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

  • Any Legal Buck

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I get to hunt both extremes during archery. I live 10 miles outside of downtown Pittsburgh and hunt the suburbs. I also drive to my camp during the weekend and get to chase mountain bucks around. Having said that, The number of ”points” a buck has means absolutely nothing to me. You know instantly when a big buck pops out. Some of the biggest bodied deer I’ve seen are not always sporting 8/10/12 point racks. I’ll take the 200lb gnarly racked 6 point over the 100” 8 or 10 point all day everyday.
 

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I only hunt Doe the first 2 weeks in the SRA zones, then it’s off to camp till rifle is over. At camp it has to be close to PY for me. Killing a buck in the SRA areas where I hunt just doesn’t do it for me anymore.
 

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I gotta be honest I’m not surprised that 8pt was a popular pick, but I AM surprised at the amount of votes for any legal buck. No matter what I get that it is difficult for me to make that statement without coming across as pretentious.

I am not an inches hunter (kinda hard for average joe to be in PA) and the buck that I like Will get my tag. However, with the amount of passion I see on this thread for our sport, the amount of guys that take 1-3 week rutcations, and the amount of preparation and planning I see discussed on HPA...... I find it hard to believe that the majority is going to shoot a 1.5 year old 5,6, or 7 point on the opener. Especially with doe tags in hand, and at least a few rut sits in the near future.

Again I know it’s hard for me to get my point across without sounding like one of the drury’s, but I hope some may get where I’m coming from.
 

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I hunted the first day last year for the first time in quite a while. Shot a 125" eight an hour into the first evenings hunt. Not making that mistake again this year, I'm going to try to wait til the week of halloween to get after them. Couple nice ones here, no giants, but a giant could show up and I want to still have a tag if he does.
 

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It will have to be a nice 8 point or better to shoot a buck in the SRA next Saturday. I really have my heart set on a mature public land pocono buck this year. I'll be up there quite a bit with all the different bear seasons.
 
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Any of you remember the one-n-done days? Several times I ended my entire Pa season on the first day of archery with a doe. Just gave me an excuse to hunt other states. :)
The good old days. I was just a youngster then, and wouldn't shoot a doe and burn my only tag. Anything with an antler was fair game, though. We have it really good today with multiple doe tags, and DMAP's. Experience that took some of us a decade to gather can be achieved in a single season now.
 

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My dad remembers back in the 1950`s , it was I think the first 2 or 3 days were doe only and buck the next week and a half. That was before my time. 😀. I remember when I started hunting in 1976, it was the traditional 2 week buck followed by the 3 day doe season. Boy things sure have changed over the years.
 

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It all depends for me. If I’m archery hunting farmland around home I’ll hold off for something big. If I’m still hunting with my longbow in the mountains, any legal buck I can get in range of will be a trophy in my book.
 

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I get to hunt both extremes during archery. I live 10 miles outside of downtown Pittsburgh and hunt the suburbs. I also drive to my camp during the weekend and get to chase mountain bucks around. Having said that, The number of ”points” a buck has means absolutely nothing to me. You know instantly when a big buck pops out. Some of the biggest bodied deer I’ve seen are not always sporting 8/10/12 point racks. I’ll take the 200lb gnarly racked 6 point over the 100” 8 or 10 point all day everyday.
Spot on! That is where I am at now in my life. You definately know a bruiser when you see him. I have found that the maturity of my bucks has increased along with my own. LOL

The hunt, the excitement, and the memories are all I seek now. Eating venison steaks and smoking jerky are just extra at this point. Determining Pope & Young score has never been in the equation. And as others have said. You young fellers have it made these days. The one and done days of yore really left you depressed as the leaves started to fall.....
 

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I'm in a 3pt area...for me it would have to have 3up...and be able to tell at first sight that it was a legal buck...if I have to count points and judge tine length... I'm not shooting on the first day or the last.
 

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I have put in 100+ hours this year already in prep: Scouting from the first of the year, maintenance on 7 tree stands, hanging/moving some of the stands...more to hang, running 14 Trail cams since mid July checking and relocating every three weeks, cutting trail access to hunting areas, 3+ days rambling through the woods looking for oaks with acorns, shooting my bow etc. Therefore, I will be holding out for the hope of seeing one of the two larger rack bucks I have pictures of so far. Besides what would I do with all of my time if I shot a buck on the first day which I never have in PA. If I get no bucks as a result of not seeing the target bucks I'll be fine and ready to put in another 100+ hours in prep. next year
 

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Anyone of the 6 target bucks i have in the area i hunt,Id say there 120 to 145 inch bucks,I can always take a doe in rifle or flintlock for the freezer.
 

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My first wallhanger was a big 9pt that I shot five minutes after it was light enough to see on the opening day.

So I gotta say that is the standard that I need to meet or beat on the opener.

Of course since its my own personal baseline, a huge 8pt that comes past might be in danger!
 

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I hunted the first day last year for the first time in quite a while. Shot a 125" eight an hour into the first evenings hunt. Not making that mistake again this year, I'm going to try to wait til the week of halloween to get after them. Couple nice ones here, no giants, but a giant could show up and I want to still have a tag if he does.
My goal (for my hunting) would be to hunt land where shooting a 125" buck was a mistake, lol!!!
 

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I gotta be honest I’m not surprised that 8pt was a popular pick, but I AM surprised at the amount of votes for any legal buck. No matter what I get that it is difficult for me to make that statement without coming across as pretentious.

I am not an inches hunter (kinda hard for average joe to be in PA) and the buck that I like Will get my tag. However, with the amount of passion I see on this thread for our sport, the amount of guys that take 1-3 week rutcations, and the amount of preparation and planning I see discussed on HPA...... I find it hard to believe that the majority is going to shoot a 1.5 year old 5,6, or 7 point on the opener. Especially with doe tags in hand, and at least a few rut sits in the near future.

Again I know it’s hard for me to get my point across without sounding like one of the drury’s, but I hope some may get where I’m coming from.
I don’t think your post is pretentious at all but I will offer a different perspective. A lot of guys hunt in places where even if you take a lot of vacations days it’s still very challenging to get a legal buck in bow range.I passed 3 or 4 legal ones last year but also hunted more than I ever had in my life. Close to a month of vacation. Some guys only get a week or just a handful of days and during that time they have some hunts where they can’t even see a doe.
 

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I don’t think your post is pretentious at all but I will offer a different perspective. A lot of guys hunt in places where even if you take a lot of vacations days it’s still very challenging to get a legal buck in bow range.I passed 3 or 4 legal ones last year but also hunted more than I ever had in my life. Close to a month of vacation. Some guys only get a week or just a handful of days and during that time they have some hunts where they can’t even see a doe.
steelhead I can appreciate that perspective especially for you guys that really earn it in the mountains. I understand a lot of the public in a fair chunk of the state has limited diversity and lower deer densities albeit challenging terrain.

I could see how going a couple years in a row without even an opportunity at a doe would drive someone to cast that Any legal buck vote.
 

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I'm on a quest to kill one with my longbow. So any legal buck is fair game but honestly it’s all in how I feel at the moment of truth.
I switched to traditional gear in 2004 and haven’t looked back. The sense of accomplishment I felt the first time I killed a deer with a recurve bow and cedar arrows beat any other hunting experience I had. This year I’m using a longbow and arrows that I made myself. I feel like killing any buck with gear that I made completely by hand will be a highlight for me.
 
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