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  1. #1
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    What's acceptable?

    I'm from MI and have only hunted whitetails. Over the years my standards for an acceptable whitetail buck has increased. I don't judge any person's opinion of an acceptable harvest. If someone made an ethical harvest of an animal then it's fine with me. This year I'll be doing a DIY solo archery CO Unit 11 hunt for mulies and elk for the first time. I haven't shot many deer in the range of most whitetail hunting shows. Similarly, I don't expect to shoot a western trophy that would make the edited TV shows. The odds would simply dictate that it's not likely. However, I don't have any idea of what is considered as a baseline in determining whether or not to let an arrow fly. I am aware of elk antler restrictions.

    There's been a lot of education, awareness and opinions on aging whitetail bucks on TV and in publications. But I don't think I've ever seen anything on aging mulies and elk. Educate me please.

  2. #2
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    Being an old time meat hunter, I may be at odds with the majority of the people on this forum, but you can't eat horns! Don't get me wrong, I still try for the largest buck I can locate, but if the only thing that presents itself is a legal forked horn he is going home with me. I am a firm believer in the old adage never pass up on the first day what you would shoot on the last. I say as long as it meets the legal requirements for the area you are hunting, take it!
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  3. #3
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    I agree with Jerry! I am fairly new to hunting and I shot my first deer a couple years ago. I've gotten really close to taking elk with my bow but haven't sealed the deal yet. This year I will try and get a little bit bigger deer than last year. As far as elk the first legal bull that comes into bow range I am going to take. Once I get more experienced and learn the animals better I'll maybe try for bigger ones.

    So IMO if it's your first time hunting them I say take whatever is legal that you get close enough to.

  4. #4
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    Shoot what will make you happy and forget about what others think. With that said, if you're wanting a mature bull and/or buck, you'll generally look for a bull that is a 6x6, good mass, with some decent tine length. CO is known for producing quantity and not quality (exception for a few tough draw units) in their bulls. However, I've seen several 300-330" bulls in the wilderness areas I deer hunt. A mature bull for your respective unit may be a 250" bull.

    Mature mule deer will be easier to recognize for you since you normally hunt whitetails. They will simply "look" much bigger than the whitetail, as far as antler development. Most mature bucks will be a 4x4 (not counting eye-guards), in the 23-26" range, with good mass and decent tine length. Now, in some areas of CO (good genetics), a 3.5 year old buck will meet this criteria. This is where it comes down to you.......if you're happy with the buck then draw your bow back. Obviously, anything in the 27-30+" range is something you'll probably be shooting at, as I don't see many 2.5-3.5 year old bucks in that range there. Good luck and have fun.
    BOHNTR )))----------->

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  5. #5
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    I agree with BOHNTR the trophy is in the eye of the bowholder. When you see what you want to shoot you will know it. Sometimes for me it depends on how far back I am in and if I want to pack out a smaller animal. I have only shot 1 whitetail, he wasn't very big, but to me he was a trophy. Good luck and let us know how you did.
    Shoot STR8

  6. #6
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    It depends on trophy quality for the unit and what you think is acceptable. I have a few P&Y mulies and consider anything over 150 fair game where I hunt with archery tackle. If I had a gun I'd bump that up to 170. For elk any decent looking 6x6 I would be happy with.

    People always say "if you'd shoot it on the last day you should shoot it on the first day" but I think that's a bunch of crapola. Start out with high standards and drop them a notch each day you are out in the field. You may end up shooting a dink on the last day after having passed on some mediocre bucks or bulls early, but hey that's hunting and it all adds to the experience. Go out there, hunt hard and if you get a chance a big one, shoot him, if you don't shoot a smaller one. Not having taken any mulies or elk, just important to get some on the ground at this point.

  7. #7
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    I think BOHNTR (my old license plate) and Doe Nob make some excellent points. If going home the first day with a mediocre bull makes you happy, then be happy. What's wrong with that? Everyone I know here at home have been going as often as they can draw, and I don't know any of them that have killed a bull yet, and in some cases, they haven't even seen anything to shoot. In a way, that would incline me to take the first legal bull I had an opportunity on.

    But in the same instance, those guys all LOVE the hunt up there! So there's much to be said for the experience. I wrote about passing a PnY 8 point last year in Kansas on my second day. It was a tough decision, but in my heart, I had my sights set on something else. As a result, I experienced one of the greatest weeks of my hunting life, wound up seeing that buck twice more, and put an almost successful stalk on him on the next-to-last day in which I declined taking a quarter toward shot. Just this last Saturday, I found one of his sheds. It was a great moment. The point is that I went home and enjoyed some tag soup, but the experience itself was the greatest joy. And it continues to give back to me!
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MI-address-ROCKYMTN-heart View Post
    I'm from MI and have only hunted whitetails. Over the years my standards for an acceptable whitetail buck has increased. I don't judge any person's opinion of an acceptable harvest. If someone made an ethical harvest of an animal then it's fine with me. This year I'll be doing a DIY solo archery CO Unit 11 hunt for mulies and elk for the first time. I haven't shot many deer in the range of most whitetail hunting shows. Similarly, I don't expect to shoot a western trophy that would make the edited TV shows. The odds would simply dictate that it's not likely. However, I don't have any idea of what is considered as a baseline in determining whether or not to let an arrow fly. I am aware of elk antler restrictions.

    There's been a lot of education, awareness and opinions on aging whitetail bucks on TV and in publications. But I don't think I've ever seen anything on aging mulies and elk. Educate me please.
    I agree, whatever you will be happy packing out is what you should shoot, that being said, i live 45 min south of you in Sturgis, good luck and keep us posted on your hunt, i plan on going out next year for mulies with my bow, are you using bow or gun?
    Ill give up all my hunting in Michigan for 2 weeks in the high country

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doe Nob View Post

    People always say "if you'd shoot it on the last day you should shoot it on the first day" but I think that's a bunch of crapola. Start out with high standards and drop them a notch each day you are out in the field. You may end up shooting a dink on the last day after having passed on some mediocre bucks or bulls early, but hey that's hunting and it all adds to the experience. Go out there, hunt hard and if you get a chance a big one, shoot him, if you don't shoot a smaller one. Not having taken any mulies or elk, just important to get some on the ground at this point.
    Over the last 50 years of hunting especially the early years of hunting where I grew up hunting Oregon Coastal Blacktails, some years you were lucky to see one buck. Knowing how frustrating it can be to go multiple years eating tag soup when trying to feed a young family has shaped my hunting mentality into what it is now. Sure I have passed up smaller bucks looking for something bigger, sometimes it payed off sometimes not. I suppose today, hunting is used more as a sport than as an actual way of feeding a family, but with the cost associated with hunting, I still would rather have a small buck/bull in my freezer than nothing at all!
    NRA Life Member OHA Life Member
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  10. #10
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    Depends on the tag! If I can draw it every year and it's pretty cheap, Like a Utah general tag then I'd shoot just about anything, Now if it was a Colorado 4th season 44 tag then it better have some headgear before I squeeze the trigger.
    TICK
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    "The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential... these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence."
    Confucius

 

 

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