By Mark Kenyon
It’s one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make as a hunter, shoot or don’t shoot? Making the choice to send an arrow or bullet into a living, breathing creature’s vitals is no small thing, and as the great writer Thomas McGuane once said, “I was blood from the elbows down … and I thought, this is damned serious business and you had better always remember that.”
This being the case, we like to help you work through these decisions with a bit of digital practice in the form of our “Shoot or Don’t Shoot” polls. If you’re not familiar, the rules are simple. Take a look at the photos and information below, and then make your decision. If you were hunting on this property and the photographed deer passed by your stand, what would your decision be? Shoot or don’t shoot?
So with that out of the way, here’s your potential quarry. These photographs were taken in Jackson County, Michigan this summer and the property is mostly crop fields, fence rows and a few small scattered wood lots. A handful of small food plots and habitat improvements have been implemented in the area, but nothing too intense. As to age structure, the main hunter on this property holds out for 3.5 year old bucks or older, but not everyone in the area follows suit. Across Michigan, over 50% of the bucks harvested are 1.5 years old, so your chances of seeing a mature buck in much of this area are relatively slim.
So if you were down in Southern Michigan hunting and this buck strolled by, what would you do? Shoot or don’t shoot?