To me, the "trophy" is in the eye of the beholder. I remember my first buck was a basket racked 7pt. It was mounted and presented proudly in my parents home where it remains to this day. Despite having harvested several bucks much larger in size, it is still one of, if not the first one I point out to visitors and start telling the story about. I have mentioned my "standards" for shooting a buck on here before, but if you missed it you can find them at www.deer30outdoors.com/meat-vs-trophy-hunting/
This approach has saved the life of many young bucks and I suppose was my own way doing a little herd "management." But I found an even greater sense of accomplishment in having harvested an old buck than a younger buck with a bigger rack. Something about the idea of going into his world and catching a wiley old experienced buck off his guard, and keeping it together to pull off the shot that has really stirred my blood.
Telling a buck's age can be a tricky task if you are not sure what to look for. So I listed what I look for when the buck is still on his feet that helps me estimate his age and I found a great publication from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. that discusses aging harvested deer by their teeth. I also included several photos of bucks of different age classes. If your interested, check it out at www.deer30outdoors.com/how-old-is-he/
and drop a comment about the age estimated for the photos, any other helpful clues to a deer's age, and whether you hope for a big rack vs an old deer.
We love hearing from you all, and thanks.