Would You Shoot This Buck?

Many factors must be considered when decided whether to shoot at a particular buck. So if this 4x4 appeared on your hunting land, would you take him?

I bowhunted eastern South Dakota for 2 weeks straight during the first half of November, and more than a dozen times during my vacation I passed on this same 4x4. Chances are this buck is a 2.5-year-old (with lots of potential), but he might be 3.5. If he’s 3.5, then his rack is a bit below average when compared to other 3.5-year-olds in the area.

A few notes regarding the video below. I was hunting over a Dave Smith Decoy, specifically the DSD Posturing Buck model. It’s an incredibly realistic fake, and at least 3 days during my 2-week vacation this same 4x4 slowly approached the DSD and circled it several times.

In this instance, I rattled blind (meaning I didn’t have any deer within sight at the time), and this buck quietly approached only a few seconds after I’d completed a rattling sequence and set down the antlers on a tree limb.

Rattling works great when combined with a buck decoy, and in my opinion, there’s no better buck decoy than the DSD Posturing Buck. While I captured video of the 4x4 circling the decoy several times, I thought this clip of him working the overhead branch of a scrape was even more interesting.

Two days ago a buddy of mine sent me a photo of another friend who shot a decent-size 4x4 on the neighboring SD property. And by all accounts, it’s the same 4x4 that did the dance with the DSD and starred in the video.

The fact that the 4x4 was killed doesn’t make me regret my decision to pass on him. I’ll have a few more days in SD during Christmas, and hopefully I can tie my archery tag to even a bigger one.


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