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Well lads...
I appreciate all the views/responses on recent topics and as I get older,with a bad back and aching joints, "memory lane" gets visited more often but... today, I am wondering why you hunt the deer you hunt. Is it for that trophy racked buck or is it for that succulent venison piled up on a dinner plate with mashed potatoes and gravy on a blustery night in winter? For that matter, just how big does that buck have to be to be a trophy in your eyes? Do you pass up smaller deer or does(table fare)for a chance at that old "bruiser?" So what is it guys...meat, rack or both...and do you have to take a deer to enjoy the hunt?
 

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Predator One, I am sure that your question will bring on quite the discussions but here is my 2 cents...My family loves deer meat (especially bottled) so I am a meat hunter. On the other hand I like to have a nice rack to put on the wall as well. By a nice rack I mean it could be a 6, 8, 10 and so on. Every buck I shot over the years I have their antlers mounted on a plaque on the wall. I am proud of them all as they have their own story behind them. Yes, I would love to get a monster buck someday but if I don't, that is OK because I have alot of good memories of the bucks and hunts that I have been on so far.
 

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Well lads...
I appreciate all the views/responses on recent topics and as I get older,with a bad back and aching joints, "memory lane" gets visited more often but... today, I am wondering why you hunt the deer you hunt. Is it for that trophy racked buck or is it for that succulent venison piled up on a dinner plate with mashed potatoes and gravy on a blustery night in winter? For that matter, just how big does that buck have to be to be a trophy in your eyes? Do you pass up smaller deer or does(table fare)for a chance at that old "bruiser?" So what is it guys...meat, rack or both...and do you have to take a deer to enjoy the hunt?
to be honest i like to hunt for the sport and the biggest reason is...to get away from work and relax...i don't take any vacation in the summer because i work at the college and it is our busiest time of the year ....so...come fall i am ready for a vacation and some relaxation!
i can get away where no one can get a hold of me!!!
just me and nature and open wilderness!
if i get a deer....bonus...but i am just as happy to see them!
what better reason....
i always wanted to shoot a deer on my bday(nov 4th)....
well last year i had that chance...had a doe come out of the woods and i was standing in the middle of the trail....she never even seen me....so i drew the bow up and had my sights on her....she stopped looked at me...about 5 yards away...and it was her lucky day...i put the bow back down and she walked away....it was like she knew i wasn't gonna release the arrow!
and guess what...i walked away just as happy as if i did shoot it!
to me that is what deer hunting is all about!
 

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Hey HTM...
Good reply and I agree! My family and I love venison as well. I have taken some good racked bucks in my time and I always admire 'em on the wall but my consideration of what a trophy is...depends on the mood I'm in when a deer walks out in front of me and whether we have some wild meat..venison or moose in the freezer at the time. I have... on numerous occasions let a smaller buck walk away, even opting to finish the season without tagging out...but...that was usually because my son or a friend had given us meat or we had moose meat on hand. At other times, a fat doe or young buck has provided meat for winter. And Dale... another good response! Hunting should be about the experience, the chase and the relaxation we get from it and yes...bagging the deer is definitely the bonus! I guess that none of us in the hunting fraternity should stand in judgement of a fellow hunter for what he chooses to take. I'm sure we would all like to shoot the monster with bow or rifle but...there is absolutely nothing wrong in being a "meat hunter!"
 

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In my opinion deer meat taste like crap. I sooner eat beef any day. I just like getting outdoors and getting fresh air but I am die hard big buck hunter and will pass on small bucks. I don't get many deer but when I do they are nice ones.
 

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I believe we all go through "phases" as far as how and why we hunt the way we do, but amazingly, for me, hunting is all about matching wits with the cagiest animal on the planet - a buck deer. And I don't necessarily mean by baiting a buck in, sitting in a tree stand all day, or driving woods roads. My ideal of a hunt is me, the trusty 30-30 and as much undisturbed land as possible (without hunters). I still hunt, slow, steady, methodical.....and try to outwait, outwit and outmanouver Mr. Buck on his turf, in his domain. The uglier the weather, the better it gets.

I must admit, although this is my ideal, I also very much enjoy the challenge that bowhunting offers. The only time I can sit in a stand is if I have the bow with me - because even if you see a deer - there is still a huge element of "stalking" with the bow. You have to get in position, then raise the bow and come to full draw without being detected. That is quite a rush on a big buck if you have ever had the opportunity. Simply raising a rifle or crossbow with a scope and pulling a trigger is nowhere near in the same league....in my humble opinion - speakig from experience.

I like deer meat, the wife and all the kids love it.....but it gives me just as much satisfaction to donate my deer to a group like FHFH knowing it will feed a pile of hungry people. Now that this option is in NB, that will be my avenue on the deer meat from here on. I can live off the turkeys and beef I raise quite alright (and usuallty have a bit of Moose to change things up a bit on the menu...lol!).

Now that several of my kids hunt, the thrill for me is getting them proficient and having the same enjoyment that hunting has offered me. I have three separate hunts planned at present for a low budget that should give us some great memories in 2010. THIS is what it's all about.

now...if there are 5 deer in an area.......a doe, a spike, a fawn, a 6 point and a 14 point.....DUH! I'm waiting for the big boy. I've eaten my share of tag soup with this mentality, but it beats laying down a little deer early and having to miss all the other opportunities and things you learn by staying out there until the last Saturday.
 

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I'm a big buck hunter by personal choice, I'm lucky enough to harvest a mature buck every 5 odd year or so here in NB and recently get the chance to better that average by going to Saskatchewan for the last 4 years. I don't apply for antlerless, and I let 1.5yr old bucks walk.

That being said, I love venison, and what rattles my cage is the more than too often loss of respect for the quarry we pursue once the arrow has flown or the bullet hit its mark.

I process from A to Z all my harvested animals (cut by knife), and I derive as much pleasure into processing the game I have harvested than killing it or eating it.

Too many people find too many excuses not to eat their quarry, but most often times, the handling and treatment of game post mortem is the direct cause of a foul tasting meal in the dinner plate.

Here's a few tips that every hunter should abide by:

Eviscerate your animal as soon as you find it;
Bleed out your game as much as possible immediately (you may achieve this by pumping the animal's legs prior to rigor mortis);
If you can, do not drag your game animal, rather transport it on wheels to your truck;
Install a spreader in the rib cage (mechanical device or a simple piece of wood to desired length) to allow maximum cooling of body cavity;
Do not parade your game, take it immediately to a cool dry place;
Remove the hide from the animal in a shady, clean (no insects) and cool place;
Do not wash the carcass of your animal with water, this promotes bacteria growth more than anything, rather dab the dirt and excess hair with a wet towel;
Quarter your game ASAP and hang in a walk-in cooler (4 to 9 Celcius) for 7-10 days.
After hanging the quarters to tenderize the meat, cut it up, wrap it in a vaccuum sealed freezer bag, date stamp and identify the game and the cut of meat.

This is how we do it, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Enjoy the game you pursue, respect your quarry, before, during and after the harvest and pass it on to younger generations.

A trophy is in the eye of the beholder...
 

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I hunt because I enjoy it , I'm not interested in cutting the season short by shooting a small buck or doe the 1st week or 3 . I enjoy being in the woods and all that goes along with it .
Last year I could have ended my season in each of the first 3 weeks . I've set the bar for myself at a racked buck , but at the same time I'm not sure I'd want to be a fork horn that crosses under my sights on the last day of the season .
I'm lucky and have a lot of time to hunt , I can understand why people who don't have the time might not be quite so fussy .

While deer meat has it's own flavour , I wouldn't describe it as tasting like crap . If yours does I think your doing something wrong after the shot . You might want to re-read Bullseye's post a few times .
 

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Lots of reasons I guess. I don't know what "stage" I'm in and I'm not sure I can explain all the reasons even to myself. I think some of the reason is to prove something to myself, to challenge an animal on its own turf and succeed, even when I choose not to shoot it. It must be some part of it as I get almost as much satisfaction of stalking or stillhunting within a few feet of a doe as I do shooting a big buck. As to how much challenge vs success I set my own limits I guess.
I love being out there in the woods. I spend time out there outside of season as well. I like big bucks same as anyone but it is far from the only reason. Sometimes it is the solitude I want, some is comradarie of friends and those to share it with. I don't shoot just any deer, not anymore

I want to shoot the right deer for the herd dynamics. If that's a doe then I'll shoot a doe, if not then I want a buck over 3.5 years old. I don't lower the bar even at the end of the season just to say "I got my deer". I eat tag soup a lot too because of it. I've hunted Grand Manan and shot nuisance deer for the different experience.
How I shoot it means a lot to me. I won't stop on the side of the road and smack a big buck just for the sake of tagging him as it means nothing unless you have put the effort into it, even though some may still be attributed to luck. I don't use a rifle anymore either as taking a deer with the bow means a lot more to me. Mind you that has attributed to the tag soup too
. This year I bought a new rifle and I would like to have it "blooded". I don't want to shoot the big boy with it as I'd feel I cheated myself but I might carry it some this fall. I think a precision longer range kill would be satisfying.
I think hunting is a basic drive for man and I hunt because of my desire to.
Having deer meat is one reason as well but I don't need to kill a deer each fall as I have family and friends who don't eat it and I get theirs which then allows me to set my own limits on harvest because I then don't have to shoot a deer to have meat.
As far as deer meat I bone all mine out and you can't tell it much apart from beef. I fed it to my sister-in-law, who won't eat wild meat, and she didn't know the difference

Leaving deer fat on and cutting through the bone, which spreads marrow on the meat which you can't get off and gives it that distinct flavour, when cooked it permeates the meat and then you feel that fatty texture on the roof of your mouth. Bone it out and you don't get any of that, just an excellent cut of meat
 

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I won't shoot anything smaller than an 8 pt and I'll eat every steak, chop, roast and hamburger bit right down to the sausage and jerky...
 

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"i always wanted to shoot a deer on my bday(nov 4th)...."

Funny you should mention that . I have been wanting to get a nice buck on my Grandfather's birthday for years .
November 5th ,
'remember , remember the 5th of November ...'

He's been gone for years , but during hunting season he seems very close to me . Hard to describe .
Guess I'm spending too much time alone in the woods .
 

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"i always wanted to shoot a deer on my bday(nov 4th)...."

Funny you should mention that . I have been wanting to get a nice buck on my Grandfather's birthday for years .
November 5th ,
'remember , remember the 5th of November ...'

He's been gone for years , but during hunting season he seems very close to me . Hard to describe .
Guess I'm spending too much time alone in the woods .
No you're not GG......no you're not...
 

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I just checked and found out that I have drawn an antlerless tag for this year. Last year, when I was sitting in my stand with four mature does in bow range I was frustrated because I did not have a tag and badly wanted my first bow kill. Now, I have a tag and I am debating if I should take the first good opportunity that presents itself to get that "first blood" with the bow, or do I hold out for a big bruiser.

Maybe with the homework I have done the bruser will be the first good opportunity!

One thing is for sure, I will make the decision before I ever head to the woods because indecision at the moment of truth leads to a big ole pot of tag soup. (This is from a guy who has learned that lesson the hard way a couple of times)

My family and I love deer meat but I also enjoy the thought of beating a big buck on his own terms. I guess we will see what happens.
 

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Good replies. Everyone has their own motivation. I have been hunting deer seriously for 12 years (I'm 31) and for the first 10 years I just wanted to shoot a deer but hoping the first deer that I saw was a monster. That never happened but I did shoot two nice bucks. In 2007 the deer were thick and I really enjoyed watching deer. I didn't care if I shot a monster. I shot a small buck that year and the next but I was unsatisfied. Going forward I decided my goal is to watch deer and only shot if I see a nice buck. Deer meat is good but not the reason why I hunt. If I can see deer, hang out with friends, get away from work and the City, then I will be pleased.
 

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Nothing like bottled venison while sitting in the ice shack watching your tip ups or jigging. Definitely a meat hunter. I hold off on small bucks early on but if too much time goes by I stick an arrow through them. I find nothing wrong with shooting a small buck for an enjoyable meal in the winter. Racks are nice and I have alot of em hanging on the walls, but after a while they turn into a hat rack, coat hanger, or my favorite quote from a client this spring. "I cant wait to kill a 188" class buck and use it to hold a fly swatter like you" LOL LOL Definitely in it for the hunt and the meat. Bowhunting is by far the most rewarding hunting method I've ever participated in, even through gun season.
 

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I have a friend who has been hunting for 14 years and has only shot 4 deer. This will be my first year deer hunting and any legal deer I see il do my best to take him down. If i get one really early in the season MAYBE next year I will wait for a big guy.
 

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Something in me changed in 1999 and from that point on i became a hunter only interested in mature bucks, i'm not really sure what my standards are but 3 yr old and plus are my objective.I am not sure what to do with a 2 yr old and will have to judge the deer.I honestly have never had a shooting oppurtunity on a two yr old since 1999 so i'm still not sure.I've worked in the woods since i was a teenager and have studied everthing i possibly can about OLDer Big woods bucks and since 1999 have harvested 7 bucks over the three yr age and most over 4 yrs of age.No stands No bait, just the want to be a great hunter who can match wits with these incredible creatures on their turf, ground level and by their rules.They are my addiction!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well fellas, all good replies! I don't know why Bucknut's venison tastes as it does, may be something he's doing or not doing but I agree with Hoytman Bullseye and Bowtech on proper handling methods. I was raised on deer meat and 'tators" and that brought our family through some long hard winters when I was young. As for shooting a deer on your birthday, My birthday is Nov. 10th and for three years running, I took a nice "big" buck on my birthday. The spell broke the fourth year when I "grazed" a big buck on Nov. 10th. Haven't taken a deer on my birthday since...maybe this year? Reading your responses has given me another topic I think you'll enjoy responding to..."Mentors". Check it out and happy hunting to all.
Ray
 

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For many years I only still-hunted the big woods on crown land with rifle. Never shot a deer in a field in my life! Deer were plentiful in the 80's and 90's and buck sign was everywhere in the woods in November.

I would say that I was pretty "lucky" to take quite a few mature bucks over those years. But..."I" like to take at least some credit as well for the skill, patience, dedication and sheer "time" that I put forth on these successful hunts.

Back then, I was always driven by the "Big" buck thrill! But all I was really looking for was something with antlers. The good thing that always seemed to happen, was when I did finally run into a buck after a week or two of hard hunting...it was usually a big one. I don't remember ever seeing many yearling bucks in the big woods. They were always at least two year old 8 pointers or bigger.

And when I did get a buck on the ground, the meat was just as important as the rack for sure. Every morsel was thankfully eaten by my whole family. A lot of kids probably never taste deer meat nowadays, but I love the stuff. I have never had deer meat that wasn't good.

Then after I started bowhunting in the mid 90's my goals stayed basically the same. "Antlers" with "meat" attached! Like many hunters, I started hunting closer to home, and baiting deer. The thing that has changed for me is that I seem to get more opportunities at yearling bucks than mature ones. My first bow kill buck took quite a few years to accomplish. It just happened to be a 9 point that dressed 226.

Since then I have taken a couple of two year olds and a few yearlings. I now have the goal of wanting to take a buck every fall with bow if I can. I want the meat too. But I also want to keep bowhunting as long as I can, even if it means on into gun season.

I have taken a spike the first week before and then thought "dang" I can't hunt anymore! So now I will take each day as it comes and if a big boy presents an opportunity on the first morning? I'll take him. And if a spike shows up in the last few minutes of light on the last day of gun season?..I'll take him...if i'm "hungry" enough!
 

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Neither answer motivates me to hunt. I went through the meat hunter phase many years ago and gradually moved into the trophy hunter stage. Did quite well in both stages and now I just want to be in the woods. I haven't shot a deer since 2003 but I've had many successful seasons since. I carry a camera and my rifle. Sometimes I actually load the rifle but usually carry it empty. I'd feel naked in the woods in the fall without that familiar weight on my shoulder and if it's the deers time to die I'll get it loaded when I want it. There's a lot more to hunting, for me, that doesn't involve shooting.
 
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