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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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Yellowdog the difference is in farmland/ flatland you may have two patches of cover separated by a 30yd wide shrubby creek bottom or fence row. You sit anywhere in that corridor and you will likely have deer in range, the deer have one option to travel between those patches of cover. In mountain ground say you have two patches of cover on top of a ridge. Yes the ridge top is the most defined travel pattern between the two, but deer likely have an option of a bench on either side of the ridge as well and they likely pick based on wind advantage. Now the deer have at minimum 3 options for travel. This is very simplified obviously, but for ease of hunting during the rut a well defined corridor in farmland is as predictable as it gets.
 

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Where I hunt in the mountains all the terrain is the same. Steep with an occasional small flat. Mountain laurel everywhere and rock riffles scattered about. The deer go up to bed on the mountain side in the morning and go down the mountain to the ag fields a mile below in the evenings. Where they go up and down is a crap shoot. They also travel along the sides as well throughout the day on the mountain side. It's nearly impossible to hunt it though without spooking everything because they can see down over and see me hundreds of yards away. They are practically invincible up there.
 

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I keep telling myself to keep my mouth shut...but apparently I like to hear myself talk. 🙃

A mature buck is a mature buck. They all utilize structure the same way. It doesn't matter if they're farmland bucks, mountain bucks, PA bucks or Iowa bucks. It's the only constant when dealing with mature bucks. Undoubtedly, certain habitat types (farmland compared to mountains) are easier to exploit, but it exist just the same everywhere. I suspect it's a learned trait because 3 1/2 year old bucks haven't completely fugured it out yet. They do a lot of stupid things that a 4 1/2 year old buck would never do. Structure is the key to the puzzle regardless of where you're chasing them. Just because its not a blatant pinch point that's easily viewed from a satelite image doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. In my upcoming book I titled one complete section: Structure, Structure, Structure. I believe it's the single biggest factor when targeting mature bucks. It trumps food, bedding and breeding in my opinion. OK...now I'll try real hard to keep my mouth shut. :censored:
 

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TBrom you just keep giving out tidbits so that we are more likely to purchase your book! HAHA I do look forward to picking up a copy, I have enjoyed reading your posts over the years. Could you refresh my memory on the release date for your book?
 

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Oh I agree with you. That is why I say I only capture glimpses of the big boys on camera during the rut. They need sanctuary in a place where they are unmolested. The rut will make them cruise through a habitat, but until that happens it is a tough nut to crack. I never doubt that there is a monarch somewhere nearby. But they don't tolerate pressure like a less mature deer.
 

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I'll stand with what I say. Where I hunt structure does not exist. The entire mountain side is the same. I've walked it hundreds of times in the off season. Deer bed anywhere and everywhere. Mountain deer are drastically different than farmland. I would also add every buck is different. If they all used structure the same way they'd all bed together and that doesn't happen. We will agree to disagree on this one.
 

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TBrom you just keep giving out tidbits so that we are more likely to purchase your book! HAHA I do look forward to picking up a copy, I have enjoyed reading your posts over the years. Could you refresh my memory on the release date for your book?
I was shooting for November but if I can get the website created (and stop chasing bears) it will be ready by the 1st of October.
 

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I'll stand with what I say. Where I hunt structure does not exist. The entire mountain side is the same. I've walked it hundreds of times in the off season. Deer bed anywhere and everywhere. Mountain deer are drastically different than farmland. I would also add every buck is different. If they all used structure the same way they'd all bed together and that doesn't happen. We will agree to disagree on this one.
Zach, keep an open mind to this. If you come at it from a different perspective it will only help you through the years. It's an impossibilty for structure not to exist on a property, and for everything to be exactly the same. I'm not solely talking about pinch points, funnels, or other blatant obstructions that restrict travel. I'm also talking about topograghy and that's what diifferentiates mature buck travel from the rest of the deer herd. Every move a mature buck makes is dictated solely by structure (terrain variances). It could be as little as a two foot elevation difference in a particular area, but that's where he's predictable. He's going to take advantage of every terrain nuance, and it will dictate his movement. I can gaurantee it. And yes...when other marture bucks are traversing the same property they'll access it the same way. I've seen it too many times, in too many areas, in too many states. It's the one chink in their armor that they can't get away from because they're programmed for survival. The structure patterns are subtle but I promise you they exist. In a general sense, I could care less where a buck beds or feeds. I want him on his feet with the structure dictating where to kill him. Just keep an open mind to it when you begin your scouting in ernest.
 

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In a general sense, I could care less where a buck beds or feeds. I want him on his feet with the structure dictating where to kill him.
My thoughts exactly.

In the areas I hunt there's endless bedding and food sources. Terrain features tell me how bucks who (imo) bed and feed randomly will predictably move around their home areas. Point A to point B, terrain will show you his route.

Another advantage of terrain features is that they (usually) never change. Once you learn to recognize terrain features that dictate buck movement you can go to a new property and apply that knowlage there without nearly the learning curve of traditional scouting. How deer relate to terrain is one of the most predictable things about their behavior
 

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Why would a person hunt an area where they might not see a doe in a week of hunting? I don't get that.
Not everyone is willing to drive far to hunt on a regular basis and not all areas are created equal. The last time my local mountainous state forest was infrared surveyed, it was estimated to have 10-12 deer per square mile (640 acres). I definitely go days without seeing deer at times but when you put the puzzle together its that much sweeter.
 

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Yellowdog the difference is in farmland/ flatland you may have two patches of cover separated by a 30yd wide shrubby creek bottom or fence row. You sit anywhere in that corridor and you will likely have deer in range, the deer have one option to travel between those patches of cover. In mountain ground say you have two patches of cover on top of a ridge. Yes the ridge top is the most defined travel pattern between the two, but deer likely have an option of a bench on either side of the ridge as well and they likely pick based on wind advantage. Now the deer have at minimum 3 options for travel. This is very simplified obviously, but for ease of hunting during the rut a well defined corridor in farmland is as predictable as it gets.
I hunt both, farmland and mountains. I grew up hunting the mountains but hunt more farmland now as well as the Pocono plateau and the up and down SE Ohio. I think I'd rank a saddle crossing right up there, as well as the upper part of a big (or small) bowl. Also, where there are finger ridges, hunting at the head of a big hollow always seems to put me at the intersection of about three different buck travel routes.
 

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Not everyone is willing to drive far to hunt on a regular basis and not all areas are created equal. The last time my local mountainous state forest was infrared surveyed, it was estimated to have 10-12 deer per square mile (640 acres). I definitely go days without seeing deer at times but when you put the puzzle together its that much sweeter.
If I was going to spend a week of vacation time, I'd rather spend a day driving and hunting a good area for 4 days than spend a week in an area where I might not see a deer.

People hunt for different reasons. Me, I'm all about shooting a nice buck. I can enjoy the intangibles in not deer season.

Just my opinion, ymmv.
 

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I agree that subtle structure or terrain changes are super important to a bow hunter, even if it's as subtle as a blown down. I always try to choose a stand location for the wind or thermals for that hunt thinking that a mature buck will be traveling into or quartering into the wind. I look for terrain or structure changes along a travel route that can change a deer's direction to your advantage. Deer always chose the path of least resistance and will always go around a log versus jumping over it. Little things like that can make a difference in getting that close shot we all want.
 

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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.
(y)
 

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If I was going to spend a week of vacation time, I'd rather spend a day driving and hunting a good area for 4 days than spend a week in an area where I might not see a deer.

People hunt for different reasons. Me, I'm all about shooting a nice buck. I can enjoy the intangibles in not deer season.

Just my opinion, ymmv.
I totally understand and agree. I hunt out of state every year. But on a daily basis with work and family, I don't drive more than 10-15 minutes from home for hunts during the week.

I have a good friend that lives and hunts Mercer County, so I understand why it sounds crazy to you Westerners! It's unbelievable the trail cam pics he gets in his backyard and the deer he see's while hunting.
 

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I envy the guys who are able to hunt before or after work. I can’t do either so I have to use vacation.
 

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Numbers of antlers is less important then mass. He needs to be a 3.5+ yr old...probably 4.5 yr old.
 

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Zach, keep an open mind to this. If you come at it from a different perspective it will only help you through the years. It's an impossibilty for structure not to exist on a property, and for everything to be exactly the same. I'm not solely talking about pinch points, funnels, or other blatant obstructions that restrict travel. I'm also talking about topograghy and that's what diifferentiates mature buck travel from the rest of the deer herd. Every move a mature buck makes is dictated solely by structure (terrain variances). It could be as little as a two foot elevation difference in a particular area, but that's where he's predictable. He's going to take advantage of every terrain nuance, and it will dictate his movement. I can gaurantee it. And yes...when other marture bucks are traversing the same property they'll access it the same way. I've seen it too many times, in too many areas, in too many states. It's the one chink in their armor that they can't get away from because they're programmed for survival. The structure patterns are subtle but I promise you they exist. In a general sense, I could care less where a buck beds or feeds. I want him on his feet with the structure dictating where to kill him. Just keep an open mind to it when you begin your scouting in ernest.
It's just hard for me to see it. I don't touch our mountain side/bedding area too much as in actually hunting it. I will keep an open mind this year as I do have a stand located in bedding and will see how it goes. The one thing I do see is small valleys bordered by a giant rock riffles that probably influence movement. I'll have to investigate more.
 
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