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I'm Only Seeing Small Bucks

Back To "Ask The Biologist?"QUESTION: For years I've only been seeing small bucks in my area, with only an occasional mature buck. Should I find a better hunting spot, or should I stick it out? - Joe B.

ANSWER: As is so often the case, without more detailed information, the best I can do is speculate.

I'm Only Seeing Small BucksThe fact you're seeing small bucks is not necessarily a bad sign.

So much depends on the type and amount of hunting pressure your area receives, but if you let these small bucks go, obviously they will grow into bigger bucks.

The fact that you're seeing an occasional mature buck is an even better sign. 

Even in well-managed populations, mature bucks are far fewer in numbers than young bucks. This means, all other things being equal, you will see fewer large bucks. 

But, all other things are never equal. In addition to being scarcer, mature bucks are also cagier, which means you will see a smaller percentage of those that do exist - that is, unless you're running trail cameras. There's a good hint for locating the old boys and verifying they are present.

In short, if I were in your situation, I'd likely stick it out.

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