The taking of velvet bucks is a tried and true way to start the deer hunting season off right.
In many areas of the United States, deer hunting season starts in earnest well before many deer have shed their natural antler velvet. Most of the time these bucks are right on the verge of beginning their yearly rubbing, scraping, and shedding of the velvet layer that covers their antlers, so there still remains a thin stratum of soft, fuzzy "skin."
One of the best things about watching a whitetail deer grow their antlers throughout the spring and summer is seeing the velvet covering grow right along with it. By the time most general hunting seasons roll around, the beautiful velvet is long gone.
For many deer hunters, having the opportunity to hunt a deer that is still in velvet is the chance of a lifetime. Not many of us get to bag a nice deer and keep its glorious antler covering right long with it. Early in the hunting season, many bucks are still roaming in bachelor groups. This makes it one of the few times in which deer hunters can see multiple bucks, including mature bucks, in their food plots and amongst their hunting setups.
Even at that, our desire to chase whitetails still has the most hunters interesting in the pursuit and they sure seem to do well.
Here's a rundown of the coolest velvet bucks we've seen harvested so far.
240" Oregon Mule Deer
Maryland Velvet Buck
Mature Idaho Muley
Utah Bruiser with a Bow
Georgia Freak Non-Typical
Round Up of Successful Youth Hunters
Best of the Rest
Velvet Deer Hunting
Most of us know that whitetail bucks shed their antlers each winter and then regrow them in the spring. As their antler growth commences, factors such as food sources and water sources come very much into play as each deer has his own nutritional needs and varying resource availability.
Some veteran hunters are aware of what they call "cactus bucks" which is an unscientific term for antlered bucks that never stop growing the velvet on their rack, or possibly have a testicular injury. This shows in one or two of these photos as deer that have an altogether unhealthy look to their "horns" in that they grow in very unusual ways.
Honestly, a good buck is any buck that you choose to shoot during the open deer season that not only fills your freezer, but your desire to harvest a deer whether by archery, rifle, or shotgun.
Many states have late August to early September deer seasons and some even earlier than that. Some outfitters are licensed to allow for hunting on their private lands, giving many who have had just about enough of waiting for deer season a chance to shine in the warmer weather and put some nice bucks on the wall still adorned in their full velvet.
Many big bucks taken on public lands from Kentucky to Montana are taken out of treestands during a time of year when care still has to be taken to fend off ticks and mosquitos once the season opens.
In lieu of that, hunters must be ready to take on a different set of circumstances to hunt whitetails earlier in the year, but the rewards can be terrific!