Deer hunting is full of vernacular that only whitetail enthusiasts understand. Different sayings, lines and clichés that most people wouldn’t begin to decipher. Some are bad. Others are really bad. And some are just plain ugly. We all have our pet peeves, but some deer hunting lines just need to go away. Here are 15 of them that most hunters are tired of hearing.
1. “If I don’t kill that buck then somebody else will.”
This should never be a reason to kill a deer. If you shoot a deer, shoot it because you want to. If you shoot a deer, don’t make excuses for why you shot it. The deer deserves more than that.
2. “Man, where I hunt, there’s a dang 1:20 buck-to-doe ratio.”
No. No. No. And no. For starters, no. And secondly, it isn’t scientifically possible. Science proves that. It’s biologically impossible to have a ratio more skewed than 1:5. Don’t believe me? Do some research.
3. “That’d make a great bow buck.”
If it’d make a great bow buck, it ought to be a great gun buck, too, right? You’d think so. Why do we have different standards for different weapons of choice? If you’re trying to manage for deer, set a threshold and stick to it regardless of weapon.
4. “That buck is a shooter for sure.”
The term “shooter” isn’t that old. It’s fairly new. But what qualifies as a shooter? Isn’t it different for everyone?
5. “Shucks, that’s just a cull buck.”
This one just needs to go on somewhere. It’s apparently “hip” to use the word “cull” these days. But the science shows it’s virtually impossible to influence the genetics of a wild deer herd by shooting “inferior” bucks. There are too many factors in play. It’s much more effective to manage for age and provide better habitat and food sources. And how long have they been killing 8-pointers in Texas? Furthermore, it’s disgraceful to deem a deer as “inferior.” Deer deserve more respect than that.
6. “We need to take that old, barren doe out of the herd.”
There’s no such thing as the old barren doe. Research has been conducted and there isn’t any real proof that suggests does quit producing fawns when they get older. If anything, they have two or three fawns more frequently and become more efficient at protecting them.
7. “That’s one of my hitlist bucks right there.”
The hitlist buck is synonymous with the shooter buck. The only difference is it’s even more perverse. Since when did we begin referring to deer as hit listers? Come on folks. Let’s get real.
8. “That there is an up-and-comer basket rack.”
The basket-rack 8-pointer. It’s a term almost as old as time. Or is it? Regardless, baskets are for carrying things — not referencing antler size.
9. “You can’t kill ‘em on the couch.”
Maybe I can kill ‘em on the couch. In fact, my grandfather built a shooting house that he put a large living-room, couch-like seating arrangement in. I grew up hunting from it. So, technically, we could kill ‘em from the couch.
10. “I haven’t been seeing deer — must be the October lull.”
Nope. It isn’t. Research shows deer activity — including daytime movement — gradually increases from summer through the rut. What most people perceive as the October lull is actually just a shift in home ranges, core areas, bedding areas, food sources and hunting pressure. But, again, studies confirm deer movement doesn’t technically drop during October.
11. “The bigger the buck, the bigger the home range.”
Some hunters believe (and say) that bigger bucks have bigger home ranges. The older they get, they more land they control. First off, deer don’t guard territory in the sense that wolves and other animals do. They don’t defend a piece of ground or turf. They simply defend their status in the breeding hierarchy. Secondly, as bucks get older, their home ranges and core areas typically shrink. That’s a proven fact.
12. “Those dominant bucks breed all of the does.”
It’s common to hear that the dominant bucks breed all of the does. That isn’t the case in the real world. The young bucks (1 ½- and 2 ½-year-olds) get in on the action, too. Most areas have a buck-to-doe ratio between 1:1 and 1:3. Do the math. Some of the smaller bucks are pairing up with does.
13. “The cows are feeding, deer must be up and moving.”
It’s true that deer have similar digestive systems as cattle. They’re both ruminants. That said, it’s important to know that there are differences between the two. And there isn’t any research that supports this theory that deer and cattle always feed simultaneously.
14. “Once a spike, always a spike.”
Most deer hunters don’t realize that spikes aren’t genetically challenged. It’s typically either a buck that was born late, had a bad mother or was injured. All said, spike bucks typically grow out of it the following year and have proven time and again that spikes can become record-class animals if given enough time.
15. “God that’s a big deer.”
Don’t take the Lord’s name in vain. Even when exclaiming how big a buck is. It’s that simple. Just don’t do it.