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The elusive “Cull Buck”

We have all said it. We have all heard it. “Deer here just have bad genetics”….”That’s just a cull buck”….”I better shoot him before the neighbors do!” First off, I am no purist or great hunter. I’m a Flunky that likes to eat deer and wild game. In the realm of whitetail, I have only killed does and a button Buck. My harvest will be part of another blog on here that more or less let’s you know more about me and “My Story”, but my point is, hunt how you want. But don’t use TV lies to justify your kill. 

I am writing this from a tree stand in some game lands down from the house. Dove hunters are letting the lead fly and chucking shells all around me. I am looking at my buddies deer from last night. An absolute STUD!!! I will be doing another post about it and other WNC deer, kind of a second part to this one. But what got me to this point, this post, this blog, this rant is what I have noticed. Jordan killed a BRUTE because he has practiced letting them age. 

Contrary to popular belief, cull bucks don’t exist in many places in the natural world. In fact, unless you have managed a property for 25+ years intensively, then you will probably never see a “cull buck”. I know what your thinking, “This guy/gal in Instagram says otherwise” or “I just watched this show where the host Possum Trot Leg-Swarp swears there are areas with bad genes and tons of culls!!” Fair enough, let’s take a look at what those “cull bucks” have in common shall we? Usually, they have 2-6 horns, are very skinny and their legs seem very long for their bodies. I have asked people about these alleged “cull bucks” they have killed and one dudes response was “They always have really flat backs and just look kind of awkward” I responded with “Like teenagers?” He nodded his head and said “Just like em! Like they never grew up!”  I didn’t remind the man that after his harvest they could in fact, never grow up. After a stroll through social media today, I noticed how many people where teeming deer as “culls” or talking about inferior genetics. Hence this post. 

All the afore mentioned similarities to these “cull bucks” also bear an uncanny resemblance to another group of deer: the young bucks. Ages 1.5-2.5. The 13-18 year old awards teenage boys of the natural world. According to the QDMA the common traits that I have mentioned are also common for young deer. So, according to them, “Cull Bucks” are few and very far between and in a lot of areas, do not exist. So why is this all over social media? Why is this still a thing? I recall congratulating a young man in his teens on harvesting a beautiful 110 inch 7 point white tail buck. The hunt he recounted in his post was so awesome and inspiring but then he ended it with “Got another cull out of the herd!!” I congratulated him on the deer and then just suggested that the deer was in fact not a cull, just a young deer. Never brow beat him, never beat the deer down, just a thought. All of a sudden he had recruited his buddy to “teach me a lesson” in this. The buddy began with the rhetoric of “This gene pool has some deer that get decent antlers and mast, but their bodies indicate they are genetically inferior to our dominant bucks in the area” Full disclosure, I engaged. I shouldn’t have, I should have been the adult, but I engaged. 

What happened next was a whirlwind. I addressed the young mans friend with questions on how they determined it’s inferiorness? What’s the jaw bone look like? Have they worked with a biologist on their private ranch they hunted? The responses reminded me why I miss spankings in school and then also reminded me I share the same generation. Can’t blame the kids though, they are just a product of their up bringing. Which was re affirmed when I started this morning. I saw picture after picture of 1.5 year old deer laying on the ground with “#cullbuck” and “Had to get him out of the gene pool” in the descriptions. Look, I am not knocking how people hunt, if it’s legal and you wanna mow down every single 1.5 year old buck in your area, have at it! Just don’t come back and say “Took all these culls out of the herd!!” And you know what? You could be right! They could in fact be the elusive “cull buck” I have apparently missed all these years. But a jawbone is the only truth to the matter. If the age shows different, I’ll agree. But I like my odds that the jawbone will in fact show it’s a young deer. 

My preference for whitetail is obvious. I want to let him go so he can grow. That’s my choice. But my choice doesn’t need justifying…. does yours? If it does, is it really about the hunt? Is it really about the filling of the freezer? Why not shoot a doe? I think the primary culprit is outdoor television. Shows needed footage to get the kills on camera. Needed to show how their sponsor who made the super duper scent free bio degradable toilet paper how their product helped produce results. Be skeptical folks. Talk to a biologist. Join a conservation organization. At least have the facts. 

However, if you are in Texas, a cull buck to them, would be a Euro Mount on my wall. And it’s also the home of the good Al Brothers. So they can say a few things differently. 

Happy hunting. And don’t hashtag the word cull. Please. For the love of God.