BuckTracker: Age Before Beauty?

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!