Trophy or Meat?


February 11, 2003, 10:21 PM
My impression of THR is we tend to be a bit more serious than most casual hunters are. That being the case I have been wanting to find out what kind of hunters we are, meat hunters or trophy hunters, and of the trophy hunters how big is a trophy. This poll is the only way I could think of to find out. For purposes of this poll, I’m calling the six point a two year old whitetail, so it isn’t a monster.

So: A six point buck and a doe come by your stand. You have tags for both and you have a sure shot on each. What do you do?

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February 11, 2003, 11:15 PM
If I'm hunting on a small plot of land then I'm going to shoot the six point since I know it's a fairly young deer.
If I'm hunting on QDM land then I might wait or shoot the doe,but I will definetly let the young buck walk.

February 12, 2003, 01:26 AM
Uhhh, is this the first day or last hour of my hunting trip?

Art Eatman
February 12, 2003, 09:31 AM
Texas has different limits in different counties, which affects one's decisions. So does time of season and all that.

Generally, I'd pass on a six-pointer. Let him grow up and be a real deer. I'll go for the biggest buck in the pasture, which means a lot of walking and looking and then try to find the biggest one a second time--now that I know he's the biggest.

But I eat Ol' Biggie just as happily as I would a youngun.

I'll shoot does depending on the local area population. Back in the late '60s/early '70s, I had way too many deer on the old home place outside of Austintatious. I got fed up with gutting deer; it ain't no fun in the summer, I can tell you. But, they all got eaten, and the herd improved dramatically as to body weight...


February 12, 2003, 10:41 AM
I would take the six-pointer as first choice. My father, brother and I have always hunted for meat though. I have taken only one large eight-pointer in all of the years I've hunted. The rest were all does. I personally won't pass on the opportunity of a buck, I just don't happen to see very many.

February 12, 2003, 07:10 PM
I voted for the 6 point.
But I have never taken a large Trophy Deer.

I have only taken Doe's.

just haven't had the chance to take a large Trophy type Deer. If and when that chance presents its self I will take advantage of it.

Dave McCracken
February 13, 2003, 05:18 AM
The Doe. Where I hunt on the Eastern Shore of Md has overpopulation probs from deer densities of up past 100/sq. mi.

Little bucks are for growing into big bucks. And, chances are I'll never take another buck. Besides those overpops, I'd want one bigger than the 9 point over the fireplace, and they're scarce.

February 13, 2003, 07:51 AM
it depends.

typically, i'm letting a 6-point (they are called 3-pointers here) walk. it doesn't even turn my head. 4-points or better, and each year i try to improve upon last year's deer.

i also get doe tags, so i have no problem w/ taking does. i usually let yearlings go. i'm trying to establish qdm, so forkhorns walk, too. some spikes don't last very long, though.... other than that, 4 points +.

February 13, 2003, 08:59 AM
I guess I'm in the minority.:uhoh:

February 13, 2003, 03:05 PM
Let junior go and shoot momma. The buck is going to get bigger next year momma is done and tastes better most likely.

February 13, 2003, 03:22 PM
I guess at this point in my life, I am a meat hunter. I would take the doe, if it was allowed by my hunting regs. As someone else pointed out, to my way of thinking, a 6-point buck would be a trophey.

I am more interested in great tasting tender meat than I am a head to put on my wall. That being said, sooner or later I intend to take a guided hunt in Montana or Wyoming for trophey deer and Elk.

February 13, 2003, 05:47 PM
If the 6 point had more meat on his bones than the doe I'd shoot him. Filling the freezer is important!

February 13, 2003, 07:12 PM
I said the Doe.

I would take whatever would put meat in the freezer.

February 16, 2003, 04:36 AM
I'd take the six pointer because it might have more meat:)

September 7, 2007, 01:30 AM

September 7, 2007, 06:22 AM
i would take the 6 pointer, all things being equal. both put meat in the freezer, and ill have a chance at a doe later in the season.

September 7, 2007, 07:24 AM
I would take the buck. The great state of Maine needs more breeding does.

That being said, I'll more than likely take a doe this year as we don't see too many bucks. I have a number of deer in and out of the back pasture, but all does.

September 7, 2007, 07:50 AM
Especially Re: whitetail deer, I am a meat-hunter. I would take the larger.

September 7, 2007, 08:21 AM
i guess I'm getting much less bloodthirsty in my old age, because quite honestly I have let most deer walk the past few seasons--just sit and watch them. I guess I am out there largely for the sights and smells and the nostalgia these days. If the right buck came along, I might drop him, though, and economics are getting tight enough these days it's probably getting to the point I shouldn't pass on the meat, so I might well drop whichever was bigger in the future.

As a side note--where I am a six pointer isn't a half bad deer, particularly in the little patch where I have been hunting the past couple of years the genetics are just poor. You can let a deer be a 5 year old and have 14 points, but it's still going to be a small rack. Just the area. In my area of the state though there are no limits and most people are meat hunters, so anything gets shot, with the majority of bucks taken probably spikes and fork horns. Personally I'd rather see lots of deer and have it anything goes than have the state managing it like a lottery or something.

30 cal slob
September 7, 2007, 08:40 AM
trophy ANGLER.

meat HUNTER.

i have more time to mess around fishing. hunting season in my neck of the woods is short.

September 7, 2007, 09:38 AM
Your question omits important variables, like the local buck/doe ratio. If it's at the ideal balance then I'll generally go for the buck, simply because they're bigger and provide more meat. If does are over-populated relative to bucks then I take the doe. I couldn't care less about a trophy.

September 7, 2007, 09:47 AM
I'm mostly a meat hunter. I've tagged a few 7, 8, and 9 pointers in my life, but never one where I just had to have it mounted. I've got a few antler mounts on my wall though.

September 7, 2007, 10:16 AM
So: A six point buck and a doe come by your stand. You have tags for both and you have a sure shot on each. What do you do?

Shoot the doe and wait for a bigger buck, if I had both doe and buck tags.

In my area, we're basically overrun with deer. I would rather shoot a doe than an immature buck. I've killed a lot of 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 year old bucks and one "trophy" (~145"). I'm starting to enjoy the challenge of hunting mature bucks more than simply shooting a deer.

September 7, 2007, 10:36 AM
Texas has different limits in different counties, which affects one's decisions. So does time of season and all that.

Yep, if I'm hunting a managed ranch, normally there'll be an 8 point minimum and sometimes a 5" or better spike is okay (cull). However, on my place, if it walks in front of me, it dies....ROFLMAO! We can shoot 5 deer here, 3 bucks, two does. There are a lot of small deer on small acreages and management is non-existent.

September 7, 2007, 10:47 AM
i hunt for meat only, dont need a trophy. however, i have no problem with folks that do hunt for trophies.

the only thing i would shoot to hang a trophy head on the wall would be the mother-in-law :what: :D - Eric

September 7, 2007, 10:59 AM
I hunt for meat. If a trophy happens to fall in line with one of my pins or into my crosshairs that's even better.

The last few seasons I've mostly taken does as we're trying to cull the population at my place, so I would be more apt to take a shot at her if the 6 point looked to be a promising breeder. However, it he was an old buck with a scraggly basket rack, I would take him and knock him out of the gene pool.

At the end of last season, I passed up several grown does and a few healthy young bucks one afternoon and took an old "unicorn" instead for the same reason. It was the only buck I shot last year and it had one long pencil thin tine on one side, and a smooth nub on the other.

September 7, 2007, 11:01 AM
Which one has bigger backstraps?

September 7, 2007, 11:12 AM
None of the above.

I shoot whatever I see, and that gets eaten. Does and babies are preferred though.l

September 7, 2007, 11:35 AM
The 6 pointer because on public lands Virginia has will only let me take a doe on 3 days out of the entire season (one of which - during muzzleloader season - is a monday) and has made ZERO real effort to open up private land to hunters to expand access . . . this combined with the idiotic Sunday Hunting Ban is the reason why I will probably be forced to give up hunting after this year by my wife (she already threw a fit I was considering buying a license again).

September 7, 2007, 11:42 AM
I'd wait for Mr Big. I'm a trophy hunter looking for something larger than what's currently on the wall. If it's the last day of the season I may take a doe for meat and to reduce herd population.....the six pointer would never be taken.

Aside from having their gun season during the rut, people taking small bucks (ie:six pointer) is precisely why many states don't have large numbers of record book deer.

September 7, 2007, 11:46 AM
I'd take the 6 pointer. You mount the antlers only, eat the rest.

I tend to not want to shoot does, just because I feel that it's better for the gene pool. But then I could be totally wrong on that.

But then, I've shot spikes before as well. I'm not choosy.

And yet, if the 12-pointer is in the group, hell yeah I'll shoot him.

September 7, 2007, 01:17 PM
People that pass on the six point are my friends. :D Can't eat the horns, ya know.

Like I said before, though, just depends on where I'm hunting, whether it's managed, and what are the rules of the ranch. I cannot relate to public hunting for deer. I'd think that if there was such a thing as public land hunting, I'd shoot whatever I saw and not be too choosy since that's what bubba's gonna do. If it ain't managed, there ain't gonna be many trophies on it anyway.

September 7, 2007, 03:13 PM
It sounds like Im lucky to live where I do, which isn't the place of my sig which is where I am now. I am from the high plains.

So a 6 pointer here I would shoot, but that's because he's a 12 pointer when anybody not from the West is counting. I have shot a 3x3 that was decent but it was a Muley.

Anyway, I'd pass on small bucks and big does. I normally hunt with two tags. I am on the lookout for horns and meat. To me that means a fawn, last year it was a button buck...and something else(The Big One). If I fill both, that means a lot of meat is being given away. One 60# fawn is plenty of meat for me.

btw, @75% of my deer hunting is on public land nowadays.

September 7, 2007, 03:23 PM
Hey, 60 lbs is a full grown down down here. ROFL! A buck dressing over 100 lbs is mature, a real bruiser.

September 7, 2007, 03:26 PM
Bigger is better !!!!!!
I have let smaller bucks go by and not get anything , but I am ok with that

September 7, 2007, 04:33 PM
In my region of TN, I can take two bucks this year and I can take 3 does per day. If both are there, I'd likely take them both, but in general I'm going for the does until the family freezers are stocked. Later in the season I start thinking about bucks.

September 7, 2007, 06:20 PM
Meat in the freezer.

BTW, this is a pretty old thread!

September 7, 2007, 07:57 PM
I hope to put four tasty does in the freezer this year. I will only shoot a buck if it's better than my previous best, a nine-pointer, or maybe if it's real late in the season and my luck has been poor. I'll let the little bucks have their fun...


September 7, 2007, 08:18 PM
All depends on which deer is "coming right for us!"
Really I picked the 6 pointer since those are hard enough to find here.

September 7, 2007, 08:30 PM
I would shoot whichever one was unlucky enough to have walked out in front of me first.

September 7, 2007, 08:36 PM
I said the 6 Point but I shoots what I sees as long as it's legal. I prefer to hunt for meat and Trophy if possible. There are alot variables to this question though.

Loyalist Dave
September 7, 2007, 08:42 PM
I would do the doe as out where I am if you shoot the buck the next deer must be a doe, but if you shoot the doe you get NINE more does before you have to do a buck. So I would fill the freezer and be set for that really "big buck" or otherwise I'd have to pass on him. Besides we're so overrun with deer that taking a doe would also be better for the overall herd.


September 7, 2007, 08:48 PM
Well, in my part of Georgia we can shoot 10 does and 2 bucks. We have 3 doe days during centerfire gun season (firearms season as opposed to muzzleloader or not-so-primitive weapons season). Who wants to shoot and process up to 10 does in three days or less? I don't.

One of our two bucks must have 4 points 1" or taller on at least one side to be legal. The remaining buck... anything goes. Where I hunt, I see plenty of young bucks as well as cull bucks. However, older bucks are around.

Older bucks here... how many points they have depends on genetics moreso than age. I've seen two or three real monster 8-pointers and heard of another right up the road here. Last fall... the Sunday before Thanksgiving... I clean missed a real nice heavy-built 6-pointer. The buck I got though... that was a 3-4 year old 3-point, meaning he had spikes with a browtine trying to get going.

Does... btw... they're what brings the bucks out. I'm not into killing my "bait".

And I didn't vote the poll... too few options. So take what I said and do the math.

Mat, not doormat
September 8, 2007, 02:47 AM
Meat for the freezer is first priority. If it happens to look good on the wall too, that's a happy chance.


September 8, 2007, 03:41 AM
Why hunt prey when you can hunt predators?;)

September 8, 2007, 07:46 AM
I'd take the better tasting Doe all day long.

September 8, 2007, 10:33 AM
Given that I had a doe tag & considering that my horn-hunting days are behind me, I'd likely take the doe. However, a 6-point whitetail in this area would be considered downright respectable. A 6-point muley would be an illusion . . .

September 8, 2007, 11:31 AM
A 6-point muley would be an illusion . . .I kinda think they are counting both sides. We never did but that seems to be the way it's done now days, especially with white tails.

I put in for a doe tag every year, a larger barren doe is as large as a medium large buck and much better meat. If I fail to draw a doe tag I will take a young buck. I have taken a spike when a much larger rack was standing next to him.

September 8, 2007, 11:49 AM
Same here, Eliph . . . tho I do have a couple 6 x 6 mulies from long ago in Montana out in the shop. 4 on a side in SE WA state are getting pretty rare, but some of the same areas are pretty much overrun with bald-headed whitetails . . . alfalfa-fed deer are some mighty fine eating.

September 8, 2007, 01:26 PM
I'm a meat hunter. I whack the first edible morsel that steps out in front of me.

Horns aren't edible morsels.

September 8, 2007, 02:10 PM
As my Dad used to say upon looking at bucks or bulls I had harvested . . . "those horns ought to be delicious" . . .

September 8, 2007, 02:28 PM
Well where I hunt you can only take buck when I go out hunting. My friend is wanting a trophy buck and has not taken a buck from the same area in 5 years. However I do not wait.

September 8, 2007, 03:59 PM
MCGunner, I've been invited to come out and shoot a horned dog in SW Texas this year.:) I can't wait for december! I'll be looking for at least a 4x4.

September 9, 2007, 09:03 PM
The last few years I've had a need for a small amount of antler material for knife handles, flint knapping tools and the like. A pair of 6 point antlers would have enough material for a couple of knife handles and some pressure flakers with a little left over for scrimshaw or beads.

Given that my hunting area has a lot of activity which makes the bucks disappear after the first few days of the season my first choice would be the 6 pointer, followed by a couple of does later in the season. I'd be too tempted to hang a pair of bigger antlers on the wall (meaning I'd still want to get a younger buck) and consider the venison from older bucks to be less tender than from reasonably young does so would tend to put a trophy deer in firm third place on my list.

Subject to change at short notice. :p

September 9, 2007, 09:13 PM
I just shoot the first deer I come across. I'm not a big deer hunter. Just want a little backstrap now and then. I take whatever needs culling.


September 9, 2007, 10:32 PM
i would shoot the first one I got a good shot at. I dont personally see the appeal of a trophy. Sure its cool to look at on the wall, but not the reason that I go hunting. Frequently when people find out I like to hunt and they ask me what I hunt i usually respond casually that "I hunt meat" ;)

September 10, 2007, 08:44 AM
Doe for eatin'! Less gamey taste!

September 10, 2007, 08:46 AM
that 6 pointer will get shot. I like mature bucks, but around here they are few and far between. I hunt a lot of public land and a 6 pointer is a good deer to take off public land around here.

Since I love venison, I'll take smaller bucks early/late in the season....hold out for something bigger during the rut

September 10, 2007, 09:46 AM
If I were deer hunting in Ohio I would take the doe. We have way too many deer and I am not into the head on the wall thing.

September 10, 2007, 12:12 PM
I'd shoot both of them. Horns are good, meat even better. Hunt over, start butchering, drink beer.

September 10, 2007, 04:06 PM
Seems a lot of posters to this thread think a 6-pointer ain't a mature deer, period. In my part of the country, a 6-pointer is a mature buck a good many times you see one. Around here, a spike or forkhorn can be a mature buck, but that's a problem with feed/forage and genetics.

Also, most posters here think a buck will taste gamey. My 3-4 year old 3-point buck last fall was a surprise... didn't taste gamey at all. Now, to those who disagree with my shooting that one, there's a couple of reasons why he needed taking out. One reason was his genetics didn't fit him to pass on the genes for big antlers to another generation of bucks. Another reason was that broadhead with 10-12" of aluminum shaft he was carrying from when another hunter pulled the shot and put it under his spine and over his guts. And he was still out there running the does with that arrow in him. Despite all that, the steaks taste real good, especially grilled over a mesquite charcoal fire.

September 10, 2007, 04:24 PM
Area with a lot of deer? Both. Can't imagine having two tags to use in a place w/o a lot of deer. My state, we only get one tag, and it's NEVER for does.

September 10, 2007, 07:44 PM
Over the last 20 or so years, the deer population has exploded and moreso recently. We have several million deer in Georgia and there's several million more in Alabama.

I remember when we were allowed one buck and three does... that was Daddy's tag when I was a kid. Our tag now... excuse me, "deer harvest record"... includes two bucks and ten does.

Some counties in Alabama... and they don't seem to have tags there, but I'd like to hear for sure from Alabama folks... but in the Alabama county I'd hunt, it's either two does per hunter per day, or one doe and one buck. That's PER DAY mind you.

And for all the deer and all the hunters in these two states, we're really not putting a dent in them. That's according to studies done by each state's respective DNR.

September 11, 2007, 01:51 AM
Meat I have three carnivores who get down right testy if they don't eat regular.

September 11, 2007, 01:54 AM
Meat I have three carnivores who get down right testy if they don't eat regular.
I guide so I get to be in on others trophy hunts. It's more of a kick to me to watch someone connect with that once in a lifetime shot.

30-06 lover
September 11, 2007, 02:48 AM
I buy buck tags, but if CA offered doe tags, I would buy both. I love deer meat, but looking at horns on the walls always makes me take a trip down memory lane.

Edit: Opps...I would not have posted if I saw when this thread was started. Sorry.

September 11, 2007, 07:11 AM
Edit: Opps...I would not have posted if I saw when this thread was started. Sorry.

Don't fell bad, this thread has more life after reincarnation than it did when started. I had to do a double take when I saw a thread that I started but had forgotten about!

September 11, 2007, 10:03 AM
I've always believed that the life of any animal should not be wasted. If you are going to kill it, use it - as much as possible. So, if you need the meat, (and these days who could not use one less item at the grocery check-out), take the deer and nothing wrong with a trip to the taxidermist for a trophy treatment. However, I think that hunting strictly for a trophy is murder - plain and simple. And a great waste of a beautiful creature's life. Glad to read that most here seem to agree.

September 11, 2007, 11:22 AM
Where I hunt in MO, we get one either sex tag and you can buy as many doe tags as you want. No limit. And as another poster said earlier, we ain't puttin' a dent in the population.

September 11, 2007, 05:34 PM
My youngest is a first time hunter this year. He has drawn a Mule deer doe tag for his first chance at Venison.

My eldest still qualifies to apply for a doe tag. He was also rewarded a doe tag for this season.

We'll keep applying for these doe tags as long as the state biologists feel that area has an improper buck to doe ratio. These are youth only hunts for does.

I'll be there with them and will be hunting bucks. The rule is 3pt or better on one side. I'll be looking for a good 4x4.

The eldest cut his teeth on a doe his first outing. TENDER BACKSTRAP! This year they'll be hunting does, but if the opportunity to take a buck presents itself, (and I'm not standing there to plug it), then either boy has the option instead of a doe.

Do I have a few trophies? Yep! Do I hunt for the meat though? Yep!


Charles S
September 11, 2007, 06:29 PM
It is funny how every now and then an old thread will revive, and this is an old thread.

Meat for the freezer is first priority. If it happens to look good on the wall too, that's a happy chance.

I may at some point in time get past that fact, but at this time me and my family like deer meat too much to pass on any good animal.

As I write this I have the very last of last years Venison Sausage on the grill. My son will be in heaven when it is done in a few minutes.

I like trophies, but not at the expense of meat. I have a friend who is an experienced hunter that is quite skilled that will wait to the last minute to make a kill in order to try to hunt a trophy. I am not that kind of hunter.

The most important part is to have fun.

Good luck, season is just around the corner!

1911 guy
September 12, 2007, 06:55 AM
If deer are overpopulated in the area, I'll take the doe. If population is good or under, I'll take the buck. If it's a specifically managed area, I'll follow the rules and wait for a "trophy".

Personally, I'm a meat hunter, never found a good recipe for antlers. However, I have absolutely no problems with those who hunt for trophy animals. Just different sides of the same coin.

September 18, 2007, 10:17 PM
A six point Muley is a trophy.;)

September 18, 2007, 11:31 PM
I'm a meat hunter, so points have little relevance to me. However, we are severly overpopulated with does on our land at the moment. I'd probably take her.

As mentioned earlier on this thread, I'd be reluctanct to shoot the young buck for "investment" purposes. I mean, just because I hunt for meat doesn't mean I don't have a trophy or two in my past. :)

-- John

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