I pulled a trailcam the other day from one of my spots. I had put the thing up before I left for Alaska. Let’s just say that if you can leave a camera up for six weeks you have potential for a lot of pictures.
This place is a large tract in Botetourt County that is managed under the DGIF’s Deer Management Assistance Program. We do a pretty good job of passing up young bucks, as do the hunters on the adjoining properties. I think the DMAP area is probably 2,500 acres.
Anyway, I had quite a few pictures of decent 2.5-year-old bucks, but very few mature bucks. The best buck was heavy but had a broken main beam. The last couple of years we have been printing out shots of deer to help us better get an idea of the borderline and non-shooter bucks, as well as those that are shooters.
The top shot here is of a deer that is not a shooter (except for youth hunters, of course). This is obviously a 2.5-year-old buck, and one that seems to have awesome potential. The G3s on this deer are just super.
The next one is tougher. I think it’s a 3.5-year-old deer. The rack has decent mass and tine length, but is not very wide. With a couple more years this deer will get better. But will it get significantly better?
I realize there’s a good chance none of us will see this deer this season. But there’s a chance we will. Is it worth the tag? Or do we let it walk. (This would be no-brainer bow buck, but there’s no archery season hunting on the property.)
By the way, my philosophy is that the definition of shooter buck shouldn’t change throughout the season. In other words, if it’s a shooter on the last day of the season, it’s a shooter on the first day of the season.