Hunting Bucks: When Is Enough, Enough?

Gene S. writes from Illinois to ask about the number of bucks one can harvest. “I’ve heard a rumor that a hunter can take three bucks next year (2012) in Illinois. Frankly, I think being allowed to harvest more than one is a problem for our bucks. We have a great reputation for big bucks that attracts hunters. Is more than one buck per hunter hurting our bucks?”

Dr. Dave Samuel
Dr. Dave Samuel

Good question and my answer is “probably.” When states such as Kentucky lowered their buck harvest to one, and also increased doe harvests, the quality of bucks increased, as did hunter satisfaction. Right now a hunter in Illinois can take one buck with a bow and one with shotgun. I think that is one buck too many, but there is a bill now being considered that would allow a third buck once they have harvested a doe and it won’t count against one of the two antlered deer they already can take. Hopefully that bill will die in committee. I’m a big proponent of doe harvests and one buck limits, simply because I feel that in most instances this strategy will improve habitat, improve deer quality and health, and improve hunter satisfaction.

What do you think? Let us know your thoughts. For the latest hunting gear, be sure to visit Sportsman’s Guide.

Dr. Dave writes a weekly column for 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 31 years.

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One Response to “Hunting Bucks: When Is Enough, Enough?”

  1. James Cottle

    More than one buck affects our children’s hunting too! What about game management?