A hunter or landowner interested in managing whitetail for better deer hunting is often unaware of many of the methods to produce and grow future trophies. Bucks are just one component of a deer herd, but hunters should always know how to age deer. How old are the bucks that you’re seeing? If they are young bucks, then they need to grow to maturity before they should be harvested. I don’t mean to insult anyone, but in my experience there are a lot of hunters that have no clue on how to age a deer.
If you do nothing else, shooting only mature bucks is the best way to get the age structure and antler development most hunters want. It takes time and patience to get there, but it can happen. Of course, the only way to shoot a mature buck is to recognize one when you see it. In order to get those bucks old and experience better deer hunting you must also know a young buck when you see it or a lot of mistakes will be made, and time wasted.
An important thing to keep in mind is that a mature whitetail buck is a much different animal than the young ones. They will not often present themselves for an easy harvest. They are just too smart for that. Many hunters miss out on shooting older deer by quickly settling for the young or middle aged buck that is eating under the feeder. This makes for an easy shot as well as immediate gratification, but does not grow older, bigger bucks. So you have to wait the old bucks out and be patient.
As an example, here is a case in point: My deer lease is about 2,000 acres low fenced in the northern portion of South Texas. Our aerial deer surveys show that the bucks are pretty evenly distributed: 1/3 immature, 1/3 middle aged and 1/3 mature. We have 1.5 does to every buck. However, last weekend I counted 27 bucks and 10 does. Only 3 of the bucks were mature.
The old bucks obviously stay well hidden. The does too because we put a lot of hunting pressure on them to keep the total population in balance with the available habitat. Whitetail deer management is a multi-faceted undertaking, but proper harvest of bucks can and will lead to better deer hunting. If you shoot a deer because you think the neighbor will, then you are that neighbor.
If you love Texas, you will LOVE this video!