Woods Walker's Easy Guide To Rack Estimation

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Woods Walker
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Woods Walker's Easy Guide To Rack Estimation

Postby Woods Walker » Tue Nov 06, 2012 5:32 pm

I love all this talk of mathematical standards. It's hilarious. I mean I do understand that if you've been in the woods long enough and seen/killed your share of deer that you can get a GENERAL idea of a rack score within 10 points or so...maybe...if the deer stands right...and there's adequate light...and the deer stands still long enough so that you can measure him....LOL!!!!
I don't know about you fellers, but the deer I hunt barely give me time to draw my bow and take the shot...if that!

I "score" my deer at first glance like this....from smallest to largest...

"There's a deer. Is it a buck?"

"HEY! A deer and it's a buck."

"WHOA!!! Nice buck!"

"HOLY ****! OMG! WOW!!!! (These are the ones that you can immediately tell this about from 300+ yards away...with no optics!!!
Hunt Hard,

Kill Swiftly,

Waste Nothing,

Offer No Apologies.....

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Re: Woods Walker's Easy Guide To Rack Estimation

Postby shaman » Wed Nov 07, 2012 5:38 am

Yep, that's about like me. I used to talk about 3 settings on my radar: doe, buck and " Quint, we're going to need a bigger boat."

For me, it was all due to spending so many years with such a dearth of deer. Big racks were only what you saw on TV or in museums.

I am still not a rack snob, but after I got a buck that exceeded my wildest dreams 5 years ago, I started to change. I still think of that one as the biggest deer I will ever get, but I am starting to settle into answering a different question: Is this deer the best buck I am going to see this season?

I passed on a 10-pointer already this season: 20 yards out, nice rack-- I just could not commit to him. It was just too dang early in the season, and I did not want to sit out all of November sizing up doe.

There's a luxury there, I think. I've seen your big one ( nice btw) Guys like us, guys who have gotten The Big One, can ease back and learn to appreciate more of the whole experience. I still don't buy into that 5 stages thing (see Why do I hunt), but there comes a time when being able to watch a nice buck walk by without flipping off the safety is cool.
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Confessions of a Cervid Serial Killer

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Re: Woods Walker's Easy Guide To Rack Estimation

Postby JPH » Wed Nov 07, 2012 7:35 am

I just dug an old issue of D&DH out of the magazine pile in the cabin. It was called "He's a Booner in My Book". Please forgive me but I forgot the author and the issue. The point was to express how the commercialization/industrialization of whitetail hunting has tainted our view of antlers. His assertion was that a 100" buck taken in a high pressure area was as much, if not more of an accomplishment than a 170" on a private, professionally managed deer farm. True! True! True!

I'll admit, I do size up antlers (secondary to sizing up the body) and I do express estimates of those deer to my hunting friends. I also measure the gross inches of the bucks I kill and record them. I make no apology for this but I really do try to keep it in perspective.

My experience is so much better than hunters who only have access to heavily hunted tracts of public land in say, PA or MI. I know it. But then again, I am hunting on tiny private farms that are very heavily influenced by the hunters on the neighboring properties. I've yet to be invited onto the Drury brother's place, that's for sure! Being on here is a funny experience because I will post a photo of a buck and have PA hunters drooling. At the same time, some of the IA hunters who look at the deer in the back of my truck will sneer at me for taking such an inferior animal.

My life is complicated so I like hunting to be simple. I follow the rules and try to do right by the landowners, the herd and the people hunting around me. Once I've checked those boxes, I shoot what feels right at the moment and share the measurements as a way to honor the deer, not me.

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Re: Woods Walker's Easy Guide To Rack Estimation

Postby jdbell91 » Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:40 am

Big bucks are nice, but they can be rare and very frustrating. I base my decisions on how the season is going and what I feel at that moment. If I am happy with the animal I will take the shot.

I usually hunt a 122 acre lease that is half fields and half woods. There is a good deal of hunting pressure in the area. Thus, I have to be realistic in my expectations. I was lucky enough to take a 140" gross nine point buck on the opening morning of gun season last year. My dad also took a four point buck that morning. We are both very happy with those results. The primary reason for our success was that the fields still had standing corn. We had does, food and water. That is usually a winning combination during the rut.

I would love to be able to manage a property and hold out for deer that are five years old or older. Unfortunately reality and responsibility prevent me from doing that. I will either need to wait until closer to retirement to start building that dream, or win the Powerball jackpot. In the meantime, I hunt to enjoy the experience and fill the freezer. I get a great deal of enjoyment from the experience and the memories. I do not care if others do not approve. I do not hunt for them, I hunt for me.

Take care!
Semper Fi,


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Re: Woods Walker's Easy Guide To Rack Estimation

Postby Sailfish » Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:54 am

Woods Walker wrote:
"There's a deer. Is it a buck?"

"HEY! A deer and it's a buck."

"WHOA!!! Nice buck!"

"HOLY ****! OMG! WOW!!!! (These are the ones that you can immediately tell this about from 300+ yards away...with no optics!!!

Spot on there.
"Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you'll be able to see farther."

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Re: Woods Walker's Easy Guide To Rack Estimation

Postby croz2173 » Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:23 am

Couldnt agree more WW. I judge a rack by how it looks, not score. I like mass, typical racks for the most part, and a little character to keep things interesting. But people are satisfied by their kills is different ways. The part about score that I dont like is the competitive nature of it.

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Re: Woods Walker's Easy Guide To Rack Estimation

Postby Deebz » Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:25 am

I'm at a point right now where I'm coming off shooting the 2 biggest bucks of my life last season... a 10 point with my bow, and an 8 point with my shotgun. I haven't measured at all, but I'd put them both in the 130's maybe even 140's range. I decided at the beginning of the year that I was going to try to hold out for an older animal, or at least something bigger than what I've got on the wall. I passed on a 1 1/2 yr old doe last weekend. I would have been able to take a 15 yrd broadside shot, but she was pretty small bodied. I was stoked to be that close and to decide not to shoot.

I've also been getting some awesome pics/vids of nice bucks on the property, so that is helping me out to not be too itchy on the trigger when good looking younger bucks walk by.
"When a hunter is in a tree stand with high moral values and with the proper hunting ethics and richer for the experience, that hunter is 20 feet closer to God." ~Fred Bear

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