How should I set my buck harvest criteria?

By Grant Woods,

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← Grant's AnswersDeer Management
If an area has high hunting pressure and other other hunting are going by the “if it’s brown it’s down” philosophy, would it be best to shoot an immature buck?(2 1/2 years) I feel like if I don’t someone else will. I would like to let them get to a mature age but again other hunters are shooting anything with antlers.


I believe hunting should be fun!  It’s not much fun to hunt for something that’s not present.  I tend to set my buck harvest criteria based on the top 25% of bucks (by age class) for that area.  For example, if 25% or so of the most mature bucks harvested in an area are three years old then I hold out for a three year old or older buck.  

I also realize that I need to set the example in the local area.  So I don’t say one thing and practice another. If I encourage hunters to hold out for three year old bucks, I don’t harvest bucks less than three years old.

This example almost always results in other hunters following my lead and results in improved deer herd quality in the neighborhood.

Enjoy creation,