January 11, 2010
Hunter's Dilemma: Which Buck Would You Take?
By Scott Bestul
My friend Bob is a very good bowhunter. He scouts exhaustively. Shoots continually. Hunts both hard and smart (and there is a difference). His trophy walls are proof of his skill and attention to detail; last time I was in there, I think Bob had close to 20 whitetails hanging that any hunter would be proud of.
So here’s the deal: For the last couple of seasons, Bob has known about a giant buck on property he has permission to hunt. Two years ago he passed the deer, knowing it had tremendous potential. Last fall the buck had made a big jump in antler growth and Bob was dialed into his early season patterns like a thief breaking a lock combination. Then an accident kept Bob out of the woods for much of the fall, unable to hunt the buck.
This past summer’s scouting revealed that the monster was not only back in familiar haunts, but bigger and better than ever; a keen judge of bucks-on-the-hoof, Robert felt this buck would gross-score over 200”. Naturally, Bob was back at his scouting mission and knew more about the buck than ever. But in addition to the mega-monster, there were two or three other bucks living on this farm that—in any other year—he would have been proud to kill. So as the season approached he faced a dilemma; should he hold out for what is surely the buck-of-a-lifetime? Or should he take the first opportunity to shoot a “lesser” deer…still a buck that may score 150” or better?
Well Bob had to face the question a lot earlier than even he thought. The first week of season, the most dominant buck on the farm showed up beneath his stand and he shot it. The buck scored 155” and is as clean and beautiful a 10-point as you can find. Two months later, a hunter on the neighboring property shot the Big Kahuna….Which, by the way, grossed just over 200”. That’s Bob holding the rack of a buck he knew very well, but one that he didn’t tag.
So what would you do if you were in my friend’s boots? Hold out for the mega-giant, or take the first buck you’d be proud of? Anxious to hear your thoughts!