Banking bucks

Hunting Wife

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I've seen a number of posts on here recently sort of touching on this issue, and it reminded me of this article I read a while back in Outdoor Life -

http://www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/hunting/my-new-rule-deer-season-no-more-banking-bucks

So a semi-philosophical question...Given that the natural world tends to play out like that weird Spike TV show "1000 Ways to Die", and there are no guarantees that the youngish buck you are watching will even live to next season, where do you fall on the risk/reward scale? Would you rather miss out on him entirely (i.e. he dies this winter) than take him "too young", or would you rather take him younger than risk not having another opportunity?

Personally, it's no secret that I don't care too much about antlers. I've killed old bucks, and younger ones, and I've been equally elated with all of them. I like being open to any opportunities that might present themselves, and not hinging my entire season on one individual that may or may not still be alive. But I'm curious about the spectrum of philosophies out there, and perhaps the thought process that led you to your personal view?
 

Muskeez

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I think its often a cycle that each hunter goes through;
1st; just get a harvest, any legal animal.
2nd; get a lot of em, limit out
3rd; shoot a trophy
4th; tell others they should only shoot trophies also
5th; just enjoy the hunt whether you shoot one or not
6th; spend your time, $, and energy helping others with steps 1-3
7th; I don't know yet,... haven't gotten there yet. Likely it will be like my dad, just glad to still be hunting and glad to shoot a doe.

I have been through 6 of these steps and enjoyed 99% of my time afield. (although I wasn't that successful with step 3)
 

JohnCushman

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As far as Muskeez's steps go, I'm in the midst of a few of them all at the same time. I've only shot one branch antlered buck deer in my life, so I'm still in the kill them to get a harvest phase for deer if they have a branch antlers. I've grown up shooting does and spikes to fill the freezer. As far as antelope, I've shot a couple of trophy bucks, so I'm in for topping my buck trophies now and am sticking to does until I can find a bigger buck. As far as elk, I've only shot 1 cow, and have kind of screwed myself with archery holding out for a 'big bull' on an either sex tag when I could have repeatedly filled my tags with cows and smaller bulls. So, my freezer is bare of elk meat, and my wife likes elk meat and my elk honey hole has gone to hell and I have to find a new place to hunt. Now that my wife is hunting, I'm an now into the enjoying the hunt phase too. I love seeing her excitement and buck fever...I just wish she wouldn't argue with me about who's going to take the shot when we both have tags and animals within range. I really want her to get her first big game animal, but I suppose she will take the shot when she is ready. But, we have enjoyed sun rises and sun sets and watching animals together and it's been great to see her transformation from a city girl.
 

Duck-Slayer

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Almost North Dakota, not quite Canada

I know where that's at, I grew up there.... kinda by Grenora, ND - but a little west of there and a hair south......
Matt
 

npaden

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I think you see a lot more "banking bucks" with whitetails on private property.

I don't really see passing on younger animals on public land as "banking" them. There are probably others who would shoot them and that's fine. On most of my public land hunts they are in areas that I may not hunt again for many years or possibly never again in my life.

I start out with an idea of what I would be willing to harvest in a particular area based on discussions with others and personal preference and stick with it.

Some places that is any legal animal, some places that is a trophy animal, some places it is somewhere in between.

On my recent Nevada antelope hunt I could have shot several different small bucks, but chose not to because I thought I might find a bigger one. I never did and came home with tag soup. Even on the last day if I had seen a small buck I wouldn't have shot it. I probably will never hunt that unit again in my lifetime, I wasn't "banking" bucks for me for sure, maybe I was banking them for others, but it wasn't really my intention. I just didn't feel like shooting a small buck for the sake of shooting something.

An interesting twist is that my one true trophy animal was taken on a hunt that I was planning on shooting the first legal animal that I got in my sights and I didn't even know it was a trophy until after I walked up to it on the ground.

My 2 cents.
 
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Gerald Martin

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I usually pass on young animals. Having said that, I don't consider it to be "banking" them for myself as much as a consideration to others who will not have an opportunity at a mature animal if I kill it now when it's little.
If it happens to present itself to me again when it is mature, then so much the better. I know there are mature animals where I hunt, so my standards are possible to be met if I keep hunting.

If my fancy changes on any given day and I see an immature animal that is legal and I want to shoot, then I do so and feel no guilt whatsoever. The standard is mine, subject to change, and I'm completely at peace with that.
 
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I personally think passing 2.5 and 3.5 y/o 8pt whitetails has gotten out of hand for the most part. I think its an exaggerated reality that tv shows and magazine writers spend too much time thinking about and indoctrinating people on. At the same time not shooting 1.5 year old deer has had a hugely positive impact on hunting where I grew up in Missouri after they implemented the 4 point on one side rule (youth season exluded). I find there is a happy medium between watching The Crush and shooting a buck a day in parts of the south and wiping out much of the male population. I guess the other positive is the idea of shooting does over young bucks has also really helped the population dynamics and quality of hunting in the Midwest.
 

noharleyyet

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I've been on leases where the landowner mandated 3 1/2 yr old 8's or better 135 minimum....liars poker if you will. We complied and watched the adjacent lessees pound every headgear in sight.

I honestly try to take only mature bucks but totally agree with Gerald's statement.
 

zeke1

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I also am at several spots on the list, I hunt meat not horns I have not killed a trophy yet, I am teaching my new wife and 8 year old to hunt and trap. I agree with the statement its my choice as long as its legal and its subject to change. And I'm in the stage of just enjoying the hunt made possible by the good Lord above.
 

Hunting Wife

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I appreciate everyone's thoughts. I also don't feel like passing bucks on public land is "banking" really. Since they are subject to the decision-making of any other hunter who encounters them, my decision to pass seems more or less irrelevant. Gerald hit the nail on the head with his last statement! I find parts of my own philosophy in many of the comments above, but it looks like there is a much broader spectrum in opinion than I would gather from TV/media. It always comes across as so black and white, though I suppose that's a product of the majority of shows dealing almost exclusively with privately managed operations.
 

kenton

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I think it's just a matter of personal preference. If you want to shoot the first buck that you get a shot at, that's fine. If you want to hold out for a mature buck, that is also fine but what I don't understand is why the preference of one person holds any weight with another. Why are the "meat not antlers" people upset by "trophy" hunters and vice versa? The only mindset that could be upsetting is someone who shoots a young buck but complains about the lack of mature ones.

Personally, I like the challenge of trying to harvest mature animals. I know this is going to sound arrogant and I don't intend it as such but I think I can shoot an immature buck (1, 2, or 3 years old) anytime I want. That just doesn't interest me.
 

Hunting Wife

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I had to take a moment to reflect on Muskeez steps. 1 and 2 came and went pretty quickly, 3 came mostly by chance, I skipped right over step 4, and am in the midst of step 5, and just beginning to wonder if I might possibly know something worthwhile to be used for step 6.

Kenton, I don't feel like that's an arrogant statement since I think its true for a lot of experienced hunters. The trophy vs meat argument point is a good one - why do we do that? Its not like I'm opposed to either view, but I admit I feel defensive when I feel like someone else is trying to impose their specific values on me. I'll have to think about that more. I don't have an answer for why, other than I feel like its important that people can decide for themselves. All I know is my experience - sometimes I want a challenge or I'm not ready to be done, and sometimes I just need to get some meat in the freezer.
 

kenton

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The trophy vs meat argument point is a good one - why do we do that? Its not like I'm opposed to either view, but I admit I feel defensive when I feel like someone else is trying to impose their specific values on me. I'll have to think about that more.

Let me ask you this: do you think for most people, that getting defensive (as we all do) makes it harder to let others do things the way they want to? To put it differently, does someone trying to impose there views on you make it harder to not try and impose opposing views on others?
 

rjlefty3

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The biggest factor has to be location, which is along the same lines as overall expectations. Over here, a small 8 point buck is a trophy. We just don't have the deer numbers here. I can spend an entire year hunting and consider myself lucky to see a branch antlered buck. Banking bucks won't get you very far here with other hunters and winter mortality rates.

Whereas I'll go out west and see more deer in a day then I will in 5 years of hunting here. My expectations are obviously different. In those situations, I like the challenge of finding the bigger, older deer that are that way for a reason. It's also nice to just watch animals and see how they act. It's entertaining and helps me learn the habits of whatever I'm hunting.

I think as humans we tend always want more. Unless we shoot a monster, there's always the thought we might get lucky and find a bigger one. Doesn't mean I'm not happy if I don't, but it's just the challenge of finding one. And the crazy things that happen along the way!
 

Hunting Wife

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Let me ask you this: do you think for most people, that getting defensive (as we all do) makes it harder to let others do things the way they want to? To put it differently, does someone trying to impose there views on you make it harder to not try and impose opposing views on others?

I think it most certainly does lead to some level of one-upsmanship, though I think discussions like this help us become cognizant of our own tendencies in that regard. This is why I find these types of discussions useful for introspection and really understanding what it is exactly that is most important to me. Because in the end, we all basically want the same things I think - healthy populations, lots of opportunity and the ability to enjoy the great outdoors.

So a twist on the original question, is it the actual harvesting of a big buck that is important to most people, or is it just knowing that you have the chance to harvest a big buck that matters? Sort of like gambling, right? Is it the payout, or the promise of a payout that keeps you playing?
 

kenton

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So a twist on the original question, is it the actual harvesting of a big buck that is important to most people, or is it just knowing that you have the chance to harvest a big buck that matters? Sort of like gambling, right? Is it the payout, or the promise of a payout that keeps you playing?

I would say that the journey is almost always better than the destination. However does this mean that shooting a trophy buck you passed several times as a youngster, fed him mineral, planted food plots, ran trail cameras, and watched grow into a large buck is "better" than walking into the woods one time and shooting the same trophy buck? Not better but certainly different.
 
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