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To shoot a buck on the archery opener, how big (antler size) does it have to be?

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Discussion Starter #1
For me, I have always considered myself a meat hunter and not a trophy hunter. With that said, for me to shoot a buck on the first day with all of the bucks I know are in the area I hunt and the fact that I have an incredible amount of time to hunt each year, I tend to be picky in the early season. I'm a 8pt or better in the early season guy.
 

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I hunt in 1b and 2b so 4 on one side is required. However I want it to be a decent 8 or I will pass. After Christmas is a different story.
 

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I have not killed a buck on public yet so most likely if it was 2.5 YO I would shoot it. If I'm hunting on private I'm trying to hold out for 3.5 YO.
 

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I try to target an above average buck for the area. That may be 95 inches or 120 inches. I hunt in the moment. A deer that doesn't trip my trigger may trip it the next day.
 

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It used to be 125" or better, but this year I'm considering 5 /12 years or older, and then only bowhunting them in the firearm or late season. Haven't committed to that yet, but I've been rolling it around in my empty head.
 

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Hard to go by points but somewhere in the 100" neighborhood or better, same it is all season. Just an arbitrary cutoff and that size deer in my part of the state is usually a buck that has seen a few seasons. I haven't killed one before October 20 in a long time, I don't know what I'd do with myself all season.
 

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In Ohio 130's or better and Pa. there is really only one buck at this time that I'm after. That usually means I won't kill a buck this year, but I'm ok with that. I think there are certain years you have to either go big or go home.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I will add that I may kill something smaller later in the season. Just won’t end it early the first couple weeks on a deer under 100 inches.
Yea man, I hear you on that.

I enjoy going into Halloween with a buck tag and then hunting the rut. There's something magical about the rut and hoping that giant makes a mistake....
 

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I'm banking on my 11yo being the freezer filler this year, so this season I plan to be picky. I have (5) different legal 4.5yo+ located. I have been unable to pattern the biggest (2) thus far. One is very big. The second is still a substantial step above anything I've gotten to-date. That said any of the (5) sag belly's will qualify for an arrow if the opportunity presents itself. The five range from an 8pt to a 13pt. I also have a very big & heavy 6pt on camera. I don't have history with him, but am confident he's at least 3.5 (maybe older). If he was legal (1B) he'd make the cut.

Usually (and maybe this year too) it's a buck that looks to be 3.5yo or older, or if late in season and the moment strikes me a 2.5yo will make me happy. Last year was the first time in a long time I did not tag an archery buck, but watched and passed a lot of them. Happily three of last year's tough passes are included in my (5).

Shoot whatever makes you happy. My all time favorite to date is a big bodied mature 9 point that I grunted in mid-day across a cut field, that won't even break 95"....
 

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I don't have time to be picky so I would be plenty happy and actually prefer to shoot a doe on the opener. That kinda releases the pressure of getting some meat and makes the rest of the season more enjoyable. If I can get the meat put I'd probably look for something at least to the ears. But I'm in a drought and when that happens I'll shoot the first legal basket rack that gives me an opportunity.
 

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I took the 1st legal deer that walked by last year. It happened to be a one and a half year old 6 pointer, the freezer had not seen venison in 2 years at the time. This year I am going to target does in the early weeks unless something substantial walks by. It will be a situation where I will know the one when I see him.
Kevin
 
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