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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?”

By Steve Wall

Many hunters will go their whole life hunting for a trophy buck.  I may have killed the biggest buck of my life (and my first buck) at the age of 16.  I am still optimistic, at the age of 30, that I may have the opportunity to harvest a larger buck.  Times have changed and I am now hunting mostly public land, so you can see where my doubt of killing a larger buck comes in.  Now don’t get me wrong, I was extremely excited when I shot this deer and I still am; However, I may be more proud of my recent accomplishments on public land.  That is for another blog though so stay tuned for that!

This hunt takes us back to the year 2001.  My dad and I were hunting trophy managed land in Southwest Wisconsin.  I was going into my junior year of high school and still searching for my first buck.  While all of my friends were probably out having fun on the river during the summer, I was walking through the woods during many hot summer days.  Continue reading “Buck of a Lifetime: My first buck”