Matt Hickey, Southern Outdoor Legacy (S.O.L)
You: *Showing off your deer camera pictures to your buddy*
“Man check out these bucks I’ve got on camera! I bet next year this one’s a wall hanger!”
Your buddy: “Dude you need to kill all of those deer before somebody else does…”
You: “Yeah, this bigger one here, but if these other ones make it, they’ll be sure nuff dandies next year!”
Your buddy: “We don’t see deer like that very often where I hunt, so I get it while I can”
It never fails, every year this happens to every avid deer hunter. You plant your food plots, and hang your stand. You put in hours of hard work, not to mention WAY too much money. You put out countless bags of corn and rice bran, and you check your cameras on a regular basis. You get excited to see what the camera holds, and low and behold, you’ve got 1000 pictures of doe, and 5 pictures of decent bucks. You debate with yourself, “I’d definitely shoot that big 8, but these other small 8’s I’m going to let walk… or should I…”
Here’s the deal, if everybody and their momma has the mind set of “I better kill that deer, or somebody else will” there will NEVER be any big deer in your area. We as a group, have to decide that enough is enough! It’s time to let the small bucks that have potential walk! You say, “Well you can’t eat the horns.” You DANG right you can’t eat the horns! So why shoot a small buck with great potential instead of a doe! If you want meat, SHOOT A DOE!!!! How are you going to brag about a 3 year old, short stack, 14 inch 8 point, which could be a nice, tall, wide, 18 inch 10 point next year! You’re not… so don’t shoot it. If someone else shoots it, that’s on them, not you!
You… YOU…have to be the change. Yeah of course there are old, or genetically impaired bucks that need to be removed from the gene pool. That’s another conversation, which should be taking place with your neighbors/hunting club members. It is not okay to shoot deer with potential, unless you’re a kid! You also have to understand that accidents do happen, sometimes hunters get in a rush, or it happens way to fast. These are rare occasions that are misfortunate, but understandable. Hunters, as a whole, have to possess the correct mind set or you will never have big deer. PERIOD.