How to Tell if The Deer is Worth Shooting
Opening day of deer season is practically a holiday in hunting circles, but breaking into the sport can be hard for newbies. One of the biggest questions facing an inexperienced hunter is: “Is that deer worth it?” There are a couple of things to consider when deciding whether or not to take a shot.
1. Is it legal?
Laws vary widely from state to state and animal to animal, so if you’re used to hunting elsewhere or other things, research local laws and regulations before you head out. Make sure you have all appropriate permits and are hunting during the proper season– bow, muzzleloader, and gun season are all different in Oklahoma, with a special season for antlerless deer around the holidays. Be careful to respect private property and any signs posted as well.
2. Does this deer satisfy my goals?
Before you even start your hunt, you should decide why you’re going out into the field in the first place. Are you hunting for meat? If so, you probably don’t necessarily need to wait for a monster buck with a huge rack; there may be another hunter out there who would love such a trophy. Are you after a trophy to mount? If that’s what you’re looking for, you may be waiting awhile– multiple days, in fact, and you shouldn’t shoot anything less. A younger, less mature buck may grow up to be a beautiful trophy next season.
3. How many points is the deer?
This is the hardest one for new hunters, as guesstimating a deer’s worth is something that can be hard to get used to. The most important parts to take into account when judging a deer is the main beam length, the number and length of tines, and the inside spread. The main beam length is how long the antlers are in total, from head to tip; the longer the antler, the more points. Tines are those projections from the main beam that are longer than one inch– multiple long tines will add greatly to a deer’s score. The inside spread is the distance from main beam to main beam, measured at the widest point. The easiest of these to use as a decider from a distance is the tine measurements. A buck with many long tines will most likely be a great trophy, though there are many other measurements to consider when scoring a buck in-depth with the Boone and Crockett system.
Hunting is an exciting sport, and bagging your perfect deer is a great feeling. There may be quite a lot to think about before heading out, but the thrill of the hunt is no doubt worth it. Good luck and happy hunting!
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