When a Shooter Buck Isn't a Shooter

So I have spent nearly every evening this spring and summer keeping an eye on the whitetails that come into my yard from the river bottom. I have deliberately not shot any bucks here for three years in order to determine the genetic potential of these deer. This year my rare display of self-discipline started paying off as eight five-by-five bucks have been seen regularly—one that would score 145 to 150 gross. My trigger finger has been itchy.

It’s pre-rut now, but the bucks have been jousting a bit to determine which will be the dominant one. Last Friday evening, Mr. 150 showed up 20 feet from my front door…sans the front three points of his left antler. He is now a rather homely five-by-two.

I am trying to be philosophical about this. There is, of course, a distinct possibility that an equal or better buck will show up during the season—which conveniently coincides with the rut. And Mr. 150 has probably saved his own bacon for this year, so next year he may be even better. Nonetheless, there is more than a little displeasure!

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