Hi there, i have been reading this forum during this years deer season and finally decided to join. I have always been interested in hunting but decided to take the plunge this season. I completed my hunter safety course in august which was very helpful. I have enough excitement/stories to write a book with over this season. January 7th is the end of season here. So far I've tagged 3 does. 2 of the 3 dropped in its tracks. The 3rd ran about 10-15 yards and dropped. Not what I wanted to end on but I have been told to be proud and i am. But i was one of those that said 'I will never shoot a doe unless i had too' I still wouldve like to have added a buck in there but i still have 2 days (even though odds are stacked against me being this late in the season) i will be more prepared next season as i am taking up bow hunting with the muzzleloader and big gun. But i am curious. Is that a good number for my first year? Especially being all does? Any pointers for acheiving success with bucks for next season?
5 replies [Last post]
Thu, 2012-01-05 19:30
First year hunting...
Fri, 2012-01-06 13:13#1
First of all, welcome to the
First of all, welcome to the site! glad you decided to sign up and join in. Lots of great information to be had here.
As to your question, "Is that a good number". Well, I have been hunting 25 years, and have shot a TOTAL of 4 deer. I would love to shoot one deer in a year, let alone 3. However, it depends on where you hunt. Some parts of the south, you can get a deer a day for the season.
Most importantly, were you happy with it? do you feel like you had fun out there, and are learning things? It does not matter what someone like myself tells you, because as long as you are happy, that's all that matters. Are you eating the meat, donating it, or what? That is also important. If you feel like you got a good amount of meat, filled your freezers, and will be good till next fall, then that is perfect.
As for them being all does, again, it's a personal preference thing. Me, I don't eat the antlers, I I am happy with a doe, small buck, big buck, whatever. If you have enough meat in the freezer, and would like a buck, then that's your decision to hold out for one int he woods. Pass up a few of those does. However, if you don't care, or need the meat, then shoot away as long as it's legal, and you have enough tags!
Stick around, and throw up some photos if you have them. Love to see them!
Fri, 2012-01-06 13:24#2
woemare00 wrote:Hi there, i have been reading this forum during this years deer season and finally decided to join. I have always been interested in hunting but decided to take the plunge this season. I completed my hunter safety course in august which was very helpful. I have enough excitement/stories to write a book with over this season. January 7th is the end of season here. So far I've tagged 3 does. 2 of the 3 dropped in its tracks. The 3rd ran about 10-15 yards and dropped. Not what I wanted to end on but I have been told to be proud and i am. But i was one of those that said 'I will never shoot a doe unless i had too' I still wouldve like to have added a buck in there but i still have 2 days (even though odds are stacked against me being this late in the season) i will be more prepared next season as i am taking up bow hunting with the muzzleloader and big gun. But i am curious. Is that a good number for my first year? Especially being all does? Any pointers for acheiving success with bucks for next season?
Congratulations, you've done very well as a first year hunter, without a doubt. You have obviously become very familiar with your chosen rifle and shot well when you needed to. As many have said before, you cannot eat the horns!
That being said, if you are, indeed, interested in harvesting a buck next season there might be a few things you can do to help. First would be to go out and do some scouting in your area(s) right after the season ends. Look for recent (this season's) buck sign. Such things as rubs and scrapes should still be easily seen right after season's end. Also, look for heavy trails and perhaps natural funnel areas, as these are also good places to intercept bucks, especially during the rut.
Take GPS readings or simply write down notes to remind yourself where these "hot" spots are. Look in the vicinity and determine if there are good spots for ground blinds or trees for tree stands to be put in/on. Look for ingress routes to allow you to get to these spots easily in the pitch dark. You might even invest in some reflective thumbtacks and "install" them along a good ingress route this year. Scouting at this time will not affect deer movements and busting deer, bucks or does, is not so bad after season's end.
Take a peek next fall as the season approaches, but do not continuously go back scouting. You already did some good scouting this season, remember. Now, as far as killing a buck, there are a few things to try and remember if harvesting a buck is important to you. (not everyone cares what type deer they take, while others do)
Hunting bucks is a bit different than hunting any deer or does. You will likely have to begin passing up some deer in an effort to give yourself a better opportunity to kill a buck. I cannot tell you the number of times I've let does walk by in easy shot range and then later killed a buck from that same spot, a short time later. In other words, if I had shot a doe prior, I would never have killed those bucks. You must decide if you are going to dicipline yourself to this mindset.
Especially if you are hunting during the rut, allowing does to pass and waiting on a trailing or cruising buck is the best way to up your chances. When a deer is harvested (any deer) it causes a pretty good "commotion" in the woods. Not just the shot (least of your worries), but all the leg-work that follows. Gutting and dragging a deer leaves a lot of human sign & scent in the woods and may cause deer to stay away from that area for a few to several days even.
I have sat on consecutive days in similar weather and seen 14 shootable deer (last one being a buck I harvested) and then seen only one deer, total, on the next two days from the same area (after allowing a few days for the area to quiet down). This is not an unusual phenomenon, so my advice is to "save" a good spot and only use it for a buck harvest first, then concentrate on hunting does after that buck harvest. It is my strong opinion that an area can get ruined by harvesting a doe, thus keeping other deer, both bucks and does away for a time. I do all my doe hunting after my buck tags are filled, or at least very late season if I've not harvested a buck.
You will perhaps become discouraged, if you see several does you might have taken, but no bucks at first. If you keep the correct mindset and continue to do the right things like; hunting the right winds, scent elimination, and quiet & stealthy ingress and egress to your chosen spots, you will get your buck.
Best of luck as you progress as a hunter!!
Sat, 2012-01-07 11:45#3
Thanks for the replies and
Thanks for the replies and advice. I am happy with my season and ieat the meat and give some to family members. Actually today was last day of the season for deer and it was either sex. Squirrels were everywhere and I happened to turn around to look at the squirrels and they turned into a deer. It was a doe, didn't even know I was in the shooting house. I shot and the deer ran. We waited then trailed it.....and it was a buck. A spike, but a buck. So I ended the season well. I am extremely happy with my outcome. Just wondered what everyones opinion is. And I do agree, you cannot eat the antlers. Also it makes total sense to pass up does to wait for a decent buck. This season we completely missed rut...its like it didn't even happen. Next year I will be more prepared because everytime I went into the woods this season I learned something new. I am planning on scouting the woods to see where the 'hot spots' are. I know we are adding more stands and shooting house for next season. Again thanks for the replies and I look forward to being a part of this forum. I will post pictures as soon as I get them together.
Sun, 2012-01-08 18:01#4
You're doing just fine...
Three deer in your first year?!?!? You're doing fine, trust me. As for buck vs doe; you have to remember that first and foremost hunting is supposed to be enjoyable. I think that the "commercialization" (if that's the right word) of deer hunting (in particular) has created unrealistic expectations and threatens people's enjoyment of the hunt; today we're bombarded with images of pro hunters regularly taking monster bucks and this has (unintentionally) skewed peoples image of what a successful hunt is. One of the most enjoyable hunts I ever experienced I ended up taking a doe on the last day (back then we only had one tag to play with). Several years I went empty handed because I passed on does. Some years it really bothered me, some years it didn't.
At the end of the day, when you look back on the experiences of your hunt (buck or doe) during the off season, if you catch yourself smiling as you relive the memory and experience, you're doing it right. And don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
Tue, 2012-01-10 20:58#5
First, Welcome to BGH. Glad you decided to sign up and become involved with the site.
Some great advice and comments already posted and I can only add that you pay really close attention anytime you are in the woods/afield. Notice and make notes, mental or pen and paper, about terrain, plants type, trees, roads, fences and weather. Compile this info and reconcile it all with any deer sightings, deer sign or any human sign. Soon you will notice patterns emerging about where deer, does and bucks, are located and using the area and why they are there. soon you'll easily ID other areas to look into while eliminating others. But most importantly Enjoy any and all time spent in the deer woods and you will be sucessful, Antlers on the wall or not.