Hunt Aggressive Bucks

Sandy G. from Oklahoma writes to ask if some bucks are more aggressive than others. “I believe that some bucks are more aggressive than others, but my husband disagrees. He states that even if they are, it won’t help your hunting. I’m curious what you think about this.”

Dr. Dave Samuel

Sandy, there is no doubt that each buck is different and some are more aggressive than others, regardless of size. For example, we know that from data on movements (some bucks move a lot, some little and age doesn’t change that), breeding (some mature bucks breed a lot, some very little), and rutting activity (some rut hard, others of the same age not at all). 

The truth is that a small-bodied, small-antlered 5-year-old buck can be dominant over a bigger 5-year-old buck. It happens. Now, if you can, through scouting and cameras, determine that a buck is shy, or aggressive, that may determine how you hunt him. A shy buck will be less inclined to come to calls, rattling or decoys, while a dominant buck may well do so.

Last year during peak rut in Nebraska, I snort-wheezed in a 145-class 4-year-old, and even though he’d obviously been fighting a lot (several broken tines, scars and ruffled fur all over) he charged in. He was looking for a fight. I passed on him simply because one beam was broken about 5 inches from the tip and the four other tines were busted. And his body size wasn’t all that big. He was just an aggressive deer. 

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Dr. Dave writes a weekly column for If you have a question for Dr. Dave, e-mail your question to Dr. Dave in care of Tom Kacheroski, senior editor of‘s content at Dr. Dave studied deer for 30 years as a wildlife management professor at West Virginia University. In addition he has been a bowhunter for over 40 years, with deer being his main prey. He’s also an outdoor writer and has been with “Bowhunter” magazine for more than 31 years.

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