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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As a joke I asked my dad why the hell cant our deer look like the ones in all the TV shows in Texas, Nebraska, and Kansas. Is it possible to get deer on your land to be that big regardless of where you live? Do I need to plant food plots year round? What else can I do to grow trophy deer other than the obvious, which is let anything under 8 points walk. Im just sick of killing 130-140 pound deer with small racks. But if I dont kill those then I wouldnt kill anything cause thats all there is. Should I just shoot nothing but does and cow horns for the next few years?
 

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There are so many factors involved in creating big bucks where none exist would be very costly and unless you can control a large property you will simply waste a ton of money. Low antler quality usually results from over population and low nutrition. Based upon the above, unless you can travel/hunt where trophy bucks are naturally found, then I'd be content shooting whatever is available in your area. Trophy hunting is for trophy hunters, 95% of hunters are tag fillers. Take a look at some of the guys planting for deer and look at the equipment they are running, pretty good investments involved. Can you sink that kind of money into your property?
 

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Your location says South Carolina... typically the further south you go, the smaller the deer are. TYPICALLY. It seems like the only way to get those monster these days is to allow those 3 1/2 y/o 8's to walk and have enough land to keep them interested and coming back.

I'd suggest taking HM's advice. Any deer I shoot is a trophy to me!
 

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Is it possible to get deer on your land to be that big regardless of where you live?

Big Deer can be produced anywhere in the country if you have enough money and land.

Do I need to plant food plots year round?
Yes but food plots are just one part of the process.

What else can I do to grow trophy deer other than the obvious, which is let anything under 8 points walk.

letting an 8 pointer walk doesn't mean bigger deer next year, the 8 you see this year could be next years 6 pointer,
In general they do get better depending on age,diet,food available but no guarantees they will get bigger.


Im just sick of killing 130-140 pound deer with small racks. But if I dont kill those then I wouldnt kill anything cause thats all there is.
If that's all there is then you are Definately a trophy hunter because if thats the best there is in your area then you have to remember your harvesting the Best the area has to offer. Good Job

Should I just shoot nothing but does and cow horns for the next few years?
I'm assuimg by cow horns you means spike horns, in your case any deer you harvest will be to your benefit.
Good Luck and post up some pics of your harvests, we'd love to see them...
 

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As already mentioned, not all places have huge trophy potential and lots of huge bucks walking about. Please take this next statement for what it's worth and it's not meant to be rude whatsoever. I personally think that the state of S.C. does not do it's hunters any good, when talking big deer, in the way it runs your seasons.

I've only hunted hogs in S.C., not deer, but from what I know your season is about the longest in the nation (starting in August?) and continuing non-stop until December or January(?). And this is your gun season! Throughout the entire season both bucks and does are available to harvest and there is no maximum on how many bucks total a hunter can take.(my understanding) Now that's some serious detriment to trophy potential there!

It's a fact that many deer shot as "does" end up being button bucks; zero potential there! Also, many hunters still, today, prefer to shoot only bucks. And when one hunter can legally shoot 15-20-30 bucks in a season....OUCH!! :shocking:

I'm simply voicing an opinion here and by no means demeaning your state or it's hunting; simply explaining that I do not believe that the way they run your seasons helps at all in trophy deer potential. Best of luck through the remainder of the season and I do hope you find yourself a fine trophy animal! :thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I wish the deer we have were as big as the turkeys. Had 25-30 come out behind my stand the other night. Had one massive gobbler come out last night. Beard was easily 18 inches and the damn thing had the body of an ostrich.

But back to the topic. Money is a non issue. My dad's family were old tobacco farmers so theres more than enough of it to put into hunting. Problem is only recently have we started deer hunting so neither of us really know what to do. Just tell me what to do and it will get done.

We have access to anytype of farming equipment there is because we rotate so many different crops: corn,wheat,cotton,soybeans,peanuts. Also does what we plant for harvest have an impact on making deer larger? I assume soybeans and corn would be the best crops for that.

Also another odd thing is what my dad told me last week. He hunted every single day during highschool and when he was home from college. But it was all birds (quail, doves, ducks). I asked him why he never hunted deer and he said we never had any. Could that be a factor as to why they are so small?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Couple of pics. 2 are deer my trial cam picked up and the other 2 are obviously ones I have shot. Also yes that one is in the trunk of my Cadillac. truck was in the shop. Deer im my trunk was 142 pound 8 point and the one on the 4 wheeler was a 153 pound 7 point.






 

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Had 25-30 come out behind my stand the other night. Had one massive gobbler come out last night. Beard was easily 18 inches and the damn thing had the body of an ostrich.


First off... I want to see that pic of a gobbler with an 18inch beard! I'm guessing this is an extreme exaggeration?

Secondly, deer love beans big time in the summer and early fall months. They love corn in late fall and all winter. Now, granted, they'll eat either one year round, I'm just going by Missouri deer and what they prefer. Also, they love wheat, they love chickory, they love clover. Just about anything like that they'll eat. Oats is another thing. I'm sure you'll find guys on here that prefer one over all the rest for each of these. Personally, I don't have the time/money/resources to plant food plots so I have to rely on farmers who lease our land to plant the beans and corn each year. I typically hunt over these crops until they are harvested, then I back off and watch from a distance more. This year, they went ahead and did early tilling so pretty much all the corn that was spilt on the ground from combining is GONE.
 

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First off... I want to see that pic of a gobbler with an 18inch beard! I'm guessing this is an extreme exaggeration?
Nope. Have seen 3-4 this year with at least 15 inch beards. Game cam took a few picks and showed them to a guy who has been turkey hunting for like 15-20 years. All he could say was "Holy $*!%!" Moved my cam to where i been seeing them hope that one from last night comes out again.
 

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SWEET- so that means you can upload them onto here! I want to see! All you have to do is select New Reply! and then hit the attach button.

Thanks!
 

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QUOTE: *** Deer im my trunk was 142 pound 8 point and the one on the 4 wheeler was a 153 pound 7 point.***

I'm curious as to whether these are live or dressed weights?? Thanks.
 

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I also would love to see some of those pics you got of toms with 15 to 18 inch beards ! 12.5 is the longest I've ever seen and that only had just a few strands of hair to reach that. Once their bears get so long they drag the ground and the ground keeps them pretty much wore back so for you to have beards on pic I REALY would love to see them and would even want to come help you harvest um. :wink:
 

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I also would love to see some of those pics you got of toms with 15 to 18 inch beards ! 12.5 is the longest I've ever seen and that only had just a few strands of hair to reach that. Once their bears get so long they drag the ground and the ground keeps them pretty much wore back so for you to have beards on pic I REALY would love to see them and would even want to come help you harvest um. :wink:

I'm the same way--- you said you had the 15inchers on cam, I would really like to see them! The longest I've ever seen here in Missouri is 11 inches.. and like ONF said, that was only about 5 strands of beard hanging lower than the rest.
 

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Corn is not a high protein food source. Go to Whitetail Institute.com and do some reading, they will start you out on the right food plot management system. Bucks needs lots of high quality protein during the prime antler growing season. Fawns will benefit from does being feed quality protein and carbs throughout the season. Growing several different crops such as clovers, peas, chickory, for early food, then having wheat, brassicas, oats corn for late fall/winter should be in your plans. The Whitetail Institute has many varieties of plants to help you in your food plot plans. I would expect you to think 3-5 years down the road for seeing the kinds of bucks you are looking for. By the way, those bucks you have shot, to me they are all trophies and the weights maybe a bit on the heavy side for your area? I have two hunting Buddies from NC and they claim the deer are pretty small, 85-100 lbs so I think you have some nice deer for your area!
 

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There are many factors that contribute to big bucks. By that, I assume you mean big antlers. The three ost imposrtant age age, genetics and nutrition. There is nothing you can do about genetics. You either have it or you don't.

You can improve nutrition but not by dumping some magic potion out or putting a magic block on a stump. To improve nutrition you either spend a ton of money on a large tract of land or you have good soil to start with. You can't grow big antlers on poor soil. You can improve what you have with fertilizer but not by much.

However, of the three factors, age may be the most difficult to improve unless you own or control a significant number of contiguos acres. If you don't have sufficient land, I deem 2,000 acres to be sufficient, no matter what you do, it won't make much difference. It is hard to allow a buck to reach 4.5 years. Mix into all this, to reach a proper sex ratio, you have to shoot does. So state regs come into play. Any state will allow you to pass up young bucks but not many allow you to kill does at will.

When you do let a buck reach that magic age at which you can begin to tell something about his antlers, you may never see him. Unfortunately, as deer age, the more wary and nocturnal they become. Also, in thinning your doe heard to reach a proper sex ratio, all the deer become more wary.

Bottom line is, you probably have better bucks than yout hink, they just don't get killed. But if you don't live in an area that can nutritionally produce big bucks, you probably never will. I would guess the area you live in would make it next to impossible to produce deer with live weights over 200 pounds. A 3.5-yr.old buck from your area should typically field dress in the 125-140 pound range and antler size would not be what you are looking for.

Look at the states in the midwest. Iowa-no gun hunting during the rut, no centerfire rifles. IL-No rifles, Ohio-Shotgun/mzl only and so on. But to add to this, all those states have tremendous soil and therefore the crops and natural browse are first class. Move south and as the soil quality declines, deer, regardless of age, are not as large bodied (Brugeman's Law) nor do they develop aslarge antlers regardless of age. A few exceptions are found in river bottom lands that are carefully managed.

So...save your moneyu and book a Midwest hunt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Only was able to find one pic. My other hobby besides hunting is Gaming so just got a new PC for that and lost most of them. I was able to find one pic I emailed to my dad. Only reason I had those deer pics is cause I also emailed them out as well. I did set my camera up where I saw the big ones hopefully will have some pics when I check it tomorrow. This is one of the smaller turkeys I have seen so the beard is pretty small compared to the others. Also I know next to nothing about turkey hunting dont even know if this is a shooter.

 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
To improve nutrition you either spend a ton of money on a large tract of land or you have good soil to start with. You can't grow big antlers on poor soil. You can improve what you have with fertilizer but not by much.
I dont know how people define "Large tract" but we have around 400-450 acres. The soil is very fertile we rotate crops to ensure this as we are farmers first and hunters second.
 

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"you either spend a ton of money on a large tract of land or you have good soil to start with"

What happens if you have neither a large tract of land nor good soil to start with??? I live on 15 acres with the house sitting on the 'front' 5 acres. With the way the neighbors built their houses, don't have but one place to safely shoot any more. But there are no high fences within 5 or 6 miles, so the deer migrate around as they forage for food.
Good soil?? The plat of land I live on is called "Hilltop Acres" for a good reason - it's on a ridge line overlooking a valley. Ridge lines mean only two or three inches of topsoil before hitting bedrock.
But the deer are plentiful and I'm grateful to be living where I can still shoot deer only 5 minutes out my back door. I don't hunt for 'trophy'. I hunt to put food in the freezer. If I get a 'trophy' (okay, so I got one on opening day that could easily be called a 'trophy' buck), then it's the icing on the cake so to speak.
We do get one (trophy buck) passing through occasionally, and even then occasionally manage to put it into the freezer. But it's spending the time in the woods, sometimes with and sometimes without the children that matters to me the most.

Well that's my $.02 worth on the subject anyway . . . . .

RR
 
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