Most Internet abbreviations are good for all seasons, but for the next several months we should at least see fewer BBDs. That’s “big buck down” for those not up on the latest e-jargon.
Not everyone is a social media fan, but I enjoy using Facebook, both personally and to help promote QDMA. If you use Facebook, then you saw what I saw this past fall – social media “news feeds” were crammed with huge bucks throughout fall, but especially in November. The bigger the buck, the more likely it would be shared again and again, so that people in far-away places were treated to the sights of gargantuan bucks from the best whitetail dirt in North America.
I’d spend a few minutes on Facebook scrolling through my feed, looking at BBDs, then I’d look at the trail-camera photos from my family’s hunting land in coastal Georgia. Suffice it to say that if I killed the best buck in my trail-camera collection and posted it on Facebook, it wouldn’t be shared and seen by people I don’t know in other regions.
Luckily, I’ve learned to keep this perspective: The bucks we photograph and hunt on our land are outstanding where they live. Through QDM, we’ve produced a well-developed age structure and some of the heaviest, healthiest, largest-antlered bucks for this region. QDM has worked for us, and we enjoy numerous rewards season after season. If we had expected to make the record books, the fun would have been lost years ago. Unfortunately, some hunters lose sight of the fun. Faced with a constant barrage of BBDs from better dirt, they fail to appreciate their own accomplishments relative to the ground on which they stand.
One way to avoid BBD envy is to keep your focus on age. In new QDM programs and areas where yearling-buck harvest remains high, harboring a buck until he is 2½ is a significant achievement. The more hunting seasons a buck has survived in the woods you manage, the greater the accomplishment when you see, photograph, or harvest him – no matter where he lives and no matter how many inches of antler he carries. Next season, I’m going to coin and promote some new slang: MBD (mature buck down). If you see it becoming widespread, remember I said it first.
Of course, “score” is embedded in our hunting culture and is here to stay. Again, keep a local perspective. A 120-inch whitetail is easily disregarded in some states, but it might be the best buck you ever killed, or one of the best ever killed in your county. If so, be extremely proud!
If photos of book-busting bucks from other parts of the country make you study your progress with disappointment, you are receiving TMI. High-scoring bucks are worthy of awe, but QDM success is not measured in inches. Enjoying the best hunting and the highest-quality deer you can where you hunt is what counts.