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In a recent thread that I started regarding QDM, several guys claimed that they were passing 150 and even 170 class whitetails. That got me to wondering what other people considered a shooter. Everyone has their own idea, and I was wondering if you would share. Please include some details: area of the country, private or public, managed or not. While I expect most replies to be about Whitetails, I would like to here about Mulies and Elk also.
 

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I don't think a score should have anything to do with whether or not it's a "shooter". Age is a better criteria. For bucks, I'd say 4.5 yrs and up is good. For the guys passing 170's and such, If memory serves, I think they passed young 170's and shot older bucks even though they scored less.
 

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RE: Shooter

A shooter for me in GA is anything bigger than my best (113 3/8) or a doe.

A shooter in IL for me (I'm going this year) is a P&Y or better, or a nice big doe.
 

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A shooter for me is anything having 4-point to one side(by law in my area) I am in college and only get to hunt on weekends. I have yet to shoot a deer with my bow. I have passed on a lot of does but not this year. My main concentration this year is getting my first!!
 

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A shooter to me varys as much as the weather give me a small buck with a good shot and odds are I'll shoot but the next day I may pass never know with me.At home in PA 3 pt or better law so Im giving the AR's a chance been seeing some improvement but will still kill a 6 pointer given the chance. Passed 13 bucks last year ended up killing one smaller toward the end of the season but damn I had fun.
 

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I grew up in IL and passed many bucks up. I have only shot 2 that are over p&y in about 12 years of hunting in IL, I passed up many others over p&y either they were yound 10's or there was a larger deer I was after. I like watching deer grow up, as we scout we name them, as they mature it is pretty exciting to watch the antler growth and such. Many of these were on public land, and I have never really bought the idea that if I don't shoot them someone else will. You just need them to make it to 2 1/2 and they get a bit harder to hunt. It is a progression early on you shoot anything, then you shoot any buck, and then you start to really feel what being in the woods is like and you hold for a better deer....lots of fun.....E
 

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since i have killed my first buck a couple of years ago i will not kill any buck smaller than him (118). I am really trying for the P&Y as we all are. If i want to hunt for just meat then i will shot a doe. Every deer taken is a trophy in my mind. Just some are better than others.
 

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Depends entirely on where I'm hunting and what the age structure of the area is....don't matter if we're talking Whitetails, Mulies, or Elk, all of which I hunt...

and this has no bearing on what state I'm in, but on the specific AREA i'm hunting in....

some areas of illinois have good age structure and bucks that will go 180, some areas you're going to be hard pressed to see one get to 110 or 120.

I grew up in Southern Illinois...just cause the state has a great reputation doesn't mean the whole state is a monster grab bag.
 

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Depend Where I am.
Florida- Just about anything 6 points or better. Although any racked buck on public land, it really depends where im at in the state.
Georgia- Just about anything with 4 on a side.
Virginia- Just about anything with 4 on a side. Or a big 6.
Pennsylvania- I hunt in a very good area of PA so 115" 8 point or better.

All of these self inposed restrictions will go up if there is anything else in my hands other than a bow.
 

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I'll pass on all small bucks. 6's-8's. Now if a big 6 point walks by, I don't think I'd pass that up. It really depends on the size of the rack. I shot my best buck ever last year and it was scored by me (take that for waht it's worth) at 122.5" About 20" better than my 2nd best buck. Any deer nearing 100" is in trouble around me.
Deer larger than 122" can be had here in Va. but they are by far the exception to the rule.
 

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I hunt in Central Wisconsin in broken farm country. Not a lot of big woods for the deer to hide in, so growing mature whitetails is difficult. We have practiced QDM for the last 9 years on 120 acres of private land. Our neighbors in the block aren't as strict as we are and will shoot any 8 pointer that walks past regardless of age, so we aren't as selective as some people. Our goal is to shoot 3 1/2 year old bucks, or older. Some general guidelines we follow are 16" inside spread with 8 or more scoreable points and the G2's must be atleast 8 inches in length. This usually eliminates most of the 1.5-2.5 year old bucks in our area. Through our QDM efforts we have progressively seen our gene pool for bucks really increase not only in size of the bucks (some approching high 160's), but also in quantity. In the early years we would be lucky to see 1 or 2 bucks that met the guidelines we established. Now we may see 6-7 shooter bucks a year and a more intence rut. We typically shoot 2 does for every buck we harvest as well. Now only if we could get everyone in the area to increase their standards we could have some really nice trophy's wandering around. :wink:
 

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A "shooter" has changed as I matured. Today it would take 130 class deer or one very unique for me to tag. For my 11 year old son anything with an antler is a trophy. For my wife an 8 pointer with greater than 16" inside spread and she will pull the trigger.

A trophy or "shooter" is in the heart of the hunter. For QDM to work we all have to pull the same rope, but experience, maturity, and expectations all vary greatly. I don't believe I should tell another hunter what he/she should or should not shoot if it is within the law. However, as I will with my sons, I believe I should show them the joy and beauty of the hunt. As the hunt becomes the trophy, waiting for that mature animal is much easier.

Scott.
 

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I've been bowhunting for over 20yrs now, but haven't killed a ton of deer. Actually haven't killed a deer with a bow for the last 2 seasons. Vermont instituted a "no spikehorn" rule last year, so anything from a decent forkhorn on up is in trouble including any adult doe. This is on a combination of public and private property where "brown it's down" mentality has ruled for as long as deer hunting has been allowed.

... Crayfish
 

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Buckmagnet said:
In a recent thread that I started regarding QDM, several guys claimed that they were passing 150 and even 170 class whitetails. That got me to wondering what other people considered a shooter. Everyone has their own idea, and I was wondering if you would share. Please include some details: area of the country, private or public, managed or not. While I expect most replies to be about Whitetails, I would like to here about Mulies and Elk also.

If there was ever a slogan that could be used to define a "shooter" whitetail, it's the one that says "beauty is in the eye of the beholder!".......

Really depends on WHERE a guy bowhunts......an Iowa bowhunter would likely not consider a 120" buck a "shooter"....whereas a Florida bowhunter might consider himself lucky to even SEE one that big, let alone get a shot at it....:wink:

In my area of north-central Texas, I hold-out for P&Y (125") or better.....but I've killed a 131" and 148" with a bow, so holding-off on a smaller one is not that tough......for guys who don't have a P&Y on the wall yet, it's asking a lot to pass on a 120"! :)
 

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A shooter to me is a buck that will gross 140" or better. Now I do not completely limit myself to this criteria but it's a guideline that I use to assist in making the final decision. I may stray some on this guideline if there was something unique about a rack of a mature deer that I knew was old and big but really wouldn't score well per the scoring method. To me it is more about age class. Anyone who has spent time pursuing whitetails should be able to determine inmature deer from mature deer. I think one thing that hurts some folks who are trying to take mature deer but fall short is an inability to field judge. Many hunters immediately look a a deers antler spread as if it is some indicator of maturity. Sure I like a wide spread but this is a poor indicator of size and maturity when used by itself. The tell tale sign for me is body size and shape, then antler mass, main beam length, number of typical points, and then finally width. I have taken and seen many tight racked bucks break the 140" mark. 2 years ago I had a good friend call me a tell me that he took a buck that he felt would score in the high 130's. When I arrived to celebrate with him, at the first look at the rack from 30 yds away I told him, "130 my butt, that deer will break 150"! He then said "No way, he only has a 16.5" inside spread." Well the tape didn't lie, the buck grossed 158 and some change. He got lucky in his assessment because he never saw the deer from a frontal view before he let the rifle bark. Good thing cause he may have passed on a fine deer. On the flip side, if the deer would have been a 20" spread 3.5 that grossed 125 he may have been a bit dissapointed. Mind you this guy had taken a 173" buck the year before.

The areas I hunt are mostly private land, semi managed, by this I mean we practice doe harvest and shoot only mature bucks, however we basically utilize existing agricuture crops and do not plant food specifically for deer. The lands are in the South East, mainly North Central, KY.

If I may I'd like to add that there have been and there will be years that I will spend both my antler/antlerless and antlerless tags on antlerless deer, if I am not successful in harvesting a mature buck by seasons end. I am not of the mentality of shooting lesser bucks just because I have a tag that would allow me to do so. That wouldn't help my deer herd, my neighbors, and it would make me a hypocrit. I have no quams with hunters shooting mature deer that do not have genetics for large racks. You have to consider all aspects of the animals you hunt. Not every place has large rack potential although in this day and age most do more than some may want to believe. Bottom line is you have to shoot the deer that you will be happy with, however if you do not try to focus on the most mature bucks you are crippling your chances of ever having deer with good racks.
 

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bigrackHack said:
I don't think a score should have anything to do with whether or not it's a "shooter". Age is a better criteria. For bucks, I'd say 4.5 yrs and up is good. For the guys passing 170's and such, If memory serves, I think they passed young 170's and shot older bucks even though they scored less.
AMEN brother!!:darkbeer:
 

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my first year bow hunting (4 years back) I took a yearling doe. That is one of my most memoriable 'trophys'. I refuse to pass judgement on someone regardless of the size of deer they decide to take.
 

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To me a shooter varies by the year

If I have gone a few seasons without shooting a buck because I was holding out for one individual, then I am more apt to shoot a smaller buck the next season. Last year I shot a 2 1/2 year old and a 1 1/2 year old so this year I am holding out for something that is 3 1/2 or older and/or the P&Y minimum or bigger. If I don't connect on a shooter this year, then I will attempt to fill doe tags later in the season.

One of my oldest bucks was a complete hog....probably older than 7 1/2 but his rack was basket size and had 11 points. I shot him at 11:30am and am very proud of him dispite a score of probably less than 90 or so points. His age is what tripped my trigger that year and he was my first "mature" buck too.

Good hunting,

Rx
 

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Texas Guy,
Now dont kid yourself there are some real decent deer in the panhandle region of florida. I have some friends that live up there that take 120" bucks almost every year. But here in central florida you are hard pressed to find a deer that will go 100". It really just depend where you are at.

Last year I took a buck in PA that scored 123 1/8" with a bow and would not shoot anything this year up there unless it was 115"+ or if it was a really unique buck. That being said a 80" deer walk out where I hunt in Georgia and Virginia and they are in some serious trouble. Our season opens on Saturday here in florida and I think a 12" wide 6 point might not look to bad!:wink:
 

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Depends on what area of the country I am hunting. When I am hunting areas with properly managemed deer herds, I am looking for bucks 4.5 or older.

In my part of NY, I have never seen a deer that old in the woods, and that is in 20 years of hunting and generally spending every minute of my free time in the woods. A shooter for me in southern NY is either a large 2.5 year old or a 3.5 year old. If an excellent hunter held out for only 3.5+ year old bucks in the area I live, he might shoot one buck every 5-10 years, maybe, and that is assuming he was really dedicated, put many hours in scouting and on stand and had some prime private land where he could control hunting pressure somewhat.
 
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