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By Steve Wall

What size antlers does a whitetail deer need to be considered a trophy?  This is a topic that is highly debatable and can even become a controversy in some cases.  I have had the opportunity to hunt private land that is managed for large whitetail bucks, but I have also hunted highly pressured public land.  I have killed what I would consider trophy bucks on both properties.  I am a supporter of the philosophy of the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA).  Which is:

 ” a practice that unites landowners, hunters, and managers in a common goal of producing biologically and socially balanced deer herds within existing environmental, social, and legal constraints. This approach typically involves the protection of most or all yearling bucks combined with an appropriate harvest of female deer to maintain a healthy population in balance with existing habitat conditions and hunter desires. This level of deer management involves the production of quality deer (bucks, does, and fawns), quality habitat, quality hunting experiences, and, most importantly, quality hunters. “

If the QDMA philosophy could be carried out by everyone, I believe we would all be more satisfied as hunters.  However, as we all know this just is not going to happen.  There are to many varying opinions by hunters and landowners as to how many, and what size deer should be shot every year.  With lands that are managed for “Trophy Bucks”, there are usually antler size restrictions set forth by a land manager or a group of people that manage the land collectively.  There are also landowners who feel more deer is better and will not shoot any does.  On the other hand, there are some hunters who will shoot absolutely any deer that they see.  Continue reading “What is a trophy?”