Successful Letting them Grow stories???

WYelker

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Feb 1, 2021
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So my son and I are debating (he is 12)…

Around 15 years ago on a coyote stand in late Nov/Early December I caught a glimpse of this buck on the winter range… It was just a glimpse and enough to shift my mule deer hunting strategy for the rest of my life. The following hunting season I was lucky enough to relocate the buck and harvest him. Being my largest mule deer to date…
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Fast forward 15 years. I have spend an insane amount of time in the same country. Always wondering if I would ever see the same the genes or another buck of that caliber. Between hunting coyotes, antelope, deer, scouting, camping and more I typically spend 40 days a year out, some years more some a little less.

Finally this last week, I stumbled into a new buck with a ton of potential and what I would call the same genetic line… I am certain he is pretty young.

So now my son and I debate. Next fall if we turn him up again, do we let him grow? Maybe wait 2 years? He was a good buck this year and a buck that 90% of hunters would harvest in heart beat… In todays world do you harvest one as soon as he is decent?

What are your let them live and grow stories? Were the bucks on public or private?
 

seeth07

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I got one this year. Private. I know this buck has survived now 7 of the 9 days of gun season as well as rut through archery where he was most vulernabe and entirely off my land. He spent all summer on my property and Thanksgiving morning he finally returned and was there yesterday as well. I'm pretty confident he is hiding in the thicket of my woods recouping from rut now. If he is there, I'm positive me and my wife with 1 extra helper can get him up and I can kill him. Should I? He would be the largest whitetail I've ever shot, bow or gun. What he could be next year, potentially a true giant, however has me thinking otherwise.

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Outlaw99

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I got one this year. Private. I know this buck has survived now 7 of the 9 days of gun season as well as rut through archery where he was most vulernabe and entirely off my land. He spent all summer on my property and Thanksgiving morning he finally returned and was there yesterday as well. I'm pretty confident he is hiding in the thicket of my woods recouping from rut now. If he is there, I'm positive me and my wife with 1 extra helper can get him up and I can kill him. Should I? He would be the largest whitetail I've ever shot, bow or gun. What he could be next year, potentially a true giant, however has me thinking otherwise.

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Not being a dick, but that buck isn’t anywhere near his potential. He looks young yet with a lot of potential. All of that doesn’t mean anything if you have a small limited area to try n keep him alive in. If everything around you gets a ton of pressure, it’d be a pretty good gamble whether or not you’d get a crack at him in a year.

The biggest threat I have year to year with my bucks age class is EHD as of late
 

seeth07

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Not being a dick, but that buck isn’t anywhere near his potential. He looks young yet with a lot of potential. All of that doesn’t mean anything if you have a small limited area to try n keep him alive in. If everything around you gets a ton of pressure, it’d be a pretty good gamble whether or not you’d get a crack at him in a year.

The biggest threat I have year to year with my bucks age class is EHD as of late
Me and you both agree. I see him as a 3 1/2 yo with super potential.
 

Bigjay73

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Denver
Was dating a girl once who asked me to take her to a "clinic" one day after the rabbit died. I protested and insisted she didn't, now I have a 26 yo daughter/meth addict/ stripper/prostitute in El Paso who has cost me thousands in rehab stints, rent payments and bail money.
 

JV842

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My family has a decent amount of land, I can remember when I was a child the philosophy was, “if you/I don’t shoot him, he’s just going to jump the fence and get shot” so anything w antlers hit the ground and u very rarely saw a small basket 8pt.
Fast forward 10years and I started hunting mainly w my uncle and he would tell me, “if you shoot him, he’s dead and will have no chance to get bigger”
Now the predominant attitude around the area is to let the bucks grow to a “somewhat mature” age and it’s amazing to see the amount and quality of the bucks from what it used to be in the mid ‘70s to mid ‘80s when u rarely saw a branch antlered buck.
 

Carl 9.3x62

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Laramie, Wyoming
Was dating a girl once who asked me to take her to a "clinic" one day after the rabbit died. I protested and insisted she didn't, now I have a 26 yo daughter/meth addict/ stripper/prostitute in El Paso who has cost me thousands in rehab stints, rent payments and bail money.
I think I am missing something...
 

Nick87

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Northern Illinois
Was dating a girl once who asked me to take her to a "clinic" one day after the rabbit died. I protested and insisted she didn't, now I have a 26 yo daughter/meth addict/ stripper/prostitute in El Paso who has cost me thousands in rehab stints, rent payments and bail money.
Dang...edit @Bigjay73 already thinks I'm going to hell nevermind.
 

JV842

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San Antonio TX
An addition to what I posted earlier…. U have to live w ur decision…I have bucks on the wall that I let walk in previous years….but there are bucks that I know were shot when they jumped the fence or wandered over to my grandfather or father’s deer stands
 

HuntTalk Freak

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Shoot what makes you happy. I let them grow on private but even then a few good ones disappear every year. I’ve also shot young bucks too if we have too many.

Public land is a whole different ball game so that’s why I say shoot what makes you happy.
 

WYelker

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I think it depends on if it’s private ground and how many acres.
Public land…. That is the big problem. Totally vulnerable to hunters and hunting pressure. That is a massive concern.
 

Sask hunter

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Passed This guy in 2020 and shot a 19 10/16 later that evening. He then showed backup this year at both my baits three miles apart. He has beefed up quite a bit the last couple years. Always is rubbed even in early may 45306B38-C729-4D02-A110-584712D6796A.png
 

antlerradar

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SE Montana
Some of the epic fails.
Passed on a 6 by 5 typical frame with big kickers on the back of the G2's and a Droptine. Was a great buck and not that old, four maybe five at the most. That was Thanksgiving day and with four days left I figured his chances were good. I was wrong, outfitter on the neighbors shot him the next morning. I can still remember the sinking feeling I had when I heard the shots.
Passed on a great public land mule deer the last weekend of the season, Not wide or heavy, but tall with over sized top forks, big inlines on the G3's and a few short cheaters. He did make the season and I spotted him again late in the year, but that was the last time I saw him and never found the antlers.
There have been plenty of others but those sting the most.

I am really hoping that the elk I passed on the last two years because the shots were boarder line legal light works in my favor this next fall.
 

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