Our club once had 8 members. We are now where we want to be at 4, and all of us recognize the rewards that come with a good management program. Several years ago we starting talking to each other about the size deer that we wanted to shoot. We decided on an 8 point or better with an inside spread of at least 15 inches (outside his ears). By letting the smaller bucks go, we started to see bigger bucks in only the second year of our management program. If you have followed my blog for any time, then you have seen some of the deer that we have caught on camera or harvested including this very nice drop tine 11 point killed by my Dad 4 years ago.
|Terrible picture, but you get the idea!|
I tell you all this to make myself feel better about not shooting this buck this past Saturday!
I had this bad boy just 100 yards from my stand for half an hour Saturday night. I studied him long and hard through my binoculars and even checked out his front shoulder with the cross-hairs of my scope. I admit that I even flicked off the safety. But I just couldn't bring myself to shoot this deer as I though about all of our management efforts. What you can't see in this picture is that he has small little kickers on his end beams making him a "want to be" 10 point. The more I looked at him, the more I realized that he was not a mature deer. Sure he is a stud 8 pointer, but I think I would have been mad at myself if I shot him based on the potential of what he could be next year or the year after.
Now I know what some of you might say! "Somebody else is just going to shoot him for you!" That may be the case, but at least I am giving him another chance to make it until next year. I'm hoping that he will just stay around our place. He has all he needs! Food, shelter and a bunch of does to service him. Beside, I know there is a bigger boy out there. One of our members has a definite shooter on his camera not far from this location shown above. Hopefully I can show you a picture of him in the same manner as the picture below!