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Last weekend I had a bit of a page turning experience while out hunting on our lease.

As a bit of background, we lease a pretty nice property in an area that has a good number of deer. It isn't a trophy rich area like some parts of the state but the hunting is good. Our lease was logged in the summer of 2007 creating drastic changes to the habitat on our property. We didn't do much with it before the '07 season because the logging wasn't even over by 1 October, we just hunted it as it was and tried to roll with the punches as they came at us.

Summer of '08 my brother in-law (who I lease with) and I decided to take advantage of some of the open spaces created by the logging and put in a few small food plots. Also cleared a few walking paths, put up trail cam's, I did some fence maintenance, etc etc. Basiclly we became much more involved in making our hunting property better and making the most of what we had.

I have told myself for a few years now that I was going to pass small bucks on our property and try to let them grow. I have passed some along the way but also have caved when a shot too good to pass up would present itself. This year we had lots of trail cam pictures of smaller bucks and a few pics of some nicer bucks as well. I once again told myself that I would be passing the small ones, but this year I was sticking with my plan!!! Or at least that's what I was telling myself...

Fast forward to my hunt on the evening of November 1st. I am sitting in a stand overlooking a small plot and just enjoying the evening. Last week I sat here and saw decent 7pt, confirming that nice bucks are around. Tonight a 4pt with a nice little rack for a 4pt comes in from behind me and comes right to the plot with no hesitation and starts munching away. I told myself "no" right when I saw him but now he is standing at 6yds slightly quarterd away with no clue I am there. I could feel the temptation building as I focused on the perfect shot that I could easily make. I told myself "you said no, now stick with it. that is just another small rack for the garage wall. NO". After three minutes or so the deer got nervous and walked off. I hung the bow up and felt no remorse or regret. I wasn't even shaking or nervous after the encounter. I was proud of myself for passing the shot and even more proud of seeing all the work that my brother in-law and I did pay off. It was just as gratifying to see that buck eating in our plot as it would have been to harvest him. Then to top it off my brother in-law sat the stand the following night and saw the same buck in the plot again. That is exactly the type of experiences we had hoped for when we put the plots in.

I think this experience and the way that I felt afterwards has helped me turn the page a bit in my development as a "let 'em go, let 'em grow" hunter. To see your hard work pay off and to then stick with yourself and show the willpower not to cave in, very rewarding.

I am sure that a slightly larger buck will come along and present a whole new challenge within myself to let him walk but I am more confident now than I have ever been that I can continue to do it.
 

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Congrats on passing that hurdle MM!
I always tell guys that the hardest buck to ever pass on is the first one after that it gets easier and much more enjoyable to do as you did and just observe.
I had the distinct pleasure of passing on a beautiful 2.5 yo 8 pt. this morning ashe came to my grunt. I watched as he worked a liccking branch then made a scrape under it, urinated on his hocks and proceded in my direction. He passe under me at 10 yards grunting the whole way.
What a site.
Have fun and don't make the mistake of looking back on that passed buck and wishing you'd of takin him.

Big T
 

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Discussion Starter #3
There has been no regret yet and I don't think it will creep in later. I really want to try and make something out of this property. I am not yet convinced that we will be harvesting giants off it at some point but I am happy to let the little ones go and at least feel like I am doing my part. Even if they aren't giants but we are seeing and taking decent bucks with some regularity I will be beyond happy.

The buck I passed was likely 1.5yr old, he had a nice body on him with some girth but I think he was just a healthy 1.5yr old that has been eating good. I am hoping this year to harvest a 2.5 yr old or better so we'll see what happens.

The real test will be seeing if I can pass on a buck that comes in with say an 8pt rack but what appears to be a 1.5yr old body................baby steps :)
 

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The first is, without a doubt, the hardest one to pass. Chances are that buck is also going to present you with a shot that couldn't get any more perfect. It's as this point that the temptation begins to build and doesn't stop until it hits your melon. Your head will feel like at any moment it could shoot off your shoulders like a 4th of July bottle rocket. Just as you think you can't take it anymore a funny thing begins to happen. The temptation to take the buck will begin to fade and is immediately replaced with the same exact amount of admiration. You will think back on all the hard work you put in and how your are now witnessing a direct result of that. As you sit there admiring the yearling buck your mind will begin to wonder about all the possibilities for that yearling buck, other yearling bucks, and the herd as a whole.

When that eight point buck walked away (larger than anything I had ever shot) I knew there was no turning back as I was now just as addicted to all the possibilities as I had been to shooting any legal buck.

Hi I'm SpecificGravity and I'm a very much recovered "Any Buck" addict. Congrats and welcome to the addiction. :)
 

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Passing young bucks takes experience. Once you pass the first one it gets easier every time. I never thought that I would pass a 12 pt but I did just that this year on several occasions. I estimated him to be 2.5 years of age so he got a free pass until next year. Thanks for sharing your experience, it nice to see that others enjoy the thrill of hanging up your bow knowing that it would have been an easy shot.
 

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Passing them is tough to do but being patient can be rewarding. The first yeaqr I started passing the smaller bucks I ended up shooting an 8pt that scored 133 4/8. Beginners luck maybe but that got me hooked. I have been educating myself on ageing them on the hoof and it must be a good 2.5 year old before I will shoot. I passed on an 8pt this year that I think alot of guys would of shot. But he was just a youngin'. Keep at it and don't expect immediate results it takes time. You are on the right track.
 

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Oh ya I should mention I gave into temptaion last year and kind of also miss judged the deer too. I wasn't very proud when the neighbors stopped by to see the buck hanging on the pole. It was the circumstances of him being a nice racked 1.5 year old and the fact I called him in from 100 yards and that he came in destroying small bushes and scraping. The rush was too much.
 

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Been passing for 15 years before it was even called QDM. I use to video tape passed bucks with the big camcorders and had even more enjoyment showing coworkers how close they were. When you get real comfortable with passing you can really have fun with grunt calls and doe bleats. when I get a 1.5 buck close and they are realy responding to calls i will see how many times i can call in the same buck with in range and just let him start to leave and do it again. Good job and have fun!!!
 

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Some friends let me share a hunt with them on occasion. In 2003 the Dad shot a non-typical 10 point that scored 157, but dressed weighed in at 195 lbs. In 2005 I bow killed an 8 point that dressed weighed in at 160 lbs.
Reward??? More meat for the freezer.:dizzy:
 

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Congrats. But you now have to become comfortable being accused of "antler farming" and "stockpiling deer" ;).
 

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Been passing for 15 years before it was even called QDM. I use to video tape passed bucks with the big camcorders and had even more enjoyment showing coworkers how close they were. When you get real comfortable with passing you can really have fun with grunt calls and doe bleats. when I get a 1.5 buck close and they are realy responding to calls i will see how many times i can call in the same buck with in range and just let him start to leave and do it again. Good job and have fun!!!

Deerstudent2, dont you think this educated the 1.5 year old bucks of your presence in the woods...how many times have you done this and the 1.5 year old buck actually busts you in your stand???? More than you'd probably admit.
 

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Deerstudent2, dont you think this educated the 1.5 year old bucks of your presence in the woods...how many times have you done this and the 1.5 year old buck actually busts you in your stand???? More than you'd probably admit.

ifitsbrownitsdown, I would have to agree...sounds like DS2 might be doing more harm than good. Everytime he hits that grunt your giving your position away. Them 2.5+ bucks pin point your position quickly and won't come within 50 yards.
 

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Yeah, but it get's tougher the later in the season it gets! I let 4 or 5 little ones go this year already, but haven't had the chance at a nice one yet. I've seen some, just not in range. I need venison!
 

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Yeah, but it get's tougher the later in the season it gets! I let 4 or 5 little ones go this year already, but haven't had the chance at a nice one yet. I've seen some, just not in range. I need venison!
Like my buddy Hangoo says just turf a doe!!!!:D
 

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For me the second one was actually harder than the first, because on stand it was a great feeling of accomplishment to let the little guy go the first time. But after I realized that I had done it, the second one damn near bit the ground because I hadn't "got my buck". And you guys know that "everybody has to get their buck". Now I consider passing the little bucks to be equal to passing a button.
 
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