I grew up hunting southeast Virginia with the age old mental concept of ” If its brown, its down.” Year after year I shoot smaller bucks but passed herds of does worried I may scare the monster buck behind them. I then realized I was my own enemy, and I learned that they don’t get big if you don’t let them grow. I made up my mind at that point I was going to make it my mission to harvest a mature Virginia whitetail. We all hunt for different reasons however we all want the opportunity to successfully harvest a trophy whitetail. Now as we all know sometimes you just get lucky, but how would you like the opportunity to take a mature buck year after year? The key is not to shoot bucks based on the size of their rack, but their age and genetics. For hunters new to deer management, I’ve learned that does taste the same as young bucks, and can be just as fun to shoot. It is very important to harvest more does, which we always recommend to take as early as possible. This not only fills the freezer quickly allowing you to be more selective, but also helps your buck:doe ratio causing more competition among your bucks come the rut. This in turn causes bucks to spend more time on the hoof increasing your chances of these bucks becoming visible during shooting hours. Whitetails hit their greatest antler growth from 3 1/2- 4 1/2 years old, showing their true potential around age 5. If you pass your 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 year old bucks, harvest more does, and increase nutrition for your herd; you should start seeing more trophy whitetails in 2 to 3 years. It can be extremely difficult to practice Quality Deer Management successfully with out a good amount of acreage, and very few people have this much property themselves. We ask you to educate your neighbors and land owners on the benefits of a healthier herd. Ask them if they would like the opportunity to harvest trophy whitetails year after year. Together we can change the future of Virginia whitetail hunting for not only ourselves, but for generations to come.