Determine the categories.
In an effort to help you determine the age of bucks on your lease or property and whether or not to shoot, here are some guidelines to creating a formula that will help identify shooter bucks. These categories can be used to judge bucks based on established minimums for each category:
1. Body Weight – 185 Pounds
2. Antler Mass – 4+ inches at the base with decent mass throughout the rack
3. Beam Length – 20+ inches
4. Tine Length – 7+ inches on the G2s and G3s
5. Antler Spread – 15+ inches
Establish a formula.
Bucks that meet three of these five requirements are most likely to be three years or older. Establishing a formula like this will allow you to target your bucks by age class. By focusing on these categories and target spread, points, body weight or a combination of these characteristics, you will often pass a buck that is mature, but lacks enough points or spread. He will then have a free pass to breed another year and pass his genetics on. With this three-out-of-five formula, you will have better success at harvesting the age class bucks that you want to target, year after year.
Customize based on your region.
This is an example of a formula and values that will work in many parts of the country but what about your particular state? Northern Whitetails, for example, are larger animals and often have a greater antler mass so you may need to adjust that criteria. Texas whitetails are smaller dear and often do not carry heavy antler mass so again, adjust the criteria to your region.
Begin by making sure that all dear harvested are weighed and aged and the antlers are measured. Use that data to establish values for your custom formula. If you do not have that data for your deer, contact your state’s game department or a local wildlife manager in your area. He or she should be able to provide information that will help you determine the values to use for the deer in your part of the country. Put in your own values for body weight beam and tine length, antler mass and spread.
Know when to shoot.
Mature Whitetail bucks have long been a mystery to those who hunt them. They are known to be secretive, can be very elusive and are just plain smart. One of the hardest decisions a Hunter will ever have to make is whether or not to pull the trigger or release the arrow. When you see a buck that meets your values and three of these five criteria, you’ll know that’s a good buck to consider harvesting.