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Button Bucks

1612 Views 26 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  mecheadSR
Just wondering how others feel ... would you be in favor of requiring the tagging of button bucks with a buck tag?

Why or why not?
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You know, I think I would advocate that. And this might be from a purely selfish point of view: I like having more bucks to look over during the season. When a button is shot, it's just one less buck for viewing next year.

I let numerous buttons walk by me this year--probably more this year than I've ever seen in any other given year. These are next year's six- or basket-rack eight-pointers. I hunt a farm here in Michigan with the owner's son and a mutual friend. The friend shoots at any buck that walks by. This year he managed to finally kill a small five pointer, a doe, and a button buck. The owner's son complains that we don't see any large bucks, so for gun season openers he hunts his dad's other farm. I like that because there is one less gun hunter in "my woods" (LOL) during a time when guys are running deer into the farm. But I keep telling him we need to talk to 'X' about NOT shooting small bucks. If he had to use a buck tag on a button, maybe he'd learn to distinguish one before he shoots. Arch.
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I agree Arch. For those holding antlerless permits, it would force them to look twice and be sure of their target if they intended to fill that antlerless permit with a young deer. If you're not sure and don't want to risk having to use up that buck tag, it's simple - don't shoot. And of course at the end of each season, an increasing number of bucks are going to escape both the bow and firearm seasons.

Where area we hunt in Northern MI throughout most of the 90's was under experimental regulations where even during archery season you were not allowed to shoot an antlerless deer. As time went on of course, it meant that not only did many female deer grow to adulthood and replenish overall deer numbers, it of course meant that each of those buck fawns did as well. Of course a great number of those buck fawns who grew to be antlered deer were taken during bow and firearm seasons, but as each year went by we saw more and more bucks and the rut activity (REAL scraping and rubs) returned. So the long and short of it was - we saw what could happen if those button bucks were protected - even on public land in one of the most heavily hunted counties in the state.

At first these experimental regs did not go over real well with deer hunters in this area - especially bowhunters who felt they were losing out on "opportunity". But as time went on, they were overwhelmingly supported and when they ended, almost all were very sorry to see it end.

Granted this was not the same deal as simply using a buck tag to tag a button buck, but we saw first hand what happened when those button bucks were protected.

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I wouldn't have a problem with that.
Does anyone know if any other state has this rule.
If so what happens when a hunter shoots a button buck by mistake & has no buck tag? Its been years since a have shot a button by mistake, but it has happened.
Definitely YES! I have always wondered why it was legal to put a doe(female) tag on a button buck(male)? It never has made any sense to me. Fawns are generally born at a 50/50 ratio bucks to does. We already have 2 buck tags and if we tag a button buck with a doe tag along with taking two bucks we are damaging our herd. And the sad thing is that we can use the seemingly unendless doe tags for button bucks really throwing things off! Do the math.:(
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Tim - Yes there are many states that require buck fawns to be tagged with a buck tag and that's the argument some use when arguing against this - there will be a great number of button bucks left laying in the woods after being shot. When people shoot and then walk up to find the deer laying there is a button buck and they don't to use or don't have a buck tag, they'll leave it laying there and walk away.

Honestly - that's somewhat of a concern but I cannot believe that it will occur anymore often than other types of poaching activities that exist now. I really do believe that 99% of all hunters - bow or gun - are pretty ethical people and would do the right thing.

As far as making the mistake of shooting one, I guess the thought is if you're not sure if it is a male or female fawn, then you don't shoot.

I also made that mistake several winters ago while hunting up north on the very last night of the season in Dec. Wanting to take a deer yet, I shot what I was sure was a doe fawn in the last few minutes of the night. It wasn't a female - it was a male. You can imagine how I felt ... I could've kicked myself. Not for taking a small young deer - but for killing what would potentially have been an antlered buck capable of breeding the following fall. On public land in the Northern Lower - such are hard to come by.:p At any rate - if it had been the LAW that I had to use a buck tag to tag that deer, I would have never taken that shot - I had no buck tag to use. I was about 90% sure it wasn't - but I turned out to be wrong.
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If you shoot a button buck on our land it will cost you $100 [that we put toward food plots next year]. So far no one has killed a button buck. I know that will not work on state land but it should help on private land. I told my neighbor about the button buck rule we have and he liked it and implemented it on his land. 4 people hunted on my land this year and we seen 7 bucks. Son took a 9 point with his bow and I took a 8 point with my dad's 243. We let the rest walk and hope some will make it to next year. It was hard to turn down that 5 point but son and I did. I might add, the fist year [1996], we didn't see a buck, in fact, I think all we seen was 5 deer the hole season, thats bow and gun. We have put in 11 small food plots, some trees, pond, apple trees and ect. It is starting to pay off in the amount of deer we see. Wife, son, dad and I get more enjoyment out of watching the deer through out the year then I do hunting them.
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It didn't cost me a $100 to shoot that button buck but it sure cost me a lot in terms of being ribbed about it for a LONG time after that. :D

Great story Slowpoke and best of luck and continued success on your property. I envy what you have going there.

Slowpoke--great idea! I may institute that rule on my hunting property in southern Indiana. I WILL talk to the farm owner's son where I hunt here in Michigan to see if we can agree to do that. It would help slow down the character that shoots before he thinks, and it could provide a little money in the future for the food plots we will start this winter.

Thanks again for sharing the idea, Arch.
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These seem to be all good ideas. I believe that, when I was a kid ---late 60's...early 70's...some of you old timers might remember as well... but from what I understand, if I'm not mistaken...the system was set up where, you could take either a buck or doe with your archery license,...one deer... but if you used your archery tag, it cancelled out your gun license, for the year, and you were done deer hunting. I remember my father passing on a huge doe ( I was sitting right beside him, in a deadfall, and thought he was nuts)...but he knew if he shot the doe with his bow..he wouldn't be able to kill a buck come gun season, and he liked his bucks. And...even tho it was totally legal...and considered sound deer management, the thought of killing a yearling, buck or doe, was considered highly unethical in our camp. It just wasn't done. You were allowed one deer for the year...besides being an unethical practice in our camp...no one wanted to use their only tag on a small deer. Wouldn't it be something...if we went back to one tag, for the entire deer season? I know it would probably never happen in this greedy world, (and yes, I like to take a couple deer each season with my bow, just like the next guy...)but people would sure have to be cautious about how they were going to use their only tag. :rolleyes:
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"I believe that, when I was a kid ---late 60's...early 70's..."
Were you still a kid then Trapdoor? :D

A one buck limit per year thing would be nice as well. While very few hunters take more than one buck per year (4.3% I think) and statistically it could be argued this would save many bucks, I'd argue that it would be a good step in the right direction as it would force many to THINK long and hard before they let an arrow go or pulled the trigger and a lot of smaller bucks would get the "free pass".

Some have suggested a "earn a buck" tag where an antlerless deer would have to be taken and checked prior to the hunter being issued a buck tag.

Thanks for the responses ... interesting reading.:)

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I would prefer to see a minimum number of points. It is dissapointing to know that next years potential trophy will get shot as a 3 or 4 point this year. I know many sportsman regulate themselves and pass on a small bucks, only to have it killed by the next guy who sees it. I would love to see quality buck numbers on the rise.

As for button bucks I do not know if forcing someone to use there antlered liscense would be effective or not. What if you shot a buck, and then shot what you thought was a doe, and then find it is a button? You have used your antlered tag, and I think this would force many people to leave the deer in the woods to avoid possible trouble.

I do not know anyone who would intentionally kill a button...But alot of people (myself included) have accidentally done it. All we can do is try not to shoot the younger deer at all.
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What if you shot a buck, and then shot what you thought was a doe, and then find it is a button? You have used your antlered tag, and I think this would force many people to leave the deer in the woods to avoid possible trouble.
Yeah, this is the argument that those who against the tagging of button bucks with a buck use. And, it would no doubt occur in some situations. I guess the point to be made is this - if you're not sure you're taking a doe fawn, you simply don't shoot.

I'd love to see point restrictions but I think we're aways from it. It is just not real popular ... yet the idea of tagging button bucks is growing in popularity - both would no doubt ensure more bucks would be around.

The thing I like about tagging buttons with the buck tag vs. point restrictions is that it would ensure more bucks would be around, but it also would allow for those who wanted to shoot any buck to do so, yet, there would still be plenty of larger bucks around.

Right now, I'd take either over what is going on now on public lands, especially in the northern lower ...:(

Thanks for posting Redbeard.

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Chuck, it would be nice to see some info from the states that already tag button bucks as bucks to see what type of results and if any progress has been made. Maybe a small penalty fee of $25 for shooting a button buck without a buck liscense might reduce the ammount of deer left laying in the woods. I still feel a violator is a violator and those type of people will never do the right thing anyways.
The number "1" abuse in my area is the flagrant use of other people's tags. The mom, grandma, wife,...thing. People aren't the least bit afraid to do this since we never see a C.O around and the penalty of getting caught isn't severe enough.:mad:
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I think everyone will agree there needs to be a way to protect the button bucks. I just don't know the answer. On private property it could be done but on State land I don't know. I would like to see a 3 point rule in all of Mich. I think that will help the most. Just my thinking.
I hunted PA this year and as some of you know they have a PLAN to increase buck numbers. I seen a positive move in this direction this year but believe down the road with allowing buttons as does that it will take its toll in next few years.

I do not know the answer either as we have the gun hunters to contend with. Hard to pick out buttons at 100+ yards. I think that is why they left them with does.

Personally I think a decrease in doe tags might help. Also as Bowhunters we could live with Butttons as bucks but how would it work with others.

Grandpa Willy
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I guess the point to be made is this - if you're not sure you're taking a doe fawn, you simply don't shoot.
I don't know of anyone that means to shoot fawns of any type.
But realistically it does happen. With that in mind, what I'd be concerned with, is the hunters who still have a hard time telling the difference between a button and a grown doe. Maybe you're the exception, but it took me a few years to be able to tell the difference.
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Ya I agree with you. I dont feel I am the exception though. I hunt with a few good hunters and shooting deer at 5-10 yds.(putting more time in placement) makes it easier. I have to admit I harvested a doe this year at 20 and it definetly could have been a button. It does happen I guess.With some diligence it could happen alot less . I am sending a story in and you will maybe understand why I took this deer which could have been a button.

As everyone seems to concur it is a hard situation to really put a solution to, other than we can try and do our part.

May Mother Earth guide you through a wonderous year in the outdoors.
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Hardly the exception TimJ ... as I mentioned, I made the mistake a few years back on the last day of the season ...

I don't know what the answer is. I know this topic has been tossed around a lot in the last few years and it is being talked about even more lately. The only point I tried to make is that if I had been required to tag a button buck with a buck tag, I would have avoided the shot entirely as I had no buck tag to spare ... While I was "positive" it was a doe fawn, the only thing "positive" about it was that it was "positively" a button buck. :(

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I took 2 button bucks many years ago. Both instances I shot the deer on the last day of gun season and I had a doe tag. I almost threw up when I walked upon the deer and realized it was a button buck. I don't want to make excuses for my lack of judgement, but if a button buck was to be tagged as a buck and not a doe, I would have NEVER pulled the trigger. I pulled the trigger knowing whatever sex the deer was I was legal. I never knew how sick one could feel when killing a button buck and I vowed never to ever shoot a button buck again whether its legal or not.:(
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