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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's been interesting watching this board through the season. All of the judging of deer based on scores is somewhat cool, but the judging of other hunters is a turn-off. There are those with the opportunity to hunt big mature deer making remarks about others shooting what they consider too young or too small. And then there are those sniping at the guys who pass on what 90% of the other deer hunters would love to hang on their wall.

I've been hunting for nearly 40 years and for the first time ever got to go inside the locked gate of a large well-managed ranch in deep south Texas this past weekend. Four wonderful days of looking at super nice bucks. As the sun came up Friday morning I was sitting in a blind with my buddy. His dad has been managing this place for over 10 years. First buck I see is a 2 yr old that is better than what I have on the wall. By 9am I had observed, photographed and video taped so many fantastic bucks I lost count. None were over 5, most were 3 and 4. I have to admit I was itching to shoot one particular deer that flipped my switch, but he wasn't nearly at full potential. But wow, was he ever fine.

We went in to camp and everyone showed their videos from the morning. I just sat there with my jaw hanging open. I spent the next 6 hunts rotating stands and watching some really fine deer. And once I saw a couple truly mature bucks that were deemed as shooters (not for me, I wasn't there to shoot a trophy) I became much more calm about watching the up and comers as they paraded by. I no longer had the desire to take a too-young deer even if it was a 150+ and far bigger than my personal best. I started to see the potential in each one of them. It was cool.

I'll probably never be able to own or lease a place of this caliber and I **** sure can't justify the price tag of a trophy hunt on a place like this with one daughter in college and another headed that way. I'm a po' boy who would dearly love to have the opportunity to kill a really nice mature buck, but I know the chances of that happening on a place I can afford is pretty slim. I'll keep trying, that's what hunting really is for me. Hoping.

So now that this po' boy hunter has seen the other side of the fence, I can somewhat understand both sides of the arguments on here. Guys who hunt like I do can't help but want a shot at one of these bruisers. Guys who have them can't understand how somebody could shoot a deer with potential to grow another year or two.

While I do envy those of you with the good fortune to be in a position to truly manage your herd, it was almost ridiculously easy on this place to shoot a true trophy. Too easy. It didn't really feel like hunting. After a couple days there wasn't much mystery or anticipation. You could pretty much count on which deer were going to be in the vicinity of a particular stand. They might not show every time, but often enough that you could spend a weekend at a stand knowing you had a better than average shot at taking the deer you targeted. Now I know I'm just looking at one weekend and not seeing the years and work that went into getting to this point, but still I'm not so sure I'd want to hunt this way all the time. Named bucks, viewing videos of bucks to decide if they are ready, etc, etc. Some of the "hunt" is lost in all of that for me. And I suspect that is probably part of the reason a lot of you guys with these places no longer pull the trigger very often. You become so familiar with the particular bucks that they don't get your blood pumping the way they used to. That and you know with some amount of certainty that you can take that same deer the following year. Guys on smaller tracts with no control over what their neighbors do don't have that luxury.

It was interesting to see the nonchalance exhibited by the guys who are there all the time when a truly magnificent deer was seen. After a while I realized it was because they had already seen these deer, either in person or on video. There weren't many surprises. Would I like to have free reign to hunt this place? Yes, of course I would. And I'd manage it much the same way, only shooting fully mature bucks. But I would have to hunt it differently. I would hunt the areas off the beaten path and away from the established stands. I'd do it from a tripod and move around. I'd have to hunt for the big boy that is never seen. The one that surprises you and gets your blood pumping. And I'd probably have to do it with a bow. To each his own, but going to a stand to shoot a buck that you have pre-selected and know will more than likely be there sorta loses something for me.

My only problem now is I've been to the promised land and my open range bucks on my small parcel of land with trigger-happy neighbors is going to be tough to hunt. I'll still go out there and sit knowing deep down that the 6 or 7 year old buck of my dreams won't come strolling by. But I can hope and I can hunt and I can enjoy watching what I do have.
 

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Mike
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LG,
I'm like you. I don't have the money to go on such hunts. I don't begrudge those that do. In fact, even if I had the money I doubt I could spend that much to shoot a trophy.

That said, I got to go on a hunt last week much like yours. It's just unbelievable to see that many quality deer. I was lucky and got to take a "cull" 8 pt. that scored near 120 b&c. I was as happy as a pig in slop. Like the saying, "one man's trash is another man's treasure".

I got to watch 150/160 class deer for a couple of days and that was a treat in itself. I would never have the opportunity to do that where I hunt.

On this place that I went to, the owner's family has their own pasture which is high fenced. The rest is low fenced. Inside the high fence is a 180 class bruiser that was seen and photo'd when the place was surveyed from the air. But that buck has never been seen by the family, nor captured on any of the game cams....but he is still there. That's what would keep me coming back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I was offered a chance to come back late in the season to take a management buck. I'll be taking my wife and will let her do the shooting. She's never shot a deer but has really been wanting to. We hunted together a good bit while dating and before kids. It was east Texas on a place without many deer so she never got a shot. Now that the girls don't need a taxi driver any more she's ready to get back into it. Of course that'll cost me because her deer will outshine mine when it gets hung on the wall. Hell, I'm still hearing about the 29" trout she caught on a trip to Baffin that she bought me for our first anniversary nearly 22 years ago. I got skunked that day. LMAO
 

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Buzzards gotta eat! same as worms!!!!
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Well said.....I am one of the have not's also......Heck maybe the have nottiest....Just happy to have a place to hunt and enjoy being outdoors....Only seen 3 bucks this year and none would make the 13".....
 

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Native Texan
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Great subject, great delivery and point made. Kinda like the old saying, there is something for everyone, but not everything is for everyone. I too enjoy seeing the mature trophies, and hunt for them, but in my case, I would rather let something less walk and hope they come back someday as a trophy. If they do great, if they don't, then they made a trophy for someone else.
 

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Screw it. Lets ride!
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IT IS WHAT IT IS:headknock huntin (some can and some cant)
Yep. Unfortunately I probably wont get a hunt in this season, but theres a chance I will get an axis doe this spring. Im not into the whole trophy thing, and hunt for the meat and relaxation of being outdoors. I fully understand the whole management thing, and Im on board with it, but I would just as soon take a cull and have meat in the freezer.
 

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Been there done that...

Through my years of hunting beginning back when I was only 6, I have had the opportunity to hunt some awesome places either through friends of my dad when I was young, or personal friends when I was older. Some were managed and had great deer on them, some were simply small hundred or so acre places located here or there. All had quality deer, and great potential.

For the past 8 or 10 years, I have had the great privilege of hunting with a coworker/great friend, and his family on their places in E. Texas. Together they add up to around 2K acres, which most of is along the Trinity river. This bottom land produces some really awesome deer every year, and through the years hunting it, I have taken two of my own personal best deer. Together we have only taken around 10 or 12 bucks over the whole time I have hunted with them on these places, but we have allowed countless true trophies to walk in the hopes of them returning the next year. Being low fenced and having outside folks leasing the surrounding properties we all know the chances of each of the great bucks we see making it through until the next year, yet we still would rather take the chance and be rewarded than to take out a young one before he reaches his full potential.

I also have our small family place that together with my daughter wife, and grandsons, we hunt every year in hopes of the "big" one strolling across. We have taken some great deer from there by area standards, which would simply hardly be looked at on some of the other places. However it is the nature of the times, and the attitudes of the surrounding hunters which determine the quality of our deer there. The "if it's brown it's down", folks, unless taught and seen for themselves, will never understand how much one deer can mature from just one year to the next.

Granted there are many, many, circumstances involved in each individuals time spent in the woods and most folks are not lucky enough to spend every weekend or even half the weekends in a year in the woods. I understand completely your point, having been there done that. My desires nowday's are to simply spend my time and effort watching and hoping as you do, that the one we haven't seen will surprise me, and be within range when he does. The last weekend of bow season, I saw two of the biggest free range bucks I have ever seen live in the wild, on my friends place. I have not shaken like that since I was a teen, and even though they were 250yds away, and I did not get the chance to make a shot on either of them, I will always remember it as simply one of the best hunts I have ever had.

Thanks for your post, and I hope I haven't rambled to much.
 

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Deadeye McGee
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Once You've Seen the Promised Land!

Very well said! I truly understand your feeling as now mine are very similar. I also have a small tract of land in between other even smaller tracts. I former felt that if I did not shoot a young, up and coming buck my neighbors would, and they usually did. I am no longer of that mentality, I'm not mad at them anymore and I can appreciate seeing a nice mount and it does not have to be mine. South Texas does have some fine bucks but now my interest and appreciation is in a good hunt that does not have to culminate in a kill. I also feel that I will soon graduate to blackpowder or better yet bow hunting. I guess my appreciation for the outdoors and wildlife therein has refined with age! Just take what you need and leave the rest! As my fishing habits changed, now when I go hunting I am relaxed and there to enjoy nature!

P.S.- I'm still very mad at the pigs though!!!
 

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Hunting & Fishing
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Great post, you hit the nail on the head.
I have two free places to hunt in West Texas and only get to take culls and does. I have three nice 8 points hanging on my wall from these places. The land owner told us we have to do a should mount if we plan on taking a trophy. I started doing my own Taxidermy 5 years ago. Boy was that a mistake, now I have to mount all his deer for free. :headknock
 

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Texas Rod Builders
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Very well said Scott. I had a similar deal this very season. A trophy hunt in Dimmit county and my regular lease in Goliad cty. Goliad has some really decent deer on it but nothing, nothing like the ranch I hunted in Dimmit. As others have said, you've hit it squarely on the head. You've given a look at both sides of the (high) fence. Please post up the results of Miss Camille's hunt when it happens. Great post,,Thanks,,,Jim
 

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Let's go

Well said and true. I have come full circle regarding the deer hunting issue. You see when I was young a long time ago I would listen to other kids talk about deer hunting at their dad's lease. We could never afford anything like that. I longed for the day that I could go "deer hunting". As I grew into a man and began to earn a living We (me and friends) got us a deer lease in Montgomery County. If any poor deer with some type of antler showed he was shot. We were all excited. If we ever shot a 8 that was a trophy. We never knew or heard about how old the deer was. It was a deer and we made sausage from them ourselves. Now as I grew older and wiser (maybe) I began to learn about deer ageing and maturing and reaching potential. Over a 40 some odd year span I now have a lease in South Texas where we attempt to manage the deer. It is expensive and no I am not a rich man but at my age I believe I have earned the right to smell the roses. Yes I video lots of good deer, deer that I would have blasted in earlier years and been happy. How long I can afford this lease I dont know but I will try and hang on to it. I guess my point is just this. I certainly do not hold anything against anyone for whatever they decide to shoot. I have been there and done that and understand where folks are coming from. Any yes nowdays when some big ole brusier walks by and I pick up my camera and not my gun I flash back many times to earlier years and what all I have seen and done concerning hunting. I have been able to see and do a lot. Hunting mule deer and elk in Colorado which was something I had always longed to do also. No sir, I dont look down on anyone, I remember those days fondly and look forward to spending as many days out there whether I shoot video or a gun for as long as I am able. Good hunting.

Charlie
 

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One of the best posts I have ever seen in this forum. It captured many of my own feelings. Thanks, letsgo.
My pastor asked me the other day, "got s deer yet?" My answer? No, I just point my gun at them these days. I'm too picky, I can spend the whole season waiting on a good one I guess. But rest easy, the season will not pass without me putting meat in the freezer. If the time comes and it's a spike, doe, whatever, that's what I will put in the freezer. I respect them all.
 

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Lets Go,

What Whitecrow said!! Probably the best or one of the very best posts I have ever read on here!!!
 

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An Over 60 Victim Of Fate
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There is something about watching the sun rise over the brush country and seeing deer that dwarf those that I'm use to seeing and hunting on my place near Edna.

I can't afford to hunt there these days but I have the photographs & memories of past hunts, campfires and of time spent on the big ranches in South Texas. Those will have to do me for now.

I do miss it but the same sun rises up over the Oak trees on my place and the Lavaca River bottom produces nice bucks by Jackson County standards.

I feel fortunate to have been able to spend a lot of time down south but I am also fortunate to have my little place near Edna.

TH
 

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Cut 'em!
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Very well said indeed.

I grew up shootin anything with horns. Eventually got to where I didn't shoot anything but a "rack buck". Thought I was really doin something, lol, most of those "rack bucks" were 2 and a half.

I'm hunting on some property now where I passed on a 170 class buck last year. Did it hurt? yeah it twinged. Passed on some 150's too. But just like you, its funny how I've changed. I wouldn't shoot a 3 year old now on a bet.

Well said sir. This one could be stickied as a reminder to everyone on this board.
 
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