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BuckTracker: Age Before Beauty?

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November 06, 2008

BuckTracker: Age Before Beauty?

By Scott Bestul

Most deer hunters are prone to fantasy, so here’s one to ponder as the
rut heats up; two mature bucks are working their way toward your stand,
slowly enough that you have time to size them up pretty well. One
whitetail sports a rack that would clearly out-score the headgear worn
by his buddy. But the sagging belly, sway-back, and tremendous bulk of
the second buck indicate a much older deer.

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Assuming you’ll get an equal opportunity to shoot either buck, which do
you focus on? The breathtaking frame of the younger deer would
catapault it higher up the record book, but fooling an old
warrior—regardless of his B&C standing—just one time is a heady
feat in itself. To fuel your imagination, I’ve included some
contributed cam-pics of actual deer living on a friend’s farm this
fall. The clean, typical-frame bucks are obvious and tempting….but that
buck with the goofy side is doubtless the senior member of the clan.
Which would you rather put a tag on? And why? Anxious to hear your
responses!

Comments (1)

Top Rated
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from Gary wrote 5 years 14 weeks ago

I would wait till daylite and shoot the one thats still there! It is illegal to shoot deer at night in my state!

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from Chad wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

I'd let the young one go till next year, then I'd go try and talk some sense into that lunatic next door that shoots anything that moves. Maybe you can get him to leave him till next year too!

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from Caleb wrote 5 years 21 weeks ago

The second one, look at the swayed back, thats a mature buck. Letting the 2.5-3.5 year olds go is great on paper, but when the lunatic next door is shooting em up, it might not be reality. I also don't buy that people would shoot the older one due to some satisfaction of killing an old mutant...leave out the part where you passed on a trophy to take him. be honest, Bestul's not gonna rag on ya!

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from Scott Hall wrote 5 years 22 weeks ago

I would shoot whichever buck presented the best shot opportunity to make a clean kill. Either buck is a true trophy.

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from JP wrote 5 years 22 weeks ago

I would shoot the old one if given an equal opportunity. but they would both be my best so i would take the first perfect shot offered. I'd mount either one too so they are both trophies.

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from cory- age 15 wrote 5 years 22 weeks ago

i would shoot the older buck because it shows that you have tookin a buck that has gottin past his prime.

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from jstreet wrote 5 years 22 weeks ago

Why not ask if Megan Fox and Angelina Jolie asked us to spend some time with them, which one would we go for first.That ain't happening either.

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from Field-N-Water wrote 5 years 22 weeks ago

I'm not a trophy hunter, so the one that puts more meat in the freezer goes down.

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from Kevin wrote 5 years 22 weeks ago

I would shoot the first one that gave a decent shot. Heck I would be elated if a doe were to give me a shot. 10 days hunting in pa with 3 sightings. All does out of range. Yea, we have too many. Anyway, I've always took the first shot as things can change very fast. Maybe the wind will change. Maybe there was another deer nearby that caught you movement and blew. If you would be equally happy with either deer, why would you take the chance of something going wrong?

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from Visitor wrote 5 years 22 weeks ago

I would shoot both, eat both, and mount both. Both bucks are in or past their 3rd year mark which tells me that they have planted their seed on my property and with the opportunity I would tag out for the year. I would enjoy my backstraps while sitting in my living room watching whitetail freaks on the outdoor channel and every once in while looking up at both of my gaints on the wall! I'm a meat hunter first but enjoy shooting a few nice bucks along the way. I'm damn PROUD of it!

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from Peter wrote 5 years 22 weeks ago

I would shoot them both because I have two buck tags!

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from Ivan wrote 5 years 22 weeks ago

I would rather shoot the younger deer for he looks at least 3 years old and in my area i doubt that i would have a chance to see him again. But i would shoot the buck that offered me the cleanest shot.

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from bob wrote 5 years 23 weeks ago

if you want to eat kill a doe, and then shoot the older buck because it is a really big accomplishment in my oppinion to shoot such an old warrior.

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from NoDak wrote 5 years 23 weeks ago

I would try and take the top photo and the bottom photo with the thought that the middle one has the best genetics

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from James wrote 5 years 23 weeks ago

Whichever offered the first chance of a clean kill. Antlers are nice but I want to eat.

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from Del in KS wrote 5 years 23 weeks ago

Two years ago while bowhunting in Wyandotte co Kansas I saw a buck that had the same weird antlers as the old buck. Only difference was the KS buck had a huge typical left antler and two very large spikes on the right side. He was with another NT that had more points than you could count but smaller overall antlers. I would shoot the older buck for the unique antlers and old age.

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from Driggs wrote 5 years 23 weeks ago

I personally would shoot the second buck because of his unusual rack. I would be proud of being able to outwit such an old deer.

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from John D wrote 5 years 23 weeks ago

Whichever one I saw first.

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from thomas goldsby wrote 5 years 23 weeks ago

shoot the older buck.you will be doing a better service to the heard by getting his old deteriating genetics out of the geene pool..

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from J. wrote 5 years 23 weeks ago

I would harvest the senior buck for two reasons. First, the younger bucks are indeed tempting but imagine what they will look like next year. Dandies for sure. Secondly, the rack is just more unique, which im my opinion makes it a much more distinguishable trophy and would provide for better memories

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from T.R. wrote 5 years 23 weeks ago

Move to Michigan were you can shoot both of them.

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from northern_mi_hunter wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

To the guy who said he would "shoot the older buck to get his old deteriating genetics out of the geene pool.."

A deers genes to NOT change as a deer ages... It will pass on the same set of antler genes as a 1 1/2 year old as it would as a 4 1/2 or 9 1/2...

An living organisim's DNA does not change as it ages... If it did, it would be like saying humans have healthier babies when the father is 20 instead of 40... The ACTUAL health of a mammals mother can effect the health of a baby mammal, but the mothers and fathers DNA passed on is the same regardless of age...

Ask and biologist or doctor and they will tell you the same thing...

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Post a Comment

from Gary wrote 5 years 14 weeks ago

I would wait till daylite and shoot the one thats still there! It is illegal to shoot deer at night in my state!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Chad wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

I'd let the young one go till next year, then I'd go try and talk some sense into that lunatic next door that shoots anything that moves. Maybe you can get him to leave him till next year too!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Caleb wrote 5 years 21 weeks ago

The second one, look at the swayed back, thats a mature buck. Letting the 2.5-3.5 year olds go is great on paper, but when the lunatic next door is shooting em up, it might not be reality. I also don't buy that people would shoot the older one due to some satisfaction of killing an old mutant...leave out the part where you passed on a trophy to take him. be honest, Bestul's not gonna rag on ya!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Scott Hall wrote 5 years 22 weeks ago

I would shoot whichever buck presented the best shot opportunity to make a clean kill. Either buck is a true trophy.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from JP wrote 5 years 22 weeks ago

I would shoot the old one if given an equal opportunity. but they would both be my best so i would take the first perfect shot offered. I'd mount either one too so they are both trophies.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from cory- age 15 wrote 5 years 22 weeks ago

i would shoot the older buck because it shows that you have tookin a buck that has gottin past his prime.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jstreet wrote 5 years 22 weeks ago

Why not ask if Megan Fox and Angelina Jolie asked us to spend some time with them, which one would we go for first.That ain't happening either.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Field-N-Water wrote 5 years 22 weeks ago

I'm not a trophy hunter, so the one that puts more meat in the freezer goes down.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Kevin wrote 5 years 22 weeks ago

I would shoot the first one that gave a decent shot. Heck I would be elated if a doe were to give me a shot. 10 days hunting in pa with 3 sightings. All does out of range. Yea, we have too many. Anyway, I've always took the first shot as things can change very fast. Maybe the wind will change. Maybe there was another deer nearby that caught you movement and blew. If you would be equally happy with either deer, why would you take the chance of something going wrong?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Visitor wrote 5 years 22 weeks ago

I would shoot both, eat both, and mount both. Both bucks are in or past their 3rd year mark which tells me that they have planted their seed on my property and with the opportunity I would tag out for the year. I would enjoy my backstraps while sitting in my living room watching whitetail freaks on the outdoor channel and every once in while looking up at both of my gaints on the wall! I'm a meat hunter first but enjoy shooting a few nice bucks along the way. I'm damn PROUD of it!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Peter wrote 5 years 22 weeks ago

I would shoot them both because I have two buck tags!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ivan wrote 5 years 22 weeks ago

I would rather shoot the younger deer for he looks at least 3 years old and in my area i doubt that i would have a chance to see him again. But i would shoot the buck that offered me the cleanest shot.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from bob wrote 5 years 23 weeks ago

if you want to eat kill a doe, and then shoot the older buck because it is a really big accomplishment in my oppinion to shoot such an old warrior.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from NoDak wrote 5 years 23 weeks ago

I would try and take the top photo and the bottom photo with the thought that the middle one has the best genetics

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from James wrote 5 years 23 weeks ago

Whichever offered the first chance of a clean kill. Antlers are nice but I want to eat.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 5 years 23 weeks ago

Two years ago while bowhunting in Wyandotte co Kansas I saw a buck that had the same weird antlers as the old buck. Only difference was the KS buck had a huge typical left antler and two very large spikes on the right side. He was with another NT that had more points than you could count but smaller overall antlers. I would shoot the older buck for the unique antlers and old age.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Driggs wrote 5 years 23 weeks ago

I personally would shoot the second buck because of his unusual rack. I would be proud of being able to outwit such an old deer.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from John D wrote 5 years 23 weeks ago

Whichever one I saw first.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from thomas goldsby wrote 5 years 23 weeks ago

shoot the older buck.you will be doing a better service to the heard by getting his old deteriating genetics out of the geene pool..

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from J. wrote 5 years 23 weeks ago

I would harvest the senior buck for two reasons. First, the younger bucks are indeed tempting but imagine what they will look like next year. Dandies for sure. Secondly, the rack is just more unique, which im my opinion makes it a much more distinguishable trophy and would provide for better memories

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from T.R. wrote 5 years 23 weeks ago

Move to Michigan were you can shoot both of them.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from northern_mi_hunter wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

To the guy who said he would "shoot the older buck to get his old deteriating genetics out of the geene pool.."

A deers genes to NOT change as a deer ages... It will pass on the same set of antler genes as a 1 1/2 year old as it would as a 4 1/2 or 9 1/2...

An living organisim's DNA does not change as it ages... If it did, it would be like saying humans have healthier babies when the father is 20 instead of 40... The ACTUAL health of a mammals mother can effect the health of a baby mammal, but the mothers and fathers DNA passed on is the same regardless of age...

Ask and biologist or doctor and they will tell you the same thing...

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment