What is an average buck in Southern IA

Discussion in 'Whitetail Management' started by MN Slick, Dec 6, 2019.

  1. MN Slick

    MN Slick PMA Member

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    One thing that has really come to light the last few years is how many bucks don’t have the genetics to grow large antlers. I heard a deer biologist on a recent podcast state that 60-70% of the bucks are average antler wise. That leaves maybe 2 or 3 out of 10 that have the goods since some will also be below average. Overall my area of MO has a decent age structure but at this time it’s pure luck if the right buck makes it to 4 or better yet 5 years old. I’m considering approaching my neighbors in an attempt to educate them with the hope that together we can identify and work together to get some age on ones that appear to have the goods and younger ages. Getting them to pass them at 3 years old will be the most difficult but it’s worth a try.


    I know some of you guys have farms in heavily managed areas of Southern IA. I’m in extreme Northern MO, within 7 miles of the Iowa border, so I’m guessing the genetics are about equal. What would you guys consider “average” for your area. I’m guessing somewhere in the 130’s for my farms but would love some input. Thanks
     
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  3. IowaBowHunter1983

    IowaBowHunter1983 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Ill take a stab. This is gonna be my guesses from field observations and no scientific data. Strictly average size by age class. This takes into account horrible 120" 6 year olds and 200" genetic badasses.

    3 year old: 134"
    4 year old: 151"
    5+ years old: 166"

    I've seen some crazy things over the years. 3 genetic freaks really stick out. I didnt harvest any of them. Had a 2 year old that was over 160". Sold the farm so not sure what came of him. Had a 3 year old booner that i found dead that neighbor gut shot. Had a 3 or 4 year old that was way over 200 back in 2014.

    In the flip side I've had plenty of very mature deer 140" and under. Whenever possible get them out of the herd.
     
  4. Sligh1

    Sligh1 Administrator Staff Member

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    I would probably agree that 2-3 out of 10 are “excellent potential”. For example - I can usually look at 2-3 year olds and say “that deer has potential be 180”++”. Maybe 20% over that 180” potential IMO & watching them. Some folks would say less.... I personally think it’s because vast majority get killed before they can see them get to peak. Sometimes that peak is 5 but I’d honestly say 6-8 is generally when they hit the full potential. (Not saying folks don’t shoot 5 year olds- just saying where I’ve seen most bucks truly peak if they make it). If any area can “work together to Try and get bucks to 4-5” - that’s a great thing.

    On flip side I’d say 20% are in that “115” to 135” “ maxed out category. & then everything in between. those are ones- when u realize it- be absolute priority to hunt & get. Ideally at 4 years old. It’s so critical to shoot these bucks. They take up space & if they get mature- they will run other bucks off big time.

    I’ll get way into weeds on this last comment here..... on my own farms... the most visible & daylight moving great genetic bucks that live on my farm.... those are the bucks that get passed most aggressively. On “average land” those bucks are dead at 3 years old. If SOMEHOW u can get those bucks to maturity- it’s perfect storm of giant bucks to hunt that are not nocturnal recluses. That typical I shot last year.... was 6 or 7. I think 7. He lived in 40 acres MAYBE. Hardly left it. I passed him a gazillion times. He’d be the buck where at 2, 3, 4, etc - he’d walk out at 3pm and be aggressive towards other bucks & feed, etc. He was one that got protected but he had tiny core area & the year he got green light- I think it was mid October & shot him 90 mins before dark. Full circle to ur point: I’d say that buck was in top 20” of genetics. Not top 10” or 1”. There’s way more bucks with great genetics than folks realize. They just start getting attention and targeted at a much younger age, making it seem like there are fewer of them. Left to nature- a lot of good bucks with potential. Need majority of neighbors on board with hundreds of acres to get a few to maturity IMO.
     
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  5. MN Slick

    MN Slick PMA Member

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    Interesting, you both feel an "average" buck scores quite a bit higher at maturity than I figured. That is encouraging, I hope you are right. I need to ponder how to get them to buy in.

    Regarding killing mature bucks to make room I feel you. We've had an inordinate number of up and coming bucks leave the last 2 years as the rut approached which we hadn't seen happen that much in years past. I killed a 6.5 year during rifle season that was very active on the farm so it will be very interesting to see what shakes out.
     
  6. Daver

    Daver PMA Member

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    Mt sentiments would align almost identically with what Sligh wrote above. At one time in the past, I was convinced that essentially all bucks would bump 20" or more every year from say age 4 to 7. I now have enough experience to say...that ain't necessarily so. Some plateau around 135" when they are 4, some keep adding bone every year. It really is on a case by case basis IMO.

    I would also agree very much with the mini-chart in IowaBowHunter's post too.
     
  7. 2-bucks

    2-bucks PMA Member

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    I'd say a 5 or more year old buck is average 135-145" if 8 pt and 155 - 165" if a 10 pt. Obviously there is a lot of variability on either side, but i agree with most of the above. Not many people realize how much bigger a buck can get buy making it to 5 yrs old or more. I have a 4 year old 165" 10 point all over my farm this November. I probably don't have the will power to let him go if i get a chance at him, but part of me hopes I don't see him. If he makes it to 5 or 6 without injury he should be 170-180.
     
  8. Muskrat24

    Muskrat24 Active Member

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    Just my opinion and I hunt in both northern MO and southern Iowa but this chart is likely 10 inches too high for averages for each age class. For example I have sheds and trail cam pics of a 10 point for last three years and I believe he is now 7 and has been 145 to 155 with him being the smallest score this year. If you can find three year olds in the mid 30s to 40s look out cuz from what I have saw they have what it takes to make good jumps at 4 and 5. IMO there are too many 8s and 9s in the average herd to get the averages shown above. Majority of 3 yo would be hard pressed to be 125 to 135. From my experience those really active 3 yo that are everywhere during the rut that are 135+ are the must pass deer if large scores are your goal!!
     
  9. IowaBowHunter1983

    IowaBowHunter1983 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Different areas different for sure. Area genetics certainly are a component. I could be off... if a guy really wanted to be accurate he could chart it for a couple years. I will say i see plenty of 3 year olds every year well OVER the average I posted above.

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
     
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  10. Muskrat24

    Muskrat24 Active Member

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    FOR SURE! Wasn't slinging mud at your post but the OP is in MO and it is a different world down there, even 7 miles south of the border!!! I really think some of it is from non-natural selection where the best genetic young deer get popped with a rifle during the rut and the poor racked deer get to procreate at will! :) Especially in the counties with a 4 point rule. I've ALWAYS hoped to get good genetic young deer to disperse across the line but doesn't seem to help all that much. :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2019
  11. loneranger

    loneranger Well-Known Member

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    Hey all you boners. You know my experience in SE Iowa. If he makes it to 4 yrs Old in my neck of the woods,, he's a “keeper “ ! Last season along with others it took me 65 hrs through November to get a shot at a broken 3 yr old. Neighbors are definitely the key. Also if you have enough acreage for them to survive on.
     
  12. Matthewfox_45

    Matthewfox_45 Active Member

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    But if you’re shooting a busted up 3 year old, does it matter what the neighbors are doing?
     
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  13. arm

    arm Leg

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    what you just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response, were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it.

    Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk
     
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  14. MN Slick

    MN Slick PMA Member

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    The part I bolded is correct for the topic farm. The good news is the genetics are there and after some reflection I think average is higher on this farm than the 130's I initially posted.

    My other farm is better but only because there are fewer guns on surrounding property and one neighbor, who owns a chunk of good bedding, is managing.
     
  15. loneranger

    loneranger Well-Known Member

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    Don’t think my comment was incoherent at all. I have had many seasons when I saw many yearlings and 2 yr old bucks. I wondered every next season,” where are all those Former 2 yr old bucks? Hardly a 3 after 80 hrs of sitting. Obviously must be taken out before they reached 3. I basically want meat. I know the answer to that. Shoot does. For a few years I hardly saw a doe. Last season, after 22 days of hunting and coming up on the gun season the broken 3 yr old was all the choice I had in that time. Oldest buck within range. The challenge is for me is an older animal. Not just a large rack.
     
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  16. loneranger

    loneranger Well-Known Member

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    All areas of SE Iowa are not equal. Just sayin. Is plenty good for me however. Even if its not over run with 5 and 6 yr old bucks
     
  17. Booner

    Booner Well-Known Member

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    All you Boners

    Drinking and posting on hunting forums. I like your style man.
     
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  18. Hardwood11

    Hardwood11 Trump 2020

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    Drought is not the best for genetics/antler growth.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2019
  19. sep0667

    sep0667 Land of the Whitetail

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    Other than 'boners' (i'm sure a typeo, that did make me laugh) I'm not sure what was bad about this post. I took his post as logic. He hunts in an area where its tough to get a buck to 4+ years old and even seeing a 3 year old is tough. Even if he shoots the 3 year old so be it. It was tough just to see one 3 year old. Having good neighbors and enough acerage is incredibly important. Whats wrong with this post?
     
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  20. Hardwood11

    Hardwood11 Trump 2020

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    If I had neighbors like that ... I would just move?
     
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  21. Booner

    Booner Well-Known Member

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    would love to hear what you would assume his “type-o” was intended to say?

    Also, he clearly was bitching about there being no 4 year olds to hunt; then proceeds to say he shot a 3 year old. Kind of like a guy saying his neighbors shoots all the pheasants and there’s none to hunt; then proceeds to shoot the one rooster he had living under his cedar tree in his grove. If I don’t shoot that buck, my neighbor will. Proceeds to complain there’s no big deer the following year to hunt. I could go on and on and on.

    Sometimes I wonder if people comprehend their logic before they post this stuff over social media. Blows my mind.
     

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