What is a good or decent critter?

mevertsen

Very Active Member
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1,045
There are quite a few discussions s this year in regards to the drought, poor antler growth, etc.

People talk about not seeing anything worth shooting. Numbers are down, and various other comments.

So, in this post, let's talk specifics.

In the area I had for archery deer, I saw over 30 bucks on opening day. This included a lot of 1 year old bucks, a couple a little older, and one 3x4 that was about 24 inches wide, which later got wounded (unknown if recovered) by another hunter.

I hunted this area because I like deer meat. Not because it's cheaper, or I'm starving, but because I like a nice young buck to eat.

I have never been a score guy, and quite honestly don't understand it.

So....

What's a good deer?
Score or particular general size is fine.
If you don't find your target size, do you settle? Or do you eat your tag? What trends are you seeing in the units you primarily hunt?

Where I hunt, in one particular unit, 50 deer a day is low for me and has been for several years. Part of that is because I believe the deer herd is doing well in that spot and part of it is because I think I am becoming better at finding deer.

In two other units, 30 deer is a low day, probably up to a high of 80 in each.

As for my question on what would I shoot? Pretty much what's legal. My biggest buck is a 26 inch 3x4 and he's on the wall.

Lion hunting all winter, I get to see hundreds of deer, and probably only see one or 2 over the 180 or mark each year.
 
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iowacity

Active Member
Messages
151
What is a good animal is all up to the one harvesting. We all have our own goals and get joy from hunting for different reasons. I like big and/or unique animals - I think they look cool and adds an extra element to the hunt. That being said, I have 2 deer tags to fill this season and I’m just looking for a buck to put meat in the freezer on both.
 

mevertsen

Very Active Member
Messages
1,045
What is a good animal is all up to the one harvesting. We all have our own goals and get joy from hunting for different reasons.
That was the point of the thread. Haha.

I am trying to open discussion on what gets people going. What drives people to hunt deer?

When you have a tag in your pocket (you already explained yours), what are you looking to harvest.

There seems to be a bit more doom and gloom lately than actual discussion about hunting and the reasons we do it.
 

diablo

Active Member
Messages
489
I eat elk, sheep and moose. Everything else, I hunt for the adventure, experience, challenge and trophy. I don’t hunt with a rifle - not a challenge for me. In the units I hunt across the west. I don’t look twice at any deer under about 170” but that depends on the unit. I’m really hunting for the biggest oldest most mature buck I can find.
 

BroadHead

Active Member
Messages
218
I hunted this area because I like deer meat. Not because it's cheaper, or I'm starving, but because I like a nice young buck to eat.

I have never been a score guy, and quite honestly don't understand it.
I'm with you. I'm not hung up on scores and just prefer to be out there. I managed to get my son to spend time with me a couple of years ago out in the field and he got hooked, so really any time spent with him is golden. We've made some good memories, shared many laughs and got a chance to see some amazing country and amazing wildlife.

I usually go for the archery tags but since I got skunked this year, I figure might as well go for my first rifle tag (through the FCFS system). I grew up hunting and fishing and it's my preferred method of therapy.

When I have a tag in my pocket, I keep my eyes out for a big framed animal. If it just so happens to have a nice set of antlers on it, then cool. If not, the stalk is still on
 
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mevertsen

Very Active Member
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1,045
To elaborate on my philosophy a bit more...

I spent my very early years in Southern WY. Antelope and tags were plentiful and right out of town. Money was tight. Truck loads of antelope were regular memories for me as a kid.

Winter came early then as well, and deer would hang in the entrance to the wood barn for a few days. Several areas were either sex. I would, as a young child, be tasked with having to get some firewood. And would have to go right around that dead deer. Arggg...

As we moved to Nevada, my dad didn't hunt for several years. When we got back into it, my dad still had the mentality of "if it's brown it's down"

If we did not come home with game, my mom would be generally upset, because it was a waste of money, etc. Even this year she was complaining because a fishing lices was $40 and was too expensive. Her family also had the same mentality and the only measure of success in a hunt was how quick you killed on opening day.

I have become a bit more patient over the years, taking up archery and muzzle loader hunting. I am gradually passing that on to my daughter, who last year passed on a lot of chip shots at young bucks to take a bigger deer, which she succeeded at.

My challenge this year will be my sheep hunt.

I am not in a unit known for higher scoring rams, but I have been scouting and found some mature rams. I just need to keep my cool and do my best to bring home a good, mature specimen.
 

Killcarp2

Active Member
Messages
165
I was raised to be a meat hunter. As time has gone on I have tried to learn to be more selective and shoot more mature animals. I have gotten better but at the end of the day if it comes to eating a tag or eating a young animal I will choose the ladder. This year I drew a late rifle deer tag and I am going to do my best to be pretty selective. I’m not looking for a specific score but my goal is to shoot something bigger than anything I have shot before. We had three other tags in my house this yet so the freezer is already full. I will be hunting for 7 days so for at least the first few I will be pretty picky. Always feels funny to me passing on deer though.
 

coyoteslayer

Active Member
Messages
297
I enjoy deer meat, and I eat everyone that I kill, but I enjoy the hunting part of it more. The pulling the trigger is not the fun part of the hunt for me. It is all of the things leading up to pulling the trigger. Being with family or friends is the best, finding a good buck to sneak try and kill is next best. Especially, the time you see it, until you can get a shot. I will never shoot a yearling buck, and really get no enjoyment out of killing a 2-3 year old buck. At times I wish I got excited over these types of bucks, but I don't. Depending on my unit, I will adjust my standards a little. For example, I have an FCFS deer tag, and it is a wall hanger or tag soup. I already killed a buck in Wyoming, and my daughter has 2 tags, so I am going big or nothing. The best hunt I ever went on was an archery elk tag in AZ, and I never fired a shot, but it was awesome. Could have killed 15 bulls, and even one the last day, but did not get a chance at the one I wanted, but I did see a couple I wanted. To me a good hunt is if you see something you would like to take home, even if you do not kill it.
 

Tackdriver

Active Member
Messages
122
I've been in unit 242 since Sept 10 with a landowner tag. I could of shot 1 buck so far, but he wasn't what I was after. This morning at 11am a coyote ran across the road in front of me and stopped. The muzzleloader had been loaded awhile, and I was on my way back, so end of his story. I've came to the realization this will be the world's most expensive 24 day coyote hunt.
 

mevertsen

Very Active Member
Messages
1,045
I've been in unit 242 since Sept 10 with a landowner tag. I could of shot 1 buck so far, but he wasn't what I was after. This morning at 11am a coyote ran across the road in front of me and stopped. The muzzleloader had been loaded awhile, and I was on my way back, so end of his story. I've came to the realization this will be the world's most expensive 24 day coyote hunt.
I have quite a bit of admiration for a person who can take a tag, say what their minimum is, or they are not pulling the trigger, and walk away.

That is a trait I certainly struggle with. I love hunting and there have been plenty of lion hunts where I have been unsuccessful in a catch or kill, and it doesn't bother me.

Deer or antelope are a little different, and I think it goes back to remembering those early years where it seemed the meat was the most important thing, as if we were going to starve, even though hamburger was cheaper. Haha.
 

littlebighorn

Long Time Member
Messages
4,301
mevertsen,
I just got back from a Utah LE elk hunt in a premium unit. I went hoping for a BIG bull, but more than anything I wanted another great adventure with my son, and a true "rut experience". We hunted 5 days with bulls screaming in our faces every day and I passed over 30 mature bulls...until I felt I had experienced what I came for. The next good bull that showed himself got "Hammered". My bull is a very nice bull, providing a couple hundred pounds of elk burger. He was not the "BIG" one, yet I consider the hunt a great success.
"Decent" can only be defined by the one holding the tag. Certainly, your sheep hunt may have a different "decent" definition than say your deer hunt.
The key for me, especially now I'm older, is whether or not I was able to live the experience I had hoped for.
Best of luck in all of your hunts! ( I'm really pulling for you to have a great experience with your sheep hunt)
 

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