What are you looking for in a shooter buck?


New Member
Jul 3, 2011
San Diego
Just curious, with the D16 rifle season 30 days away, what's your definition of a shooter buck? Tell us why?

Is it the first legal buck you see or is there another standard you apply? How did you develop your thinking on this?

Also, is it more important to you to kill a deer or are you content with tag soup if the right one doesn't come along?
Let me start by saying "I HATE TAG SOUP" but I have had to eat it many times.
The minimum buck I'm looking for in D16 is a mature 3x3.That being said it could change late in the season. A22 a three year old fork would work.
Shot my first buck in 86 and back then it was about shooting any legal buck.Over the years you learn where the deer are so it gets a little easy er to find bucks.Then you learn about letting the younger ones go so that they can mature.
It still puzzles me how there can be so many young deer and so few mature deer,where do they go ?
For me D16 is a filler tag so if i do not have something else going on (another hunt), I can go hunting. I have never put a tremendous amount of effort into the local zone because I have a fetish for big mule deer. With that said, D16 is all about the salami and jerky sticks for me. Don't get me wrong, if I know there are bigger deer in an area I am hunting I may make bold decisions on the fly. But for the most part, if the deer is basket or better...Wham-o!

My general thinking comes from a few lessons learned by passing up decent bucks to have a whack at bigger ones. It works!

Other hunts - I am a hold out and have no issues with eating tags. I have done it many times and I am sure I will continue to have un-punched tags in the future.

These are my express opinions derived from my experiences - I know less than most and half as much as some!
Both of my tags are archery only. I have a long season but I need to get in close. I struggle between trophy hunting and filling the freezer. I like to do both if I get the chance. Early in the season it’s all about getting a big book buck, so I’ll pass on those 2 ½ year old forkys. If it’s the last few weeks of the season and I don’t have anything down, I’ll take one or even a doe. 80 inches is the minimum to make CBH book in the Pacific Hybrid category. That’s about a 3 ½ year old in these parts.
I believe it really has to do with what you are hunting with weapon wise and where you are hunting. Being you can hunt archery during rifle season and this is when the biggest bucks are roaming the mountain during late October and November if you are a bow hunter you probably want to hold out for a larger buck but when you hunt San Diego County with a rifle any good size buck is a trophy to me. Even thou you have a rifle in your hand the backcountry on San Diego is tough and any buck you see if probably going to be your best chance of the year unless you are Darryl - Ha Ha. Good Luck everyone and like they say "don’t pass up a buck on opening day that you would shoot on the last day", you are probably going to regret it.
Mikes post - Good Luck everyone and like they say "don’t pass up a buck on opening day that you would shoot on the last day", you are probably going to regret it.

Above is an absolute fact if you want to shoot big animals!

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