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strayarrow
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For a mature buck, how far apart would his ears normally be? I'm new to the mulie hunting and have seen a few decent bucks, but not monsters. Certainly good bucks for a bow [at least, for me]. Just have no idea on how to judge them yet.
Thanx.
 

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It really varies by region, and even by the genetics of specific animal with in that region. I've got a couple of bucks on the wall that went 26" and a couple of others that went 22"-24." Another that was just 21". I've got a buddy who after much agonizing shot an eastern Montana 3pt because he was certain he would go 30" or more wide. Even though it was a mature Roman nozed buck, his ears were only 19" and the buck was 26" wide. In this same area, I shot a buck believing it was 30"-32" wide. It ended being a nice buck--28 1/2" wide 5X4 with some palmation, but he was 21" wide through the ears, and quite small in body. If I'd recognized how small his body was (I didn't) I would not have shot him as it was the 1rst day of the hunt and there were bigger bucks to be had. This same area produced a 25" eared buck last year that had 30" antlers. The buck was only 31/2 but had a very white and old looking face. If you have time to watch carefully before shooting, I like to compare the buck with others to compare body size, look at the color of the face, muscle/tone to be sure it's a mature animal. If you are close enough or optics permit, older bucks tend to have narlier bases although this is not always the case. In the end, ear width should only be one factor in judging width. The good news is when you see a giant, its easy to tell. The bad news is for the rest of the 31/2 year and older bucks, ear width is the quickest way to get a quick sense of antler size. Unfortuantely, it is not fool proof. Another buddy shot a deer last year whose main frame was only 20" wide (he did have some modest stickers on both sides) but with good forks. He ended up grossing in the 170s and was aged at 61/2 years old. I'm certain that deer was passed my a number of hunters who passed because they guessed he was only 31/2year old. A trophy is in the eye of the beholder. Part of what makes a trophy right for me was the moment was right for ending the hunt. It seems the trick is to not rush a decision to shoot unless he's obviously huge, or the moment is right (which requires willing to be content with any ground shrinkage that occurs)!
 

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It really varies by region, and even by the genetics of specific animal with in that region. I've got a couple of bucks on the wall that went 26" and a couple of others that went 22"-24." Another that was just 20". I've got a buddy who after much agonizing shot an eastern Montana 3pt because he was certain he would go 30" or more wide. Even though it was a mature Roman nozed buck, his ears were only 19" and the buck was 26" wide. In this same area, I shot a buck believing it was 30"-32" wide. It ended being a nice buck--28 1/2" wide 5X4 with some palmation, but he was 20" wide through the ears, and quite small in body. If I'd recognized how small his body was (I didn't) I would not have shot him as it was the 1rst day of the hunt and there were bigger bucks to be had. This same area produced a 25" eared buck last year that had 30" antlers. The buck was only 31/2 but had a very white and old looking face. If you have time to watch carefully before shooting, I like to compare the buck with others to compare body size, look at the color of the face, and muscle bulk/tone to be sure it's a mature animal. If you are close enough or optics permit, older bucks tend to have narlier bases although this is not always the case. In the end, ear width should only be one factor in judging width. The good news is when you see a giant, its easy to tell. The bad news is for the rest of the 31/2 year and older bucks, ear width is the quickest way to get a quick sense of antler size. Unfortuantely, it is not fool proof. Another buddy shot a deer last year whose main frame was only 20" wide (he did have some modest stickers on both sides) but with good forks. He ended up grossing in the 170s and was aged at 61/2 years old. I'm certain that deer was passed by a number of hunters who guessed he was only 31/2year old. A trophy is in the eye of the beholder. Part of what makes a trophy right for me was the moment was right for ending the hunt. It seems the trick is to not rush a decision to shoot unless he's obviously huge, or the moment is right (which requires willing to be content with any ground shrinkage that occurs)!
 

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I can only speak to the handful of 28-32 inch bucks I've seen dead, but their ears were 26-28 inches from tip-to-tip. I never really pay attention on the smaller bucks.

elkaddict is on the money, in my opinion, that the region, etc. plays a big role. I once read that the physical extremities (ears, tail, etc.) for any warm blooded animal are shorter in the cooler part of their range than in the warmer.

Just give it time, with a little experience you'll be able to tell how wide a rack is. I just use my heart rate as an indicator!
 
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