Where Are The Big Bucks In New Jersey?

Ed O. from New Jersey writes to ask about the lack of big bucks there. “I’ve hunted some other states, and comparatively, I see fewer big bucks in New Jersey. My friends say it is habitat, but I don’t believe that. What are your thoughts on why we don’t have more big bucks in New Jersey?”

Dr. Dave Samuel
Dr. Dave Samuel

Ed, the answer is pretty simple. As my friend Gene Wensel says, “don’t pick the fruit until it is ripe.” New Jersey is the highest state relative to the percent of yearlings in the harvest. In fact, they have that sad distinction for 2009, 2010 and 2011. In 2011, 62 percent of their buck harvest was yearlings.

Your surrounding states are pretty high as well, with Pennsylvania at 50 percent, New York at 54 percent, Connecticut at 44 percent, and Maryland at 57 percent.

If you don’t let bucks age, then you just are going to have smaller, younger bucks out there. Age trumps nutrition and genetics every time.

For a fine selection of big game hunting gear, be sure to check out Sportsman’s Guide.

Dr. Dave writes a weekly column for sportsmansguide.com. 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.

Leave a Reply

Commenting Policy - We encourage open expression of your thoughts and ideas. But there are a few rules:

No abusive comments, threats, or personal attacks. Use clean language. No discussion of illegal activity. Racist, sexist, homophobic, and generally hateful comments are not tolerated. Keep comments on topic. Please don't spam.

While we reserve the right to remove or modify comments at our sole discretion, the Sportsman's Guide does not bear any responsibility for user comments. The views expressed within the comment section do not necessarily reflect or represent the views of The Sportsman's Guide.