Where Have the Mature Bucks Gone?

By GrowingDeer,

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Hi Grant,

I have taken several big bucks over the past ten years.  I have six stands on 2,000 acres.  I have hunted and scouted hard during bow and gun season.  I only saw one shooter buck and he was busted up so I let him walk.  I saw a bunch of spikes and forked bucks.  Any ideas what has happened?  I had several pictures of 135” to 160” deer last year on five cameras and now I don’t have any buck pictures this year.



The presence and observability of bucks on any property is largely affected by variables such as the size and duration of the acorn crop, crop rotation by farmers, age structure of bucks, actions of neighbors, etc.  This year I had a bumper crop of red oak acorns and the deer herd responded to them in a big way.  My food plots look better than ever with the primary reason being the deer weren’t using them until last week.  I had to adjust by placing more stands in acorn areas and travel corridors between acorns and bedding areas.  Many hunters throughout the Midwest report the same observations.  However, now that the temperatures are dropping, many of the acorns have been consumed, and the food plots/crop fields are sure to be hot spots soon.

All across America more and more people are allowing young bucks to walk in the hope of seeing/harvesting mature bucks.  Older bucks by default are more wary and more difficult to see/hunt.  Everyone, including myself, has to think about our hunting strategies and develop new tactics to successfully pursue mature bucks year after year.

Growing Deer together,