Each square-mile of suitable habitat typically contains home ranges of 4–5 does with young, ranges of 2–4 lesser mature bucks and the range of one dominant breeding buck.

Normally, there is only one like this in a square mile.

Normally, in forested regions where deer are not overabundant, each square mile includes 4–5 doe ranges, 2–4 ranges of “lesser antlered bucks” — bucks 2–6 years of age (few live longer) that do not have opportunities to breed because they are lower in their 1–2 square-mile buck pecking order than the one big, dangerous “dominant breeding buck” of the area. There are thus usually about fifteen-plus deer per square mile in a northern forest region and twenty-three-plus (twin fawns being more common) in southern farm regions.

Therefore, if your definition of a “big buck” is a “record book buck,” though roughly 40% of bucks including yearlings in your hunting area are actually antlered bucks, it is almost certain you only have one “big buck” per ten or more does (some of which are actually be buck fawns that appear to be does) per square-mile of your hunting area. This is normal. Whitetails insist on it. If your definition of a “big buck” includes all antlered bucks older than yearlings and if it was possible for you to actually see all bucks of these ages in your hunting area during a hunting season (which it isn’t), you’d actually see 4–5 “big bucks” per ten or more does (some of which are actually buck fawns that appear to be does). This is normal, though you aren’t likely to be able accurately establish such numbers.

Keep in mind, genetics and calcium-rich water flowing from limestone account for more younger bucks growing outstanding antlers in some regions.

What all this means is, to take more “big bucks” wherever you hunt you must become skilled enough as a hunter to see more “big bucks.” Otherwise, settle for taking the usual 1–2 trophy-class bucks in a lifetime.

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