2020 setting a realistic goal

Discussion in 'Iowa Whitetail Conference' started by loewmd, Dec 24, 2019.

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What would your goal be on small acreage and public

  1. Any legal buck

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. Net P&Y

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  3. 130+

    1 vote(s)
    2.7%
  4. 140+

    14 vote(s)
    37.8%
  5. 150+

    18 vote(s)
    48.6%
  6. 160+

    2 vote(s)
    5.4%
  7. 170+ (Booner or bust)

    2 vote(s)
    5.4%
  1. loewmd

    loewmd Member

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    Now that my 2019 season is over and I look ahead to next year I like to set goals. I hunt small private acreage(which I don't have exclusive rights on) and public. I'm usually happy with a 135+ gross deer but my brother keeps telling me I need to challenge myself more and much to my surprise my wife agreed despite having young kids. I'm thinking 150+ unless the deer is very unique (droptine, extra beam, etc). What do you guys think? Is this unrealistic given my circumstances? I guess I'm ok with failing because if my goals don't scare me they're too small but just wanted to hear others opinions on what my chances are. Based on harvest numbers the deer population may be slightly lower than past years and with EHD returning that may change expectations for some. Also let's hear some of your goals as 2020 is right around the corner. Also good luck to those still after it and hoping for colder weather.
     
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  3. JNRBRONC

    JNRBRONC Moderator

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    Do what makes you happy! Set your own goals.


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  4. loewmd

    loewmd Member

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    I completely agree and if one comes in and I get excited you better believe I'm shooting. Just trying to see what others feel is a realistic goal in my situation. Have you thought about your goals for next year yet?
     
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  5. JNRBRONC

    JNRBRONC Moderator

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    My goals this time of year is always personal best. Then reality sets in and I see a buck that gets me excited.


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  6. Sligh1

    Sligh1 Administrator Staff Member

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    Not saying this is doable BUT if u r able to age deer reasonably well.... one example of what i did when I was growing up & wanted a challenge.... let’s say 2-3 year olds are common in the area.... 4 year olds existed but “getting rare”- I’d hold out for that older age class of 4+.
    In MI- 1.5 was “the buck to shoot” & 2.5’s were rare- so I started holding out for 2.5’s. My EXAMPLE allowed me to put a realistic goal that was “good for my area” and kept me from putting my standards on a deer that does not exist. That’s just me & my example.... kinda always been after age. Even today- I’d shoot a 6 year old 125” and pass a 3 year old 160” every single time.
    Some private & public wouldn’t have me on extreme standards. Maybe another goal starting now is digging for some more hunting spots too? Thinking out of the box. Good luck and if u put in the time & work- realistic great achievements r sure possible!
     
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  7. loewmd

    loewmd Member

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    Can't say I'm really great at aging. Feel pretty good up to 3+ but once they reach 3 I don't think I'd be great at distinguishing 3/4/5 but the other thread on average score of bucks based on age got me thinking setting a certain goal may help. I'd say a 4yr old is pretty good on most small acreages and public but I also wouldn't be able to pass a 160 2 yr old as I've never shot one that big yet. I agree trying to secure more private may be my ticket to bigger deer but I also like the grind of the areas I have now with odds seemingly against me. Not saying I'll never want large private pieces just not right now. It's like I'm trying to prove to myself I deserve it or something. I think I'll have to expand my range to get on bigger deer as they aren't behind every tree like some shows make you believe and I'm fine with that. I like hearing how you progressed as a hunter by setting different goals. I am trying to find my path in doing that as I know I'll never improve if I stay comfortable with what I'm doing.
     
  8. Meat Hunter

    Meat Hunter Life Member

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    The buck that steps out and gets my heart pounding which could be a 6 pointer or a giant non typical. Each situation is different.
     
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  9. Obsessed

    Obsessed Active Member

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    Meat Hunter nailed it. Whatever blows your hair back at the time of that hunt. I passed on a shooter this year behind my house because I'd just harvested a statewide beast a couple weeks earlier. Any other year and he wouldn't have gotten a pass. I did harvest a mid 150's buck a couple years ago that couldn't have been more than 2-1/2 once I laid my hands on him, and i felt a little bad about it for a brief moment, but only for a moment. I rarely see the same deer more than once, so it's tough to pass anything that gets my adreneline pumping.
     
  10. LoessHillsArcher

    LoessHillsArcher Well-Known Member

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    Age over score for me
     
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  11. Daver

    Daver PMA Member

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    Same here. ^^ Some smart old bucks, 5+ years old, may have a giant body and a modest, say 135", rack. Anything 5 or older is a trophy to me. I once passed up a point blank, 4 yards, shot at a 170"+ buck, but I knew for sure that he was only 4. Meanwhile, I have shot a couple 5+ year old bucks that were in the upper 130's or low to mid 140's. Antler size can be misleading, age is the better determinant IMO.
     
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  12. Daver

    Daver PMA Member

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    Likewise, I shot a 165"+ a few years back, but I think he was only 3, maybe 4. I'll always wonder if I had let him be for another year or two if he could made it to 200". Oh well, dead is dead. I have not shot anything younger than 5 for several years now though.

    Shoot what makes you happy, don't tie yourself into knots over something that is supposed to provide enjoyment and relaxation and everyone's situation is different. Years ago, when I started to be selective on bucks, I set a goal of Booner or bust. Pretty stupid of me, since there had never been a buck left alone long enough to get to Booner status in that neighborhood that I used to hunt. So I pretty much hunted for a unicorn there for a couple of years...it got frustrating. :) I learned.

    Where I hunt now, we can be fairly certain that a buck that we pass will also be passed by neighbors and therefore, a 5+ year old is a real thing every year.
     
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  13. sep0667

    sep0667 Land of the Whitetail

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    I think you and me hunt a similar situation. I mainly hunt two smaller pieces of private (18 acres, and 50 acres) along with a little bit of public thrown in. Both privates have had some for sure mature bucks over the years. I have seen them while hunting and trail cam pics, but I am yet to connect with a mature (4.5+) buck, although I hit one this fall, but failed to recover it, shot was high. I think I see one or two a year and usually only see them a time or two and that's it. There are not a lot on the places I hunt. I think my biggest hurdle on the places I hunt is access. Being that the properties are small you on have so much land to work with and try to access to get in to set up. 140+ has been my goal for several years. I shot a 2.5 or 3.5 year old this year. I'd at tag soup since 2015 holding out for 140+ so I told myself before season started I was going to shoot a buck this year for sure.
     
  14. iowavf

    iowavf Member

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    You have to be realistic as to what size and age of deer are in the areas you hunt. Not all places will have a 150" deer living around them, but one might pass through during the rut, maybe. Like others said, if you see one that you like, then decide to kill it or hope it's around next year. I passed on several during shotgun that I hope i see next year. One really nice 10 that's in the mid 150's but can't be more than 3 to 3 1/2 years old so would like to see him either next year or the year after.
     
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  15. meyeri

    meyeri PMA Member

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    My goal lately has been not to shoot something unless I'm gonna mount it. I shot one slightly smaller than I wanted this year, but that will happen in the heat of the moment sometimes. I was still happy with it, just didn't make the cut for a wall hanger. Just make sure you have realistic goals that align with your situation and that you still practice harvesting deer. I know guys who hold out and hold out, then choke when they have a chance because they haven't killed anything at all for years and the pressure got to them.

    Also, I would say most wives are not a good metric for setting goals. I shot a 180" deer the first year I was married and my wife thought I should hold out for one that big every year. When I shot a 160" and wanted to mount it she was like, "you're mounting that?, That other one was way bigger!". .

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  16. loewmd

    loewmd Member

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    I've been fairly successful at harvesting what I think are 3+ yr olds the last 5yrs. One or two may be 4 but im not sure. Just recently started saving jaw bones. I think 150 is a good goal for me this next year and it seems others feel it's realistic. Ultimately I seem to miss out on most of November because I tag out early usually. I guess if I hunt hard next year and don't see that caliber of deer then lowering my standards to 140 might be more appropriate for me. Thanks for the input and good luck with your goals.
     
  17. Ishi

    Ishi Hang & Hunt Enthusiast

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    That was a teachable moment for her;)
     
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  18. loewmd

    loewmd Member

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    I agree wives aren't always the best judge but when she told me I should start holding out for something bigger I was really surprised. She always seems worn out by the end of hunting season and I told her she may have just lost her husband for the whole month if November now. Lol. Great point on continuing to hone one's skill by harvesting deer. Hoping next year will be great for all us. I have found confidence in set ups and a positive mindset has served me well over the last few years. You have to believe in yourself to succeed.
     
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  19. Muskrat24

    Muskrat24 Active Member

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    One piece of advice is to not let tv shows or other's opinions make you set your goal too high. The higher the goal you set the higher the chance you eat tag soup. Tag soup works fine with me but it gets tough hunting unicorns and can occasionally take the fun out of it. Don't try to compete with everyone else. Good luck.
     
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  20. loneranger

    loneranger Well-Known Member

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    You all know what I think. As has been stated already. Age is more important to me than bone. As Sligh pointed out. As Daver said. Even age depends alot on your neighbors. Let em live neighbors means more bucks 3 yrs and up. I saw quite a few doe this season. Maybe next season if I don’t see 4 yrs after 30 days its 2 does. Don’t know though. That is potentially taking out 6 future deer
     
  21. 4DABUCKS

    4DABUCKS Well-Known Member

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    This here is very true. Several years ago my dad told me several times, "you can't catch a 8 lb bass in a lake when the biggest bass living in the lake is only 6 lbs". Using that advice I set my goals to the area I'm hunting in. Everyone likes being successful and keeping your personal goals and expectations into perspective with your area success will come and you will be proud to wrap your tag @ whatever it is you harvest! Best of Luck to you!
     

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