The numbers prove it. Realtree fans north, south, east and west live and breathe deer hunting. These guys do, too. Hansen’s from Michigan, Brantley’s from Kentucky, and chances are their version of hunting whitetails is a lot like yours.
Bucks or Birds – Which is Tougher?
A gobbling longbeard or a big old buck—which is more difficult to kill? It’s an age-old debate between turkey hunters and deer hunters. Significant amounts of chest-pumping, anecdotal evidence and name-calling are usually involved in these debates. Some examples:
“Stupid bird’s got a brain the size of a pea. How tough can it be to kill it?”
“My uncle sits in a heated tree house every fall drinking whiskey and manages to kill deer from 200 yards away with a rifle. Big challenge there.”
“They sleep in trees at night and gobble during the day. Helen Keller could locate one.”
“Climb out of that treestand, Chunky, and try chasing a henned-up gobbler through the mountains for six hours. Then get back with me on how easy it is.”
To me, there is no cut-and-dry, one answer fits all to this very important debate. At times, both turkeys and whitetails can be agonizingly difficult or amazingly simple to kill. But, this is a deer blog, and I'm about to bail from my desk for a week of turkey hunting come Saturday. I think some time would be well-spent arguing about this. Plus, Hickoff's out of town, so he can't get his feelings hurt too badly if the deer hunters start winning the debate.
I've given two scenarios below that detail where I stand on the issue. Don't argree with me? Tell me why in the comments section.
ANY LEGAL DEER VS. ANY LEGAL SPRING TURKEY
The conclusion: The turkey is tougher. In most areas of the country, picking up a gun and whacking a fork horn or a doe, even on public land, is more of a sure thing than walking out the door and killing a turkey on any given day. Even if you narrow the deer factor down to bowhunting only (leaving shotguns on the table for turkeys), I still think it’s close. For sheer odds of the weekend warrior coming home with a critter in the truck bed, the whitetail is an easier animal to hunt than the turkey.
A MATURE BUCK VS. AN OLD LONGBEARD
The conclusion: The mature buck, by far. When you’re focused on mature bucks, deer hunting changes altogether. Turkey hunting doesn’t. Big, old bucks are smart. Big, old gobblers remain pretty dumb (albeit incredibly wary). Most good turkey hunters I know kill a “trophy” longbeard—often more than one—every spring. The same can’t be said for the good deer hunters and mature bucks.