The Transformation

Discussion in 'Michigan Whitetail Deer Hunting' started by mich buckmaster, Dec 4, 2020.

  1. mich buckmaster

    mich buckmaster

    Messages:
    7,299
    Likes Received:
    1,653
    Location:
    Southwest Lower Michigan
    The Transformation for me has been very hard but I am finally seeing the light, I think. I started shooting bigger bucks starting in 1999. I found a farm that I could manage because I finally had it to myself. Now getting my dad and brother on board was hard until they started seeing the bucks I was killing and also the pics. I believe pics from game cameras was the game changer, when you can prove that those deer exist on your farm. What has been hard for me, THE TRANSFORMATION, is going from 2 1/2 year old 110-120" bucks to trying to only shoot bucks over 130" and sometimes even bigger, which gets us into 3 1/2 or older. That is SUCH a challenge. I may only get a handful or less opportunities a year at such an animal and that is putting in probably 60 days of hunting a year. Just wondering how many of you have had a hard time with the transformation. I have to get it in my head that it is OKAY to go buckless for a year, but it is SO DANG HARD!!!! (But I doubt that will happen)

    Dave
     
  2. IceHog

    IceHog Premium Member

    Messages:
    1,400
    Likes Received:
    1,936
    Location:
    Linden, or at the new 80
    I don't find it hard, if something of my standard doesn't show, oh well. I've shot plenty of bucks in the last 38 years, now I like the habitat and management side of things. I wish it were Spring already, I'm bored to death.
     

  3. mich buckmaster

    mich buckmaster

    Messages:
    7,299
    Likes Received:
    1,653
    Location:
    Southwest Lower Michigan
    I WISH I could do habitat work, my farmer doesn't believe in doing anything to help the deer herd, HE WANTS THEM KILLED!!!
     
  4. ekbelt3

    ekbelt3

    Messages:
    521
    Likes Received:
    344
    Location:
    Holland, MI
    I agree with IceHog. I find less enjoyment in the hunt and more enjoyment in habitat strategies. No hunting pressure to deal with, warmer weather, and the anticipation of new growth. Like I’ve told others, you’re building something for the future. You may not benefit, but your kids will and that’s what matters anyway. Now only if the DNR/NRC would think the same way...that isn’t a blanket statement, but they could do better. What about a combo tag with one buck and one doe, can use any weapon, no APR. Just please, one buck. Rant over.
     
  5. LabtechLewis

    LabtechLewis

    Messages:
    4,606
    Likes Received:
    13,701
    Location:
    Howell
    This is a good topic. Thanks. So, with due respect I'm going to ask, you seriously find it difficult to stay disciplined when you're getting "a handful" of opportunities a year? Seems like a good position to be in. 5 chances in 60 hunts. 1 every 12 hunts. 1 in 6 calendar weeks. So, 2 for the season. That is doable.

    As for me, the evidence is currently suggesting I will go buckless for the first time since 1997 (I think). Turning out to be not such a big deal. But, there's still time, so you never know. I wonder if my 2020 theme of "shoot early and often" is having an impact on my buck sightings?
     
  6. Spartan88

    Spartan88

    Messages:
    4,238
    Likes Received:
    4,147
    Location:
    NLP
    I'm a big woods hunter, I kill bucks (with no remorse) many of you pass. If a 2.5 comes by and I'm happy he gets dropped. If I hunted ag my standards would be higher. Hat tip to all of you who manage the age structure.
     
  7. Muskegonbow

    Muskegonbow

    Messages:
    1,201
    Likes Received:
    2,267
    Location:
    I hunt Muskegon & Oceana county.
    It’s hard. The last year I didn’t shoot a buck was 1999. I’m to the point where I can pass 2 1/2 year olds in October but I get into November and I’m ready to shoot one. Three year olds are just rare where I hunt. Next year looks promising though as I had nine two year olds and what I believe to be a 4 1/2 year old on camera this year on my 9 acres. The older buck was just one middle of the night picture. I believe three of The 2 1/2’s are still alive maybe more. I do hunt public land also to keep pressure down and there is a reasonable chance at a older buck out there also.
     
  8. sniper

    sniper

    Messages:
    9,222
    Likes Received:
    20,360
    Location:
    Livonia-Hillsdale
    Very good post. A lot of guys are and we’re in your exact shoes. Including me. I decided to go the passing route about the same time as you. Best deer hunting decision I’ve ever made hands down!!. I bought property in 2002 and that advanced my transformation even faster! Like you mentioned, the game camera. The game cam is today’s holy bible of hunting tools. It doesn’t not lie! It’s proof beyond proof. It’s the number one tool in my arsenal. Next important thing is habitat and then patience. If you don’t have patience, nothing else will matter. I love big antlers but I stopped using that as a gage for shooting bucks years ago. We try to shoot mature bucks. There’s a big difference. We aim for 3.5 or better. (Mature for MI).. A bigger old slob buck is a great deer for us we love it. Your hunting a different animal now, that’s the deer we like hunting. The cat n mouse game to shoot one of those bucks is our driving force. It’s so much more fun. Keep at your patience. It’ll be so worth it.
    Good luck.


    Sent from my iPhone using Michigan Sportsman
     
  9. Slimits

    Slimits

    Messages:
    2,248
    Likes Received:
    2,532
    Its very hard. Thats why i hunt out of state. Usually two trips a year. One week during rut and another in dec. this year didnt make the rut trip for first time in years to see what i was missing here. Not even close. If you go out of state you get your big buck fix
     
    Vortex, 5333, Groundsize and 6 others like this.
  10. FullQuiver

    FullQuiver

    Messages:
    2,376
    Likes Received:
    4,102
    Location:
    Woodville
    You should feel fortunate to have such a great opportunity to hunt that kind of parcel.. I've watched the deer herd around me go into a sharp decline the last 3-4 years and I see no reason for any kind of recovery.

    Living near people who will literally kill the last deer isn't much fun. I have 0 chance that I will kill anything of quality unless in wanders from several miles away..

    So enjoy what you have. Because many people are not in that situation. I'm actually thinking about killing only small bucks again so that I can justify having my own land and not shooting a doe..
     
  11. IceHog

    IceHog Premium Member

    Messages:
    1,400
    Likes Received:
    1,936
    Location:
    Linden, or at the new 80
    In that situation, it would be hard to have higher expectations. I used to lease a large tract of land from a farmer in the UP, he was the same way, wanted everything killed and spent most of his Summer nights gut shooting deer. That infuriated me, but I also understood it was his livelihood that the deer were decimating. I ended up buying my own land and never looked back.
     
  12. bowhunter426

    bowhunter426

    Messages:
    6,060
    Likes Received:
    12,759
    Location:
    West Michigan
    On the private land I hunt I have shot 3 bucks in the last 10 years sticking to a 3.5yo or better rule. I usually get 1-2 opportunities a year at a buck that meets my goals, but I hunt the property less than 20 times a year as it does not handle pressure.

    Hunting public land my standards are any buck that I feel is 2.5.

    My goals are very location dependent
     
  13. jscheel

    jscheel

    Messages:
    436
    Likes Received:
    1,347
    Location:
    My hearts in Hersey
    I have different strategies and standards for different locations. My lease in Mecosta County pretty much anything 100" and up is fair game as long as it's legal (4 points on one side) for our area that's usually 3.5 year olds with the occasional 2.5. At home in Washtenaw County everything under 130" gets a pass.
     
  14. Walleyze247

    Walleyze247

    Messages:
    1,819
    Likes Received:
    2,538
    Location:
    Spring Arbor, MI
    I feel your pain. I hunt 2 small properties, and that really limits stand locations, wind, ect. I am friends with the poeple that surround my home property, and we share info. I think it helps to know if I pass a buck, most of my neighbors will too. I try to remember a few young bucks will always die of something, car accidents, yotes, and of course that one guy that shoots the ones you pass. I try to focus on less is more. Not starting to hunt until the rut, and then hitting it good while on vaca has been the ticket for me.
     
  15. motdean

    motdean

    Messages:
    7,473
    Likes Received:
    8,684
    Your overall post was really solid. I especially liked this part of it and could not agree more.