When managing properties for mature whitetails, the habitat work is only part of the equation. Herd management plays an integral part in managing your property and harvest goals need to be decided upon prior to the season. Age structures and sex ratios will play a huge role in determining which deer to harvest.

In the case of Chris Parrish, he is looking for a 4.5 year old buck or older. Through a substantial amount of trail camera photos and hours on stand, he has determined there are very few bucks that meet this criteria on his farm. The drought the past two years has led to a large number of deer dying from EHD and many mature bucks were victims. The outlook for him shooting a mature buck that calls his property home is slim, but that doesn't mean his season is a waste.

Now that the rut is on, mature bucks cover ground outside of their home range. One of these bucks could roam to Chris' property and if he's on stand he could still harvest a mature buck this season. If you find yourself in this scenario, it's important to stick to your pre-season goals and not shoot a deer that doesn't meet your harvest criteria. Hunters often get wrapped up in "shooting a buck". For some, that is their goal, but for land owners who are managing their properties, it is vital to adhere to your goals. If this means not harvesting a buck this year, so be it. You can still take does off your property if your sex ratios call for it.

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