut shot. He had lain down but was still alive. I took 2 more slow steps as I raised the Contender & pressed off a shot - right through both front shoulders. Never did find out what the other shot was all about. Moral is, always confirm after a shot.
The underlined text reminded me of a hunting tip. When you see your first few deer, make a mental note as to their color. It is often slightly different than any other color in the woods. That will help you spot them when they don't want to be seen. Also, in heavy woods, look for part of a deer. Not the whole animal. Maybe an eye or an ear. And for sure, look for any horizontal lines i.e. the back or stomach. Most lines in the woods are vertical.
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Seriously? They crawl? They know to hide their antlers?

Isn't that a mountain lion........not a coyote?
Q1; Yes they crawl & Yes, I believe they do hide their antlers. Although I've been known to be wrong on occasion. ;)

Q2; Yes, that is a mountain lion.... not a coyote.

I should have inserted a blank line to indicate that my subject matter changed.

Sometimes, my mind is like a laser beam in a room full of mirrors. :rolleyes:

But then again, I'm not as young as I used to be.
Alright personnel attacks now......:) I must be an "Exception To the Rule".......................:D
YES, I believe that you are, but maybe not for that reason. ;)
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