-By Rich Miller
Be Ware of the Button Buck
I don’t know about you, but this time of year when the bucks have stopped moving, we start doing a little doe management. The weather is a little colder on those old bones and they let you know it, but with the season still open I have to be in the woods. Taking a late season doe is no piece of cake. These deer have been hunted and chased around since the middle of September and it is tough to get a mature doe in bow range during daylight hours.
It is always a lot easier to get a shot at does during the month of September because they are a lot more predictable. Right now I don’t have the luxury of a smoking hot white oak tree dropping acorns or a persimmon tree that looks like a rotary tiller has been plowing underneath it. I do have some great looking food plots in place that have a good many deer using them right now. The only problem is when the does do come out during shooting light they are on the opposite side of the field from where I am sitting.
Over the years I have learned several valuable lessons doe hunting this late in the season. Never shoot a deer that is by itself. If you do, it is sure to be a button buck that has been run off by its mother. These button bucks are always the first deer to enter the field. Wait on another deer to come into the field and use them to compare body sizes to get a better idea of which one could be a button head. If you pay close attention and watch the deer’s body language you can tell that he acts and walks like a buck also. A lot of times these small bucks will not be with the other big does and doe fawns that are in larger groups, and if they get too close to the group they will get chased away. The best way to spot a button buck is to take your time, use your binoculars and look close at his head. These are our future trophy bucks so it is in our best interest to make sure they live long enough to become one.
Though I am after meat, I don’t want to shoot just any doe that comes out. The good thing about this time of year is when you see one deer the odds are there will be several more with it. This gives you a good chance to check out all the things I previously mentioned. Plus, it gives me a chance to pick out the older more mature looking does. I especially like to take the ones that do not have any fawns with them. These baron does are perfect candidates because they do not breed any more and it takes another mouth off of the food plots and the feeders.
I was in a club several years ago that recommended shooting does that had button bucks with them later in the year. The theory was that when you took the mother away from the young bucks they wouldn’t be around to run them out of the area and they would use this area as their home range. Though we did take a lot of these does I couldn’t tell that it made much difference.
All of these precautions sound good on paper but when you are sitting in a stand with your adrenaline pumping it is hard to take them into account. With all of that said just calm down, take a deep breath, and remember that this could help produce a trophy in the long run.