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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Everyone has their own opinion on what constitutes as a monster buck. If I were to tag one with that label it would be anything over 130 inches. Maybe even 125. Some of the other threads got me thinking about expectations in regards to the land I hunt. Realistically anything close to 110 inches in my area is a super nice buck. In 33 years of hunting I may have only laid eyes on 4 or 5 bucks that were over 130 . I was fortunate enough to shoot one of them and also shot a couple over 125. The one I shot that was over 130 was on private land and I haven’t been back there since. I hunt hard and put countless hours in the woods every season. I also feel like I am a pretty decent hunter. With that being said I don’t think I have ever seen a buck that would break the 140 mark while hunting let alone something that is over 150. So what do you guys consider a “ monster” and how often do you see them ?
 

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Once, in my life (40 years of hunting) did I see a buck that I would bet was over 140 inches, outside of a deer farm or a zoo. Nothing else has even come close.
 

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Back home in my neck of PA, if it sniffs 120", it's a monster - no question. Where I shot my most recent buck in Iowa, the fact that the deer was 139+7/8" total inches makes it simply "above average" for that area. When you drop off what you consider a monster deer at the taxidermist out this way (Iowa/Nebraska/Kansas), you'll typically get humbled pretty quickly. My deer looked puny compared to some of the samples he had prepped for mounting, some of which pushed 180" typical. Scary big bucks grow out this way and I've never even laid eyes on the ones in the field of the caliber I've seen in that shop.

This is one example - the deer my taxidermist is working on here had its 7th point broken off on the beam closest to him, and *still* was looking to be around 180". Just freaking monstrous:

 

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I've seen one I estimate to be around 140 in PA hunting private years ago near the airport in Allegheny County and a few others hunting out of state. One thing always stands out: When you see a deer that's over 130-140, there's no mistaking it for a 100" deer. The awe factor hits you immediately. I remember the PA deer coming off the hill to my right and just being in complete shock from the moment I saw him. As big deer tend to do, he got downwind and without raising a fuss simply turned around and walked back to his security cover.
 

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3 years ago I moved to Blair County. I was on my way to Walmart and saw a buck on the side of the road that had been hit. Easily >160 green. The deer was still alive as I went past. On my way back, i looked for it, but it was gone. There were 3 or 4 pickup trucks stopped taking pictures of it while it died on the side of the road. I'm sure someone took it.

While hunting in the Lehigh Valley (along the Lehigh River) it was the very last day of the late season. I saw a buck 60yds that had the biggest rack I have ever seen. Hard to estimate the size of this thing, but it was the biggest buck I have ever seen on the hoof (body and rack). To guess I would have to say 170-190. First and last time I ever saw him. I spent the entire next few years hunting this deer and gave up when I moved out of the area...
 

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Steelhead 125: My observations in PA are very close to yours. I moved to PA 46 years ago and I have spent countless hours in the woods scouting, running cams, hunting mushrooms/sheds, hiking, 4 wheeling and walking the family pet etc.

I doubt that I have ever seen a rack in PA that would score over (say 2-3) 130ish, a number around 125 . I lived away from PA for a few years but returned to hunt as my work took me back and I had plenty of places to stay.

Even though I spent much less time scouting the other states I hunted I saw 2 in IL 160+- others 150' and 140's, IN 150-160's, OH a few 140's, Ky 130's, NY 125+- and Kansas high 150's.

Currently EHD has taken a heavy toll on the bucks in my area in PA and OH. Last year on camera and while hunting probably 105 is about the largest rack I saw in PA and I hope they are alive and have grown this fall.

So many times I have had individuals tell me they are spot lighting a huge rack only to take me along to see a 110-115 maybe a 120 and I guess they are right that is a big rack based on what they have seen over time. Perhaps because that is all that is their area.

My realistic (I think) goal in PA each year is to locate and hunt a 125.....I do almost all my deer hinting in archery season.
 

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We get pics every year of 140-150" bucks but I've never seen 1 after we quit feeding and archery season rolls around. Some years we hear of 1 being shot on a neighboring property or get to see 1 of them in a pic after it has been killed but a lot of the time they just seem to disappear forever? One of them was poached during bear season 2 years ago and found on the last day of bear. My best is under 120" so anything bigger would be a "monster" to me.
 

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I grew up hunting Western PA farmland and now reside in Central PA and hunt the mountains. I see quite a difference between the two in terms of top-end antler size. Also hunted SE Ohio and that is another step up from Western PA. Also witnessed AR have a drastic effect in growing older bucks where I grew up.

I'd say I use the monster label pretty sparingly. 19 years of hunting I have seen one buck on the hoof that was what I'd call a monster. Take your breath away size, once in a lifetime PA buck. He grossed 160ish with incredible mass, tine length, and a few NT points. Saw him at 50 yards from the tree, and really close in the headlights. He was shot in rifle by a member of our camp, brand new female hunter, that's how it usually goes right? Just a monster buck. This is mixed woods/farmland in 2D.

I've seen a few over the years in the 130- low 140s. I'd give it to you calling that a monster. They look huge but it is a pretty big jump to that 150+ range. I can't even begin to imagine what a booner looks like on the hoof. I haven't broken 130 yet. My buck this year would have but broke a brow tine. He had the frame to go 140s, but shortish tines.

120s I usually see one or two each year in that range between scouting and hunting. Definitely great, great bucks but a little short of the WOW factor for me. Most deer in the mountains max out somewhere in that 100-130 range I am finding. 140 is a real unicorn out here. And a lot more mature bucks in the lower end of that spectrum 100ish than higher. The max just isn't as high here as it is in Western PA. I would definitely call 100" a nice buck for anywhere in PA, especially the mountains and public land. I'm tickled with anything about 100" and up, but I've taken some smaller bucks with cool racks or lots of mass that I am really happy with too. Measurements are a nice point of comparison though.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Basically my thoughts are after 33 deer seasons and only seeing a handful of Pope and Young deer I need to be honest with myself. The properties I hunt just don’t hold many deer of that caliber. It sounds great to say I am going to hold out but if I truly did that I could possibly only shoot a buck once every decade. Honestly I could be holding out for something that isn’t even there. That’s not cool in my book. Usually anything over 100 inches is enough to get my heart pounding. If I let something over 100 inches walk there is a really good chance I won’t get another opportunity for the rest of the season. Not to mention bucks with racks over 100 inches are really nice ones for my area. I guess I could go look for other properties that hold bigger buck but I already have thousands of acres of public land to hunt so I guess you could say I am pretty content with what I already have.
 

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P&Y is net too, which is bullcrap. I have two whitetails and an elk that gross PY but not net. Seems I am good at nailing that category. That is my unofficial measurement too but measuring isn't rocket science. I wouldn't enter anything in the book regardless but net scores are horse manure. I don't think spread should count either but that's just me. Like I said I only use scores as a reference point I could really care less what a buck scores.
 

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P&Y is net too, which is bullcrap. I have two whitetails and an elk that gross PY but not net. Seems I am good at nailing that category. That is my unofficial measurement too but measuring isn't rocket science. I wouldn't enter anything in the book regardless but net scores are horse manure. I don't think spread should count either but that's just me. Like I said I only use scores as a reference point I could really care less what a buck scores.
That was the case with my buck this year. I got him measured for P&Y - total inches of antler was 139+7/8", but net score after deductions put him at 119" because of the non-typical & unmatched points producing much of the overall antler length, but not enough to have him officially scored as a non-typical. If you ask me "would you shoot him again knowing he wouldn't make the book," the answer would be an unequivocal "yes."
 

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Discussion Starter #13
P&Y is net too, which is bullcrap. I have two whitetails and an elk that gross PY but not net. Seems I am good at nailing that category. That is my unofficial measurement too but measuring isn't rocket science. I wouldn't enter anything in the book regardless but net scores are horse manure. I don't think spread should count either but that's just me. Like I said I only use scores as a reference point I could really care less what a buck scores.
The scoring system for P&Y is kind of ridiculous. Especially with deductions for having extra points . Wide spreads on deer also don’t really impress me unless they have the tine length to match. I have never entered one either.
 

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In pa any buck over 100 inches is a great deer. On opening day of rifle this year in 3B my buddy shot a 121 and my 15 year old nephew took a 140 inch double drop Ten that I swore was in the 150s. When he got that deer to the truck it’ was the biggest deer in 40 years of hunting I’ve ever saw in person.
 

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My area of 2D there is always 1 or 2 in the 130 to mid 140 range beyond that anything above 115 is a good buck which I would be happy to shoot. Biggest buck I ever had on camera there was probably in the 150's the day before rifle but never saw him again.
 

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I've seen 3 over 140". I saw 2 of them more than once including the one I shot. I would not venture to say what the other scores were because I am no expert at that but they were big. The biggest one I only saw one time and I still think about him. He ran after a doe and stopped directly under my stand. No shot. She took off and he bolted after her. I would be happy to get a 100"+ buck every year. I would say that over 140" is what I would start to define as a monster. I couldn't even imagine seeing something over 170".


Count me in as a fan of gross score. Deductions seem ridiculous.
 

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3 out of the last 4 years my buddy has shot deer 125"+ out in western PA. I go out there with him to hang out and shine and see lots of nice deer like those. Lots of ag, good habitat, and game lands that have been well managed/planted.


Here in my area of 3D with vast woods and no ag, when I see a deer over 100" that's a good deer. Once in the last 4 years I saw a buck here that would be over 125" and several that would be close. He was impressive and I watched him several days around my house between archery and rifle while he stayed with a group of doe, sometimes bedding as close as 30-40 yards from my house.


Since I know those deer are around I would say anything over 140" would be a monster to me.
 

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In pa any buck over 100 inches is a great deer. On opening day of rifle this year in 3B my buddy shot a 121 and my 15 year old nephew took a 140 inch double drop Ten that I swore was in the 150s. When he got that deer to the truck it’ was the biggest deer in 40 years of hunting I’ve ever saw in person.
Pics!

I've seen 4 that went over 150, one a 190s typical that my uncle killed. All of those buck on the same property
Pics!
 

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3 out of the last 4 years my buddy has shot deer 125"+ out in western PA. I go out there with him to hang out and shine and see lots of nice deer like those. Lots of ag, good habitat, and game lands that have been well managed/planted.


Here in my area of 3D with vast woods and no ag, when I see a deer over 100" that's a good deer. Once in the last 4 years I saw a buck here that would be over 125" and several that would be close. He was impressive and I watched him several days around my house between archery and rifle while he stayed with a group of doe, sometimes bedding as close as 30-40 yards from my house.


Since I know those deer are around I would say anything over 140" would be a monster to me.
Roger your zip code is 18661. So is mine so we live close to each other. Have not seen many 140's around here but my neighbor did shoot a 138 a few years ago on property adjacent to mine.
 
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