I finally checked my trail cameras for the first time in almost a month. There were so many pictures it took me a while to review all of them, and I was pleasantly surprised. There were four bucks I wouldn't hesitate to pull the trigger on, along with two others that I might take under specific circumstances. In addition to these, I counted four other bucks that have great potential for next year.
First off is this surprisingly large 7 point. While I'd prefer he have at four points on both sides at least, there's no denying this is a pretty good buck for my area. What he lacks in antler points and tine length he makes up for in mass and width.
Then we have this 9-point. Although somewhat asymmetrical, he's a pretty good all around buck.
I don't have to point out that the 9-point on the right is at the top of my list. He's a 4.5 year old mature buck with excellent width. In fact, he may well end up with the largest spread of any buck we've ever had on our farm. He's also the big one I was after last year that showed up just once, and well out of range of my Optima pistol:
The buck to his left isn't half bad either, being a respectable 9-point.
The "maybe under specific circumstances" bucks:
This guy's not bad. Pretty tall antlers, but not very wide. If I can get a shot on him with my 460 S&W, 41 Magnum, or Optima pistol, I'll take him.
I don't know what's going on with this buck. He's clearly injured his left antler somehow, leaving two antler points growing downwards. I'll be watching him to see if he keeps the strange points even after he peels his velvet. If he does, and I get a shot with the aforementioned pistols, I just might take him. I won't be upset if we don't get him during season. He has pretty good potential for next year if he can make it through this season, but I can't deny his unusual antlers would make a pretty interesting mount.
Needless to say, I'm pretty excited for season.
"We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided." - J.K. Rowling
In the last four years my son and I have killed six trophy bucks, for North Carolina anyway, and we had trail camera photos of all of them. It does make it more fun. We also have had 12-16 good bucks on camera that we have not seen in person yet.