By Mark Kenyon

For those of us who like seeing more whitetails make it to maturity, a celebration is in order. What many of us would assume, has now been confirmed. More yearling bucks are being passed than ever before!

According to recent state harvest data compiled by the Quality Deer Management Association, during the 2012-13 season (most recent data available), hunters harvested the lowest percentage of yearling bucks in history! Only 37% of antlered bucks killed were yearlings, which is down from over 62% in 1988!

I’m a huge proponent of the passing of young bucks, for both the biological reasons and the increased hunter satisfaction which most often correlates with this trend. And I’m thrilled to see that this mindset continues to pick up steam. Even in my home state of Michigan, which is notorious for the “brown it’s down” mentality, the % of yearlings killed has dropped 6% since the past season.

If you still haven’t taken the leap into passing young bucks, I’d encourage you to give it serious consideration. Making this decision myself has helped me evolve into a more effective human predator, a more in touch with nature steward of the land, and in general, a happier hunter.

If you’re interested in learning more about the latest in whitetail trends and research, check out the QDMA’s 2014 Whitetail Report – available now online!